Bulova Ups Their Watch Game In Los Angeles

Bulova Ups Their Watch Game In Los Angeles

Bulova Ups Their Watch Game In Los Angeles Shows & Events

I continue to feel that, for the money, one of the coolest watches around is a piece in the Bulova Accutron II collection. A mixture of classic good looks with the Accutron II movement (essentially, the Bulova Precisionist with its higher-than-standard accuracy for a quartz watch, with a sweeping seconds) is a fantastic way to spend just a few hundred bucks on a timepiece. The Accutron II, however, wasn't what Bulova was celebrating the other night at the Feldmar Watch Company store here in Los Angeles.

They were presenting the commercial version of what will be among the most exclusive watches in the world from one of the biggest brands – the Bulova Accu-Swiss Percheron 24k gold watch that we first debuted back at Baselworld 2014. It is the first watch in the world that has a solid 24k gold case. A bit odd at first, I have to say that the insane concept behind the 24k gold watch has grown on me, assuming I had a spare $42,000 to spend.

Bulova Ups Their Watch Game In Los Angeles Shows & Events

Bulova Ups Their Watch Game In Los Angeles Shows & Events

The Bulova Percheron 24k Gold watch is the pinnacle of the new Percheron collection which is also the base of the Treble collection which are the official Machester United timepieces. Again, I first saw these watches at Baselworld 2014, and it was only the other night that saw the final retail models. The all CNC-machine finishing is really impressive, and I have to say that the refinements on the final retail models make them really cool. There are few other watches out there that combine legibility, comfort, and a sense of avant-garde style like the Percheron. I will admit that when I first put one on, I didn't know what to make of it, but enough time around them has made me feel that, given their price level, the concept is hard to beat.

Then again, you can spend between about $1,250 - $42,000 for one, so the price range is large (but most are in the $1,250 to roughly $2,500 range). Next year, Bulova is even going to expand the Percheron collection with a slightly larger size and additional complication. If you are looking for a modern timepiece with some character and get bored of traditional designs, then I recommend taking a look at one. They all have Swiss automatic mechanical movements (Sellita SW200s I believe).

Bulova Ups Their Watch Game In Los Angeles Shows & Events

Bulova Ups Their Watch Game In Los Angeles Shows & Events

Bulova is currently owned by Citizen and began their collaboration with the Japanese back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. At that time, Bulova was at the end of its watch industry dominance, thanks to the quartz crisis. Until then, Bulova was not only the timepiece owned by so many American soldiers, but also considered to be like the Cadillac of American timepieces. The Bulova of today is leveraging their wide distribution and production strength with their history to re-frame the personality of the brand. This wouldn't be possible without the determination of their President Greg Thumm (who I interviewed in a video series here).

Let me compare for a moment Bulova and Hamilton. These are two historically American brands that are no longer owned by Americans. Hamilton is owned by the Swatch Group and is entirely run out of Switzerland, with no manufacturing in the US, even though they leverage a lot of the brand's American history. Bulova is owned by the Japanese and has production in both Switzerland and the Far East. However, unlike a brand such as Hamilton, Bulova is still run from the US, and major decisions occur in the US. In Q2 of 2015, Bulova will be moving its headquarters to the Empire States Building in Manhattan. The Bulova product of today reflects both their history and brand strengths. For the money, you get an awful lot of value and I like working with them because for the mainstream consumer, there is a lot to like.

Bulova Ups Their Watch Game In Los Angeles Shows & Events

Bulova Ups Their Watch Game In Los Angeles Shows & Events

Bulova Ups Their Watch Game In Los Angeles Shows & Events

While I like to cover some of the world's most exclusive and interesting timepieces, it would be unconscionable in my opinion to only cover those watches, as only a small percentage of watch lovers can afford them or have access to them. Brands like Bulova are what help keep cool watches on the wrists of most people who like to own a decent watch and who like to explore the most interesting side of horology. We all get off reading about the newest wild watch from Switzerland, but we also need to have quality timepieces that will satisfy our appetites and not require us to mortgage our homes in order to buy them.

On Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, Feldmar Watch Company is a historic watch shopping landmark with a recently remodeled store and is among the top watch retailers in Los Angeles, next to Westime. Historically, they were not only Bulova dealers, but also an authorized Bulova an Accutron service center. Even one of Feldmar's in-house watchmakers used to work for Bulova in the late 1970s. So for Feldmar to host our event with Bulova made a lot of sense – and of course, they sell Bulova watches today along with many other brands.

Bulova Ups Their Watch Game In Los Angeles Shows & Events

Bulova Ups Their Watch Game In Los Angeles Shows & Events

Bulova Ups Their Watch Game In Los Angeles Shows & Events

I can't necessarily explain the allure of the Bulova Percheron 24k Gold watch. It was Greg's desire to have a gold watch that wasn't just 18k gold, but almost 100% pure 24k gold. You don't have 24k watch cases in most instances because they are just too soft. That means the gold is mixed with metals such as brass for alloys that dilute the gold content, but also make them less soft. Having said that, 18k gold is still not very hard compared to steel, although it is heavier.

