9.4.2023 | 6 MIN
One of the most beautiful things in the world of watches is the ability to innovate and surprise in often very established and conservative trends. Manufacturers are outdoing themselves in originality, completely unique ideas are being created and the discerning customer is reveling. The result of a similar symbiosis is the very specific Bulova Curv Classic collection. How do such watches work, how do they wear and can they attract attention? I've been following the collection closely practically since its inception, so we'll explore all that and more in the following review.
The patent for the curved, or if you prefer, rounded quartz movement was first introduced by Bulova in 2016. It is therefore a so to speak unheralded novelty with a rather strong "wow" effect and hand on heart, the curved design of the CURV series is a real attention magnet!
At first glance, any curious admirer will wonder whether this is not just a kind of optical illusion or a light refraction caused by the skillfully cut glass. Almost everything is rounded on the surface and inside the watch, including the movement itself. The unusual radius is literally mesmerizing, and if you're looking for a watch that everyone will praise for its unique design, rest assured that there's no reason to delay your purchase any longer.
Bulova does not skimp on noble polished steel (watch out for fine scratches), which can be found in abundance on the case and bracelet. If we add to this the sapphire glass, again curved (even doubly), we decorate the wrist not only with a high-quality watch, but also with designer jewelry.
The 22 mm wide bracelet in the place of spring bar can be considered the epitome of classic. The straight steel parts with alternating shiny and brushed surfaces honour minimalism and do not expect special features on the bracelet. It's precision crafted and the individual parts fit together without the slightest play, which means the bracelet doesn't drag and you're practically unaware of the watch all day long.
The butterfly clasp works perfectly, but it must be added that I am one of those who simply cannot get used to this type of closure. The micro-regulation on the buckle is missing, but the Bulova logo, which is very attractive and decently placed, pleases here. Much more prestigious brands and their models could be inspired by similar processing.
The watch looks quite massive, thanks to the case, which is 43 mm wide and 48 mm long. However, these dimensions are nicely matched by the sympathetic thickness of the case of 9 mm and the acceptable weight of the watch. Although the documentation states 179 g, my wrist is narrow, the strap has been through a diet and the weight has stopped at 150 g.
The case fits my hands more perfectly than an Iron Man suit thanks to the curves, and I can safely say that I have not known a more pleasant experience in the realm of watches. The watch fits so naturally that you'll occasionally have to convince yourself that it's still on your hand, and I wouldn't be afraid to call it almost a second skin.
The right side of the case is dominated by two protected pushers used to control the chronograph, and a crown that is quite comparable in size to both pushers. It differs in the signing of the Bulova logo on the front and also in the different knurling. While the knurling evokes the threaded lock typical of diver's watches, here it is merely a visual element.
The crown has only one position – a pull to stop the movement and set the time, which also reveals a minor handicap in the absence of a date window.
The Curv Classic collection includes several colour options, I had the 96A185 version. The dial, with its hints of sunburst effect, does not deny the sporty spirit, and the colour combination of the blue, sometimes almost black base contrasting with the silver-red hands and indices is exciting.
All this is enhanced by the three distinctive silver-lined chronograph subdials, with a tiny red seconds hand in the lower one. The indices are marked with non-typographical parts, and the fabulous minimalist Bulova logo has been tastefully incorporated by the manufacturer into the position of the twelve.
Looking at the beautiful dial, I would only criticise the aforementioned sapphire crystal, specifically its anti-reflective layer, which did not convince me of its functionality. I often had a problem with legibility at "first glance" in the interior, the dial was quite shiny. This is not anything significantly distracting, but in the context of an objective evaluation it would be unfair not to mention this fact.
My minor criticism gets the major hands. When I look at them, I can't help feeling slightly uncomfortable because they look a bit cheap. The empty surfaces inside strike me as lacking luminescence, yet this is where the watch has an amazing luminescence – bright and subtle at the same time, with beautiful colouring and surprisingly long endurance.
Illumination was given not only to the hands but also to the indices at five-minute intervals. Perhaps it is just my subjective impression influenced by my aesthetic sense, but I am convinced that a more massive design would have suited the watch much better. On the other hand, I have to praise the fantastic detail in the form of the curved minute hand, whose tip perfectly follows the radius of the dial – the workmanship is a joy to look at!
On the dial, there is a small but significant piece of information that Bulova is happy and rightly proud of: 262 kHz, telling us the frequency of the quartz movement that the watchmakers chose to power the Curv Classic Chronograph. The chosen one is the NR20-Y1C movement, originating from the land of the rising sun, renowned for its precision.
Bulova speaks fondly and often of this treat, and no wonder. The documentation states that the movement is up to 8x more accurate than its regular competitors with a crystal under the hood, and in a year you'll deviate from accurate time by a whopping 10 seconds! And the reality? Confirmed. Over the entire time, the watch was wrong by just one second and practically at the very end of the testing.
The case back of the watch is... wait for it... the case back of the watch doesn't actually exist! The rounded construction forced the designers to a completely different and, to be honest, not very often seen solution: at the bottom of the case there are four small screws, after loosening which the whole upper part with the dial, buttons and crown slides out, and the bottom part forms a kind of "bed" of the movement, to which the bracelet is directly attached.
I probably won't surprise anyone too much if I reveal that on the bottom of the case you will find, besides the logo, a lot of information about the watch and the materials used. Let's focus on the information not yet mentioned, namely water resistance, which Bulova guarantees to a depth of 30 meters. The watch can therefore keep you company, for example, on walks in the rain.
Bulova Curv Classic Chronograph watches have left a number of very positive impressions and emotions in me. Perfectionists or detailers will certainly find a few miniature flies on them, but most of them can be looked down upon with a calm heart.
The phenomenally rounded design, which Bulova has really pulled off, will bring its owner beautiful visual pleasure and will not get bored of it. The very comfortable wearing experience will be appreciated by everyone, but especially by those who hardly take the watch off their hands throughout the day.
All in all, we have here a clear favourite for the role of a perfectly accurate watch with an exceptional design and at the same time a great performance/price ratio and I can therefore highly recommend this model.