Bulova is one of my favorite low to mid range watchmakers because of their beautiful watch designs. And this Bulova Automatic Watch BVA Series 96A108 is not an exception either. This watch is actually an old design by Bulova and has been in the market since 2009. How do I know its an old design? Since 2014, Bulova has announced that it will stop putting the tuning fork logo on their watches except for their Accutron II line. We’ll get more to that bit after this. Now, let’s get on to the review of the Bulova Automatic Watch BVA Series 96A108.
Bulova Automatic Watch BVA Series 96A108 Specification
Diameter: 42 mm
Thickness: 13 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Case: Stainless steel case
Strap: Brown leather strap with butterfly clasp
Dial: Brown dial with textured design
Dial Window: Domed mineral crystal
Hand: Sword shaped hands with lume
Markers: Index markers with lume
Movement: Citizen Miyota 82S0 movement with 21 jewels.
Movement Features: 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second. Automatic self-wind and manual winding. Non-hacking movement
Accuracy: -20 to +40 seconds per day
Power Reserve: 40 hours
Water Resistance: 30 m or 99 ft
Other Features: Exhibition caseback, skeleton dial with aperture showing balance wheel
Best Place To Buy: Amazon for $380
Beautiful Brown Watch With Textured Dial
The Bulova Automatic Watch BVA Series 96A108 is a very beautiful watch from the first glance. The dial design is eye-catching without a doubt. It has a brown dial, with textured pattern on the outer edge of the dial. This is fabulous and is multiplied with the shining dial that reflects light when viewed from different angles. It’s just so stunning to look at. On the dial are index markers with a little bit of lume at the end of them. The lume is too small and not that bright to actually make the watch usable in the dark. The sword shaped hands also has that bit of lume applied on them.
The case has a diameter of 42 mm which is just nice on any man’s hand. It is a bit thick, at 13 mm though. The lug width is a 22 mm which means it is very easy to find a suitable replacement strap – though I don’t think you would want to do that. I believe the brown leather strap complements the brown dial beautifully.
You can see the layered lug construction and the signed crown of the Bulova 96A108. Notice also how the lug curved down to better hold our wrists
One thing that I really like about the watch is how Bulova put some nice details in it. We can see the crown is signed by its logo. Bulova also put the logo at the 12 o’clock position, replacing the index marker there. The lug and case is made to have a multi-layered construction, which is really cool to look at. You can also notice how the barely there crown guard just emerged a bit from the case. The lugs also is a bit sloped down to hug the wrist better. All in all, the watch is beautifully constructed with high quality finishing that you would be surprised to be there at this price range.
Aperture And Exhibition Caseback Flaunting The Movement
The Bulova 96A108 also has two unique features: the aperture on the dial and exhibition caseback on its behind. These two features will give the owner a glimpse on the Miyota movement inside (more on the movement later on). The aperture on the dial is to show the balance wheel of the movement. The balance wheel is a mechanism that is used to keep the time of an automatic/mechanical watch movement. You can read more about the balance wheel and other mechanisms in my article about watch movement here .
The exhibition caseback can be seen from here showing the Citizen Miyota 82S0 movement. The strap is hold in place via butterfly clasp which will make extend the life of the leather strap compared to normal pin buckle.
Powered By Citizen Miyota 82S0 Movement
The exhibition caseback of the Bulova 96A108 will show the Citizen Miyota 82S0 from the back. The movement is constructed using 21 jewels, and vibrates at 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second. It is automatic self-wind with manual winding function. Its a bit of a shame that the movement cannot hack, that is the second hand will not stop when the watch’s time is being set. We won’t be able to set the time to the 0.00 seconds due to this and some people will be very upset about it. But for me, an automatic watch will gain or lose time after all. Not being able to precisely set the time on the dot is no big deal.
