Friday, March 20, 2020

Review of Bulova Accu-Swiss Tellaro Automatic Chronograph

Model #:  65C116

Brand/Model:  Bulova ‘Accu-Swiss’ Tellaro Automatic Chronograph
Movement:   Swiss automatic chronograph
Material:  black-coated stainless steel case and bracelet
Complications:  day/date display, chronograph timing up to 12 hours in 1/5 second increments
Price:  watch has been discontinued, can be found in the $500 USD range as a NOS (new old stock) item

Plenty of photos follow the review. Click on the pictures to enlarge.  Please note!  The photos may show up fairly dark, this was a hard watch to photograph due to the black color.

Even though the watch being reviewed here is brand new and was purchased recently, it was discontinued a few years ago, so if you’re interested in finding one, it is possible, but you may have to hunt around.

Since Citizen’s purchase of the Bulova watch company, Citizen has been putting mostly their own (Miyota/Citizen) automatic movements in Bulova branded watches, with a few exceptions. 

Citizen also discontinued the ‘Accu-Swiss’ brand after their acquisition of Bulova, but still sells some select Bulova watches with Swiss movements.  The most current Bulova models can be seen on Bulova’s web site.

Now that we have all that out of the way, if you can find an Accu-Swiss Tellaro chronograph like the one being reviewed here, grab it, as it is a very nice piece for the price.  Accu-Swiss watches were meant to be on the affordable side for a Swiss timepiece and the Tellaro chronograph certainly demonstrates this edict in spades. 

The Tellaro chronograph was available in the all-black livery as seen here, as well as a blue dialed, standard (silver tone) stainless steel combo as well as a few versions I’m probably not familiar with.

Also, please don’t confuse this Accu-Swiss chronograph which sports the Valjoux 7750 automatic movement with current Bulova models such as the Lunar Pilot quartz chronograph which looks remarkably similar and has the sweep-second 262kHz ‘Precisionist’ movement inside.

I tend to have a so-so relationship with all black watches.  While I generally love the look of many all-black watches, I have only two in my collection and other all-black pieces I have owned never seemed to get enough wrist time.  Why this is so, I cannot say, but for an all-black piece, Bulova did it right with this model.

The overall look of this Accu-Swiss Tellaro is superb and I am so glad Bulova made everything black on this watch (case, crown, pushers, caseback, bracelet and clasp).  Even the screws that secure the caseback are black!  Too many times a watch company brings out a black watch, only to have the caseback in standard stainless steel or the clasp still in silvertone stainless, which only distracts from the reason you want a black watch in the first place, because it’s black!

The Accu-Swiss Tellaro has a classic, Omega Speedmaster look about it, with an oval-ish case that has just about the perfect proportions.  The all-black stainless steel case has both gloss and brushed (satin) black finishes, which is a very nice touch.  The case measures 41.2mm across the bezel and 45.6mm with the crown included.  I’m not sure of the exact technology that was employed to coat the stainless steel black, but it appears to be a sort of ion-plating.

The crown is signed with the Bulova tuning fork logo, has a concave shape with large knurls and a thoughtful cutout on the case under the crown that makes pulling out the crown much easier.

Lug width is 22mm and case thickness is an appropriate 14.7mm for a Caliber 7750-based watch.  Lug tip to lug tip is 49.5mm, with the lugs curving down somewhat at the ends, to make for a more comfortable fit.

The caseback is quite interesting, as it is black with small white lettering with information about the watch (sapphire crystal, water resist, etc.).  The caseback is secured with six proprietary style screws (see photo closeup), meaning the screwheads are not your normal flat-blade or Phillips head.  If you need service on this watch, Bulova obviously wanted you to send it to them, but check with your independent watchmaker first to see if he or she can source the correct driver head to remove the screws.

The chronograph pushers are asymmetrically shaped rectangles which look great and fit rather flush with the case side.  The case has nice beveled edges leading to the lugs and a center indent on the left side which adds interest and a quality look to the watch.

The Accu-Swiss Tellaro is marked only as ‘water resist’ on the case back and Bulova says this means no swimming with this piece.  So best not to get this watch wet.

Overall fit and finish is very good, with no imperfections of note, good hand alignment and a smooth, even and beautiful black finish over all the components of the watch.  Again, superb quality at this pricepoint.  The watch has a good heft to it and does fit comfortably on the wrist.

The crystal is a flat sapphire with anti-reflective coating which caps a black dial with white lettering and arabics.  The hour and minute hands are silvertone with inset lume, which are the only thing that is luminous on this watch, with the lume being average to below average in intensity. 

All the subdials have silver tone hands, while the chronograph center seconds hand is white.  I do wish that Bulova made all the chrono hands white, as it makes is easier to read the chrono timing measurements when the chrono is running.  A small nit to pick, but important in my book.

