Bulvolva is an established, well-known watch company that can trace its roots back to the 1800s. While Bulova is a prolific watch brand, some collectors may wonder how valuable their watches are. Do Bulova watches hold their value?
Bulova watches generally depreciate by about 5-10% annually over five-year time span. After that, they tend to stabilize. Bulova mass-produces most of its watches, leading to a high supply. Most Bulova watches have more supply than demand.
This article considers the history of Bulova watches and the factors which impact their value. It also examined some of the most valuable and least valuable Bulova watches. This article will give you a holistic understanding of the value of Bulova watches.
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What Factors Affect a Bulova Watch’s Value?
There are a lot of factors that ultimately determine the value of a watch.
Some factors include the watch’s age, the material it’s made with, and whether it has any precious stones. The watch will be more valuable if it is a limited edition or has historical value. The condition of the watch can also impact its value.
Here is some more information about each of these factors.
Age of the Watch
Typically, the older the watch, the more its value. This is because many of the watches Bulova originally produced are not being produced today, making these models rare and, in some cases, a collector’s item.
It mostly comes down to supply and demand. It’s an age-old law that always rears its head.
The supply will be much lower when a watch is no longer produced. However, the demand is still there. With high demand and a lower supply, you’ll often land on the same conclusion; an increase in value.
Watch models are released and discontinued all the time, and so is the case with Bulova.
Material of the Watch
Some Bulova watches are made with rare materials and semi-precious stones. For instance, some of the Ladies’ Sports Models produced in the 1900s are set with colored enamel. This adds value to the watch, making it more precious and aesthetic.
However, most Bulova watches are made with high-quality materials, but not necessarily high-end ones. Precious metals like gold, titanium, or even diamonds, are reserved for a couple of high-end Bulova models.
With the inclusion of these high-end, luxurious materials, your watch has an easier time retaining its value.
Gold already has an intrinsic value, which almost functions as a safety net.
But since most Bulova watches don’t include any of these luxurious materials, they also don’t help with value retention.
Limited Edition/Historical Value
While most Bulova models continue to be mass-produced, a select few are limited editions like the Bulova Lunar Pilot, the Joseph Bulova Collection Multi-Color Gold Watch, and the Precisionist X Limited Edition.
With a limited edition, we once again refer back to the law of supply and demand. The supply of a limited edition watch is not high (hence the name), while the demand is there.
In fact, studies have shown that people are more drawn to limited editions because they are, well, limited.
But that means that there’s a higher demand and a lower supply. Naturally, this leads to better value retention and, in some cases, value appreciation.
A Bulova watch worn by a significant personality may also be extremely valuable. In the mid-1900s, the US president gave Bulova watches as gifts to dignitaries and his foreign counterparts. In today’s market, these watches are extremely valuable.
For instance, in 2015, a Bulova Chronograph worn by Dave Scott, an astronaut, on a moon visit sold for $1.6 million.
These are, of course, a rare few cases.
Condition of the Watch
A watch is more likely to hold its value if it’s in good condition. And while this isn’t really a factor contributing to whether or not a watch holds its value in the first place, it is extremely important when you’re actually valuing your timepiece.
For example, if there is extensive damage and repairs needed on a watch, it’s more likely to sell for less than the market-decided value.
Say you own a Bulova Precisionist watch, bought for $700 retail.
The second-hand market price is $300. If your watch is in good condition, you’ll be able to sell it for $300. But if the watch is in dire need of repair, you may only get $200 for it.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that your watch is guaranteed to hold its value once you keep it in good condition; the other factors I’ve already mentioned are still important!
Value of Different Bulova Watches Over Time
Despite its illustrious history, most standard Bulova watches are not worth more than $250. This is because most watches were and continue to be mass-produced, diminishing their value and ability to appreciate.
However, some Bulova models have been made in limited quantities or with luxury materials. These models do hold their value, but many are still unlikely to appreciate over time. Some valuable models include the Rubaiyat and the Precisionist X Limited Edition.
