When it comes to watches from Bulova, we tend to see them as being nicely designed pieces, mostly quartz driven and affordable. In other words, a good watch, but not necessarily something that you take notice of. Of course, if that’s the thinking, then you are ignoring things like their crazy-accurate chonograph. These days, you would also be ignoring the new direction they attempting to take things in, which is underscored by the Joseph Bulova Collection First Edition 24-Karat Gold watch.
For a watch to be part of this new Joseph Bulova collection (which comes from the Accu-Swiss arm of Bulova), it has to signify, in the brand’s eyes, the highest level of watchmaking achievement. I think another way to look at it is that these are the high-end, top-of-the-line pieces that Bulova will be creating. An easy way to get that luxury feel is of course to upgrade the materials being used.
Though, I suppose easy is a relative term. As gold becomes more pure, it becomes a good bit softer. This is why something like a 24-Karat gold case, as we have here, is not something you see every day. Apparently, Bulova found a Swiss partner that can harden this gold (which is 99.99% pure) so it is actually durable, while maintaining the precision needed.
Gold isn’t the only interesting material. Grade-5 titanium also makes an appearance, helping to hold the bezel, case, and caseback all together. This means that while the case may appear to be case in that shape, it is actually separate components coming together. Speaking of that, the strap is another place for components to come together.
On the top side, you have an alligator strap. Under that, there is a stainless steel mesh (coated with black titanium carbide), with the two layers held together by titanium rivets. This does seem like an odd combination. My guess is that wanted something that the owner would feel kept the watch secure (the steel mesh), but still wanted to give the dressier appearance (the alligator) that most would associate with a gold watch.
That all said, this does seem to be very much a sport-watch sort of design, following in the footsteps of the previous models (such as the one I linked to above). Unlike that previously mentioned chrono, the Joseph Bulova Collection First Edition 24-Karat Gold watch is powered by an COSC-certified automatic movement.
As to the watch itself, about all I can say is that this is not a watch for me. This bulkier sort of style has not been my favorite of Bulova’s themes, and I am really not a fan of yellow-gold cases. Then again, that may just be me, as I have a friend who is very much a fan of these bigger-styled Bulova’s. Should you find yourself in that camp, and want an extremely pure gold case, you can pick up the Joseph Bulova Collection First Edition 24-Karat Gold for a price of around $42,000. And, if you’d like to read up a bit more, ABTW had some hands-on time with the watch. bulova.com
- Brand & Model: Bulova Joseph Bulova Collection First Edition 24-Karat Gold
- Price: $42,000
- Who we think it might be for: You are a fan of the bolder Bulova designs, and have been holding out for a more luxury-oriented take
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: No, I wouldn’t. The combination of case style and yellow gold just is not my taste.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: I am surprised that the gold isn’t making an appearance in the dial – the monotone there now seems a bit dull
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: 24-karat gold aside, I am most intrigued by the dual-material strap, both in terms of longevity and how it would actually wear.