History of Bulova
Joseph Bulova, a 23-year-old immigrant from Bohemia, opens a small
jewelry shop on Maiden Lane in New York City.
Bulova begins manufacturing and selling boudoir and table clocks
as well as fine pocket watches. These pieces are sold in unprecedented
Bulova sets up its first plant dedicated to the production of watch
components and their assembly into jeweled movements in Bienne,
During World War I, the convenience of wristwatches (as opposed
to pocket watches) is discovered. In 1919 Bulova introduces the
first full line of men's jeweled wristwatches.
Bulova Watch Company, Inc. moves to 580 Fifth Avenue and builds
the Bulova Observatory on top of the building for the taking of
sidereal time. This is the first Observatory ever built atop a skyscraper.
The Observatory is under the direction of a mathematician whose
readings are electrically recorded, instantaneously, on a chronograph
hundreds of feet below the observatory, guiding the Bulova watchmakers
in the Setting and Timing unit of the Company.
The name Bulova Watch Company, Inc. is adopted. Bulova perfects
a new concept in the watch industry with total standardization of
parts. Every part of a Bulova watch is made with such precision
(standardized to the ten thousandth part of an inch) that it is
interchangeable with the same part in any other Bulova watch. This
revolutionizes the servicing of watches.
Bulova unveils the first full line of ladies' watches, including
diamond-accented pieces. In the same year, President Calvin Coolidge
presents a Bulova watch to Stanley "Bucky" Harris player-manager
of the World Series-winning Washington Senators. Bulova designs
a new watch in honor of the occasion and names it the "President."
Bulova produces the nation's first radio commercial, "At the
tone, it's 8 P.M., B-U-L-O-V-A, Bulova watch time."
ArdÃ© Bulova, Josephs son, offers a prize of $1,000
to the pilot who first succeeds in a nonstop flight across the Atlantic.
In honor of Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic solo flight from New
York to Paris, Bulova ships 5,000 Lone Eagle watches, packaged with
pictures of Lindbergh. The supply, which is available the day after
the landing, is sold out within three days. During the next few
years Bulova sells nearly 50,000 of these commemorative watches.
Also in 1927, Bulova Watch Company goes public on the American Stock
Exchange, and Bulova Canada is established.
Bulova introduces the world's first clock radio.
Bulova engineers and patents a new principle in the construction
of automobile clocks.
Bulova begins manufacturing the first electric clocks. The collection
includes wall and mantel clocks, and clocks for use in stores, windows,
office buildings, train stations and airports. Also, Bulova becomes
the first watch manufacturer to spend more than $1 million a year
on advertising. Throughout the Depression years, Bulova supports
retailers by offering Bulova watches to buyers on time-payment plans.
Bulova runs a "Name the Watch" contest for its new $24.75
timepiece, with cash prizes totaling $10,000. The top prize of $1,000
would be equivalent to about $12,500 in the year 2000.
Joseph Bulova, founder of Bulova Watch Company, dies.
Bulova is a sponsor for all of the top 20 radio shows, including
Charley McCarthy, Jack Benny, Fibber McGee and Molly and Major Bowes
Continuing its tradition of advertising firsts, Bulova airs the
first television commercial: a simple picture of a clock and a map
of the United States, with a voice-over proclaiming, "America
runs on Bulova time." The 20-second spot costs $9. 1941 also
marks the year that the Bulova Board of Directors, chaired by Josephs
son, Ardé Bulova, adopts a resolution to sell products for
national defense at actual cost. Throughout World War II, having
perfected the skill of creating precision timepieces, Bulova works
with the U.S. government to produce military watches, specialized
timepieces, aircraft instruments, critical torpedo mechanisms and
25% of all radio advertising was used to promote the sale of War
Bonds and Stamps: B-U-L-O-V-
Bulova Watch Time
to Buy United States War Bonds and Stamps.
The Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking opens its doors to help
disabled veterans learn watchmaking skills. Entirely supported by
the Bulova Foundation, the school is equipped with state-of-the-art
accessibility features, including automatic doors and extra-wide
elevators. Graduates of the school are assured employment with over
1,500 positions pledged by American Jewelers.
Bulova begins developing the Phototimer, a unique combination of
photo-finish camera and precision electronic timing instrument.
Bulova begins developing Accutron, the first breakthrough in timekeeping
technology in over 300 years. Accutron, the first fully electronic
watch, promises to keep time to within 2 seconds a day.
Recognizing new trends in the watch industry, Bulova adds more self-winding
and shock-proof watches to its line. Also added this year is the
Bulova Wrist-Alarm, an entirely new kind of watch.
Bulova introduces the Bulova 23, a self-winding, waterproof, 23-jewel
watch with an unbreakable mainspring, made entirely in the United
States. Omar Bradley, World War II general and retired chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joins Bulova as Chairman of the Board
of the Bulova Research and Development Laboratories.
An independent A.C. Neilson Company survey reveals that Americans
see more national advertising for Bulova products than for any other
products, in any other industry, in the world.
Bulova completes negotiations to cosponsor the Jackie Gleason
Show" a one-hour live television show airing Saturday nights
from eight to nine o'clock. This is the first time in history that
any watch or jewelry-related company has made a sponsorship commitment
of such magnitude.
Omar N. Bradley becomes chairman of the Bulova Watch Company, a
position he remains in until 1973, when he retires at the age of
Bulova offers an unprecedented 1-year warranty on all of its clock
NASA asks Bulova to incorporate Accutron into its computers for
the space program. Bulova timing mechanisms eventually become an
integral part of 46 missions of the U.S. Space Program. Also in
1960, Bulova reintroduces its redeveloped Phototimer clock for track
and field, improved with updated photographic and electronic technologies.
