Since 2007, Bulova has been owned by the Citizen Watch Co. of Japan, but it was for many decades before that an upstanding member of the American horological community, with many innovations to its credit – including, of course, the Accutron. The tuning-fork-based Accutron is largely a thing of the past, but Bulova still innovates in timekeeping technology, with its high-frequency, high-accuracy quartz calibers – and now, with its CURV family of chronographs, it presents the first curved-movement quartz chronographs ever made.
The CURV chronographs are, as they say, just what it says on the tin: shaped quartz chronograph watches, which allows the watch to sit very comfortably on the wrist. The movement is a variation on the Precisionist calibers that Bulova first introduced in 2010. These movements have a 262 kilohertz frequency, as opposed to about 32 kilohertz for a conventional quartz oscillator. The upshot is better accuracy – about +/- 10 seconds per year, according to Bulova; Precisionist movements can be distinguished by their smoothly sweeping seconds hands, which are reminiscent of the original tuning-fork Accutrons.
We first saw these watches at Bulova’s global headquarters in the Empire State Building (the firm occupies an entire floor, incidentally, so it’s still very much a U.S. presence) and despite the fact that quartz can be a little bit of a hard sell to an audience of mechanical watch enthusiasts, we think these are a pretty interesting design take on the genre – while also bringing something extra to the table from a technical perspective.
Of course, if you’re going to go to the trouble of producing a shaped, curved movement, it’s nice to be able to actually see it, and on two of the more than a dozen models of the CURV chronos that will be available at launch, there’s a display back showing the the 262 kilohertz movement in all its glory. These, you probably won’t be surprised to hear, were our favorites; and Bulova has done a great job making the cosmetics of the movement a well-integrated part of the overall design, including the use of an Accutron logo battery cover.
Prices on the CURV chronographs will start at $599; the most expensive model will be $899, with a titanium case and curved sapphire crystals front and back (that is, it’s one of the two display back models; the other is almost identical in design, but in 316L stainless steel).
For more on Bulova, visit the company online, right here.