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Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Edition Watch Hands-On At The Grammy Awards

Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Edition Watch Hands-On At The Grammy Awards Hands-On

Bulova is currently the timepiece sponsor of the Recording Academy’s famed Grammy Awards, as well as the Latin Grammy Awards and the Grammy Museum. “The music industry’s biggest night” includes a stream of charity-related music initiatives, as well as an emphasis on music education and iconic hip-hop, all of which define Bulova’s current mix of music-world partnerships. The Bulova brand has made the strategic decision to invest heavily in the world of music, both its legacy stars and the next generation of music superstars.

Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Edition Watch Hands-On At The Grammy Awards Hands-On

A strength at American-operated Bulova has always been their understanding of America’s large size and difficult-to-reach mass-market consumer base. European luxury watch brands often struggle to identify winning strategies to reach large swathes of American buyers with marketing messages. Bulova — with its history of serving massive markets — has marketing sophistication built into their DNA. (Bulova was the first company to ever have radio and television commercials.) A few years ago, I spent time with Bulova as they partnered with the European football club Manchester United, with a message that reached hundreds of millions of people. In a similarly grand scope, Bulova’s partnership with the Grammy Awards is based on a big idea about reaching passionate people keen on feeling good, accentuating their personal look, and staying hip.

Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Edition Watch Hands-On At The Grammy Awards Hands-On

Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Edition Watch Hands-On At The Grammy Awards Hands-On

In a perfect world, people would grow up with the Bulova name before ever seeing a Bulova product. By associating themselves with the world’s most prestigious recording music talent association, Bulova is not only connecting with tastemakers, but is also reaching people at key moments of success and achievement in their lives. In an era when wrist watches are sold more on sentiments and less on practical necessity, such a strategy is more than sound.

Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Edition Watch Hands-On At The Grammy Awards Hands-On

This particular Bulova watch on my wrist, and featured in most of the images in this article, is the Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Edition watch — one of a few timepieces in the brand’s collection that is subtly co-branded with the Recording Academy logo (thankfully, not on the dial). For the 2019 Grammy Awards, each first time nominee (not just winners) will get a version of this timepiece with a dial made out of Grammium (the unique alloy the Grammy Awards are produced from). Making sure the last, current, and next generation of recording artists know about Bulova is the brand’s main objective here. And anyone else who finds the partnership interesting can benefit by being able to purchase one of the various special edition Grammy Awards watches produced by the brand.

Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Edition Watch Hands-On At The Grammy Awards Hands-On

My relationship with this current version of the Bulova Grammy watch actually goes back to the Bulova Percheron watch model this particular version of the Precisionist is based on. Grammy Award participants might find it interesting that this distinctive case was first known as the Percheron and debuted in a more complicated form as the world’s most expensive Bulova timepiece. I debuted the Bulova Accu-Swiss Percheron here back in 2014, the first watch case in forged 24k gold at a price of $42,000 (with one of the most interesting watch bracelets I’d ever seen).

Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Edition Watch Hands-On At The Grammy Awards Hands-On

Later rebranding saw the Percheron case return with a high 262 kHz-frequency Bulova Precisionist movement, currently available in three sizes. The pictured ref. 98B319 model is 41mm-wide (12.4mm-thick), while Bulova also produces a 38mm-wide (intended for women) as well as a 44mm-wide (original size) version of this case. Stately and thick on the wrist, the case has personality and poise, even though its design isn’t for everyone. Most important is that when you see this aggressive, chunky-edged case, you don’t mistake it for anything else on the wrist.

Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Edition Watch Hands-On At The Grammy Awards Hands-On

When Bulova redesigned the Percheron as the Grammy Awards watch, it made a slew of changes to the dial, with the notion of adding music-themed elements. The hands are said to be inspired by drumsticks, while the hex pattern in the inner dial invokes the mesh of speakers and microphones. New for 2019 is the silicone strap, which has metal rivets said to be guitar stem-inspired (even though we’ve seen strap design elements such as this on other timepiece products).

Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Edition Watch Hands-On At The Grammy Awards Hands-On

Under a sapphire crystal, the black dial has gold-toned hands and matching hour markers, and the watch contains Bulova’s proprietary Precisionist movement. The movement requires a separate discussion, but suffice it to say for now that there are three primary benefits. First, it is a quartz movement but has a mechanical watch-style sweeping seconds hand. Second, it operates much “faster” that traditional quartz movements at the 262 kHz rate — which translates into extremely good accuracy of within about ten seconds per year (compared to about ten seconds per month with traditional quartz movements). Finally, despite the higher power consumption, the Precisionist movement has a battery life of two years.

Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Edition Watch Hands-On At The Grammy Awards Hands-On

Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Edition Watch Hands-On At The Grammy Awards Hands-On

In addition to the caseback, the only place on the watch with the Recording Academy’s Victrola-style logo is the metal ends that cap the straps. This steel strap-end is a neat design element that does, indeed, up the feeling of value in the watch, and the subtle etching of the Grammy award logo is well done. That said, the strap, itself, is silicone and not rubber, as I’d expect at this price. It has solid-feeling deployant clasps, but the overall strap closing system feels bulkier than necessary for the design. I think Bulova should have gone with a folder instead of a deployant, in which the excess strap is hidden on the inside of the wrist. That would have made for a more elegant overall wearing experience.

Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Edition Watch Hands-On At The Grammy Awards Hands-On

Spending time with Bulova at the Grammy Awards and adjacent activities, it was telling to see music industry personalities wearing this and other versions of the Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Awards Edition watch. In musical art, as is the case in other performance art, looking and sounding different from others are major plusses, from a fashion and artistic perspective. For that reason, I think the interesting look of the former Percheron case is a good fit for the Grammy Awards and music theme. Let me remind you that this is the Grammy Awards watch model du jour and that, in a few years, Bulova will likely introduce another model to serve as the base of the brand’s impressive Grammy Awards and Recording Academy relationship.

Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Edition Watch Hands-On At The Grammy Awards Hands-On

Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Edition Watch Hands-On At The Grammy Awards Hands-On

Bulova (like most watch brands) is no longer in the business of producing tool watches for people who strictly need to tell the time. Bulova’s efforts are in combining its adeptness and history (of firsts) of timepiece-making with modern themes in order to make relevant and emotional products for consumers. That’s a lot more like making jewelry than making a utility item — but in reality, Bulova needs to create products that are good at both. Merely having a relationship with the Grammy Awards would not be enough without a steady stream of interesting and unique products that celebrate that relationship. Bulova seems to inherently understand that, which makes me feel very confident that the world of music recording and Bulova will continue to get along nicely.

Retail price for the Bulova Precisionist Special Grammy Edition reference 98B319 watch is $850 USD. Learn more or order at Bulova here.

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Comments

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  • Raymond Wilkie

    Terrible everything.

    • IanE

      Yep, the case even makes the Code 11.59 case look good!

    • Ayreonaut

      Yes, but the glans at the end of each hand is the worst.

  • What a G-Shock case could look like if it ever got out of puberty (that’s praise from me). Certainly a Percheron style case – so yes it is distinctive. Maybe not a style for everyone and every watch, but it does say Bulova to me (since I’ve see the forged gold Percheron at BaselWorld a while back).

    If you have to do quartz, a high precision movement with a sweeping second hand is the way to go.

    The Grammy elements are integrated with a degree of taste. I don’t give a hoot about award shows (or awards) but if this resonates with a market segment, then Bulova is right to target them with this design.

  • Agnar Sidhu

    The dial is quite nice, very simple and restraind from the other models they have in this series.

    The case is not for me though…

  • ATOM

    The designers do not know what it is to have tripophobia

  • SuperStrapper

    All those music design influences mentioned and nothing about the obvious nod to a vinyl record in that snailed track around the dial?

    • DanW94

      The 38mm plays 45’s, the 41mm plays 33’s and the 44mm plays 78’s 🙂

      • Independent_George

        Does that mean the 38mm runs at a 28K beats, the 41mm runs at a slow 18K beat, but the 44mm is a hi-beat 36K?

        • DanW94

          Exactly!

      • SuperStrapper

        Wow you have earned every bit of this and I won’t have you refusing it:

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cb2e8de2a6376c3152d8ed2626c52fa991ba84216923075836e7cb64d75a8a03.jpg

        • DanW94

          Thanks! I’ll definitely be cashing in on this!! DOH! Just noticed it expired a few years back!

          • Swiss_Cheese

            Also, if it’s only redeemable in Czechoslovakia, that might be a bit hard seeing as that it doesn’t exist anymore.

        • Shoot – it’s already expired (nearly 400 years ago) and on an unusual day of the week 😉
          Doy ou have to use an Apple Lisa computer with your Internet?

    • Independent_George

      Good eye!

      • SuperStrapper

        You’re Australian?

