Bulova and the military - the Hack
Many brands in the horological world have rich histories and backgrounds often discussed throughout enthusiast circles. Omega, Rolex, Rado, Tissot, and many brands make their history and achievements a large part of their brand identity to capture the hearts of all who discover their brand. There is one brand with such a rich history and many achievements that are often overlooked because it’s never really discussed from a brand level. From broadcasting across the airwaves to being a large part of a space mission, the brand in question is Bulova.
Many are unaware that Bulova was the first brand to feature advertisements on both radio and television from the mid-1920s to the early 1940s. On top of that, thanks to the release of the lunar pilot, many people are aware of Bulova’s history with NASA and their place on the wrist of David Scott on Apollo 15 when the crystal on his Omega Speedmaster failed, and Bulova’s large part of shaping the electric and quartz watch era with their releases of Accutron and Computron. Many achievements were swept under the rug, but the topic of today’s conversation is Bulova’s military history via the Hack watch.
The wristwatch was born out of convenience. During World War I, soldiers began noticing carrying a pocket watch was cumbersome, and they would start strapping their pocket watches to their wrists, prompting Joseph Bulova (who founded his company in 1875) to create parts for the production of wristwatches. By the beginning of World War II, the demand for military wristwatches was high. High demand called upon many brands to begin manufacturing wristwatches, and Bulova was one of many to take on such a salient task.
From this, Bulova would create their famous A-11 navigation watch, also called the “Hack.” The stipulations and criteria for the watches were precise to ensure they were the perfect tool for a soldier on the battlefield; the movement had to feature a 30-56 hour power reserve, be accurate to 30 seconds per day and have hacking functionality where the seconds hand would stop once the crown was pulled out for the most precise time possible for a soldier’s objectives and missions. These became genuine military tool watches and were deemed a significant part of a soldier's kit.
Fast forward to the present day, and the Hack is a watch still produced by Bulova featuring an updated movement and more excellent water resistance (200m). The case size has gone from 32mm with a 16mm lug width in the vintage version to a 38mm case with an 18mm width to fit modern watch trends and sizing. The Bulova Hack Watch is available through Canada Watch House. Click here for more information.