Making Waves: Bulova Is Bringing Back The Chronograph A ‘Surfboard’
Also known as the Surfboard, the Bulova Chronograph A is the sexy Seventies reissue that fans have been waiting for.
Bulova has been on an epic run of late. In the last four years, the famous American brand has found great success by reviving classic timepieces from its archives. Watches famous enough to warrant nicknames, like the “Stars and Stripes” and the “Devil Diver.”
The latest from the brand’s Archive Series is the reborn Chronograph A, aka the “Surfboard.” So named because its two sub-dials were connected by an oblong block of color.
And like the 2019 Oceanographer, aka “Devil Diver,” this remodel will be available in a more upscale limited edition followed by a mainstream (and less expensive) model.
Let’s dive into the details!
The Surfboard revival got its start with vintage collectors looking for a budget-friendly alternative to in-demand chronographs such as the Rolex Daytona or the Omega Speedmaster.
Produced in 1970 and 1971, the original Deep Sea Chronograph “Surfboard” featured a 17-jewel manual wind Bulova caliber 14EB, which is a faithful and robust Bulova branded Valjoux 7733 movement. But what makes it most appealing to vintage fans is its unabashed 1970s styling.
The 38mm case was a solid chunk of funk with a nice mix of shiny steel and gilt elements. Though, it was the silvery-white dial, with its graphic blue oval “surfboard” encircling the two chronograph registers, that made this model stand out. Other “Me Decade” design details include its applied steel bar-like, lume-filled markers and bold, white baton hands tipped with orange. At the time, it was rad. Over time, the look has aged well.
So far, Bulova has been pretty savvy with its revivals. To appeal to vintage fans, it is a fairly faithful reproduction of the 1970s Surfboard. Like its predecessor, the case size stayed small, measuring just 38.5mm in diameter. And of course, it retains the original’s silhouette and dial configuration. Although, the 2020 iteration has a beige dial.
There are a few upgrades, however, for those who like their retro brand new. The old Acrylic crystals, for example, were switched out for a domed sapphire. Also, the modernized strap uses a deployant clasp instead of a pin buckle. And for the limited edition, a self-winding, Swiss-made Sellita Caliber SW-510 BH b 5-hand movement, with a 48-hour power reserve, replaced the old manual wind calibers.
Each watch is presented in an exquisite wooden box with a plaque and numbered serial card. Limited to 350 pieces, it comes with a retail price of $2,950. This is roughly what you’d expect to pay for a vintage Surfboard, but with the advantage of a fancier movement. Plus, because it’s new, there’s less risk of potentially pricey servicing.
RIDING THE WAVES
Another reason that Bulova is most epic when it comes to reissues is that it also makes them accessible to buyers who are maybe testing the watch waters. This is why the brand has also introduced three quartz-powered Chronograph A models.
These beach babies are available on Tropic-style perforated rubber straps and have a water resistance of 200 meters (as does the automatic). The pieces join other non-limited models of the Computron, the Lunar Pilot, the Oceanographer Devil Diver, and the Chronograph C in the Bulova Archive Series. And they are democratically priced at $695.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)