Bulova and Citizen will definitely be among the hottest names if you are looking for a mid-range watch. But which should you go for?
The quality both brands offer is undeniable. However, you need to consider more than that to determine the better one for your needs.
The side-by-side comparison between Bulova vs Citizen in this post will help you make an informed decision. Let’s scroll down to learn what you can get from each!
Quick Summary & Comparison Table
|Materials||Mostly stainless steel||Mostly stainless steel|
|Movements||Automatic and quartz||Solar-powered quartz|
|Technologies||Precisionist||Eco-Drive and solar|
|Design||Dressy and fashionable||Casual|
Citizen will be your favorite if changing watch batteries annoys you. The same case stays true for those who are looking for specialized watches. However, go for Bulova if you like a more stylish look. You can’t find such open-heart dials or sweeping hands-on Citizen’s watches.
Related: Bulova Fake vs Real: How to Identify the Real Ones?
The History of Bulova
In 1875, Joseph Bulova established the brand in New York City. This brand achieved remarkable success in watchmaking due to brilliant marketing strategies.
In 1960, Bulova had the first significant historical accomplishment that influenced the market.
Instead of the traditional balance wheel used in mechanical watches, the Bulova Accutron watch’s timekeeping system used the tuning fork(1).
The Bulova watch company was also known as one of the first watchmakers. Aside from the advanced technology, the company also focused on accuracy in its products.
There were other breakthroughs in accuracy after that. The Bulova Precisionist with a quartz crystal running at a 262-kHz frequency was an example. It could hold a precision with +/- 10 seconds per year.
Despite not being a real horological success, Bulova gained attention as the “Moon watch” in 1971(2) when an astronaut used the Bulova Chronograph on one of his expeditions.
The company has created a number of ground-breaking products throughout the years. Yet, in 2007, Citizen absorbed it and continued to expand the brand.
The History of Citizen
Citizen is a younger brand. Established in 1930, it was a combination of Japanese and Swiss watchmakers.
However, only a few people know that Citizen existed before 1930. In 1918, a watchmaking genius named Rodolphe Schmid registered the brand(3) as the name of watches sold in Japan.
Not until the 1920s did the business develop, thanks to Goto Shinpei. This Japanese politician supported the brand with the objective of watches becoming more accessible and popular to Japanese people.
The titanium wristwatch and analog quartz wristwatch were two first-ever achievements launched by Citizen in the 1970s.
Later, the newer technology experienced significant refinements and got the name the Citizen eco-drive technology, today a Citizen trademark.
The successes didn’t end there, though. Citizen won the game of atomic watches. The brand launched the very first atomic watch(4) in 1993. This item could receive time correction adjustments via radio waves.
Citizen is also proud of their watches with accuracy. Citizen Caliber is some of the quartz watches with an astounding +/- 1-second annual fluctuation.
Bulova Vs Citizen – What Is The Difference?
There are several similarities between these big brands, especially when Bulova became a subsidiary of Citizen. This section will focus on what separates them from each other.
Stainless steel will be the prominent material used in the products of both companies. This material has been a substance in watches; there’s a reason for it.
Unlike other materials, stainless steel will be strong, durable, and scratch-resistant, as well as can withstand temperature fluctuations.
Titanium is another material used in watches of both companies. Its durability(5) makes it outstanding. You will also love how lightweight it is on your wrist.
Titanium watches are more costly than regular stainless steel models. However, the gap isn’t significant.
Another similarity between the two companies is that both use crystals. They have mineral glass on affordable models and sapphire for expensive items. It’s a standard for the whole watchmaking industry.
The biggest distinction between the 2 brands is the watch movement.
Bulova switches between automatic and quartz calibers in its product, whereas Citizen equips the vast majority of its wristwear with solar-powered quartz.
In Citizen, Miyota technology runs the Eco-Drive system(6) and some other automatic watches. These items are potent workhorses that will never fail you.
Since Miyota is a subsidiary of Citizen Watch it makes sense that no other watchmaker supplies the movements.
Bulova’s automatic and quartz watches also use Miyota components, although the solar power alternative is not accessible.
Instead, Bulova now puts more attention on making its quartz parts the highest level of accuracy. That’s how we have the Precisionist line.
The technology affects the watch movements that we discussed earlier. The most famous technologies from Bulova and Citizen are Precisionist and Eco-Drive, respectively.
The thin quartz crystal used in Bulova’s new technology vibrates at 262 kHz rather than the regular 32 kHz seen in most quartz movements.
This technology will lead to a more accurate watch movement. The sweeping hands, however, glide instead of tick along, creating a more aesthetically attractive design element.
The Eco-Drive technology of Citizen has the same fame. Thanks to this technology, some Citizen watches don’t need batteries and sunlight to charge. The secret behind this technology is a cell named photocell.
Since organic silicon makes the photocell, it doesn’t sacrifice your Citizen watch’s durability. Moreover, it can last up to 6 months after a full charge.
Additionally, Citizen offers superior solar-powered timepieces. Some models are in the elite tier of this category.
Rather than making casual designs, Bulova prefers providing dressy and fashionable products. Their watches feature polished dials that go well with metal bracelets and bright clothing.
Some designs, especially the automatic watches, are clean. And if you love open-heart models for more upscale looks, consider the skeleton watches from this maker.
