Even in this era of smartphones, tablets, and other technology devices, more and more people still keep a classic watch with them.
This small but powerful accessory not only helps you keep track of time but also conveys style, wisdom, and sophistication. Like how a well-tailored suit and sleek shoes enhance your appearance, a killer watch can transform your entire look.
Perhaps that’s why you are here now: You want to find a great model to start mixing into your wardrobe. And just like many watch connoisseurs, you probably are facing a great dilemma: Bulova vs Invicta. This duo has dominated the industry for decades, releasing well-crafted, high-quality products that look and function like top-of-the-line luxury timepieces while maintaining an affordable price tag for everyone.
But is there a clear winner between them? Let’s evaluate each brand from different perspectives and see which one is right for you!
An Overview of Both Brands
As mentioned, Bulova and Invicta are both long-standing names in the watch industry. To explore their rich histories, we will step back to the 19th century:
Bulova’s Brief Historical Review
Founder Joseph Bulova was just a 23-year-old Czech immigrant when he established Bulova in 1875. Nestled in the corner of NYC, it was just a jewelry store at the time. Little did Joseph know, his humble shop would later expand beyond America to become one of the most reputable watchmakers in the world.
The store didn’t have its own products until 1911 when it started manufacturing boudoirs, table clocks, and fine wristwatches. Soon enough, its timepieces became a hit: They flew off the shelves in unprecedented numbers.
Seeing this success, Joseph made an enterprise move: He set up the first factory dedicated to mass production of watch components in Bienne, Switzerland, ready to transform Bulova into a big business. In 1923, the jewelry store officially turned into the Bulova Watch Company, and as the saying goes, “the rest is history”.
In 1927, the brand introduced the Long Eagle wristwatch. This notable timepiece was brought to the public by Charles Lindbergh – the first person to have a solo flight over the Atlantic Ocean. Thanks to him, the Lone Eagle went on to be a bestseller in the U.S.
As soon as the 1960s came, the brand launched the world’s first fully electric wristwatch under the name “Accutron.” The timepiece featured an innovative 360-Hertz tuning fork to secure a constant frequency of 360 times per sec.
Those are just a few of Bulova’s milestones, but they already prove the brand’s contribution to the watchmaking world. The technology, watch builds, and the legacy it brought about are still relevant today.
A Look At Invicta’s History
Unlike Bulova – an American watchmaker, Invicta began its journey in Switzerland. Raphael Piccard founded the brand in 1837. At the time, his goal was to create top-quality Swiss watches that were accessible to the average person. The word “Invicta” stands for “invincible” in Latin.
Ever since the 19th century, Swiss watches have been highly regarded by the middle and upper classes. As such, Invicta quickly gained recognition and was on the upswing for over a century. Invicta’s timepieces were well-loved for their quality and elegant design – two values the brand still maintains today.
Unfortunately, the “quartz attack” in the 1970s drove Invicta watches out of the market. The brand almost completely vanished. Many speculated that the long history of Invicta had finally drawn to an end.
But the story of Invicta didn’t end here. In 1991, the descendant of the original Invicta founder set out to revive the company, renaming it the “Invicta Watch Team.” Following the transformation, this once-Swiss company is now American-owned and headquartered in Hollywood.
Despite all the ups and downs, the Invicta Watch Team stays loyal to Raphael Piccard’s initial wish. Instead of jacking up the prices and restricting the number of customers, as many other brands do, they strive to keep the cost as affordable as possible to make their products widely accessible to all classes.
Although each brand has its own success story, the two brands serve the same set of customers: The 99% of the population who can’t drop $10,000 on an accessory like it was an extra cup of coffee. Still, their price ranges are a bit different from one another. Here is a quick price comparison:
Interestingly, some users on the WatchUSeek forum position Bulova in the same category as Breitling, Omega, or even Rolex. Many people new to wristwatches also think of it as a high-end brand.
If that makes you hesitate to purchase their timepiece, I have some good news: Their watches are not luxury goods! Most Bulova products fall into the sub-$500 category, making them more affordable than other brands on the market.
What’s more, the company is a pioneer in mass production. Other than the official stores, you can purchase their watches from other retailers, so it’s not unusual to see them on sale here and there. Higher-level brands would never do this, and while it disqualifies Bulova from being a “true luxury,” it’s beneficial for your wallet.
In the last few decades, however, Bulova started to introduce a “high-end” line of watches, with a notable example being the First Edition 24-Karat Gold Watch. Only 32 of these stunning timepieces are available for sale at a whopping retail value of $42,000. So you can say that they have a wide price range, encompassing a variety of styles (from economical to luxury) and movement types (from quartz to mechanical).