Bulova Stainless Steel Surveyor Watch
This is one of the cheaper watches that you can buy for approximately $350. Because of its low price, most people don’t bother reselling their Stainless Steel Surveyor watches.
If you keep the watch in impeccable condition, you might be able to resell it for the same price or slightly lower. But to be realistic, you should expect to sell it for less than what you bought it for.
The value of a stainless steel surveyor watch likely wouldn’t increase due to the high supply of these watches.
Bulova Precisionist Watch
Even though the Precisionist is a more high-end Bulova watch, it doesn’t seem to hold its value over time. If you look at the Bulova website, you can find Precisionist watches starting at around $700. But if you look at second-hand ones, they’re being sold for as little as $300 (as of 2022).
So, it’s unlikely that a Precisionist watch will hold its value.
Bulova Futuro Gold Diamond Watch
This Bulova watch sells for around $380 if you search for it on Google or the official Bulova website.
However, you can find it on second-hand websites for approximately $300. Therefore, this is yet another Bulova watch that doesn’t seem to hold its value over time.
Bulova Watch Value: The Most Valuable Watches
Some of the most valuable Bulova Watches include the Rubaiyat, the Precisionist X Limited Edition, and the Bulova Lunar Pilot. The Joseph Bulova Collection First Edition Watch is also extremely valuable as only a few versions of the model have been created.
These watch models are explored in further detail below.
Joseph Bulova Collection First Edition 24-Karat Gold Watch
Valued at approximately $24,000, this is the most expensive model that Bulvolva has ever produced. It is made with 24 karat gold and has been made using a proprietary manufacturing process.
Only 32 pieces of this model have been made, making these watches extremely rare. At present, there are no pieces available for sale.
Bulova Lunar Pilot
The Bulova Lunar Pilot is a special edition watch with a nylon strap, a stainless steel case, and a non-reflective built-in sapphire crystal. It has multiple faces and tracks time along with speed.
You can expect to pay approximately $600 for this model (new). However, you can find one for as little as $400 second-hand. So even though it’s a special edition, it still tends to depreciate over time.
The Rubaiyat is a model that has been designed especially for women. It has a white ceramic and stainless steel case with diamond inserts. It also has silver and gold dials.
The Rubaiyat can cost as much as $300 – $1000, depending on its features.
The most expensive Rubaiyat can cost as much as $4875. This high price is mainly because of the 386 hand-placed diamonds. The watch’s face is also covered by a dome-shaped sapphire crystal, a high-end watch glass material.
On the second-hand market, they still tend to be sold for a lower price. Expect this timepiece to depreciate about 20%.
Should You Buy A Bulova Watch Second Hand?
Since Bulova watches tend to depreciate, buying one second-hand allows you to save the difference. Most Bulova watches lose 30-40% off their value after around 5-10 years, which you can count as a 30-40% discount.
Buying a depreciating watch second-hand is practically the same as buying a watch at a discount.
If you’re looking to buy an older model that has already gone through its depreciation stages, it’s worthwhile to give the second-hand market a look.
While most Bulova watches aren’t that expensive to begin with, you’ll still save a nice chunk of money.
Here’s a chart of the value depreciation of several Bulova watches:
When buying second-hand, you do need to watch out for counterfeits. Luckily, in Bulova’s case, there rarely are any counterfeits, so this won’t be a huge issue. This is more of a problem for high-end luxury watches.
In any case, it never hurts to check:
- You can run the serial numbers and see if the watch is authentic.
- You can take your Bulova watch to an authorized Bulova dealership and ask them to check the movement. Counterfeit Bulova’s have cheaply made movements, and a Bulova dealership will easily spot whether or not it’s a counterfeit.
- If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
While Bulova watches are exceptionally well-made and durable, they may not appreciate value over time. As most of the watches were and are mass-produced, they can’t be resold for a significant amount.
If you are looking at a watch as an investment, you may want to consider another brand. Or, look for a Bulova watch that has been owned by someone significant or has been produced in limited quantities.