Sports lovers find Bulova watches attractive too. There are many sporty models in the collection. However, they may not look as athletic as other brands.
If you are a big fan of sports, we highly recommend Bulova Marine Star. This model has a nice design with sporty and waterproof features. Moreover, there are variants for men and women.
On the other hand, Citizen has options for all professions. For example, if you are an athlete, consider its diver watch. Meanwhile, you can find tough models for the military from the Citizen collection.
The firm divides its products into broad categories. The three most common choices are:
- Land: Dress, chronograph, and military
- Sea: Dive sports
- Air: Aviator
Each of them has a special character and a gorgeous design created especially for the relevant user. Opposite to Bulova’s elegance, this watch’s defining trait is its casual look.
Bulova develops its timepieces in unique designs. Although they have a tendency to stick to the side of formalism, they provide a diversity of dial styles so that everyone may find a model they like.
Bulova watches look their best when paired with a classy dress shirt and stylish pants. Yet, the dials for casual events can still work for some informal occasions.
On the contrary, Citizen is famous for its simplicity. Search for Citizen Silhouette, and you will discover what we mean by “simplicity” here.
The power of simplicity is that it allows you to mix with almost any clothing item and fit many occasions. You can mix Citizen watches with your outfit easily, then.
The two manufacturers offer many items from different styles because they want to serve different customer segments. Hence, there must be one that suits your taste in both brands.
Are They Affordable Watch Brands?
Although both manufacturers have some pricey models, they prioritize the mid-range segment.
So, yes, they are affordable watch brands.
Bulova stays at the higher end of the midrange. The average price of a Bulova watch is around $300, with the most costly models can cost up to $1,000.
Citizen is also in the middle. You can find several affordable versions with high performance and efficiency levels with luxury looks.
The two brands offer more exclusive features like chronographs, sapphire crystals, or perpetual calendars as you move up the ladder.
Pros And Cons Of Bulova And Citizen
Bulova and Citizen are big watch brands, so you don’t have to worry about quality. However, they still have benefits and drawbacks that make you change your mind about your decision.
- Bulova produces dependable and sturdy watches.
- There are new designs every year, with quality improvement over time.
- You will fall in love with its fashionable design at first sight.
- New technologies contribute to the accuracy of the watch movements.
- Some users complain about the accuracy of low-end items.
- Citizen has designs for multiple purposes, such as diving, military, and sport.
- The Eco-Drive technology doesn’t need its battery to be charged.
- The solar-powered watches are impressive and among the top of the industry.
- Some products have outstanding accuracy, with about +/-1 second annual fluctuation.
- Since the Eco-Drive watches run on light, you have to wear them often to keep them running smoothly.
Which Should You Choose: Citizen Vs. Bulova?
So which wins your heart, Bulova or Citizen? There are some cases where you prefer one to the other. Let’s see which side you are on.
Bulova is the ideal choice if you’re searching for big, flashy watches, and highly accurate.
The Precisionist from Bulova is one of the top movements in the world. It will make you look fabulous with its materials and style.
On the other hand, Citizen is a fantastic choice for anybody hunting for a cutting-edge watch brand with various products.
Its brand stands out from other watches on the marketplace due to its Eco-Drive solar-powered timepieces, and its sturdiness makes them a brand worth buying.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are Bulova watches good quality?
Bulova is not the best choice in the industry. However, considering the price, it offers excellent quality and accuracy. As a bonus, you can find many stunning designs to complement your wrist.
2. Are Bulova watches made by Citizen?
Yes. In 2007, Citizen, a Japanese watch brand, purchased Bulova. Since 2028, Bulova has produced watches and other accessories under Citizen.
3. Is Citizen considered a luxury watch?
No. Because of the mid-grade priced models and their rate of large-scale production, we can’t consider Citizen a luxury brand.
However, although they are not luxurious, Citizen’s watches are of high quality. They come with excellent technologies to give you the best experience.
4. How many subsidiaries does Citizen Watch Group have?
The Citizen Watch Group has six brands: Citizen, Alpina, CAMPANOLA, Frederique Constant, Arnold & Son, and Bulova. Each has its own achievements in technology.
Choosing between Citizen vs. Bulova is not tricky because they both give you the best of both worlds in quality and price. At the end of the day, it comes down to your taste to shop for the ideal watch.
Thank you for your interest in the article!
- Bulova Accutron: the tuning fork revolution: https://www.watchonista.com/articles/bulova-accutron-tuning-fork-revolution
- Introducing The ‘Other’ Moon Watch Has Landed: https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/the-other-moon-watch-has-landed
- Citizen Watch Co. and Its Endless Pursuit of Accuracy: https://monochrome-watches.com/citizen-watch-co-and-its-endless-pursuit-of-accuracy/
- Radio-Controlled: https://www.citizenwatch-global.com/technologies/radiocontrolled/index.html
- Everything You Need To Know About Titanium Watches: Part One: https://www.luxuo.com/style/watches/titanium-watches-everything-you-need-to-know.html
- Eco-Drive Technology: https://www.citizenwatch-global.com/technologies/eco-drive/index.html
John is a passionate enthusiast of watches, smartwatches, and wearables who has been exploring the world of horology since childhood. He contributes articles to magazines and websites dedicated to horology and teaches classes on watchmaking at local community centers.