Joseph Bulova, the company's founder, emigrated from Bohemia, in what is now the Czech Republic, at the age of nineteen, arriving in Manhattan in 1870 to a world brimming with opportunity. Opening his own jewelry store on Maiden Lane in Lower Manhattan, then the nucleus of New York City's jewelry industry, he called it J. Bulova, and quickly distinguished himself from the hundreds of jewelers in the district with its quality and innovation in technique and artistry.
Due to the demand of watches throughout America, Joseph Bulova established his first plant committed to the total production of wristwatch components. Manufactured in the plant's central building in Bienne, Switzerland, the jeweled movements were fabricated via assembly line, allowing mass production and closer toward a standardization never before seen in the world of horology.
Bulova debuted the first ever complete line of men's jeweled wristwatches - advertising to the masses across America with an iconic visual style that matched its product.
To support the accurate measure of sidereal time, the Bulova Observatory was constructed in 1920 in Midtown Manhattan, the first facility of its kind atop a skyscraper. On the top floor of the Observatory an expert mathematician took readings that were simultaneously and electrically recorded on a chronograph located in the lower floors of the building. There, the Setting and Timing units used the data to set the time on all of the company's timepieces in the most accurate way possible.
Focusing its energy on future sales, Bulova also devoted substantial creativity to expanding marketing and advertising efforts. In another groundbreaking moment for the company, Bulova broadcast America's first national radio commercial in 1926, signaling the hour with, "At the tone, it's eight o'clock, B‑U‑L‑O‑V‑A Watch Time", an ad heard by millions.
An early champion of Bulova watches was an American original himself, Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh, the first man to fly nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean. By doing so, Lindbergh won the Bulova Watch Prize and a $1,000 check. Later, he became the face of the company's "Lone Eagle" watch, a commemorative timepiece that celebrated Lindbergh's accomplishment while also linking Bulova to the world of aviation and exploration.
Not content to settle on the advancement of only one particular product, Bulova maintained its near-constant surge of creativity by inventing the first clock radio in 1928, an immediate success. Three-and-a-half decades of B‑U‑L‑O‑V‑A Watch Time are represented by this first Bulova clock-radio, being adjusted by Harry Henshel, and the miniature variety held by General Omar Bradley.
July 1, 1941, Bulova fundamentally transformed the field of marketing with the world's very first television commercial. Shown at the start of a Brooklyn Dodgers - Philadelphia Phillies game, it was a simple, silhouetted map of the country centered with a Bulova clock and captioned, "America Runs On Bulova Time." The cost — $9.
Bulova's commitment to the soldiers who fought for the freedom of all U.S. citizens did not expire with the end of the war. Awaiting their return from Europe and the Pacific was the Bulova School of Watchmaking, located near the company's headquarters in Woodside, Queens. The purpose of the tuition-free school was to offer disabled returning soldiers a means of rehabilitation, combined with specified job training and dedicated job placement, ensuring that they would not be left behind after returning from their great sacrifices abroad.
Years before Accutron became available to the public, the Bulova-developed technology was requested by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for various timing instruments on satellites. Bulova initiated its decades-long collaboration with NASA by contributing the Accutron technology to the Vanguard 1 satellite in 1958, later continuing with the first Moon walk on July 21, 1969.
Immediately recognized as an invention of genius and superb craftsmanship, Accutron was quickly adopted as the standard-bearer in accuracy and elegance, used aboard Air Force One, and given as an official Presidential Gift of State. In addition, railroad workers the world over embraced Accutron after it was endorsed as the first wristwatch precise enough to be authorized for general use by personnel.
Bulova turned 125 years old. To commemorate such a landmark, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani certifies that Wednesday, October 4 is officially "Bulova Day".
1,000 sequentially numbered, handmade collectible pieces honoring 50 years of timekeeping innovation is released to public. The Bulova Accutron Limited Edition Spaceview 214 utilizes a defining movement. It is a handmade replica of the original Accutron Calibre 214, the world's first electronic watch without springs or an escapement, which operated by an electronically activated tuning fork. Instead of ticking, it hummed.
Explore the historic Spaceview here.
The revolutionary Bulova Precisionist is released. Two of the factors that affect accuracy in a quartz watch are temperature changes and vibration frequency. The Precisionist technology addresses both in novel ways. This timepiece is the most comprehensive and potentially revolutionary product launch from Bulova since the debut with Accutron 50 years prior. Discover more about the revolutionary Bulova Precisionist here.
Bulova Accutron proudly announces Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, as its newest ambassador. The face of Bulova Accutron's "Swiss Made. Self Made" campaign, Branson's entrepreneurial and worldly spirit is the perfect fit for Bulova Accutron.
Click here for more about the unparalleled union.
Bulova Accutron celebrates its legacy of innovation with the release of 200 Limited Edition Bulova Accutron Conqueror wristwatches. The watch is inspired by the famous Lone Eagle timepiece, created by Bulova to commemorate Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh's monumental solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. The Bulova Accutron Conqueror, which has been awarded the COSC certificate, recognizes the Bulova Corporation's commitment to innovation not only in aviation — from air travel to space exploration — but also within the world of timekeeping.
Dive into the Conquerors epic history here.
English Premier League football club Manchester United and Bulova announce a three year sponsorship agreement to become the Club’s Official Timekeeper and Global Partner. Both Bulova and Manchester United have long been known for being global leaders in their respective fields and have been the first to achieve many innovations and milestones.
Find out more about this storied partnership