Bulova isn’t a stranger to staying competitive in the modern watch market. With a history that dates back to 1875, before they designed watches exclusively, Bulova was able to stay on top of trends and carve out a name for itself. In the 1920s the Bulova Watch Co. took off with the first radio ad in history, selling their mass-produced Swiss-built watches to customers all over the globe. It was their popularity that lead to an overseas move to America, where Bulova’s precision research and development created some of the most accurate watches of the 20th century. One of the most famous styles was the tuning-fork resonating Accutron from the 1960s and 70s. Accutron’s electronic accuracy is surpassed by Bulova’s most recent foray into HAQ (High Accuracy Quartz), the Precisionist.
In today’s terms—the brand itself has come under the umbrella of the Citizen watch group. With the Japanese owning trends in high-accuracy quartz watchmaking ever since the 1970s, it’s no surprise that under Citizen’s guidance the Bulova brand has achieved a solid HAQ. Boasting a relative loss or gain of only 10 seconds per year—it’s a quartz achievement all on its own. What’s more, the Bulova Precisionist is one of the most affordable HAQ watches on the market. Starting at around just $200US (on Nordstrom rack) anyone can pick up a Precisionist at an incredibly affordable price. If you’re a fan of accurate chronograph timekeeping, then it’s worth considering a Precisionist Chrono. They will carry a higher price-tag but are one of timekeeping’s most accurate instruments in the art.
Bulova built a pretty clever movement into their Precisionist. It is currently the most accurate sweeping hand wristwatch. This is because it incorporates a three-pronged tuning fork quartz crystal, which gives it a solid torsional resonation. This aspect of the design adds a higher oscillation (or vibration) frequency regarding the quartz crystal. Operating with more rapid electric feedback between the circuitry and the quartz crystal gives any Precisionist an edge above a traditional two-prongue-cut quartz movement. Where the average quartz watch loses or gains about 15 seconds a month, Bulova’s Precisionists bests that time by 5 seconds each year—and has comparable prices to its other mid-range quartz competitors.
Here at TimesTicking the majority of these watches we see have a carbon fiber dial, equipped with a 316L Stainless Steel (SS) case and band. However, there are non-stainless band options—including “sport” designed straps and leather straps alongside the 316L SS case features. A few Precisionists models are equipped with an arched crystal that aligns with the construction of the case. If the magnifying aspect of these crystals doesn’t suit tastes, or some models are too sporty, then there are dressier options. Dressier so much so that you can purchase certain models with diamonds in them—starting around $1500US.
Precisionists do have a drawback for some with smaller wrists. Their cases take up some space, coming in between 43-47mm in case diameter. Their cases also range from about 10mm-17mm in thickness. Despite these larger sizes they remain highly popular. Just be sure to have your watch sized well to comfort on your wrist by a quality watchmaker.
Balancing Style and Accuracy
Despite the larger case size, the aesthetic and technological quality of the Bulova Precisionist is incredibly sound. What’s more, they’re great for dipping toes into HAQ without spending thousands of dollars. Their design is a refreshing nod to past precision Bulova movements—mimicking Accutrons with a continued sweeping of the second hand. Currently, Bulova has about 15 models available from their official catalog. Older models of the watches can be found through retailers at reduced cost. So if you’re a collector of precision movements and require one on a budget—or want a piece that will stand out and keep you on-time in the best way possible—there’s a Bulova Precisionist out there for you.
Times Ticking has been in operation for more than 30 years, since 1982. We have performed watch repair for customers both locally and internationally. If it Ticks! We KNOW it! Our team of watch repair technicians have a combined experience in watchmaking of over 120 years.