The japanese movement has a -20 or +40 seconds per day accuracy. Take note that this is the maximum accuracy published by Miyota on their movement specification. Most reviews of the watch reported a gain/loss of about 10 seconds per day, which is not bad actually. A one thing that will really make the watch accurate is to wind it everyday. By manual winding it via rotating the crown, the mainspring is getting charged to full and this will improve an automatic watch’s accuracy. The movement also has a 40 hours power reserve – about 1 and 1/2 day.
You can read more about the Citizen Miyota 82S0 movement specification here.
The original Bulova Accutron from 1960s. The tuning fork that regulate the movement of the watch can clearly be seen in the right watch.
Bulova And Tuning Fork Logo : A History Of Electronic Watch
As mentioned earlier, the Bulova’s famous tuning fork logo won’t be featured in its model except for its Accutron II and some special watches like the Curv model (which is very cool with its curvy casing. You really should check it out!). So all their automatic and normal quartz watches will not have this logo on its dial. You can see the Bulova 96A135 that does not have the logo in my review here.
The official announcement from Bulova is that the logo is very important as it signifies the first electronic watch (the Accutron watches) in the world made by Bulova in 1960. At that time (even before the quartz watch was invented) Bulova uses a tuning fork as its timekeeping device. As electricity runs through the fork, it will vibrate and this vibration is used to control the accuracy of the watch. This is the history of where the tuning fork logo comes. It’s actually kinda like a quartz movement, where the quartz is the vibrating tool. Accutron soon loses to quartz due to the superior accuracy and its cheaper price.
Bulova’s top of the line watches: Bulova Accutron II (left) and Bulova Curv (right). Both has the state of the art high frequency quartz movement that produces unrivalled accuracy even among quartz watches. Another unique feature is the very fluid sweeping hand motion that can best even the most fast-beating mechanical movements.
They continue to announce that Bulova decided to put the tuning fork logo only to its Accutron II watches to keep true to tradition. I really find this amusing because the Accutron II is a quartz watch! Although Bulova markets it as a very high precision quartz watch with sweeping second hand but the fact is the Accutron II is a quartz watch. The fact that they are putting their sacred tuning fork logo on a quartz watch that had beaten them 5 decades ago is very very amusing indeed.
My view is Bulova recognized how unique and distinctive the tuning fork logo is so they decided to make it premium and only features it on their most expensive watches. The keeping true to tradition does not make sense to me at all. It’s a shame actually as the logo is very unique and really looks great at the 12 o’clock marker position. This decision has really reduced the attractiveness of their newer automatic models and I really hope that Bulova will reconsider this in future.
A short video showing the Bulova 96A108 up close
Bulova Automatic Watch BVA Series 96A108 Pros And Cons
Below are the advantages and disadvantages of the Bulova Automatic 96A108 as stated above:
1- Beautiful brown colored watch with textured dial design. The brown leather strap perfectly complements it.
2- Fine details such as layered lug design, signed crown and textured dial are very nice touch for a low-mid range watch
3- Exhibition caseback and aperture on dial give lots of look into the internal movement
4- One of the older designs of Bulova with its famous fork logo at 12 o’clock
1- A non-hacking movement is a big minus considering its price.
2- Mineral crystal on a domed dial window is not the best design decision as it will get scratched easily
3- No date or day display
4- Weak lume applied on the hands and markers
Bulova Automatic Watch BVA Series 96A108 is a beautifully designed and crafted automatic watch. The brown dial and leather strap is very unique and different than the usual black or silver white dial of watches nowadays. The addition of an aperture showing the balance wheel is very welcomed and has added a very nice touch to the dial. Not only that, I really love the detail on the lugs and the textured dial. With a price of $380, this is a very affordable watch for the high level of quality it is offering.
I’m sure Bulova almost certainly stopped the production of the Bulova Automatic Watch BVA Series 96A108. But luckily, the watch can still be bought at Amazon for $380. If you really like the watch and the distinctive tuning fork logo, you better get it right now! Click the link below to check out the watch on Amazon.