Bulova Marine Star flyback chronograph , Swiss. Made in the 1960s. Fine and rare stainless steel fly-back chronograph wristwatch with second, hour and 30 minute registers, bi-directional rotating bezel calibrated to 60 minutes.
Case: Three-body, polished and brushed, screwed-down case back engraved: "Bulova Marine Star Swiss made," graduated bi-directional revolving red and black bezel, lapidated lugs.
Dial: Black with luminous baton numerals, subsidiary seconds, hour and 30-minute register dials, outer 1/5th second track with 5-second Arabic markers. Luminous steel baton hands.
Movement: Calibre Valjoux 72, rhodium-plated, 17 jewels, straight-line lever escapement, monometallic balance, shock absorber, self-compensating flat balance spring, index regulator.
Diameter: 42.5mm thickness: 14mm
Bulova was founded in New York City by Joseph Bulova in 1875. The company was very successful producing and selling watches in the USA. In 1912 they expanded their production by establishing a manufacture in Bienne, Switzerland. The company expanded its reach throughout the 20th century from its headquarters in Flushing, New York, and was considered an icon of American watch production.
Bulova reached its pinnacle in the early 1960's with its production of the Accutron. In 1967 the company purchased Universal Geneve, but like its Swiss counterparts it fell a victim to the era of quartz. Today, Bulova is owned by Citizen.
The Bulova Marine Star is an intriguingly obscure model. Its case is very similar to the Zenith Italian Military CP-2, made for A. Cairelli, and they share some of the dial characteristics. A few variations of the Bulova Marine Star were produced over a 20 year period, of which these are the most significant:
- The most common: a two-counter chronograph with a black dial with Arabic numerals very similar to the Zenith Cairelli and with 10 stars at the lower part of the dial above the 6. The watch is fitted with a Valjoux 7731 chronograph. Production was made from the 1970's into the 1980's. The watch is rated to 50 meters.
- Less common: a three-counter Arabic numeral chronograph with a silver dial and red date between 4 and 5. Powered by a Valjoux 7740. Red stars below 12. Production was made from the 1980's until early 1990's. Rated to 50 meters.
- The rarest: a three-counter flyback chronograph fitted with a Valjoux 72 movement with a column wheel. The watch has a black bi-directional bezel with red 15-minute graduation. The 10 red stars are located below the signature at 12. The watch is rated to 50 meters.
This three-counter Marine Star was introduced in 1960 and was certainly manufactured for military use, although there are no government-issued Marine Stars currently known. The watch shares many elements with the Bulova worn by Astronaut Dave Scott on the surface of the moon during the Apollo XV mission. Scott's NASA-issued Omega Speedmaster failed sometimes during the mission, and instead he used his own Bulova chronograph fitted with a Valjoux 72 and with a similar dial configuration to the present watch. Scott's Bulova watch was sold at auction in 2015 for $1.6 million dollars. More details about the Dave Scott Moon Bulova can be found at Fratellowatches.
This Marine Star with its large sized case and legendary movement holds a unique appeal for many collectors: it is rare, unusual and still affordable. Buy it while you still can!