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Is Bulova a luxury brand? Cutting Through the Luxury Myth

Most people don’t remember their first watch. Why would they? It was probably a cheap, skinny version of whatever cartoon character you liked at the time. Bulova, for one, intentionally has lower price points without compromising on quality. So, is Bulova a luxury brand? What even makes a brand luxury?

bulova ladies watch

By high school, you were probably rocking a G-Shock or Citizen; maybe even a Seiko if your parents could afford to splurge.

No watch is as important as the first one you buy. The first real one at least. For watch enthusiasts, factors like quality, and look even outweigh cost.

Symbols of luxury like Audemars Piguet (AP) and Patek Philippe carry that price tag! They’re associated with the rich and famous, and many of us can only dream of wearing them.

It’s a good thing high-quality watches don’t have to be luxury brands. They can have pretty attractive price tags and great features.

Is Bulova a Luxury Brand?

Bulova is a designer brand that’s made quite the name for itself. But, it doesn’t share the same price tag as other luxury watch brands like Cartier or Rolex.

Is Bulova a luxury brand if it’s not as expensive? Well, luxury isn’t just about price. If that was the deciding factor, the fashion market would probably implode.

A luxury brand should tick certain boxes. It should have a price tag that makes it aspirational and exclusive.

Otherwise, what’s the point? Luxury brands are a status symbol, and they set apart the haves and the have-nots.

A woman wearing Louboutins and Louis Vuitton is much more enviable than one wearing Zara and Forever 21. Luxury brands make their products scarce by only making a limited amount at a time.

This only makes people want them more. They don’t follow mass-production models like fast fashion brands. Instead, they focus on high-quality craftsmanship.

When it’s time to resell, they can even fetch higher prices. Combine all that with a good story or rich heritage, great PR, and excellent customer service, and you have a luxury brand.

Bulova did it first

The story of Bulova is one of many firsts. Bulova was responsible for the first-ever TV commercial in 1941.

It was a simple yet effective ad; a clock on a US Map with the words “America runs on Bulova time! ” Bulova also mass-produced the first ever fully electric watch, the Accurton.

They even got heavily involved in the military and created a hack watch! It all started with a young jeweler’s apprentice named Joseph Bulova.

Having mastered the craft, Bulova set sights on New York City with dreams of making it big in the watch industry. He worked at a fledgling Tiffany and Co.

for a decade before starting his own jewelry manufacturing and repair company in 1875. J. Bulova and Company, as it was then called, was no longer a small jewelry shop.

It had local and international branches, as far away as Switzerland. Bulova began building a strong reputation for high-quality, reliable timepieces that would last for decades.

At the time the company first started, pocket watches were the wave. Bulova noticed the shifting trend to wristwatches and decided to jump ship.

By 1919, he’d launched his first line of men’s wristwatches and never looked back. He only looked up. Joseph Bulova went as far as to build an observatory on the roof of a 5th Avenue skyscraper.

All this to guarantee his watches were synced to universal time. Bulova was a true marvel, and his legacy lives on today in his work.

Anyone Can Wear Bulova

Bulova doesn’t quite check that exclusivity box. They’re readily available for anyone to buy. With a good sale, you can score one for less than $100.

Even with their reputation for high-quality watches, Bulovas are sometimes considered “mall watches”. They’re the gift people get when last-minute holiday shopping because they look great and the price is right.

Watch enthusiasts are perhaps the only ones anxiously awaiting a Bulova drop or long-term customers. Bulova is a good brand, but it’s not the type of brand people wait months for.

Who’s Wearing Bulova?

Influencers have always been a thing, one name or another. They’re who we look to now for inspiration, and staying on top of the latest trends.

Before social media and even celebrity ad campaigns, it was the elites of society like the royals and the wealthy.

Whatever they had was considered a luxury, and everyone wanted to have it. Back in 1968, Dior launched their collaboration with Bulova and sold out instantly (for the time).

