In today’s post, I’m going to write about Bulova Marine Star review, a beautiful chronograph watch with diver’s watch look. What’s special about this watch? Well, for a start, it’s designed nicely and looks great with modern styling. Just look at that deep blue watch face… Hats off to Bulova’s design team for creating a very exquisite timepiece!
Marine Star 96B256 – Beautiful Oceanic Blue Dial
Since there is quite a number of Marine Star watches, I’ve chosen the most gorgeous of them all to review, the 96B256 model with blue metallic dial. The watch is a perfect combination of polished stainless steel case, “marine” blue dial with metallic sunburst effect, white markers/hand and orange accent on the smaller hands.
Despite the elegance of the watch, the Marine Star lineup is supposed to be the brand’s diver’s watch line – except that it’s not really a diver’s watch… More on that later on.. Let’s have a look at Bulova Marine Star review shall we.
“.. with dive-look details.” This means the Marine Star watches are not real diver’s watch, just a look-a-like. A real bummer to be honest but the watch sure looks damn good!
Bulova Marine Star Specification (96B256)
Diameter: 43 mm
Thickness: 13 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Case: Stainless steel case
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Dial: Blue metallic sunburst dial
Watch Crystal: Mineral crystal
Hands: Sword hands
Markers: Index markers with lume
Inner Dial: Rotating inner bezel with minute markings
Subdials: Running second hand (bottom), 1/10th second chronograph (right), 60-min chronograph measurement (left)
Movement: Bulova Quartz chronograph movement
Movement Features: 1/10th second chronograph function
Accuracy: +- 15 seconds per month
Power Reserve: 2-3 years
Water Resistance: 100 m / 330 feet
Other Features: 1/10th second chronograph, Date window, Rotating outer ring for dive measurement
Bulova Marine Star Manual: Click Here For Manual (Source-Bulova Website)
Best Place To Buy: Amazon. MSRP is $425
Diver’s Watch With Chronograph Subdials
This Marine Star is packed with diver’s watch look details. It has big index markers and sword hands for optimum visibility. On top of them, lume are applied exhaustively for usage in low light situations.
The biggest attraction is of course the marine blue dial, applied with a metallic sunburst effect on the watch face. I like blue, and I’m really smitten by this watch’s dial color. It just looks totally gorgeous!
The usage of white markers/hands and the orange accents (on the subdial hands, main seconds hand tip, date) really complement the blue dial beautifully. It’s like a work of arts!
Around the outer ring of the dial are minute markings that is can used to track diving time. This outer ring can be rotated by using the crown at top left (10 o’clock) position. I kinda like this outer ring design as it gives more dial area to wonder at that luxurious blue watch face. Not to mention the outer chapter ring is sloped from the dial to the crystal giving a nice 3-D effect.
It’s a really good looking watch. The oceanic blue metallic dial is very befitting of the “Marine Star” line up. The polished stainless steel case also make it more stylish
The 96B256 is a chronograph version of the Marine Star watches (there are also the normal watch version). It has 3 extra subdials: running second hand (bottom), 1/10th second chronograph (right) and 60-min chronograph measurement (left).
It really looks gorgeous and symmetry, save for the date window at bottom right (which is a great addition to function btw). Usage of the blue and white colors are just nicely done. With some orange colors sprinkled on it, the dial design looks perfect. It looks sleek, very sharp and modern.
No Minute Markings On The 60-Minute Subdial
The only thing that I’m not satisfied with the dial is the left subdial (60-min chronograph measurement). The markings on the subdial are for every 5 minutes which is not appropriate. I really wonder how can we actually figure out for certain how many minutes has the chronograph run since the markings are every 5 minutes? It should have a marker at every minute.
No minute markings on the 60-min chronograph subdial (9 o’clock position). A bad decision that reduces the practicality of the chronograph
I believe this is done for aesthetic reasons as putting a marking at each minute will make it look busier. Bulova also wants to make the 60-min subdial to be symmetry with the 1/10th seconds (both only have minimal markings on them). I concede it look great too.
But then what good does it do if we cannot accurately know how many minutes has passed with the chronograph? The minutes are the MOST important measurement. Most people only run their chronographs for a few minutes at a time. To not able to tell it accurately is a real flaw to a chronograph watch.
Finely Crafted Case
The polished stainless steel case really just make the Marine Star looks great. The 43 mm diameter case is not too big nor too small, a good size for many men’s wrist. It has a thickness of 13 mm which is just average for a chronograph. The lug width is 22 mm and attached to a stainless steel bracelet.
Look at how detail and fine the craftsmanship of the Bulova Marine Star case
Bulova certainly put lots of effort on the case. The case is crafted in such a way that it looks being cut by laser. The bezel sides are textured – there is no indication of cutting corners here. Just like the Bulova Precisionist, the brand really knows how to design a good case. Just like the dial, the stainless steel case also looks elegant and sharp.
No Screw Down Crown/Pusher
The first thing that I noticed is missing from this “diver’s watch” is the screw down crown and pushers. That’s when I figured out that this is not a real diver’s watch.
