Bulova Sea King *REVIEW*
While the watch-making world is preoccupied with technological developments and innovations that only 1% of the population could afford, it is easy to loose track of the far more acceptable manufactures. Bulova has always been known as one great bang-for-buck brand, and this year we sensed considerable activity in their waters.
This March at Baselworld - the world's most important event for watch and jewellery industry, Bulova has celebrated 140 years of existence - a few brands can boast with such number, and also presented a number of novelties.
Although Bulova has been known for years as a more classical brand, from April this year, the focus fell on more specific and innovative models.
Bulova presented re-issue successor of SpaceView models from 60' and 70', Military model modelled after military armed forces' watches and their biggest hit was the new Sea King diving watches collection.
Bulova will continue to equip the majority of its watches with their UHF (Ultra High Frequency) quartz movements. Although I personally am not a fan of quartz movements, UHF technology will be very interesting for the regular watch enthusiast because with three prong quartz oscillators which vibrate at 262 kHz, when it comes to accuracy, UHF movement would satisfy even the most demanding ones.
All models of diving Sea King collection will be equipped with new UHF movements, that is, all models except the most advanced and limited 50mm titanium giant who had just arrived for a review. Although the name was taken from a very popular vintage model, Bulova has not decided to produce yet another similar re-issue model. Instead, they turned to a fundamentally new look.
The design is modern in horologic terms. Very clear and bold text on the dial and on the bezel make it clear that this watch will certainly be a topic of conversation most of the time. However, the detail that draws attention is located on the left side of the case. It is a special bezel locking system, which prevents accidental turn of the bezel during diving, thus shortening the time interval you are following.
When pressing both the top and bottom pushers on the locking mechanism protruding from the left side of the case, the titanium bar shoots out from the initial position, unlocking the bezel and allowing anti-clockwise rotation. To re-lock the bezel, just push the bar in. This watch feels like a less expensive alternative to the Omega Ploprof watch. And as a Ploprof's (no, we're not talking about vintage legend but about the new model) main purpose is to be cool and fun, Bulova Sea King has succeeded. However, please do not think it is all joke and fun, because with it you can dive up to a kilometre deep! This is a professional diving instrument!
Inside, things are much more simple than on the outside. Forget that you will encounter some ultra complicated automatic movement on such a diver.
The main purpose of these watches is that they are as reliable as possible and inexpensive for maintenance. However, do not mistake the term 'inexpensive to maintain ' with 'cheap', because this phrase cannot be used with any of Japanese Miyota movements.
Such a movement could be compared with a VW Golf 2.0 diesel engine. So forget about the speed records on the Grobnik track or some exclusivity in number of cylinders and horse powers, but low power consumption and good performance should be enough to put the occasional smile on your face.
True, it lacks 'finesse' when winding or adjusting time as a typical 'Swiss watch', but when it comes to reliability, it is the best. And according to Bulova, Miyota 8215 movement is further modified in the automatic winding system and anti-shock properties which is another plus.
"The devil is in the details" saying definitely applies to Bulova Sea King, because almost every bit of it screams it is a serious diver. The case also has an integrated HEV (Helium Escape Valve) that could be crucial if you are into saturation diving. Very simple dial with bright orange hands is of excellent readability and a very good illumination coating is visible even in a slightly darkened room. 26 mm rubber strap is of sufficient length even for the most extreme wrists, but Bulova is equipped with a strap extension so you could use it with a dry diving-suit.
Small details like titanium clips and keepers are not a novelty, but they nicely complement the overall impression. Considering its amazing size, Bulova Sea King is surprisingly comfortable on the wrist. All this is possible thanks to a titanium construction and low weight as well as a rubber strap which is thick enough to secure the watch on the wrist.
However, as far as it is light, its dimensions are difficult to hide, so please forget about wearing this watch with a shirt or narrow sleeved jacket. Sea King looks like a watch ready for underwater action in any second and this is its special charm. Watches as this are fun, interesting and it is a pleasure to know that you have something you can dive 1,000 meters deep, even though no human being can survive at this depth.