June 14, 2017
by Ariel Adams
For 2017, Bulova is slightly updating and adding to its very desirable Moon Watch Chronograph watch collection with the Bulova Moon Watch Chronograph 98A186. The price is right and it looks pretty great. The story of this collection goes back to the 1960s when Bulova was competing with Omega to be the official choice of watch for the NASA Apollo astronaut missions. Omega won that battle, but astronaut Dave Scott still wore a Bulova chronograph (that looked extremely similar to an Omega Speedmaster) to the moon. That particular watch sold at auction a few years ago for well over a million dollars.
In celebration of this fact, Bulova produced a sort of modern replica of the Dave Scott moon watch with the Bulova Special Edition Moon Watch Chronograph (aBlogtoWatch review here). You can read more about the history of this collection, as well as that particular watch there. For 2017, a new member of the Bulova Moon Watch Chronograph family is here, and it is the Bulova Moon Watch Chronograph 98A186.
The non-black-coated versions of the Bulova Moon Watch were offered in a technical-looking satin-finished steel case. The Chronograph 98A186 is IP (ion-plated) black steel, with a meaner, darker look and similar finishing. The black color compliments the look of the dial and overall design very well. It also helps visually reduce the mass of the 45mm wide case.
One interesting aesthetic update is the use of the more vintage-style Bulova logo on the dial. This replaces the contemporary Bulova logo, and I think it was a good move since it compliments the more serious look of the watch and helps assert the vintage-vibe of this tool watch. I still feel that for the money, this is one of the best looking (most stylish) and functional tool watches around in this price category. The combination of brand history, interesting story of the model, and overall functionality + wearing comfort make this (in my opinion) an especially desirable product.
Inside the Bulova Moon Watch Chronograph 98A186 is a Bulova high precision 262Hz quartz chronograph movement. Perhaps the final design change you will see on the dial is the removal of the date window. Bulova said that fans of the collection asked for this, and the resulting clean looking symmetrical dial is lovely and traditional in its appeal. I think fans of the collection will truly appreciate that Bulova spent the time and effort to offer more than just a black version of the watch on a leather strap, but also focused on these minor, yet impactful dial details.
The Bulova Moon Watch Chronograph 98A186 case is water resistant to 50m and has a sapphire crystal over the dial. I continue to like the very large style of chronograph pushers. The movement name continues to change at Bulova, but as you can see they are proud of the 262Hz operational frequency of the movement. This was once called Precisionist, and later UHF. The idea is that it is more accurate than standard quartz movements. Longines came out with their own high-end quartz movement this year with the VHP collection.
In addition to the dial design updates and the black-colored steel case, the Bulova Moon Watch Chronograph now comes on a slick-looking black leather NATO-style strap. This is probably the most comfortable strap option for the Moon Watch Chronograph to date, and it has a quality feel to it and a high-end look. I’m not always a fan of NATO-style straps, but leather ones that aren’t too long (meaning there isn’t extra strap to tuck) are always appreciated for their design and wearing comfort.
Bulova now refers to the Moon Watch Chronograph as a watch from their “Archive Series.” They say it is the second one, which is a bit misleading as there have many watches which are based on historic models. I do however think this means we are only seeing the beginning of Bulova looking into their past and building new models for the present. The reference 98A186 Bulova Moon Watch Chronograph should be available soon with a retail price of $595. bulova.com