Are Bulova Watches Waterproof? (or Just Water-Resistant)

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Written By Alan

Would you believe a G-Shock I was gifted in 2014 by my grandpa started my lifelong journey of a watch geek?

🕑  Last Updated: October 11, 2022

There’s next to zero doubt that Bulova timepieces provide one of the best values on the market today.

They’re stylish, accurate and most importantly – affordable (although the American brand has something for everyone in terms of budget).

Having been founded in 1875, Bulova is one of the long-standing watchmakers, and its experience in the industry is more than enough to guarantee top quality for its products.

We have already settled that the accuracy and affordability of Bulova are unquestionable, as is the wide range of watch styles. The question that now pops up is: are their timepieces durable?

Water resistance is one of the most significant elements in a timepiece’s longevity.


Are Bulova Watches Waterproof?

Most Bulova watches are water-resistant, but not waterproof.

But under no circumstances should that make you think that Bulova is inferior to any other brands when it comes to water protection. That’s because, at least as of now, a fully waterproof watch hasn’t been invented.

The term “waterproof” is simply often used to describe watches that are resistant to water. And while that might be confusing, it really is that simple. Now, let’s see what water resistance really means and how it works…

So, what is water resistance?

Water resistance is the ability of a watch to keep out water under certain circumstances and for a specific amount of time. It is usually tested by the manufacturer and then expressed in terms of meters (m) or atmospheres (ATM).

The most common units of water resistance you’ll see on watch faces are ATM or meters. One atmosphere is the same as 10 meters, so if a watch has a water resistance of 10 ATM, that means it can withstand 100 meters of depth.

At the same time, it’s worth knowing that a watch advertised as being water-resistant up to 100m can’t be taken down to those depths and will actually only withstand occasional splashes of water or rain.

Essentially, one bar, or 100,000 Pascals of pressure, is equal to one atmosphere, or the mean sea-level atmospheric pressure, at a depth of 10 meters below the surface of the ocean (101,325 Pascals).

Are All Bulova Watches Water-Resistant?

Yes, the good news is that all Bulova watch models – whatever the collection – are water-resistant to some degree.

The brand offers a wide range of styles that can withstand accidental splashes or even swimming (to a certain extent).

However, if you’re looking for a watch to take diving with you, you might want to look elsewhere.

The number of professional dive watches offered by Bulova is really limited compared to the likes of Citizen and Seiko.

The brand’s most popular dive watch is the Bulova Precisionist, which has a water resistance of up to 300 meters.

As things stand, Bulova offers anywhere from 3ATM (30m) to 30ATM (300m) water resistance ratings.

Watches at the lower end of the spectrum are mostly dressy and casual watches. Timepieces with a more sporty style tend to have at least 50m ratings and it’s not unusual for these to come with much more solid protection (100m-200m).

Bulova’s Water Resistance Ratings Explained

Now let’s quickly go through the ratings offered by Bulova to see what you can actually do with such a watch on your wrist in terms of water exposure.

  • 3 ATM / 30 m / 99 ft: With this level of water resistance, your Bulova watch will be able to withstand accidental splashes of water and rain. It’s also safe to wash your hands while wearing it. However, you should avoid taking it in the shower, swimming, or snorkeling.
  • 5 ATM / 50 m / 165 ft: A watch with this rating can be worn while showering
  • 10 ATM / 100 m / 330 ft: This is the most common water-resistance rating and it means that your watch can be worn while swimming in a pool or in the ocean. Even snorkeling shouldn’t be an issue
  • 20 ATM / 200 m / 660 ft: A watch with this level of water resistance can be worn while diving in shallow water.
  • 30 ATM / 300 m / 990 ft: Bulova’s Precisionist models have this rating and can be worn while diving in deeper waters

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that we’re finally on the right page in terms of understanding what water resistance levels mean, let’s see if we can answer some frequently asked questions on the topic.

Can You Swim With a Bulova Watch?

Yes, you can swim with a Bulova watch as long as it has a water resistance of at least 100 meters.

Many of the brand’s watches have this rating, which means they’re more than capable of withstanding incidental contact with water.

However, we would advise against swimming with a leather strap watch as it will most likely get damaged.

Can I Shower With My Bulova Watch?

Yes, you can shower with a Bulova watch as long as it has a water resistance of at least 50 meters.

Many of the brand’s watches have this rating, which means they’re more than capable of withstanding showers. Again, we advise against taking leather strap models into the shower.

Can a Water-Resistant Watch Go Underwater?

A water-resistant watch can go underwater, but only to a certain extent. The depth and time limit will depend on the watch’s individual water resistance rating. For example, a Bulova watch with a 3 ATM – 5 ATM water resistance rating can withstand occasional splashes of water but should not be worn while swimming or diving.

A watch with a water resistance of upwards of 10 ATM / 100m can go underwater (to some extent, depending on the exact WR rating and how it’s sealed).

Is Bulova Considered a Luxury Watch?

No, Bulova is not considered a luxury watch brand.

The brand is actually owned by Citizen, which is itself a Japanese watchmaking conglomerate. While Bulova does produce some high-end timepieces, the vast majority of its watches are mid-range to budget models.

Is Bulova a Cheap Brand?

It depends on what you mean by “cheap”.

If you’re looking for the cheapest possible watch, then Bulova is probably not the right brand for you. However, if you’re looking for value for money, then Bulova is definitely worth considering. The brand offers a wide range of well-made and stylish watches at very reasonable prices.

You can check our list of cheapest Bulova watch models for some inspiration.

Is It Worth Buying a Bulova Watch?

Yes, we believe that Bulova watches are definitely worth considering.

Do keep in mind, however, that Bulova is not a luxury brand (despite its head-turning designs suggesting otherwise at times). If you’re looking for a high-end watch, then you might want to consider brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, or Audemars Piguet.

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