Are you one of those who think a hand watch is nothing more than a tool to keep track of time? Then you can stop reading right here. This article is for people that seek pleasure in wearing luxurious, well-designed watches – something only giants like Bulova and Rolex can provide.
Established decades ago, both belong to completely different markets and successfully claimed the dominant spot in fashion/watch marketplaces. Their products are regarded as a clear symbol of class and fashion, worn by only the most successful men and women. Owning one is like a dream come true!
But Bulova vs Rolex: which one is the better brand at the end of the day? Are these two almost identical, or is there any defining feature that sets them entirely apart?
This article will pitch their performances against each other and discuss how it turns out. Stay tuned!
- Bulova Vs Tissot: Which One Outweighs The Other?
- Bulova Vs Citizen: Which Gives You The Better Watch?
- Rolex designs are more classy and graceful, while Bulova likes experimenting with bold/rebellious color mixtures.
- Rolex’s time-reading is not always accurate due to mechanical movements.
- On the other hand, Bulova utilizes automatic mechanisms to avoid such problems.
Are Rolex & Bulova Watches Good? A Quick Overview
Things started at a small New York jewelry shop in 1875. The company was named J Bulova – short for Joseph Bulova, its founder back then.
Shortly after its establishment, Bulova watch company started producing original pocket watches and clocks. Most of their product lines received rave feedback and reviews from customers. Motivated by these successes, Joseph Bulova took one step further: putting up dedicated plants to manufacture clocks’ and watches’ components in Switzerland, Biel, around 1912.
Just seven years later (1919), the company introduced its first men’s watch. But adult men wearing expensive watches and bracelets was already a too-common sight then; only when the female versions were released did J Bulova truly step onto a new level of fame.
From here, Bulova hasn’t stopped in its conquest to dominate the world, growing into the famous brand we all know today.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Are Bulova watches good? Few rivals can beat Bulova regarding designs. The brand’s designers are willing to experiment with complex cases and wild color mixtures, which results in a unique feel rarely seen in any other watch. This admirable passion and courage were why Bulova successfully invented electronic watches in 1960, changing our global economic development significantly.
Nevertheless, that same experimentation can also become Bulova’s weakness.
Sometimes, it focuses too much on being “different” and misses the whole point of the product, prompting people to regard their watches as “goofy.” Though such timepieces still draw in certain customers, they are looked down upon by the watch community.
Despite the high price, Rolex is such a household name among luxury watch brands that we can find it almost anywhere, in movies, rap songs, and countless references in pop culture. But who knows that this luxurious and classy brand started so humble?
Indeed, the companies were founded in 1905 in London under a name we’re sure you have never heard of: Wilsdorf & Davis. During earlier stages, they were just small manufacturers specializing in watch movements and components. Most of their watches were placed in beautiful cases marked with the phrase “W&D”; you can still find them in some museums and displays.
Three years later, W&D stepped out of its comfort zone by introducing its first original watch line, “Rolex.” People went completely crazy over their high qualities and beautiful designs, and what happened after that was history.
Strength sand Weaknesses
Rolex’s building reputation over the decades is its biggest advantage. Even when newer brands (ex: Patek Philippe) start to take over the market, this giant will forever remain the highest echelon in the watch community. Their watches are always recognized no matter where you go.
The brand’s constant features in television, radio, movies, and songs mean there’s no need for marketing strategies. Its existence alone already guarantees success. That’s something even Bulova fails to achieve!
However, the demanding price tags (way higher than rivals like Longines) have discouraged many people from owning a Rolex watch. Worse, some of them are not even accurate; since these watches use mechanical movements, there might be a gap of two to three minutes compared to the actual time.
Spending $1000 (sometimes even more) to get a watch, be it for casual wearing or wedding gifts, that does not even do its job properly? Well, that does not sound very appealing!
Bulova vs Rolex: A Detailed Comparison
We have picked out some common models to participate in these face-offs. Check out four different pairs/comparisons below:
Bulova Super Seville versus. Rolex Datejust
|Bulova Seville||Rolex Datejust|
|Watch movement||Automatic (more accurate)||Mechanical (less accurate)|
|Collector Values||Rarer||More common|
Super Seville is among the premier timepieces distributed by Bulova, whose price is affordable enough to be put side by side with Rolex Datejust. (if you haven’t detected the sarcasm, let us put it bluntly: it’s rare. Super rare).
The watch features gold-toned cases with gold-colored dials. Such a design is a good match with stainless steel or leather straps; regardless of your choice, it comes out beautiful and classy.
