Bulova Curv Chronograph *REVIEW*
Although it is nowadays considered as a Japanese brand (acquired by Citizen Group in 2007), for decades Bulova has been regarded as the pride of the American nation due to a variety of innovations along its history. True, they cannot boast with ultra complications like some Swiss and German manufactures, but when it comes to quartz watches, Bulova has left a significant mark.
You see, before the start of the quartz crisis that almost destroyed the watch industry, when all brands were fighting for their share of the market, Bulova introduced its revolutionary Tuning fork movement in its Accutron line. The movement, which used a tuning fork at 360 Hz as the frequency oscillator via an integrated electronic circuitry was a revolutionary technology at the time. Not only it was far more accurate than mechanical watches (approximately +/- 2 seconds per day), but it pawed the way to the future development of quartz oscillators movements.
The same continues today. The fact is that GPS synchronized watches and atomic towers are already invented, providing us with virtually perfect time. But generally speaking, we do not really need such precision, and the technology has not yet advanced enough to offer ultra-thin watches with these possibilities.
However, Bulova now has something very similar technologically and very attractive at the same time. At Baselworld 2016, the largest exhibition of watches, Bulova introduced new Curv chronograph collection. The literal translation of Curv means 'curved' and I believe that you can already guess what is this about. Bulova introduced the ultra-modern, ultra-thin, high tech curved chronograph that not only follows the contour of the curved case, sapphire crystal and caseback, but also has the world’s first curved quartz movement.
The movement has evolved from Precisionist caliber which Bulova introduced in 2010. While ordinary quartz movements operate with quartz oscillator of 32 kHz, Bulova’s movement is oscillating at 262 kHz. The difference is drastic because the precision has increased from standard +/- 15 seconds per month to only a few seconds per year!
Of course, if you are already making the world’s first curved quartz chronograph movement, it would great to see it. Therefore Curv models are equipped with the exhibition sapphire crystal caseback that shows movement’s internal organs with copper coils and integrated circuit. I agree, this is not the level of ultra-luxury brands from the Swiss cantons, but still an interesting detail that is almost never seen on quartz watches.
The front of the watch is skeletonised to some extent, whether it is the case or the dial. Whether the reason was reducing weight or simply a designer vision, the watch came out superb. Although this is not a small watch (over 45mm), it is the evidence of how declared dimensions sometimes mean absolutely nothing. Bulova has adjusted every element to the contour of your wrists, starting with the case, curved backcase and even lugs for the rubber strap. Therefore, with lug-to-lug dimensions of just 45mm and only 1cm thick titanium case that has almost no weight, you get a wristwatch that is as comfortable as a rubber band. To be completely honest, I have not been wearing such big and comfortable wristwatch for a long time, and believe me, the combination of black PVD coating and bronze dial elements draw a lot of attention.
The dial is a story in itself, and is likely to raise a beauty debate. In accordance with today's trends, it is of a modern, slightly industrial design since a good portion of the dial is missing to partially present a movement below it. Hour markers are embossed and bronze colored, and an old Bulova logo that was used in the Accutron 60s models is a nice detail.
Already mentioned curved case stands out from all traditional designs you could have seen so far. Moreover, I believe that a mind of an architect rather than a designer was behind this project. Just look at those lugs and sharp chronograph pushers. The contour of the case continues along the lugs to a rubber strap, which is an integral part of the watch. Yes, I know, you can forget about any kind of aftermarket rubber or leather straps, but frankly, there is no need. Rubber strap with a wavy horizontal pattern is superb, and has a small amount of silicon to make it extra flexible which makes practically ultra lightweight watch even more comfortable. Did I mention how comfortable this watch actually was? Because while writing this review, I just realized that I was wearing it and I actually forgot it had been there all the time.
Sapphire curved crystal looks very attractive (and is obviously very expensive to do) because it is not an integral part of the case but raised a few millimetres, same as on latest smart phones with apple logo.
On the other hand, curved crystal is a nightmare for any photographer because whatever angle you choose, there will always be some kind of reflection you cannot eliminate.
In fact, Bulova Curv is a very interesting concept based on an unprecedented design (at least in this price range) which is meant as a watch for a person who literally runs away from any standard, conservative forms. It will be interesting to see the direction this collection will evolve, because Bulova certainly would not stop only at this excellent example.