It features an infrared sensing element patterned after those used
on heat-seeking missiles. Mounted on the starter's pistol, the Phototimer
senses the flash of the gun and starts a timer clock at the same
instant that the runners leave their marks.
October 25, 1960
Accutron, the first watch to keep time through electronics, is introduced.
It is the most spectacular breakthrough in timekeeping since the
invention of the wristwatch. This revolutionary timekeeping concept
of a watch without springs or escapement is operated by an electronically
activated tuning fork. The Accutron watch goes on to become a presidential
gift to world leaders and other dignitaries. President Johnson declares
it the White House's official Gift of State.
The Accutron Tuning-fork watch becomes the first wristwatch certified
for use by railroad personnel. 1962 is also the year that Bulova
introduces its Caravelle line of jeweled watches. Designed to retail
at $10.95 to $29.95, Caravelle competes with non-jeweled watches
in the same price range.
Bulova runs national commercials for Accutron on many popular television
shows including the Dean Martin Show and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Accutron clocks are the only clocks aboard Air Force One.
The Bulova Satellite Clock, the world's first public clock regulated
by time signals from orbiting satellites, is inaugurated by Gustavo
Diaz Ordaz, President of Mexico. The clock is installed atop the
Torre Latino Americana, Mexico's tallest skyscraper. 1968 also marks
the year that Caravelle becomes the largest selling jeweled-movement
watch in the United States.
An Accutron watch movement is part of the equipment placed on the
moon by Apollo 11 astronauts, the first men on the moon. A Bulova
timer is placed in the moon's Sea of Tranquility to control the
transmissions of vital data through the years.
Bulova introduces the Accuquartz, the first quartz-based clock.
The Bulova Accuquartz men's calendar wristwatch becomes the first
quartz-crystal watch sold at retail in the United States. Made of
18-karat gold, it retails for $1,325.
Three specially designed Accutron portable alarm clocks are placed
on board NASA's Skylab, the world's first space laboratory, launched
from Cape Kennedy. Also this year, Bulova wins the world's first
design competition for solid-state digital watches at the Prix de
la Ville de Genève watch-styling competition, the world's
most prestigious international watch-styling competition. Bulova
also wins two of the three honorable mentions awarded at the competition.
Bulova introduces its line of Accutron Quartz movement watches for
men. Also this year, the Smithsonian Institution's newly opened
National Air and Space Museum features a replica of the NASA Skylab.
It includes an Accutron "space alarm" clock identical
to the ones mounted onboard the actual Skylab.
Bulova introduces its line of Accutron Quartz movement watches for
Bulova runs a magazine ad campaign featuring Walter Cronkite, with
the slogan Good News from Bulova." The company also places
national commercials on many television shows including All in the
Family, Charlies Angels, Starsky and Hutch, The Dukes of Hazard
and Hawaii 5-0.
Bulova becomes a subsidiary of Loews Corporation.
Bulova heightens its profile by targeting young consumers with a
television and magazine advertising campaign featuring Muhammad
Ali, Morgan Fairchild, Cathy Lee Crosby, Bernadette Peters, Johnny
Cash and Roger Daltrey.
The Bulova Dimension is unveiled. It is the worlds thinnest wall
clock, measuring just 5/8 of an inch.
Bulova introduces its first miniature clock. Creating a new category
of timepieces, Bulova goes on to produce entire collections of miniature
clocks, including limited-edition pieces and themed groupings.
Bulova becomes the official supplier to the U.S. Olympic team, providing
watches for both the winter games in Calgary and the summer games
Bulova changes its corporate name from Bulova Watch Company, Inc.
to Bulova Corporation. This move reflects the companies growth into
new and different product markets. Bulova produces an ad in record
time. At the Winter Olympics in Calgary, a photograph is snapped
on Saturday morning. Eight hours later an ad incorporating the photo
is on the press in time to be in millions of copies of Time magazine
This year, with its new line of Swiss quartz watches, Accutron is
relaunched as the premier brand of the Bulova Corporation.
Bulova enters into a distribution agreement in South America and
extends licenses in the Far East and Europe.
A Gallup survey and the Fairchild 100 report rank Bulova fourth
in consumer awareness in the combined watch and jewelry industries.
Bulova introduces the Millennia Collection, a group of watches featuring
innovative technology or materials. The collection includes a solar
group, watches powered by light; motion quartz, watches powered
by the motion of the wearer's arm; and vibra-alarm, watches featuring
two alarm mode options: sound or vibration.
Bulova adds World Timer and Perpetual Calendar watches to the Millennia
On October 4, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani proclaims Bulova Day in New
York City, in recognition of Bulovas 125th anniversary.
Bulova acquires the Wittnauer trademark and some of the assets of
Wittnauer International. Bulova also acquires the license for Harley-Davidson
watches. Also, in 2001, Womens Wear Dailys Luxury Survey,
which measures American womens perception of the most luxurious
apparel and accessory brands, ranked Bulova #14 in the watch and
Bulova acquires certain assets of Heirloom, a custom woodworking
company specializing in the manufacture of grandfather clocks. Operating
as a Bulova subsidiary under the new name, Art of Time, Ltd., the
Kitchener, Ontario-based facility begins producing high-quality,
custom-made Bulova grandfather clocks for sale in the U.S., Canada
and Mexico. Bulova also launches a comprehensive international operating
strategy to enhance its global positioning while protecting the
integrity of the Bulova name by reasserting control over development
and marketing worldwide. A key component of the program is the opening
of European headquarters in Fribourg, Switzerland, marking Bulovas
return to full proprietary operations in Europe after nearly a quarter
of a century. Made in Switzerland, with product development at both
Bulova Swiss, S.A. and Bulovas home office in New York, the
Bulova European Collection is set to begin distribution on January