Furthermore, Sevilles also enjoy automatic movements (a product of the brand’s Swiss branches), cutting the need for regular rewinding. Scores!
A defining feature of Datejust is the oyster case, famous for its incredible resistance to dust and water. Numerous designs also come along, boasting luxurious and classy feels long associated with Rolex.
What else is there? For one, we have a perpetual calendar installed directly on the watch. The automatic mechanism keeps you from having to adjust it constantly.
Unfortunately, unlike Bulova Seville, the watch’s movements are mechanical (typical of Rolex). Be prepared that the pointers and hands of these watches might not always be accurate.
Final Verdict: Which One Suits You Best?
Datejust is beautiful and unbeatable regarding designs – something Rolex has long been proud of. Every detail is intricate and wonderfully crafted. Paying for Rolex Datejust will be a solid investment if you want something fashionable, classy, and eye-catching to pair with your clothes.
Nevertheless, Bulova Sevilles are considered rare items – great news for collectors. And if Rolex’s type of luxury is not what you are after, settling with a Bulova should be a good deal for you.
Bulova Precisionist versus. Rolex Watches
|Watch movements||More accurate||Less accurate|
Bulova Precisionist – one of the most recent watch lines from Bulova – has piqued the curiosity of watch enthusiasts. Since they are advertised as “harboring the long-standing values of Bulova,” putting them against mainstream Rolex watches sounds fair enough. So how do things turn out?
Bulova Precisionist Features
Do you still remember Bulova Accutron – the first electronic watch in the world, briefly introduced in the previous section about the brand’s history?
Precisionists take direct inspiration from them – a symbol of innovation and creativity – and develop further on that concept. For one, there is a tuning fork of three prongs to keep track of time, whose accuracy far exceeds any other quartz watch. And regarding designs, numerous options are available. One thing in common, though, is that they are all colorful, with a dash of experimental flair expected in most Bulova watch products.
And there’s not much to say about the watch movements. No matter which Bulova models you choose, they will always be more precise than Rolex. The latter mostly incorporates mechanical movements, which is never as accurate as quartz models.
Final Verdict: Which One Suits You Best?
Bulova watches are light, simple, convenient, and accurate. But if accuracy is your priority, there’s no need to buy either of these watches: why don’t you turn on your mobile phone instead?
Rolex is still the go-to option thanks to its signature style and brand recognition. Even if its time-reading ability is far from impressive, the two factors we just mentioned are more than enough to put it several notches above Bulova Precisionist. Furthermore, the Rolex designs are way more stunning.
Still, everything depends on your priorities and tastes. After all, these are only our opinions; some people still find Bulova’s color themes and designs to be better than Rolex’s.
Bulova Marine Star versus. Rolex Submariners
Bulova Marine Star: Better design
Submariners: Better practical functions/time-reading
The similarities in their titles (both include the term “marine”) prompt us to put them against each other. Both are iconic models of their respective brands, but are there clear cuts between the two’s performances?
Like the two previous comparisons, it’s hard to say. From an aesthetic viewpoint, Rolex Submariners take the crown (are we even surprised?) But Bulova Marine is the better investment in terms of practical functions. Some prestige might no longer be available to you if you choose Marine over Submariner, but other than that, everything else works fine.
Bulova Day Date versus Rolex President
|Bulova Day-Date||Rolex President|
In all the three previous face-offs, Bulova is always a few steps behind Rolex regarding luxurious designs. How about one model that’s on par with Rolex watches this time? That’s why Day-Date is the perfect candidate for the round.
Like Rolex President, Bulova Day-Date also has transparent day windows (on the top) and date windows (at 3 o’clock angles). Its case size is about 39 mm (not much different from Rolex’s 40 mm), accompanied by thin profiles and elegant strokes. Aside from the lack of cyclops and different bracelet styles, Day-Date is the perfect Rolex President replica!
Final Verdict: Which One Suits You Better?
Bulova is the obvious go-to for those who strongly dislike Rolex’s inaccurate time readings. But if designs are more of your concern, let’s say it’s a tie. Some variations are still there (after all, there’s no way the two are 100% identical), but most people do not mind them much.
Bulova Silver Man versus. Rolex Sky-Dweller
|Bulova Silver Man||Rolex Sky-Dweller|
|Color||Deep blue||White and gold|
|Material||Stainless steel, glass||Crystal, gold|
Tired of seeing Rolex watches with mechanical movements only? Then you will like this fresh bout of changes by Rolex Sky-Dweller! It’s among the rare Rolex models that need no manual rewinding, which puts it on par with most Bulova watches.
