I’m writing this article with the Bulova Lunar Pilot Chronograph strapped to my left wrist. It was released in late 2015 to signify the start of the American-born brand’s Archive Series. As many red-blooded, flag-touting watch enthusiasts are aware, Bulova has a long history of being America’s premier watchmaker with a production history that goes back to 1875. And, although the brand has been owned by Japan’s Citizen Group since 2008, this history remains intact and many stateside collectors retain a soft spot in their horological habit for the company.
The Archive Series is the main way in which Bulova has retained this goodwill, and its success among watch enthusiasts is an indicator of the brand’s overall health in the marketplace. Following the Lunar Moonwatch was the Stars and Stripes Chronograph C, and last year’s successful Devil Diver relaunch. Joining these models today is the Bulova Computron LED, a digital timekeeper that ties directly into the brand’s past.
As electronic watches and quartz watches began growing in popularity throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, Bulova continued to forge ahead with innovations such as the Accutron Quartz, the first quartz-crystal watch sold in the USA. Shortly, Bulova catered to the era’s growing demand for digital timekeepers by adding a line of Accuquartz watches with digital LCD time displays, and eventually, the all-digital Computron LED, with its very unconventional and (at the time) somewhat futuristic trapezoidal case with LED display on the side.
This style is often called a “drivers’ watch” because its layout enables a driver to check the time without moving his wrist from the steering wheel; in the case of the Computron, the angled time display — the wearer would press the command button once for the time, and again for the date — also addressed the problem of glare from direct sunlight impairing the visibility on an LED watch.
While the design remains authentic to the time it was introduced, Bulova has added a bit of complexity with the addition of a dual time zone that can be seen through a push of the button on the right side of the case as well month/date/day indicator.
Three versions of the Computron LED will be making their way to stores in either an all-gold plated case with a matching bracelet and a red LED display ($395), Black IP with a rubber strap and a blue LED display ($295), and a stainless steel version with a blue LED display ($295).