This co-sign from the renowned fashion house only added to the brand’s growing popularity. Fun fact: Bulova was one of the first watch companies to collaborate with a major fashion house.

Patek Phillipe collaborated with Tiffany and Co. years later, but these days, luxury brands have in-house watchmakers.

Movado makes watches for Lacoste, Richard Millie works with McLaren, and AP has even made watches for Marvel!

Bulova’s many collaborations with musicians shouldn’t come as a surprise either. The connection goes as far back as the 60s when Bulova himself used a tuning fork to keep time in the Accurton.

He even invented the clock radio in the late 1920s. Frank Sinatra’s 2020 collaboration mirrored qualities of the legendary singer, like his obsession with being on time.

He often wore Bulova watches, and Bulova was the sponsor of The Frank Sinatra Show. They went as far as to name the watches after his songs in celebration of his life.

Names like Summer Wind, Fly Me To The Moon, and The Best is Yet to Come make up part of the 13-watch collection.

Marc Anthony’s recent collaboration with Bulova has proven successful in Latin America’s growing luxury watch market.

Having successfully collaborated with the Latin Grammy’s in the past, it only makes sense to include the fact of Latin star music.

The Marc Anthony Collection features 8 watches, ranging from $395 to $4500.

Bulova Won’t Break The Bank, Usually

Is Bulova a luxury brand if prices are affordable? Price is a big part of what makes a brand luxury. When they’re not on sale, Bulovas retail anywhere from $250 to $4500.

For the luxury market, that’s not a lot. The Black Strap Classic Watch is one of the most affordable options.

At only $250, the model offers a simple sophistication, featuring a silver-white sunray dial and black leather strap.

For the price, you get Bulova’s standard quartz watch movement, impact and shatter resistance, and the peace of mind you have a great watch.

At $4500, Marc Anthony Series X Limited Edition Watch is the priciest Bulova on its website. With only 531 pieces in the entire collection, this is as close to exclusive as it gets.

The timepiece epitomizes the brand’s legacy and the personal style of the legendary Marc Anthony. The most expensive Bulova watch ever made for public release was the Joseph Bulova First Edition 24-Karat Gold Watch.

When it first dropped, it retailed for $42,000, and there were only 32 ever made. This Swiss watch featured an engraving of Joseph Bulova’s signature, and the year 1875, an ode to his life and legacy.

Is Bulova a luxury brand worth investing in?

Is Bulova a luxury brand with high resale value? No, but that doesn’t make the watches worthless. Most Bulova’s don’t fetch high prices.

Plus, the website has pretty good sales. Don’t be disappointed if your grandfather’s watch doesn’t go for much on Poshmark or Depop.

Hang onto it; maybe your grandkids will have more luck. Vintage watches sell for more, once they’re in good condition and have valuable materials and stones.

Buyers tend to look for more complex watch types like chronographs which have higher value.

Watches That Stand The Test Of Time

Put it this way: If Bulova wanted to charge higher prices, they could. No one can ever take away Bulova’s reputation of superior craftsmanship.

A part of the reason Bulova is so respected is its dedication to durability and accuracy. They’ve won countless awards for their designs and innovation, yet remain fairly affordable.

Initially, the watches were made in Switzerland but once Citizen took over, operations expanded to Japan and New York.

Like Citizen, Bulova makes solid, budget-friendly timepieces.

Material Matters: Is Stainless Steel Luxurious Enough?

Is Bulova a luxury brand if most of its watches are made of stainless steel? Gold or platinum seems to be the most obvious choice, but brands like Rolex and Jaeger-LeCoultre use it too.

High-quality, 316L stainless steel is of course more expensive than everyday stainless steel. ’ ergo the price.

It’s also more durable. Add a few diamonds here, great craftsmanship there, plus top-tier marketing, and voila!

That’s why luxury watches and luxury watch brands cost more.

