Bulova started at a time when America was in the middle of great advancements and innovations in industries and lifestyle in general. 1875 was a year when industries are developing and have little to work with. Every single new discovery was an impressive accomplishment. For Joseph Bulova, it was perfection, efficiency, precision, and quality craftsmanship that cleared a career path in the watchmaking craft and industry.
From jewelries to timepieces
He opened shop that year in Maiden Lane in downtown New York, which was initially a jewelry store. In 1911, massive sell-outs of boudoir and table clocks and fine pocket watches led him to focus on manufacturing and selling timepieces. Just a year after, the brand’s first plant was established in the watchmaking cradle of Geneva in Switzerland where production and assembly of watch parts were done.
During World War I, wristwatches won over pocket watches and the like for their convenience and effectivity. This drove Bulova to manufacture those kinds of watches from Joseph Bulova’s initial products. It was around the same time that a full line of men’s watches was released and they were no ordinary watches too, as they were jeweled, which was already indulgent for a necessary timepiece at the time.
By the time of the second World War, Bulova had a much bigger impact. Arde Bulova, Joseph’s son who took over after his death in 1935, partnered with the US government to create specialized watches for the military along with aircraft instruments to aid America’s war efforts. Following the same pattern with Bulova’s men’s watches, it was also during this time that their women’s watches were launched but with diamonds instead of hard stone jewels.
In 1945, they opened the Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking to help war veterans get reacquainted with civilian life.
Bulova’s World: first achievements
Bulova changed its name to Bulova Watch Company, Inc. in 1923. This was also the year that they set a standardized system for all their watch parts, making repairs and servicing of their own pieces easy and convenient by enabling interchangeability no matter the model as long as it’s one of Bulova’s. It’s this standardized quality that made Bulova one of the first watchmaking brands to carry out mass production and showed the progressiveness of the brand.
In 1926, Bulova was the first to advertise on radio with a spot commercial. This was followed by the first ever television commercial in 1941.
Breaking through industries with key timepieces
Other world-first achievements by the brand were very remarkable not only in the watchmaking industry but also in the fields of technology, science, and sports.
The first of these collaborations would be the Lone Eagle watches, which were made in 1927, in celebration of the transatlantic solo-flight from New York to Paris of Charles Lindbergh, aviator and military officer. The watches sold out just three days after its release, and 5,000 of them were shipped out together with photos of Lindbergh.
The next of the most notable innovations by the brand would be the Accutron, which started development in 1952. It made a breakthrough in timekeeping technology as it was the first fully electronic watch and the first to have the time capabilities it has with no escapement or spring, just an electronically-operated tuning fork.
In 1960, Bulova partners with NASA and incorporates the Accutron with their computers for the space program. During the first moonwalk, it was placed in the moon’s Sea of Tranquility for conveyance of vital data throughout the years.
In 1961, it became a common presidential gift as President Lyndon B. Johnson declared it as the White House’s official “Gift of State” at the time. Years later, it would become the only clock that would be used on the Air Force One. In 1962, it was certified to be used by railroad personnel.
Other major innovations would be the Bulova Satellite Clock and the Phototimer. The first is a public clock placed on top of the Torre Latinoamericana, the tallest skyscraper in Mexico, which shows the time indicated by orbiting satellites. It was also inaugurated by President Gustavo Ordaz. The Phototimer, on the other hand, a camera that uses a precision electronic timing instrument, made waves for the worlds of photography and technology.
For the mid-priced timepieces that Bulova has on offer at present, it’s not to be expected that it has had such a rich 161-year history behind it but still, it’s one of the world’s most renowned watch brands for it. At present, Bulova continues to uphold the visionary attitude and foundational values of precision and craftsmanship that its founder has built.
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