Why do we wear watches? To tell the time, of course! But there’s more to it than that – watches are one of the primary tools of social peacocking, and – because they were once expensive items, in the days before mass production – they’ve traditionally been used to mark special occasions, like milestone birthdays or life events. So it was that I found myself – wanting to symbolically mark a kind of personal achievement – in the market for a new watch.
Off I trundled to the local mall in search of a timeless timepiece. What was I looking for – quality, elegance, simplicity and accuracy. And there, amid the plethora of overpriced, flashy, fashion watches fighting for my attention, it sat back – its perfect understatement setting it out from the rest. But what was this wallflower that has so caught my attention? Far from being a shrinking violet, turns out this baby’s been to the moon and back!
Upper LHS: Bulova on an Apollo 15 Mission; Upper RHS: Bulova meeting my copy deadlines;
Lower LHS: Lindbergh's Bulova Lone Eagle;Lower RHS: Elvis' Blue Bulova
Never having heard of the Bulova brand – eek! – I was dubious, but the minute I held it in my hand, and put it on my wrist, I was sold. In a word – lightweight! In fact, super-lightweight, and super-slim and delightfully ergonomic; my wrist could not have found a better, more comfortable watch. Seems, though, I’m not alone in loving this relatively unknown (in South Africa) watch brand. In fact, this American-made brand, started by Bohemian immigrant Joseph Bulova back in 1875, has notable wearers:
- Charles Lindbergh, the first pilot to fly non-stop across the Atlantic in 1927, was the brand ambassador of the Bulova Lone Eagle wristwatch, a design made especially for him
- Elvis Presley owned a skeleton-design Bulova Accutron – the rock ‘n roll idol, who was notoriously generous, gave the watch – engraved with ‘Elvis P’ – away to a fan with whom he struck up a conversation outside a Memphis nightclub circa 1965
- Mission Commander of Apollo 15, David R. Scott, wore a Bulova watch on a lunar walk – it had a specially modified strap so that it could fit over his lunar suit
- Not quite a fighter pilot or an astronaut, but nevertheless a firm favourite of mine, Channing Tatum wore a contemporary version of the military issue Bulova Hack Watch in the 2003 movie, White House Down.
- The Bulova Watch Company took the world’s first ever radio commercial spot, back in 1923: “At the tone, it’s eight o’ clock – Bulova Watch Time”. Bulova Watch Time became the company’s slogan.
- The Bulova Watch Company went on to produce the world’s very first television commercial on July 1st, 1941
- During the Second World War, the Bulova Watch Company produced the official watches issued to all American troops – the Bulova Hack Watch, virtually unbreakable, they also featured a special lock-down apparatus which allowed for precise synchronisation between troops taking part in wartime missions
- At this time, the company also produced altimeters and time fuses for explosives
- After the War, Belova was heavily involved with the Space Race – all instrument panels clocks and time-keeping mechanisms in the spacecraft on the Moon Missions were Bulova Accutrons. Bulova timekeeping mechanisms have been part of countless NASA satellite missions.
- The Bulova Accutron was the world’s first fully electronic watch
- The Bulova Precisionist range is today considered the world’s most accurate watches, and the Bulova Curved Chronograph boasts the world’s first curved watchface, designed to better fit the human wrist.
In : Random Stuff
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