The thing is, the crown plus the 3 pushers/knobs are 4 highly critical area for water ingress into the watch. Not having screw down protection on all 4 of them is not that good for sure.
Since it has 100 m water resistance, I think we can use it for swimming (I’ve had a non-screw down watch too and used it for swimming for many times. No issue at all). But to use this watch for deeper dives? Nope. I don’t think that a wise thing to do.
Only Mineral Crystal?
Another thing I’m having trouble understanding is the mineral crystal that it has. Mineral crystal is not as scratch and impact resistant as sapphire (read this post on differences between watch crystal types).
But then Bulova listed this at $425 MSRP – perplexing since watches at that price point should always have sapphire instead of the much cheaper mineral crystal. Other brands (even the Swiss) would throw a sapphire for anything above $400.
Fortunately, this watch is also selling on Amazon for a much cheaper $220. If you guys want to buy the Marine Star, I’d suggest to get it from Amazon for cheaper and more sensibly price for the watch.
Bulova’s Quartz Movement – Chronograph With 1/10th Second
Inside the Bulova Marine Star is a quartz movement with chronograph. By using a quartz movement, Bulova is able to keep the profile of the watch thinner while also keeping the costs down.
Automatic chronographs are much more expensive with the cheapest ETA chronograph movement can be had at more than $500, but will it comes with lesser function and thicker profile.
In my opinion, a quartz chronograph is the way to go especially if you are limited on budget. Don’t get me wrong though. I’m still leaning heavily of automatic movements as I believe they are more sophisticated, have character and I just love those mechanical moving parts.
Quartz chronographs are the better choice in my honest opinion. More functions, more accurate and much cheaper than their automatic counterpart
But for chronographs, I’d prefer a quartz movement because it’s much more functional and can be designed to have lots of functions. And of of course it’s more friendly to our wallet =)
Just take a look at the Bulova Precisionist. It has a 1/1000th second chronograph with very beautiful gliding seconds hand action. Mind you, these are the kind of things can never be replicated by an automatic watch (only to my knowledge.. if there are automatic chronographs that can achieve those feats, I’m sure it will cost a bomb).
Another advantage of quartz movement is how accurate it is. A +-15 seconds per month accuracy is fairly typical for a quartz while an automatic can gain or lose that much in a day. The power reserve of this quartz is around 2-3 years, though it relies on how heavy the chronograph is being used.
Who Is The Bulova Marine Star For?
If you love blue, then this Marine Star 96B256 is the watch to get. It has that beautiful blue sunburst dial that’s very lovely to look at. Plus, the white and orange colors of the subdials/markers works beautifully with the blue dial for a gorgeous look on the dial.
If you love chronograph with modern style, this is the perfect watch for you. Its strength lies in the beautifully designed dial and detail case shape that’s just gonna attract attention of those that laid eyes on it =)
Who Should Not Get This Watch?
But if you want a real chronograph diver’s watch, then sadly this is not for you. Its lack in markings of the 60-min subdial measurement make it not a great or functional chronograph to use. Without screw down crowns and pushers, it’s not a really dependable diver’s watch either.
Some might disagree with me by saying a screw down is not needed for water resistance. That’s true as seals and gaskets can be placed around the crown/pusher stems inside the watch to avoid water ingress. But how long can this last? A screw down is the best solution for good and reliable water resistant watch – the one that diver’s need the most.
For the best chronograph watches, check out my compilation here
For a good diver’s watch, I’d suggest to check out the Seiko SKX007/SKX009 and SRP777 Turtle, two great diver’s watch with affordable price tags. The Seiko Monster is also a good choice, though it has an aggressive look that might not be everyone’s preference.
Watch this video by Bulova of the Marine Star watch
Pros And Cons
Below are the summary of pros and cons about this watch. Disclaimer: this is based solely on my opinion. If you guys disagree with me, kindly leave your comments down below. Let’s have a nice discussion about this =)
- Beautiful metallic sunburst blue dial
- Great chronograph with 1/10th seconds measurement
- Sleek and elegant watch perfect for sports or casual use
- Accurate quartz movement
- Mineral crystal can be easily scratched and not shatter-proof
- No screw down crown and pushers
- Not a “serious” diver’s watch
- 60-min chronograph measurement subdial only has markings at 5-min intervals
Want To Buy The Marine Star? Get It Cheapest On Amazon!
The MSRP of this Bulova Marine Star is about $425 (from Bulova’s website) but we can always get it cheapest from Amazon. Amazon currently lists this 96B256 model for just about $220, almost 50% less than the MSRP. Amazon also has other models of the Bulova Marine Star watches on the site that you can see. Click the link below to check it out!
Bulova has created a really beautiful watch in the Marine Star 96B256. It’s metallic blue sunburst dial gives the oceanic look to it, complementing the “Marine Star” name of the line up of watches. Having a diver’s watch and chronograph elements make the watch looks more busy, but elegant and modernly styled. As I’ve mentioned above, if you like blue, then this is the watch to get =)
I hope you guys enjoyed this article on Bulova Marine Star review. If you have any comments or feedback, just let me know.
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Till next time then.