Case width: 44mm
Case depth: 13mm
Case material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 30 metres
Price: £369 (link)
Bulova was the brand that first got me into watches and this was purely down to one special watch. To this day, I have great respect for the ultra-high frequency models the company produces and the way some of the quartz models are designed to remind us of a time when watches were seriously simple and supremely cool.
The 96A143, however, sits somewhere in-between most of the other Bulova models. Besides the ones mentioned above, there are high-end mechanicals as well and a selection of novelties that cross every possible spectrum of watch styling. This watch is not cheap even if it can be bought for much less than the RRP, but there is a sense that the price feels too high. It is an automatic watch which offers a glimpse of the heart from the front and a larger view through the display case on the back. There are problems with this though and the first is that the finishing of the movement is quite crude. At no point when looking at it is there a sense of top-class finishing or that the movement has been put together with care. Don’t get me wrong, for the price we cannot expect Omega levels of workmanship here, but displaying something that is not finished well feels like it is aiming for those who know no better. Patronising maybe, but a look at the Tissot PR50 Le Locle shows a completely different level of care, and for roughly the same price. It’s like Bulova decided to make a mechanical watch to a budget and the end result is Rotary-levels of quality, a watch brand I will never buy again.
The form of the case is attractive and thick enough to offer a real presence on the wrist with the second markers being the only focus on colour in the large face alongside the end of the second-hand. The industrially styled hands do the job, but with no lume and with a sense of poor finishing remaining throughout. A watch has to have something special to make it feel worthy of wearing every day, but the short lugs, unnecessarily thick bracelet and general look of the watch do not come together very well. There is a sense of the bulky UHF watches that Bulova makes going on here and it does not work well as an automatic. You have a few choices really when making a watch; if it’s an automatic make it elegant or make it a diver’s watch. If it’s quartz, make it anything you like, but don’t try to make an automatic watch that fits nowhere. OK, Hublot fans would disagree, but that’s just the way I see it.
The accuracy was also quite poor on the model I tried with +20 seconds per day not being unusual. I should also mention that the resale value of these is not great at all so try to avoid buying one at RRP. As you can probably tell from this review, I would say to avoid it anyway.
Build quality: 5/10
Value for money: 5/10
An automatic watch that looks good on the wrist, but it is somewhat let down by a lack of authenticity. It’s also expensive for what it is.
Categories: Watch Reviews