24k gold works for this exclusive Percheron model because of a unique forging process that, simply put, makes it hard enough to be produced as a watch case without concerns about metal softness. It is weighty like gold and there is a pure decadence to the 24k nature of the case that makes it all that much more interesting than 18k gold cases. Let's just say that it makes for a good conversation piece, as well as an ultimate status item for gold-lovers. And those people certainly exist. For some people, of course, it is going to be totally silly, since they aren't into gold in the first place.

Bulova Ups Their Watch Game In Los Angeles Shows & Events

Bulova Ups Their Watch Game In Los Angeles Shows & Events

The Bulova brand of today is in flux, as the brand continues to promote high value proposition, mainstream watches, with a distinct interest in producing more interesting enthusiast watches that pass the muster of President Greg Thumm, who is one hell of a discerning watch lover. With a background in watchmaking as well as working at Fossil, he has a rather rare mixture of business sense and engineering sensibility. Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done, as it is much easier to form perceptions around a new brand, versus reform people's modern perceptions of an existing brand with so much history.

Thumm isn't a believer in smartwatches, at least, not for now. While I think he is technically open-minded about the potential of smartwatches, he doesn't see them as offering enough utility or fashionability to most mainstream consumers, as well as women. Females are a huge watch buying demographic, and he is certainly correct that any product out there must satisfy not only male tastes, but also female ones. If there is anything the watch industry is good at, it is conservative thinking, and in some regard, that mindset might be correct as to the future of smartwatches – at least for the next few years.

Bulova Ups Their Watch Game In Los Angeles Shows & Events

Bulova Ups Their Watch Game In Los Angeles Shows & Events

It was a great evening with Bulova, and I want to thank everyone who joined us there for the food, drinks, and hospitality of both Bulova and our host, Feldmar Watch company. See you all next time at our next watch event. bulova.com

Photography by Den Bradshaw

  • Ah, the Accu-Gold. Lest anyone think it looks like an AP Royal Oak, it does not on the wrist. Rather modern looking with its own look. Like Ariel, I was a bit confused by it at BaselWorld but as a flagship watch the 24K piece makes sense for Bulova and establishes a design look for other pieces. Greg’s energy, openness and watchmaking background make him a great guy to be running Bulova (and they don’t seem to be much constrained by their Japanese overlords). Looks like it was a fun event.

  • SantiagoT

    I’m sorry to say the Percheron looks like a Romain Jerome prototype gone wrong.

  • DG Cayse

    Good to see Bulova taking positive steps in their return to the market.
    First the bling to establish their position. Then the advert campaign. Then the tech aspects.
    (notice I’m leaving out the obligatory/ridiculous ‘brand ambassador’ positions)
    Baby-steps.

  • thefinalmonster

    What was in the swag bags??!

  • 5803822

    QUARTZ – why bother ?

  • nateb123

    Know what would help Bulova do well in the market again?  Not making ugly watches.  Fire the designers and they could turn themselves around quickly.

  • joshgraves

    Cheers to Bulova for trying to up their game.  I think they need to aggressively up the quality on their existing stock first.  Look at a Bulova at any standard retailer and you will see a mediocre watch on display.  Higher end Acutrons a few and far between, instead you’ll find mineral crystal quartz pieces.  Even their late model automatics use mineral crystal.   Step up the material quality and consumers will reward you for it.

  • ryan_o

    Poor brand – poor product – mixed and confused brand strategy – apart from this very likeable!

  • I’m a Bulova fan, and while the Percheron itself is not to my taste, many of the latest releases are. And i know I have said this several times, but Precisionist-type movements are probably the coolest watch technology available to the common man today, and i am including ‘smart’ watches in that statement.

  • AtotheG

    thefinalmonster

    A pretty cool power stick batter charger thingy, fancy chocolate covered raisins, and an old Bulova ad poster reprinted on fabric.

  • bonham007

    In my view, it’s terrific that  Citizen has chosen to focus on enhancing and refining the Bulova heritage, rather than jettisoning the brand like a two-stage rocket. They could have chosen to make Bulova the horological equivalent of Oldsmobile or Pontiac.

  • Evitzee

    Bulova (and Hamilton) are just shell names from the past.  They both had great histories as American designed and made watches….real icons of what America could do in this arena.  Those companies went away a long time ago due to market changes and gross mismanagement.  They are just names for Citizen and Swatch…..they really don’t have any soul to their former companies.  If you like the designs on their own that is fine, but I just can’t get juiced up over current designs.

  • shinytoys

    I have some of the original Acutrons, and I like the direction the company has been heading for the last year. The Bulova name is alive and well., the newest product is sharp and well designed. VIVA BULOVA !!!!!!

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