Here is one of the most amazing quartz watches I’ve seen in my life. In general I’m all for mechanical watches, because they are just the good old school machines, but here and there there are companies that surprise me with modern tech that blends perfectly to their heritage. Bulova has released watches with such movements in their Precisionist models range few years ago, but they were really big and dials were just too busy for my taste with so much stuff going on, it was just too much. But few weeks ago, Bulova introduced the new Accutron II range of watches, a true tribute to their original Accutron from the 1960’s that had a metal tuning fork instead of quartz crystal that we use these days.
What is so special about it? First thing you will notice on the above video is the fact that second hand doesn’t tick like it does on 99,99% of quartz watches. It’s gliding across the dial and that alone gives it such special feel. It will attract the looks with this alone for sure. And while most other watches would drain battery in no time, Bulova quartz watches with Precisionist movement will last for roughly 2-3 years on a single battery. Second thing about it is the fact that it’s incredibly accurate. Some a lot more expensive HAQ (High Accuracy Quartz) watches achieve this with built-in thermal compensation system that adjusts the quartz oscillation relative to the environment temperature, making them incredibly accurate. They are often accurate from +-5 to 10 seconds a year. Most casual consumer quartz watches are accurate within +-15 to 30 seconds a month. Bulova Accutron II models are accurate to +-15 to 20 seconds a year. And they achieve this not by thermal compensation, but with three prong quartz crystal oscillator (regular watches have only two prong quartz crystal) and much higher oscillation frequency. End result? Very accurate watch with a less than one fourth of the HAQ price. HAQ watches are usually around 1500 € where Accutron II models like the 96B213 that I own cost below 350 €.
Bulova 96B213 comes in a really nicely carved and polished stainless steel case. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such shapes on any other watch and I must say it looks really nice. On top of it is the domed mineral crystal. While I’d prefer a sapphire, especially on a watch that costs more than 300 €, but still, I forgive them a bit because it looks so nice.
Dial has a mild sunburst effect that changes slightly when you move the watch under the light. It’s nto as strong as the Bulova’s marketing photo suggests, but it still looks really nice. It comes in off white color dial paired with markers without any lume, but they are very legible in anything but absolute darkness. Watch hands are also very nicely made, super legible and they do have lume applied. The downside is that lume isn’t particularly bright which was a bit of a disappointment. Blue second hand doesn’t have the lume, but has a tiny tuning fork on the opposite end which I think it’s a nice touch. Date window and the date numbers are very big, so anyone can see them nicely and they also change rather quickly at the end of the day.
It comes with genuine black leather strap which looks a bit cheap and plasticky on Bulova’s marketing photos (which is strange), but is actually very high quality strap that comes pre-curved in a box so it fits the wrist perfectly straight away. Buckle is a traditional one, made of really chunky piece of stainless steel and again has the Bulova’s tuning fork logo. Nice touch, though it’s not carved into the stainless steel, but rather welded to the buckle. It’s nothing wrong with that, though I’ve noticed threads and my dog’s hair is getting stuck underneath it. Which is a bit annoying.
It’s a beautiful watch with really special quartz movement. It is a bit expensive to most people who aren’t into watches, but considering there are watches that cost 1500 € with nearly the same functionality, I’d say it’s a great value. And we haven’t even plowed into the Rolex territory with prices beyond 10.000 € or the likes of Patek Philippe that can cost even over 6 digit price figures. In Euros :) So yeah, like I said, great value.
Some more info and specifications:
Movement: Accutron Precisionist
Accuracy: +- 15-20 seconds/year (estimated)
Dial color: off white with sunburst effect
Crystal type: Edge domed mineral crystal
Case material: stainless steel
Strap: non textured genuine black leather
Water resistance: 3 bar (30m or nearly 100 ft)
Power source: battery