Contrary to what we initially thought, many of their measurements are similar. For instance, Silver Man’s case widths and lengths are about 45 mm (not that different from Sky-Dweller’s 42 mm), accompanied by 27 mm wrist circumferences. Both models are neither too bulky nor too small – eye-catchy enough without being too “in the face.”
But otherwise, the color themes and designs once again differ. Bulova Skyman enjoys a deep turquoise theme that mostly suits men – as its name suggests. On the other hand, Sky-dweller’s elegant mixture of white and gold can work well on both adult men and women.
Furthermore, the materials set the two further apart from each other. Our Bulova watches adopt straps and bands made of stainless steel – which are durable and high-quality, sure, but by no means luxurious. Meanwhile, Rolex wows its loyal fans again with ever-rose gold and sapphire crystal; the product weighs slightly more than Bulova but not to the point that your wrist will sting.
Final Verdict: Which One Suits You Best?
The usual: Rolex is for styles and class, and Bulova is for practical functions and simplicity.
Bulova Classic 96A187 versus Rolex Daytona
|Bulova Classic||Rolex Daytona|
|Design||Vintage with a dash of rebelliousness||Modern and elegant|
|Water resistance||90 meters||100 meters|
Both are considered the classic models of each respective brand.
However, 96A187 enjoys a more vintage look than Daytona due to the installment of big minute/second hands and curving Roman numbers. On another note, the transparent mineral glass at the back lets you see how the cogs work from another side, giving the model quite a rebellious feel.
Hence, formal occasions and parties might not suit it much; we suggest wearing these watches at something more informal and casual.
On the other hand, Daytona is slightly better in terms of designs, boasting a sleek combination of silver and black. The black ceramic and bezel are combined to give it a more elegant, charming look despite the slightly bulky size.
And unlike 96A187, we must lend its water-resistance limits some applause: the watch can stay intact under 100 meters/330 feet of water at maximum. What an impressive feat for a classic model!
As if that weren’t enough, Daytona also arrives with beautifully-layered oyster steel, strengthening the product’s immunity to scratches, dirt, and grime. No wonder these watches can last for a decade and even more; Bulova certainly doesn’t have that!
Final Verdict: Which One Suits You Best?
This time, the victory leans into Rolex Daytona – if you can afford it. Both its aesthetics and functionalities are noteworthy. While Bulova isn’t really in competition, it is still not a half-bad option – especially considering the much lower cost.
Are Bulova Watches As Good As Rolex?
Some will immediately say that Rolex is better; design-wise, we must agree. Bulova is well-praised for unique color themes and patterns, but they are still no match against Rolex’s stunning and powerful designs that scream first classes. For those who want fashionable items for a bit of money-flexing, we cannot find any option better than Rolex.
But Bulova is considered a “luxury” brand for a reason. Despite being much cheaper than Rolex, their watches are still pricier than the market’s average, enough to be considered classy. And unlike Rolex, most of their models do not neglect practicality, using automatic quartz movements to tell the time accurately anywhere you go!
So the ultimate answer boils down to your preferences and priorities. Have you had a solution in mind yet?
Is Bulova A Luxury Brand?
Yes – as we just mentioned. These watches are nowhere near Rolex’s prices (which could rack up to hundreds of thousands of dollars!) but still too costly to be passed as “regular/mainstream” products.
What Are Some High-Quality Rolex Alternatives?
Do you want to look good in front of your friends but have no money for it? No worries; some alternatives listed here may do:
- Citizen NJ0100
- Seiko SGF206
- Timex Marlin
- Burei Automatic
- Laurier Hyperion
- Gucci Dive
- Orient Kamasu
Is a Rolex Watch Worth Buying?
Rolex’s long-standing reputation after decades is living proof of its quality, so our answer is Yes.
But if purchasing it puts you in dangerous financial situations, please reconsider. The pleasure from a few praises like “Wow!” and “You look good!” will not linger long, anyway.
Bulova vs Rolex: Which is the winner?
Some go for a Bulova watch thanks to the economical price, and others claim Rolex timepieces are their favorites. What matters most is how their designs and functions suit you and your everyday requirements.
So consider your needs (and the budgets, too!) carefully before making any purchase decision. If further advice and support are called for, please get in touch with us. Follow for more informative posts!
- “Bulova history.” Zippia.
- “Rolex History: 1905-1919 – early years.” Rolex
- Maria Juvakka. “Is Bulova a luxury brand? Here is what you need to know.” Chicpursuit. 9 December 2022.
- “Top 13 best Bulova watches.” Millenary Watches.
- “Top 12 most popular Rolex watches.” Chrono Hunter. 25 March 2020.
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.