The Sea King is a diving watch from Bulova with a technical, sporty design. Most versions are waterproof to 300 m (30 bar) and fulfill the requirements of a standard diving watch.
The Sea King has a distinctive design that makes it easily recognizable as a diving watch. It has a stainless steel case that has been painstakingly sealed to protect against water and a screw-down crown, as well as a unidirectional bezel. The bezel features a zero marker and minute track so you can sync it with your dive. This allows you to easily keep an eye how long you've been underwater via the bezel and minute hand. It's impossible to lengthen your dive time, as the bezel can only be turned counterclockwise. The bezel on the newer Sea King models features six decorative inbus screws.
The Sea King's maximum waterproofness is printed on its dial, so most versions have "300" written on the dial. Theoretically, you can dive to 300 m (30 bar) with this Sea King, putting it on par with the most famous diving watch in the world, the Rolex Submariner. Recreational divers rarely dive deeper than 30 - 40 m and thus only require watches waterproof to 20 bar. You'll be more than set with a sturdy Sea King as your underwater companion.
Bulova predominantly uses quartz movements in the Sea King. These movements may not have the charm of a mechanical movement, but they're robust and run very precisely. The manufacturer uses a quartz technology that's known for being incredibly accurate. Some models are, however, available with a mechanical movement.
Bulova no longer offers the Sea King; it has been replaced by the Marine Star, a series that is waterproof to 100 m. However, you can still easily buy Sea King models from watch dealers and private sellers.
Are you looking for a diving watch waterproof to 300 m with an incredibly precise quartz movement? Then the large 47-mm Bulova Sea King is the right watch for you. It's affordable compared to many other divers: prices start at around 250 euros for new timepieces.
In addition to typical silver stainless steel watches, there are versions with black, PVD-coated cases and black dials. The black versions of the chronograph (98B243) and the three-hand timepiece (98B242) feature contrasting yellow hands and hour markers.
The masterpiece of the Sea King series is an automatic watch waterproof to 1,000 m (100 bar) . Bulova introduced this limited edition with reference number 96B226 in 2015. The watch has an imposing size, coming in at 49 mm in diameter. However, because it's made of titanium, it remains relatively lightweight. On the left side of the case, there's a locking mechanism with two push-pieces. If you press both push-pieces simultaneously, you can rotate the bezel; otherwise, it remains locked. Therefore, it's practically impossible to accidentally lengthen your dive time. The timepiece also features a helium escape valve. An automatic caliber based on the 8215 movement from Miyota powers this extraordinary Sea King. The features of this watch make it a competitor to the Seamaster PloProf from Omega. Seeing as the 96B226 was limited to a run of 500 pieces, it's a hot piece for collectors. When first released, the watch cost $1,595.
|96B226||Limited edition, automatic movement, waterproof to 1,000 m (100 bar)||About 1,450 euros|
|98B242||Simple three-hand model, stainless steel with black PVD coating, quartz movement||About 250 euros|
|98B244||Stainless steel, quartz movement||About 250 euros|
|98B243||Stainless steel with black PVD coating, quartz movement, chronograph||About 250 euros|
It's no coincidence that the Sea King is powered by a Miyota movement. Miyota, like Bulova, is a part of the Japanese concern Citizen. Citizen bought the American company in 2008 in order to strengthen their position in the American market. Bulova has been around since 1875, when Joseph Bulova (1851 - 1936), a Bohemian immigrant, founded the company in New York City. One of the brand's most famous watches is the 1960 Accutron, a precursor to the quartz watch.
The newer Bulova Sea King models are powered by quartz movements that vibrate at 262 kHz, resulting in amazing precision. These watches have a deviation of no more than 10 seconds a year; standard quartz watches have a deviation of 10 seconds a month. They vibrate at 32,768 Hz, while Bulova movements oscillate at 262,144 Hz. The 262 kHz technology was introduced in 2010, together with the Precisionist collection. It was gradually included in other Bulova models, such as the Accutron II and the Sea King.