Bulova has partnered with publisher Assouline on a new book that chronicles the enduring American watch brand from its founding in the Gilded Age to present-day New York City.
Bulova: A History of Firsts recounts the multigenerational company story that began with founder Joseph Bulova, an industrialist who cultivated an organizational culture fueled by innovation.
Bulova’s firsts are numerous. The company’s founder thrived on pushing the envelope.
In 1927, he set up an observatory on the roof of an NYC skyscraper to precisely determine universal time. The company also produced the first advertisement broadcast on radio in 1926, according to Wikipedia ; the ad announced, “At the tone, it’s eight o’clock, Bulova Watch Time,” and was heard by millions.
In the 1940s, the company debuted its four-sided sports timer, an analog game clock that was used by the NHL and NBA at the time (the last one was taken out of service in Chicago in 1976, replaced by the now-standard digital clock).
The company produced the first full range of men’s watches and also placed the first-ever U.S. TV ad, which ran on July 1, 1941, the first day that commercial advertising was aired on TV.
Some of Bulova’s most pioneering ads are included in the book, including a 1974 print ad that showed two clasped hands—one clearly female, one definitely male—wearing Bulova Accutron watches. Emblazoned over the photo are the words: “Equal Pay. Equal Time.” It ran at a time, much like today, when women and men were vocal in their support of equal rights (the Equal Rights Amendment passed both houses of Congress in 1972).
Bulova ad from 1974 (courtesy of Bulova)
Bulova: A History of Firsts, which will sell for $175 on Amazon when it’s released next month, includes essays by well-known style writers David Coggins, Matthew Hranek, and Kate Betts; music-industry legend Nile Rodgers; advertising journalist Stuart Elliott; horology authority Jack Forste; and more—all edited by luxury writer and historian Aaron Sigmond.
Bulova was founded in 1875 and was sold to Citizen in 2007. It’s headquartered in New York City, with eight international offices and distribution in 65 markets. The company’s portfolio of brands includes Bulova, Caravelle, Wittnauer watches, licensed Harley-Davidson Timepieces by Bulova watches, Frank Lloyd Wright Collection watches and clocks, and Bulova Clocks.
(Top image: The cover of the Bulova: A History of Firsts, courtesy of Bulova)