While hunting for details on another new Bulova release that we will be covering shortly, we seem to have fallen on early news that the brand is about to drop cover on yet another classic reissue—the Bulova Deep Sea Chronograph, AKA the ‘Surfboard’. These chronographs have been in the (relatively) affordable vintage collecting spotlight for a little over half a decade now, and given the brand’s newfound focus on reissues we have no doubt we’re looking at another home run here. In past guise these watches ticked a lot of boxes.
Aesthetically speaking these Bulova Surfboard Chronograph A reissues, like other recent Bulova offerings, will be very true-to-original with a few key differences to note. Sapphire crystals will replace acrylic, deployant clasps will replace pin buckles, and don’t be surprised that there won’t be any hand-wound mechanical calibers in the mix. The hero model will come as a limited edition automatic chronograph, using a Swiss movement of currently untold manufacture. This piece will be compact like its predecessor, measuring only 38.5mm in diameter. Given its movement choice, unfortunately it won’t be as slender as the old Bulova Surfboard. Instead it will measure 16.7mm in thickness. It will be limited to 200 pieces worldwide with a retail price of $2,950.
Now before you all have a collective freakout, there will be more affordable versions of the Bulova Surfboard Chronograph on offer. Three different models—all available on Tropic-style perforated rubber straps—will be fitted with quartz chronograph calibers. These will be a touch larger at 40.5mm in diameter, with their thickness trimmed down to 14.5mm. Also rated to 200m water resistance (same as the automatic), these pieces will be part of the brand’s standard offering, and priced at a much more modest $695.
Now, we know many of you will say that a near $3k ask is steep for for the automatic Bulova, but remember that this is a very similar situation to the Devil Diver reissue, where a more faithful vintage reissue model was launched with a Swiss movement and premium sticker price. Fact of the matter is that with only 200 pieces hitting the market, they won’t have much of an issue moving the pricy automatic chronographs, and many (myself included) will be quite satisfied sporting the more pocketbook-friendly quartz version. Much as I’d like to see a less expensive automatic, the only way to do that would involve cutting corners on the rest of the watch and/or going to something like a Seagull ST09 movement. Frankly I don’t see that as being the right move.
Officially this whole collection is planned to launch on March 16th, but at present it seems that the quartz versions are available via the Bulova website through their ecommerce ‘add to cart’ button. The automatic Bulova Surfboard Chronograph currently shows as out of stock. Alongside the Bulova Devil Diver that the brand reissued in 2019—a watch that I reviewed here and personally own—the Surfboard started surfacing via vintage resellers as the budget friendly alternative to more high-demand vintage chronographs out there.
In many respects this resurgence helped draw the brand back out of obscurity. In the late ’90s and early 2000s, when you thought Bulova, what most often came to mind was the brand’s large and flashy Marine Star pieces, and other quartz offerings you were likely to see in your local department store. Bulova’s leadership clearly saw this shift in the marketplace happening, and promptly jumped at the chance to start building reissues from their extensive archives. With so many brands playing in the ‘vintage inspired’ watch space, Bulova is one of very few with the history and heritage to do so with authenticity.
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