10 Bulova Watches to Gift This Year, From Archival Classics to New-School Styles
Put these timepieces under the tree. We’ve got something for everyone.
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Unless you know the exact watch someone wants to find wrapped up in a box with a bow — down to the precise movement and particular strap, and done up in their metals of choice — your best bet is to buy a piece that you know will stand the test of time. That is, one your recipient won’t look at five or 10 years from now and think, “I can’t believe I ever wore that.” In this category of perpetual style, Bulova has dozens of timepieces that fit the bill.
There’s the Lunar Pilot, which was worn on the moon back in 1971. Then there’s the Devil Diver, which traces its roots back to 1968. In the Art Deco style, there’s the Breton, which draws inspiration even further back. All of these watches find their footing in decades before our own, but will all fit in nicely come 2023, and the year after that, and the decade after that. Lucky for you, this timelessness need not come at the price of your entire holiday budget: none of these pieces will set you back more than $1,100, and plenty of them fall far below that price tag.
If heritage and vintage-inspired timepieces aren’t up their alley, that’s quite all right. In our rundown of 10 Bulova watches to gift this season, we’ve also included the latest and greatest.
People who write about watches on the internet like to describe certain models as “trusty.” You know what’s really trusty? A backup watch that an astronaut can rely on to wear on the surface of the moon when the crystal pops off their government-issued timepiece. Yes, that’s the origin story for the Lunar Pilot, a quartz chronograph that’s been a best-seller since it was reissued by Bulova. Our expert christened it one of the absolute best watches you can buy under $1,000, but you don’t have to tell them the price after they open it — just regale them with the space saga.
For something a little more modern than the Lunar Pilot, Bulova’s Marine Star collection pulls in a variety of maritime influences in eye-catching designs. This Series B quartz chronograph has plenty of functionality (six hands in total, plus a date window), but the first thing they’ll notice is the striking blue-and-gold design accented by a few splashes of red on the strap, three of the hands and the calendar.
If the Marine Star matches ease of use with bold design, this Wilton is a masterclass in subtle finesse. From afar, this may appear to be a simple gold-tone three-hander with a brown leather strap. Zoom in and you’ll see the fourth GMT hand (ideal for a frequent flier), the Roman numerals and the grooved detailing in which a world map is raised up from the dial. Add in a new 24-jewel automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve and we’re dealing with a bonafide travel essential.
Watch companies like to use rectangular models to harken back to eras past, but this Breton is more than a vintage-inspired novelty. It deftly employs Art Deco-style Arabic numerals on the handsome cream dial, but more importantly it’s powered by a 26-jewel automatic movement that can be viewed through the exhibition caseback. This is the rarest option of this bunch, too, as it’s a model that’s limited to just 350 pieces.
There are classic watches that, when looked at today, seemed destined to achieve that status because they’re agreeable to the largest number of people. Then there are classics that are so mad that people couldn’t help but fall in love with them. The Devil Diver is the latter. Its orange and black color scheme is eccentric. Its cushion case may be something they won’t have in their collection already. Its water resistance rating is, in accordance with the name, 666 feet. This is a timepiece for the risk-taker in your life.
Bulova’s hits keep coming with the archival Parking Meter, a watch first released in 1973 when it said to hell with convention. Circular subdials situated neatly around the dial? Boring! Crown on the right-hand side and pushers next to it? Been there, done that! This chronograph dared to reimagine how a watch could be designed (while still, you know, telling time and wearing easily). Don’t miss this chance to pick up one of 5,000 timepieces in this limited reissue.
There’s a silver version of the Computron available as well, but if you’re going in on this brilliantly retro digital watch, you might as well go all in with the gold-tone and red LED display. There’s some added utility to this re-release (dual time zone), but let’s be honest, the selling point of this piece isn’t its groundbreaking functionality, it’s the fact that despite being designed as a “futuristic” watch in the 1970s, it still blows plenty of other watch designs out of the water in 2022. Our tech has moved on from this design, but when it comes to style, the Computron will never die.
A couple years ago Bulova introduced the Frank Sinatra collection to a good deal of fanfare, and they’ve been expanding the line ever since. If you’ve got an acolyte of Ol’ Blue Eyes on your list, spring for this release. It’s all class with the My Way, from the rectangular case to the seconds hand relocated to a subdial. The Sinatra references don’t overwhelm this design (there’s a signature on the dial and fedora on the caseback), so it’s more about a tip of the hat to an icon than a piece of collab merch.
Gold (tone), diamonds and mother of pearl: if that’s a trifecta she’ll appreciate, opt for this Classic style from Bulova. The interlocking bangle bracelet makes this a watch she’ll want to reach for every day, even if she still looks at her phone to check the time.
If she does need some real-deal utility on her wrist, pick up this diamond-encrusted take on the Marine Star. The 29 stones are certainly the eye-catching feature, but they’re all complemented by refreshingly delicate touches like the Roman numerals, textured outer dial and blue mother of pearl inner dial. As a whole package, it’s a showstopper.
We've put in the work researching, reviewing and rounding up all the shirts, jackets, shoes and accessories you'll need this season, whether it's for yourself of for gifting purposes. Sign up here for weekly style inspo direct to your inbox.
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