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Bulova/Caravelle wrist watch "Click" to Login or Register 
IHC Member 163
Picture of Mark Cross
posted
I have an old Caravelle quartz divers styled wrist watch that my daughters gave me back in 1988. Its all stainless steel (case, screw on back, original ss bracelet, water resistant up to 330 feet, luminus 5 minute indicators plus hands, sweep second hand, day and date), keeps perfect time, and has a one way rotatable bezel for timing a one hour count down. So, my question is this....I've seen comparable Bulova wrist watches that cost much more than my Caravelle cost me, and yet my Carvelle has many more desirable features. Exactly what purpose did the Caravelle line really fill? I originally thought it was sort of a 'poor man's' Bulova, as they are/were all MADE by Bulova (says right on the back), so essentially they're Bulova's with the Caravelle name on the dial. But if my watch is any example, I have yet to see a comparable Bulova I'd rather have in it's place, and they cost up to twice as much! This has always puzzled me. Maybe Bulova products were/are just that good regardless of what the dial says, but one would think that the 'bells and whistles' would be kept for the Bulova line, and the lesser line for the Caravelle. I haven't really seen this to be the case. Confused Any thoughts? Regards. Mark

NAWCC Member 157508
NAWCC-IHC Member 163
 
Posts: 3817 | Location: Estill Springs, Tennessee, USA | Registered: December 02, 2002
IHC Life Member
Watchmaker
Picture of Scott Cerullo
posted
Mark,

I am not an expert, but I am pretty sure that I can answer your question. Bulova has three lines. Caravelle, Bulova, and Accutron. Caravelle is more enry level and Accutron is their best. They have a lot in common and it sounds like your Caravelle is on the higher end of that brand and a fine watch. There is a lot of overlapping of characteristics in these brands, and Bulova is now using the Accutron logo on their dials. I have owned Bulovas and the modern Accutrons. I asked my jeweler what the difference was and he replied that the accutron had more jewels. I don't buy that at all. The main differences in the Caravelle, Bulova and Accutron family are in styling, target market and different points of sale. I may be mistaken on this last point but I believe that all Accutrons have sapphire crystals and that is unique within the three brands. All are good practical watches made for the American market. Bulova Corp can be compared with the old Chrysler Corp. Caravelle, Bulova, Accutron. Plymouth, Dodge, Chrysler.

Scott Cerullo
 
Posts: 1033 | Location: Northeast Pennsylvania in the USA | Registered: June 02, 2003
IHC Member 163
Picture of Mark Cross
posted
That comparison and explaination makes perfect sense to me, Scott. Thanks! High regards. Mark

NAWCC Member 157508
NAWCC-IHC Member 163
 
Posts: 3817 | Location: Estill Springs, Tennessee, USA | Registered: December 02, 2002
IHC President
Life Member
Picture of Lindell V. Riddle
posted
Like Scott I often refer to things and compare them to other more familiar things, makes perfect sense to me.

In fact I often wear an Accutron and drive a Chrysler!

Hmmmm...

Wink
 
Posts: 10552 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
IHC Member 163
Picture of Mark Cross
posted
Now THAT'S scary, Lindell. I wear my Caravelle and drive a 1950 Plymouth Special Deluxe. Hummm. Confused WinkRegards. Mark

NAWCC Member 157508
NAWCC-IHC Member 163
 
Posts: 3817 | Location: Estill Springs, Tennessee, USA | Registered: December 02, 2002
Picture of Ralph Rehner
posted
Mark,
For many years Caravelle was the house standard for many of the great old department stores in this area. Caravelle lost much of it's status when the stores started offering the flood of new Japanese imports. Seiko and especially Citizen took their toll. I have found most of the older Caravelles pleasant to work on. The great old department stores are mostly pleasant memories now and so are the their watches. Kinda like Plymouths.

Ralph Rehner, "The Clock Pup" and Longines Watch Guy

 
Posts: 89 | Location: Brunswick, Ohio USA | Registered: January 17, 2003
posted
Good afternoon Mark,

I worked my way through college at an old line, family owned jewlery store. We had on premises a master watchmaker who taught me a lot about watches, his favorite wrist watch was a Hamilton.

In addition to being the state's only Rolex dealer the store carried other watches, including the full line of Bulovas.

I asked exactly your same question of the Bulova rep in 1971 and his reply was the Caravelle was desinged to cost less that regular Bulovas and used an imported swiss mvt to help keep costs down. He stressed the quality level was the same and, you're right, the Caravelle divers model was loaded with features out of proportion to it's price. This watch became a favorite of mine and was the one I recommended whenever a customer wanted a rugged, reliable timepiece.

The customers were happy with them also and none ever came back with a complaint.

Regards,
Squire
 
Posts: 1 | Location: Jackson, Mississippi USA | Registered: September 12, 2003
IHC Member 163
Picture of Mark Cross
posted
Thank you Squire! Makes my old Caravelle watch all the more enjoyable for me knowing this. I appreciate you taking time to tell me this, my friend! Regard. Mark Smile

NAWCC Member 157508
NAWCC-IHC Member 163
 
Posts: 3817 | Location: Estill Springs, Tennessee, USA | Registered: December 02, 2002
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