  • commentator bob

    I actually think the design of this case is interesting, with screws that go from the bezel to the caseback, like an AP Royal Oak, but on outside tabs (it would be even better if the mid-case were round and the screw studs exposed). Interestingly Bulova also made a very close knock-off of the Royal Oak in the 1970s.

    That said, $850 for this quartz watch is not serious. If one searches eBay or Amazon for Bulova Percheron one can find the same case, with an automatic movement, for ~$300.

    If one is going to get a quartz watch instead of an automatic watch the best “Grammy” option by far is the Apple Watch, which can actually play Grammy winning songs.

    • Independent_George

      Considering competing HAQs: the GS goes for $2K and up, the Longines VHP goes for $1k and up, and that the Citizen Chronomasters are not available in North America. The price is reasonable.

  • Dénes Albert

    Maybe if I get one with my first Grammy Award I’ll wear it – but I don’t see any other scenario in which I would end up owning one of these.

  • Independent_George

    I do not dislike this. The dial is cool. You would think from reading the press materials alone, the dial would be a monstrosity, but it works. The handset is clever. I don’t think the case is that bad and I think it all pulls together in the end, especially with the silicone strap combo.

    Looks kinda thick for a quartz, even an HAQ. Battery life is terrible. Seiko and Longines HAQs last five years, and Citizen’s HAQs are solar.

    Ariel, I am sorry you had to sit through that. Then deal with traffic trying to leave.

    • cluedog12

      More battery and strap changes = more excuses to stop by the local fine watchery.

      • Independent_George

        True dat.

    • SuperStrapper

      It’s not ‘proper’ HAQ (they are not thermally compensated, etc). It just performs way above its weight class. A Brietling superquartz can be had for about $2k but some models are over $7k (and G. Kearns is phasing them out so act now!). A CTZ chronomaster is like $2400 (Bulova is a CTZ company). 9F seikos start at about $2200. A VHP is $1000 or more.
      None of them look as good in action to a Precisionist movement. The battery drain is not in the accuracy, but in giving that lovely sweep action. Considering you can bring a precisionist home for like $300, doing a $30 battery change every 3 years instead of a much more expensive one every 5 years really shouldn’t interfere.

      • Independent_George

        Ahh, didn’t know the Bulova ain’t thermocompensated, which apparently is a big thing in the HAQ world.

        Once again I have learned something.

      • egznyc

        Has there been any published data on how different movements – thermocompensated vs. otherwise – perform as the temperature is dropped or raised? Presumably in extreme temperatures this feature makes a difference – but I have no idea how significant it is.

        • SuperStrapper

          To be honest, I’m not sure. But there must be. Breitling specifically at least used to make a pretty big deal about their superquartz, which is fully compensated.
          As I see it, a full “HAQ” watch with all those bells and whistles is the same as having a watch with a tourbillon. It’s more about the bragging rights than the ability.

  • Larry Holmack

    The gold and black version is nice enough…but the case is just a little too funky for me.

  • cluedog12

    Not my cup of tea and I doubt it is Ariel’s cup of tea, but Bulova has definitely hit gold with the precisionist quartz movements.

    It is only a good thing when mainstream affordable brands like Bulova take risks and explore new designs. Not too much risk though, my regressive brain can’t handle another Seiko Spring Drive Galante.

  • James Malenfant

    I have 2 Precisionist watches, and love them. I worked in a pawn shop in college, and the Bulova watches stood out from the rest. I am eyeballing the 98b313, and the 98b12 for my Christmas gift. No other watch company has the history, or cool factors , than Bulova. I want to say I love my spaceview best, but I love all my children. Lol.

  • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

    I like Bulova, but would never consider this.
    Next.

  • DanW94

    So the first time nominees received this watch compliments of Bulova? It’s nice and all but you got to ask yourself if having to sit through a Post Malone or Cardi B performance is worth that? Maybe for a Lange but that’s still debatable.

    • egznyc

      For a Lange I could sit through a root canal (and for a Zeitwerk I’d also stand for a DRE).

  • Sheez Gagoo

    Even if I would try, I couldn’t make this uglier. My glasses cracked and my eyes vomited. Yes, they did!

  • IanE

    Well, it’s horse for courses, but for me the 11.59 case looks like it’s been designed by a committee and the hollow lugs only fixed at one end look ugly as sin.

  • Ulysses31

    It’s just an ugly watch. There are far more attractive Precisionist-based watches out there. Any watch that has these elements jutting out from the bezel look crude and unsophisticated to me.