Company History Highlights
Bulova was founded and incorporated as the J. Bulova Company in 1875 by Joseph Bulova, an immigrant from Bohemia. It was reincorporated under the name Bulova Watch Company in 1923.
Bulova established its operations in Woodside, New York, and Flushing, New York, where it made innovations in watchmaking, and developed a number of watchmaking tools. Its horological innovations include the Accutron watch, which uses resonating tuning forks to regulate the watch.
Bulova always took great pride in being an American watchmaker. Many of their model names and their packaging proudly proclaimed their New York roots. (That said, the irony was that many of their movements were manufactured in Switzerland!)
Bulova also played a very visible role in the marketing of watches in America. The company was resourceful and willing to take chances:
- In 1919, the company debuted the first complete line of men’s jeweled wristwatches.
- In a 1926 promotional stunt, Andre Bulova (Joseph’s son), offered a prize of $1,000 to the first pilot to fly non-stop across the Atlantic. Charles Lindberg won the prize — and agreed to endorse Bulova watches. The Lone Eagle model produced by Bulova to commemorate the flight was hugely popular, both in the U.S. and overseas.
- In 1941, Bulova paid $9 for the world’s first television commercial (“America runs on Bulova time.”); a placement on New York station WNBT before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. (You can see that ground-breaking piece of marketing in our YouTube collection.)
- In the early 1950s, the company made an agreement with the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences to sell watches under the “Academy Award” brand. The relationship soon soured and ended in litigation, but not before Bulova had created a number of watch models bearing the name.
- Traditionally, Bulova has designed and manufactured under the signature “Bulova” name.
- In 1962 (1963?), the company introduced an affordable watch line branded “Caravelle.” The lower price point of the Caravelle line is reflected in the quality of those watches.
- “Westfield” is another brand owned by Bulova. The Westfield brand was bought by Bulova in the 1930s. After the purchase, the Westfield watches were created with Bulova Switzerland movements and U.S. made cases. The watches were assembled in the U.S. and are generally of quite high quality.
Ownership Changes & the End of an Era
The Bulova Watch Company became part of the Loews Corporation in 1979. In 2008, Citizen bought the Bulova Watch Company; together they are the world’s largest watchmaker. The current Bulova Watch Company maintains their official website at http://www.bulova.com/