Style vs Function: Bulova’s choice

Bulova is a designer brand that sticks to what they know. Despite multiple collaborations, Bulova manages to stay true to its roots and remains traditional.

Bulova focuses more on the technical and innovative side, rather than trends. It creates classic, sophisticated timepieces, but nothing too outlandish.

Their most iconic pieces are ingrained in world history, like the Lunar Pilot Chronograph. It was worn on the Apollo 13 mission and was privately owned by Astronaut Dave Scott.

The watch sold for an astronomical $1.62 million in 2016. Bulova Hack Watches were made specially for the US military in the 50s and 60s, and are still pretty popular today.

The Bulova Precisionist was known for its high accuracy and impeccable design. The MIL-SHIPS-W-2181 Submersible was originally developed for the US Navy but was shelved for relaunch years later.

It’s safe to say more modern models like the Marine Star and Oceanographer replaced it as the top diving watches.

Is Bulova a luxury brand that Gives Back?

Bulova’s social responsibility initiatives reflect the passions of Joseph himself. Growing up poor meant he lacked access to basic necessities.

Contributions to the Jewelers for Children Foundation provide healthcare, housing, food, and other necessities for children in need.

Bulova also supports the Veterans Watchmaker Initiatives, a predecessor of the former Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking.

This initiative gives disabled veterans the chance to learn watchmaking skills, tuition-free. Other charitable programs include the Frank Sinatra School of Arts and the We Are Family Foundation which provide youth with opportunities to reach their potential.

Eco-Conscious Timekeeping: Bulova’s Commitment to Environmental Responsibility

Bulova prides itself on expert workmanship and high-quality materials. Thus, you’ll only find conflict-free diamonds in Bulova watches, and standardized parts.

Heavy use of stainless steel watch bands versus gold or silver makes them recyclable, and of course, more affordable.

After losing millions to cleaning up the Sag Harbor, Bulova’s upped their environmental commitment, and are more focused on sustainability.

Now owned by Citizen, some watches feature Eco-Drive technology. This technology converts light energy to the battery’s power cell, so you’ll never have to replace it.

It even charges in dim light and functions in darkness!

Is Bulova a luxury brand? Expect “Ok” Service

Besides a gift-wrapping option, there’s nothing much to buying a Bulova watch. The standard warranty covers factory faults, but don’t look to them for speedy service and maintenance.

You’re not going to get all the bells and whistles at these price points, but you are getting a great product.

According to online customers, Bulova is notoriously bad at online customer service and is pretty stuck in its old ways.

Going to the watch dealers at the mall is an option, just don’t expect the hands-on service of a Rolex or Cartier for repairs.

Is Bulova a luxury brand? No, but they do make high-quality watches. If you value craftsmanship and reliability above exclusivity, then Bulova is a fashion brand for you.

If flashy is your aim, and you’ve got the pockets for it, you can’t go wrong with a Rollie!

Is Bulova a luxury brand? FAQs

Is Bulova a respected brand?

Yes, Bulova is a highly respected brand in the watchmaking industry, known for its blend of quality craftsmanship and affordability. With a rich heritage dating back to 1875, the brand has consistently delivered reliable and stylish timepieces.

What brand is better than Bulova?

Bulova offers solid craftsmanship and value, but it doesn’t quite match the luxury status or engineering prowess of brands like Rolex and Omega. If top-tier luxury is your goal, consider Rolex or Omega.

Are Bulova watches very expensive?

Bulova watches are considered affordable premium timepieces. Prices for Bulova watches range typically starts from $200 for the ‘Classic’ model to $4,500 for the’Marc Anthony’ Series X Limited Edition Watch.

What brands fall under Bulova?

Bulova Watch Company oversees several sub-brands, including Bulova Watches, Bulova Clocks, Bulova Accutron, Caravelle by Bulova, and Wittnauer Swiss, each catering to different market segments.

Tags: luxury watch brand, fake Bulova watch, swiss watches, quartz watches, automatic watches