The 2019 Bulova Computron Digital Led watch hands-on
The Design Week turns Milan into the world capital of design once a year although I believe that Milan and Italy are the leading destinations to all things related to design, all year round. Bulova, who fostered innovation with breakthrough technologies like the Accutron, or trend-setting timepieces that marked different periods after World War II, chose the Design Week to showcase one of his latest creations. Today the brand has found its own way once again, holding true to its long-standing tradition of being a highly creative and prolific brand, under the leadership of the Citizen Group.
In watchmaking, the re-issue exercise is popular these days and a mean to re-affirm a brand's leadership in innovation or a collection that has become a style icon. The Bulova Computron belongs to the second category, it does not feature technology as advanced as a 262kHz Bulova, but it marked an era, the 70s. What better occasion other than the Design Week to display the renewed Bulova Computron, after the launch at Baselworld 2019? The Computron thus expands the Archive Series collection, that includes, amongst others, sweet timepieces like the Bulova Oceanographer Devil Diver, one of Bulova's most recent commercial successes.
I was less than ten years old at the end of the seventies, I therefore hardly realize why LED watches were so successful back then unless I spent some time talking to enthusiasts and collectors alike who are older than me. A quick investigation that I made, regarding LED watches sold through vintage markets, proves that Bulova LED watches are considerably sought after, and the Computron is a top seller, despite (or thanks to, perhaps) its odd case shape.
The unusual and futuristic box-shaped case was designed to easily allow the wearer to check the time at first sight, while driving, for example. The style somewhat reminds me of a Daft Punk's helmet's design (the first bracelet link reminds me of the Jeep logo too) and is no surprise given the seventies and the electronic revolution profoundly inspired the French duo. A single push-button, placed in the middle of the right case side, allows you to activate and deactivate the screen. However, don't try and compare a Bulova Computron to a modern digital multifunction watch; it is unfair.
Bulova aimed at creating a re-issue as faithful as possible to the original one and not any modern multi-function digital LED watch. Despite that, the Computron's LED display allows you to view hours and minutes, seconds, date, day of the week, and dual time zone, precisely in this sequence. Bulova introduced three model variations: two are in steel, one of them sporting a gold-colored surface treatment to case and bracelet, whereas a third version comes with a black IP (Ion Plating) case treatment and a soft rubber strap.
They all have red LED displays, but the "full steel" version that adopts a blue one. After a quick hands-on at Baselworld, I feel the most contemporary variation is the one to go, as it combines the spirit of the original with the everyday comfort of a rubber strap. The Computron in full steel is, nonetheless, the quintessential digital LED cult watch, an item for style addicts and fashion victims, or just the LED watch collectors were waiting for, to enlarge their seventies-inspired digital LED watch collection, at a reasonable price: euro 249 to euro 299.
(Photo credit: Peter Tung for Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®