Unlike its fellow, no one will mistake Invicta watches for high-end products. With original price tags typically under $300, they can be found on Amazon, Kohls, Macy’s, and even Walmart. This stays true to the brand’s motto: “As affordable as possible, as widely accessible as possible.”
It’s fair to say that many of the company’s best assets are in the range of under $100. Once in a while, the brand introduces more premium products that are made of real gold and feature exquisite artwork. Even their priciest timepieces are still nowhere near the prices of luxury watches, though. After all, it’s still Invicta’s main goal to create functional and aesthetic time-telling devices rather than some status symbols.
For that reason, Invicta is considered a good choice for entry-level watch collectors. Nonetheless, the way Invicta presents its products has been raising much controversy. When you go to their official website, most of the time, you will see the watches listed at much higher prices than the ones shown on eBay or Walmart. Right beside them, there will be another “discounted” price tag.
What is the problem, then? The “discount” price is the regular list price when you purchase the same Invicta product elsewhere. This is just a marketing ploy to increase sales by making consumers think they are getting a bargain. The approach has been the source of contention among watch enthusiasts and is why Invicta’s reputation is sometimes called into question.
Strengths & Weaknesses
After the price comparison, we know one thing: The former leans more toward the “luxury” side. However, they both offer budget-friendly products. Do the relatively low prices mean that their watches are low-quality as well? Not at all!
Aside from reasonable prices, each brand also possesses unique characteristics that help them stand out from the competition. Yet, along with those strengths come a few weaknesses. We will go deeper into them right away.
Ask any watch nerd out there, and they will tell you anything they know about Bulova. Yes, its first and foremost strength is its popularity! People across the globe know about the brand. Even when their products are middle-ranged, having a Bulova timepiece on your wrist will still turn to watch connoisseurs’ and casual wearers’ heads.
Its popularity first comes from the brand’s willingness to experiment. To improve their products, they’ve developed and implemented many unique technologies. You can see it from the Accutron line and then the Precisionist collection (which we will discuss later.) This trait makes Bulova a pioneer in the watch world, and thanks to their technology, their watches usually have very good to extraordinary quality.
The American watchmaker doesn’t just experiment with technologies. The company doesn’t shy away from spicing up its designs. This is another plus point: They’ve released a wide selection of eccentric and unique designs suitable for men and women of all ages.
But the dare to experiment can be a double-edged sword: Some watch collectors see Bulova as a goofy brand with confusing designs. While most of the company’s timepieces are aesthetically pleasing, some models don’t live up to its standard. This could be because of unappealing color combinations or designs that frustrate customers instead of enticing them.
If the design can sometimes be Bulova’s greatest weakness, it is Invicta’s biggest strength. Over the years, this brand has been introducing exquisitely-designed wristwatches that can hold their own next to top-tier luxury products, such as Patek Phillipe and Rolex. Don’t be surprised when someone mistakes your Invicta timepiece for a Rolex Air-King!
If you look through all of the Invicta watches, it will be hard to find one that doesn’t have a great design. Every one of Invicta’s products makes proper use of colors, sizes, and styles, resulting in cohesive and eye-catching timepieces. The brand is the top choice for fashion lovers who want to find a trendy accessory for themselves.
Another nice thing about Invicta is the number of features you get for the small prices they charge. For less than $80, you get yourself an Invicta 8926, which features a display case back, a Japanese automatic movement, and water resistance. The company is almost invincible at this price point.
But, of course, Invicta has its own setbacks. Compared to its rival, the company has a rather bad reputation in the watch-collecting community. This ties in with the company’s history: Invicta was once a great Swiss watchmaker that produced quality timepieces but was reestablished in 1991 as an American company.
From then on, the brand took a dicey turn: This new version of Invicta began to outsource much of its manufacturing to China. As a result, many of their timepieces were no longer authentically Swiss-made. Some models also started incorporating Japanese movements, such as Seiko and Miyota.
For that reason, watch lovers become doubtful of Invicta’s quality. It’s not really because the company puts out horrible products, it’s more because the later models don’t strictly adhere to their Swiss heritage.
Throughout the decades, Bulova and Invita have developed and implemented technologies that have helped advance the field of horology. In this section, we will look at each brand’s innovations.
In 2010, Bulova shook the watch-collecting community by introducing the Precisionist mechanism. According to the company, it is “an advanced take on the quartz watch technology.” The description captivated many watch wearers since most of them desire the precision and ease of use coming from a watch equipped with a quartz crystal movement.
