So, where are Bulova watches made? Well, first off, Bulova watches are renowned American timepieces crafted and known for their innovative design, stylish functionality, and renowned reputation.
As a New York run business, they opened shop in the late 1800s, and for over a century, they have stood out as a leading brand among competing watch brands. A distinction it has carved out by itself through a long history, and one that’s shown a great testament to the great American dream.
That said, figuring out just where these watches are made is a hard thing to pinpoint with the level of history that revolves around these watches. With an estimated 164 million dollars in revenue as of 2013, one just might wonder just where are Bulova watches made. To figure this we’d have to look at a little bit of its history and work our way down.
The Bulova empire was started off in 1875 by a Bohemian immigrant, Joseph Bulova, in New York City. He started up his first line of watches in 1912 when he opened up his plant in Switzerland.
By 1919, his first full range of watches for men was designed and was accepted with great popularity. Despite the great praise for his watches’ design and style, Joseph sought to also perfect the precision and pursue technological research in other to stand out among other competing watch brands.
By 1923, the Bulova brand had made a name for itself as an exceptional watch company. With high praise for the innovation and design work put into creating its magnificent timepieces, the popularity of the company only grew over the years.
In 1945, the Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking was created. Founded by Arde Bulova, the Chairman of the Board at that time, the school sought to provide training for disabled veterans after the Second World War. The school later became a full-fledged rehabilitation facility, an advocate for disabled people nationwide, and one of the founders of wheelchair sports in the United States. The school, however, closed in 1993, sadly.
In January of 2007 the Bulova Watch company was bought out by Citizens for $250 million a business deal that combined the two watchmaker companies to become the world’s largest watchmaker.
Where Are Bulova Watches Made?
Now with the brand having started up in New York City, the assumption should be that production should at least be partly undergone there. But that does not seem to be the case. The entire treasure chest of Bulova timepieces is created and shipped from Hong Kong, Japan, and Switzerland. This includes the Bulova Accu Swiss, the Bulova Wittnauer, and the Bulova Caravelle New York. These three countries hold major control over the production and distribution of Bulova watches.
Now, like most watch brands, Bulova offers luxury pieces, budget pieces, and midrange pieces to allow for a wider variety of customers. Switzerland handles the production of most high-end materials for the production of the luxury brands. Japan, on the other hand, deals in the production of the materials needed for midrange watches and the bulk of the company’s budget watch construction and development.
Casings, Movements, And Assembly
Assembly of the watches is handled by the initial country that handles the creation of that particular watch’s movements and casing. This is generally dependent on the pricing of the watch in question as well as consideration for the many complexities needed to put the entire timepiece together. All this goes hand in hand to determine the origin country of the watch.
Hong Kong handles the sale of low-end model movements and casing while the sale of the top tier movements are purchased from Switzerland and then Japan. With the availability of independent companies handling the creation of movements, Bulova also outsources the making of its watch movements sometimes just like many other watchmaking brands do.
The order for casings follows the request patterns of the watches movements. So if a request/purchase is made from Japan for movements, the resulting purchase of casings should be made from Japan as well. That way the casing is perfectly compatible with the movements ordered. This system is repeated in purchase of casings and movements from Hong Kong and Switzerland.
Bulova, over the course, of its history has created and designed various watches that have stood out over their time periods. With a company-wide dedication to evolution as well as innovative design, the Bulova watch brand has tirelessly pushed out expertly- made timepieces. As of this year, Bulova has four major watch lines:
1. The Bulova.
2. The Bulova Accu Swiss.
3. The Caravelle New York.
4. The Witt Naueur.
The Accutron Series
A major statement piece for the Bulova watchmaker, the Accutron series of watches were invented by Max Hetzel, a Swiss inventor who joined the company in 1948. The first version was released in 1960 and deviated from most conventional mechanical watches in its design.
Aptly termed ‘the first electric watch,’ the tuning fork within the watch was powered by a one-transistor electronic oscillator circuit. This vibrating fork, which differed from other watches at that time (they made use of a balanced wheel instead), emitted a faint high-pitched hum. This was different from the expected ticking sound characterized by most mechanical watches. The use of this tuning fork raised the accuracy of this watch to one minute per month or two seconds per day.
The creation of the Accutron series also served to bring recognition to the Bulova line in another venture — space travel. Due to the accuracy of the Accutron series, the Bulova watch company was commissioned by NASA to assist in technological developments for various space missions.
During the Apollo 15 mission in 1971, all twelve men who walked to the moon wore the standard NASA-issued Omega Speedmaster. As such, these watches were considered government property.
In 2014, the Accutron and Accutron by Bulova brand were discontinued, with some original Accutron designs released under other Bulova brands.
Bulova watches are made in Switzerland, Japan and Hong Kong. Depending on the design, budget and model requirements, the watches are all assembled in whichever factories are able to handle the production.
Swiss units have the highest expertise and are considered luxury projects of the Bulova brand. Due to this the materials required to construct this are more pricey and also the workmanship put in place to create these timepieces are extremely pricey as well.
The production of this particular product is handled by Switzerland so is the price tag that comes along with them. Japanese models are mid-priced while the Hong Kong units average price is lower than that of Swiss and Japanese models. With the Hong Kong models considered budget pieces and not requiring the same high standard quality materials as well as workmanship.
We also have an interesting article on how watches were invented. Care to read? Click here to read When Were Watches Invented?