My followers should need no introduction to Bulova, one of the most well known watch manufacturers in the industry. Today, I’m reviewing their Chronograph A Ref 98A253 Surfboard Edition. This watch is a throwback to Bulova’s 1970s sports chronographs. Fans of the original gave it the nickname “Surfboard”, because of the surfboard-shaped oval on the dial. Bulova took that nickname and made it their own, and now they’re issuing a limited edition throwback that’s designed to look like the original 1971 timepiece.
Beautiful 1970s Case
To begin with, let’s take a look at the Surfboard Edition’s stainless steel case. It has a retro, extended shape that looks like it popped out of a time machine from the 1970s. It measures 40mm in diameter, and 16.7mm thick. Fans of my blog will know that I love a mid-sized watch, and the profile here is just what I like. It’s big enough to be easily readable, but it’s small enough to maintain a modest wrist presence. Whether you’re a man or a woman, you’ll find that it’s easy to wear without drawing too much attention.
The case is very well constructed, and Bulova clearly put some time and effort into the design. The lugs extend smoothly from the ends of the case, without any angles or curves. This makes them look like an organic part of the case, rather than an extension. Between the lugs, you’ll find a sturdy rubber strap. There are perforations near the watch case, which makes it breathable enough for most purposes. All in all, I found the fit very comfortable, and didn’t have any issues with it cutting into my skin or pinching.
On the right side of the case, you’ll find two pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock, along with a screw-down crown at 3 o’clock. This ensures that the crown won’t pull out and accidentally reset the time if it gets snagged. It also contributes to the Surfboard Edition’s impressive 200-meter (666-foot) water-resistance.
The crystal is curved, and slightly raised. Some curved crystals distort the dial, which defeats the purpose of owning a watch to begin with, but the Surfboard Edition strikes a good balance between style and function. The only time you’ll see any distortion is when you’re viewing the dial from an extreme angle. When you’re looking at it from any normal angle, you’ll be able to read the dial just fine.
Classic Surfboard Dial
The main attraction of the Surfboard Edition is the throwback dial, which has one of the most unique looks on the market. It’s available in four different patterns, with different colors and accents. All of them are attractive, but the one I received had the blue dial, so that’s the one I’m reviewing here. The main part of the dial is a deep sea blue, but the oval “surfboard” in the center is white. Inside of this surfboard, you’ll find the two complications. At 3 o’clock, there’s a 30-minute subdial, with fine black numerals and a high-visibility red hand. At 9 o’clock, there’s a running second hand, with similar numerals and hand.
The hour and minute hand are both wide and white, with a two-tone tip. The outer edges of the tip are bright red, while the center sports a slim lume stripe. The seconds hand is long and needle-shaped, with a bright red/orange finish that matches the red on the other hands and the subdials.
The 5-minute positions are marked by silver double-hashes, complete with lume stripes in the middle. There are no hashes at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions because of the subdials. Outside of the main dial, there’s a tachymeter ring that’s marked with fine white hashes and numerals. On lighter versions of the dial, these details are black rather than white.
Outside of the dial itself, you’ll see a blue and red Pepsi bezel. While the Surfboard Edition isn’t a true dive watch, this is a true dive-style bezel. It has a lume dot at the 12-o’clock position, wide white hashes at 5 o’clock positions, and finer hashes for single minutes. Arabic numerals denote the 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50-minute positions.
Inside of the Surfboard Edition, you’ll find a quartz Miyota Caliber 6S21 chronograph movement. Yes, not automatic for this specific model, although the creamed coloured dial version is automatic. At this price, it would have been nice to see a mechanical movement.
For more information on this watch or to view the entire Bulova line visit their official website here.