When you’re looking for a watch as cultured and cosmopolitan as the Big Apple itself, look no further than Bulova, the watchmakers with roots in New York City.
In this review we’re going to be looking at the Bulova 97B154. This piece is part of Bulova’s “Classic” collection, a line of watches emphasizing a tailor-made look and subtle, understated visual presence.
Will this be the right watch for you? Read on and decide if you like what you see.
The round case is stainless steel with a brushed, rose-gold finish. The case diameter is 39 mm, and it’s only 7.6 mm thick. Like most dress watches, it’s not huge, and that’s the point. This watch will slip easily and discreetly under a cuff without disrupting the lines of your dress shirt or jacket.
The dial window is ordinary mineral glass, which can be a negative if you prefer the security of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. The glass is, however, double-domed, meaning it is convex or “domed” on both sides. This increases the strength of the glass and may even reduce optical distortion. In any case, you won’t be wearing this watch to mow the lawn or refinish your floors, so scratches shouldn’t be much of a concern.
The Bulova 97B154 is also water-resistant to 30 meters, so it can withstand splashes or perhaps an unexpected rainstorm, but not a dip in the pool. Since this is not a dive watch, the crown is not a screw-down type, but you will find embossed on it the familiar Bulova tuning fork logo.
The movement is Japanese quartz, so you can be assured it will be accurate, although on a watch this luxurious it might be nice to be able to glance through an exhibition caseback and observe a mechanical rotor in motion. This caseback is opaque and offers nothing but the Bulova name and a reminder of the water resistance.
97B154 Case and Dial
The rose gold is a dignified choice for the case material—every bit as elegant as yellow gold or silver, but slightly more muted. It nicely complements the matte grey of the dial. The watch face itself is slightly convex, almost like an upside-down dinner plate. It’s a small touch, but the recessed circumference lends just the right amount of depth to an otherwise flat dial.
As you might expect from such a sophisticated timepiece, there are no Arabic numerals to be found on this dial. In fact, throughout Bulova’s entire classic line you’ll find nothing but stick indices and Roman numerals. There is only one exception, the 97A106, which features Arabic numerals all around, and frankly it looks a little strange. The 97B154 goes with applied stick indices—thicker double sticks at 12, 3, 6, and 9, and thinner single sticks for the rest.
Along the rim of the watch face are also high-contrast white dots to mark the hours and hash marks for the minutes. The Bulova name appears just under the twelve o’ clock position, and an aperture rimmed in rose gold displays the date at the three o’ clock position. If you’re wondering about the hands, those are, like the watch itself, slim and rose-colored. The minute and hour hands have a tapered, dagger-like quality.
The only design choice that is a bit questionable is the scarlet pinstriping that zeroes in on the center of the dial like a crosshair. It’s a nice third color, but why it is there at all is a mystery. You might like it, or you might find yourself wishing Bulova had left well enough alone with a plain grey dial.
First of all, you’ll want to know that the lugs are every bit as slender and delicate as the watch case. This may limit your choices if you intend to buy a different strap—wide and bulky will not work.
At any rate, it’s difficult to find fault with the stock strap, which is smooth-grain brown leather. The three-part combination of the rose-gold case, charcoal-grey dial, and chocolate-brown strap are a masterwork of color coordination. The strap truly completes the refined look of this watch. It features a three-piece buckle closure and, like the crown, shows off the Bulova tuning fork. The underside of the band is a lighter tan color.
Simple and elegant. That’s what you get with this watch. It does nothing but tell the time and date, and as far as we can tell it does not even have any luminescence. This is a handsome watch for special occasions, and if you buy it with that purpose in mind you probably won’t be disappointed. It is one of the mid-level pieces among Bulova’s Classic line—the more expensive ones have a similar aesthetic but come packed with complications. If you’re on the fence about the 97B154 but think you might like something just a shade different, you may want to take a look at the 97A126, 96A188, or 97A127. These are all comparable in price and have a similar look, just with different colors, bands, and other minute changes.
To check out other similar timepieces from Bulova, head over to their official website here.