“The world’s first curved chronograph movement features high-performance quartz technology with 262 kHz vibrational frequency for precise accuracy. Five-hand chronograph in a black stainless steel case with black and transparent blue dial, black hands and markers, anti-reflective curved sapphire crystal, exhibition case back with screw-back case, blue leather strap with an alligator grain texture and double-press deployant closure. Water resistance to 30 meters.”
Some of the topics covered in this caliber listing:
The curve in the CURV is subtle, but it is actually curved. It is not easy to photograph, but the curve is there.
The image below is me doing my best to hold the movement holder and a flat object (plastic digital caliper) against it in one hand while operating the camera in the other. I did not go as far as calculating the degree of the curve, but you can see there is indeed a curve.
The dial side is curved too:
No Central Chronograph Seconds:
The caliber 8137 is not like most chronograph watches with a central chronograph seconds hand that stays at 12:00 until it is activated. Watches with the 8137 do not have a central seconds hand. Instead, there is a small seconds subdial at 6:00 which serves as the regular running seconds as well as the chronograph seconds. Activating the chronograph function with the top pusher will switch the running seconds to chronograph seconds.
Press button “B”. The 6H hand will move to ‘60’ position.
Press Button “A” to start the chronograph.
Press Button “A” to stop the chronograph. Start again by pushing button “A” again.
Press button “B” to reset Chronograph, returning all Chrono hands to the 12H position.
Press button “B”. The 6H hand returns to current second hand time.
When there is no chronograph operation for 60 minutes after (1) or (4), the 6H hand will return to show current second hand time.
Resetting the Chronograph Hands to Zero:
Pull the crown out to position “1”. The 6H hand will return to ‘60’.
Press button “B” for 3 seconds.The 6H hand will return to ‘60’ again. (If it does not, press button “A” to move 6H hand to ‘60’.)
Press button “B” for 3 seconds. The 3H hand will return to ‘60’. (If it does not, press button “A” to move 3H hand to ‘60’.)
Press button “B” for 3 seconds. The 9H hand will return to ‘12’. (If it does not, press button “A” to move 9H hand to ‘12’.)
Push the crown back to the “NORMAL” wearing position.
Bulova claims that the 8137 is capable of accuracy within 5 seconds per month, in part thank to their exclusive “Three Prong Torsional Resonator”. The Bulova caliber P102 has a quote where Bulova explained this technology like this:
The innovative Precisionist crystal has three prongs, creating a torsional resonator – the prongs not only move back and forth, but twist. Standard quartz crystals have only two prongs.
Bulova states that the expected battery life for the CURV models with the caliber 8137 is approximately one year, but there have been claims of the battery lasting as long as two years. Using the chronograph more frequently will drain the battery faster. Please add your battery life experience in the comments below.
Extending the Battery Life:
“When the crown is in the “OUT” position, the motor and hands stop. Only the quartz crystal continues to vibrate, using very little power. If the watch is to be stored for a length of time, it is recommended that the crown be left in t he “OUT” position to prolong battery life.” -Bulova manual
To remove the crown and stem on the cal. 8137, look for the “PUSH” with an arrow pointing to a hole on the movement. There is a small detent tab with an indentation for your tweezers. The tab is centered for removal when the crown is pressed in. With the crown pulled out to time-setting mode, the tab is hidden to the side, preventing pressing with the crown in the incorrect position. Visual learners, see images below:
At a quick glance, one might think there is a metal cover (with a Bulova logo) over the battery that needs removed to access the battery. Actually, this is simply a sticker located on the inside of the caseback crystal, and has nothing to do with the movement. Below is what it looks like from inside the watch:
Country of Origin:
The example watch for the images on this page is a gold tone Bulova CURV Chronograph (Ref: 97A144). The watch was brand new and came with a sticker on the caseback stating “JAPAN MOVEMENT CHINA BAND”. Apparently this is the minimum requirement of transparency required for customs (at least when importing to USA). Nowhere on the watch caseback or dial does it say Made in Japan or Made in China.
The only reference to a country of manufacture on the entire watch itself is the movement where the word JAPAN is crisp prominent. If the sticker was removed and the watch was used, the new owner would assume that the watch was made in Japan.
Upon disassembly of the watch, the back of dial (along the edge where you can’t see it when the caseback is on) has another country of origin stamp with the model number – implying that other components beyond just the band were also made in China.
This isn’t about whether or not stuff made in China is of quality or not, it’s about deception and lack of transparency in the watch industry. What if someone has a reason for not wanting to purchase items from a specific country? With a Bulova CURV, they’d be buying and wearing a watch that is assumed to be made in Japan.
Interestingly, with resurrected or acquired brands like Bulova, the origin story gets even more convoluted and confusing. A good example would be visiting the Bulova Wikipiedia page (which was possibly edited by Bulova or a Bulova hired PR agency, right?) and reading the first sentence:
“Bulova is an American timepiece manufacturing company that was founded in 1875 and has been owned by Japanese multinational conglomerate Citizen Watch Co. since 2008. The company makes watches, clocks and accessories, and it is based in New York City.”
Wow, there are a lot of origins there! If you asked someone on the street to read it, followed by the question: “Where are Bulova watches made?” Would they say America or Japan… or China?
Update: There is another country of origin stamp on the watch – and no, it’s not the band. Taking the caseback off, at the top on the bottom side (facing inside the watch when the caseback is screwed on), there is a laser etching signed “China Bulova”.
Additional Images Gallery:
Bulova stock photo (left) and Caliber Corner image (right) side-by-side (caseback on vs caseback off):