At its core, the Precisionist mechanism still implements the basics of quartz crystal technology. The secret here is that instead of a classic two-pronged tuning fork, the Precisionist takes a step further with a three-pronged tuning fork that boasts a far higher resonance frequency than any other watch on the market. More precisely, this fork oscillates at 262.144 kilohertz, around eight times faster than the typical 32.768 kilohertz often seen in quartz oscillators.
Similar to how a microscope shows more details at 100X magnification than at 20x, the greater-frequency oscillation allows the watch’s processor to measure smaller fractions of each second, providing more accurate data to translate into the hands’ movement.
That makes the Precisionist technology ideal for those who need accurate timekeeping in a watch. You can hardly find a mid-range wristwatch that does it better than Bulova’s Precisionist line.
Without a doubt, Invicta’s most prominent technology is the Reserve mechanism. This mechanism features two dials and two movements. By using double movements, the company can create timepieces with precision and accuracy.
Let’s face it: Reserve pales in comparison to Precisionist. Reportedly, an Invicta watch loses about one minute a month, which is the standard for Quartz movement. A Precisionist watch, on the other hand, loses only one minute per year.
What’s noteworthy, though, is how they implement this technology in sub-$150 watches while it’s usually found in timepieces worth $300+. This is also presented in Invicta’s exquisitely stainless steel cases, which they have been renowned for since the early days.
And as such, if you want to find a watch at a low price with decent performance and an expensive look, Invicta is suitable for you.
In the last section of our Bulova versus Invicta comparison, we take a look at some of the most outstanding watches released by each brand.
Marine Star 98B301
Often put on the scale with the Tissot T-Race – a legendary watch associated with various sports events – the Marine Star 98B301 model can perform underwater with 600+ ft of water resistance. This is the perfect gift for the pro diver in your life, or you can also take it with you on the next dive trip!
The watch has a 45mm case, and the full lume on the dial makes reading time convenient under any lighting condition. Its combination of blue, bronze, and silver calls to mind vintage diving watches that have graced the wrists of countless adventurers.
The Bulova Precisionist 98B152 is the best representation of the Precisionist line. The exclusive technology grants it extraordinary accuracy, and the design is simply stunning.
This particular model features a beautiful color scheme of rose gold adorned with black details. The contrast creates an exquisite yet rugged and tough look. Without a doubt, the Bulova Precisionist 98B152 will make you stand out of the crowd while providing you with the most precise time reading possible.
Invicta often introduces lavish designs, but the 8928OB is a bit more lowkey. It features a classic dive watch frame but incorporates the signature features of the brand,
The timepiece is made of two-toned stainless steel, with a beautiful combination of silver and gone tones. The bezel comes in a striking royal blue shade and is completed with genuine 23k gold embellishment. This timeless, sophisticated, and elegant design with get you compliments wherever you go.
Beyond that, the 8928OB boasts a date window, top-notch Swiss movement, and water resistance. A fantastic diving watch for those looking for a reliable time-telling tool and a stylish accessory at once!
Speedway Steel Chronograph 9211
The Invicta Speedway Steel Chronograph 9211’s 39.5mm case is suitable for various wrist sizes and won’t feel too bulky on your arm. The dial is minimal and clean, but it doesn’t mean Invicta will skimp on details: The textured finish keeps the design intriguing and grants the watch some depth.
A cool touch to this timepiece is the black frames surrounding three chronograph sub-dials, giving it a unique panda-like look. For the user’s daily convenience, Invicta also adds a date window.
Although it’s not a dive watch, the model has impressive water resistance at 660 feet. Having a watch that you don’t have to take off while swimming or diving is always good.
And that’s the end of the Bulova VS Invicta comparison! All in all, there isn’t any clear-cut winner in that battle. Both brands are able to hold their own.
Bulova is a perfect choice if you look for brand recognition, perfect accuracy, and quirky design. However, if you want a nice in-between-end watch at an excellent price, Invicta is the way to go.
Which one would you choose to be your companion, then?
- Brands with “Rolex” Potential? https://www.watchuseek.com/threads/what-brands-do-you-consider-to-be-tudors-peers.5086555/
- The History of Bulova Through 10 Milestone Bulova Watches: https://www.watchtime.com/featured/the-history-of-bulova-through-10-milestone-bulova-watches/
- What You Should Know About Invicta Watches: https://www.gearpatrol.com/watches/a36342713/invicta-watches/
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.