The chronograph subdials are ever so slightly recessed on the dial, while the subseconds dial is flat and has just simple crosshair markings, just enough to see the movement of the seconds hand.

The dial has minimal printing (thank you!) with ‘Bulova’ in silver and ‘Accu-Swiss’ (in white) above the day and date windows and ‘automatic’ in white below the windows.  The dot between the words ‘Accu-Swiss’ is red.  A very small ‘Swiss Made’ is at the very bottom of the dial.

The day and date wheels are white on black (which look great with the black dial) and are properly centered in their respective windows.

The chapter ring is a tachymeter for speed measurements and is moderately dished outwards to the edge of the dial.  Just inside the tachymeter are a combination of hash marks and arabics for the seconds counting on the chronograph, with the arabics every five seconds (5, 10, 15, etc.) and the hash marks in-between the arabics.

The dial may sound busy, but in reality it is not.  The chronograph functions are easy to read and there’s enough breathing room on the dial to have everything work as intended.  Nicely done!

What makes the Accu-Swiss Tellaro such a great value these days is the workhorse Swiss made Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph movement that Bulova used.  This is the gold-standard, tried and true automatic chronograph that shows up in myriad different watches at many different pricepoints.  This is a robust, accurate, dependable movement that can be serviced easily by an independent watchmaker.  Running in 25 jewels and beating at 28,800 vph, the 7750 is known for its wobble that can be felt at times as the rotor spins to wind the watch. 

The 7750 in my Accu-Swiss Tellaro runs at +9 seconds per day in the crown up position and turned in a fine 53.25 hour power reserve.  The watch winds, sets and runs properly, with the chronograph starting, stopping and resetting perfectly, as is expected with this caliber.  The chrono pushers have a nice, positive click to them.  Overall, the watch has a solid quality to it.

The bracelet is a solid link, multilink (five separate links) affair that measures 22mm at the lugs and tapers to 20mm at the pushbutton butterfly clasp.  The center links are gloss black, the outer links are brushed (satin) and the edges of the links are gloss. 

The clasp carries the Bulova tuning fork logo on the inside.  The pins that secure the links are the nifty kind that are solid pins (vs. cheaper split pins) and which definitively ‘click’ into place, so you know they are secure.  This design also helps to prevent marring the edges of the links during sizing because the pins click into place at the proper depth.

I would prefer a standard fold-over machined deployant as butterfly clasps can be hard to get a good fit with, due to their lack of micro-adjustability.  Also, there were no half-links included, but fortunately, I was able to achieve an acceptable fit on my 6-3/4 inch wrist.  Manufacturers please note!  Start including half-links (two per bracelet) with your watches.  You’ll make a lot of people happy.

Presentation is pretty standard fair, a plastic gloss black signed hinged box with inner padding along with a basic instruction manual. 

The Bulova Accu-Swiss Tellaro chronograph does make some concessions to fit it into the more affordable pricepoint that it occupies, with minimal water resistance and minimal lume being the main points of cost cutting.  But the crown doesn’t screw down (no need to with minimal water resistance) which is fine with me, as I think too many watches these days have screwdown crowns when they’re not needed.

Having a tried and true Swiss chronograph movement makes this watch a no-brainer, along with stunning good looks and overall great quality.  If you can find an Accu-Swiss Tellaro, buy it, because you won’t be disappointed.  Bulova, if only you still made this one!

Pros: reliable and well-known automatic Swiss chronograph movement, beautiful all-black finish, lots of nice little details

Cons:  needs more water resistance and more lume, no half links in the bracelet, proprietary screwheads on case back could present problems for future service, finding one for sale

Verdict:  a very good looking watch that is a steal at current prices with functionality and quality worthy of the old-line Bulova name

Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics.



Thursday, September 26, 2019

Review of Orient Automatics: Orient Polaris GMT and Orient Neptune Diver ‘A Tale of Two Orients’

Model #s:  

Polaris:  FDJ05003W0  

Neptune:  RA-EL0001B00A

Brand/Model:  Orient Polaris & Orient Neptune
Movements:  In-House Japanese automatic
Materials:  Polaris:  stainless steel case with leather strap; Neptune:  stainless steel case with stainless steel bracelet
Complications:  Both watches have date displays and power reserve meters, Polaris also has an independently adjustable GMT hand
Price:  Polaris:   $575 USD; Neptune:  $685 USD (both can be found much lower online or in the secondhand market)

Plenty of photos follow the review. Click on the pictures to enlarge.  Please note the Neptune diver is shown on an aftermarket leather strap in place of the factory stainless steel bracelet

I’ve always had a soft spot for Orient brand watches.  The company is now 100-percent owned by Seiko, but still produces a wide range of watches that are distinctly Orient without any Seiko influence, as it should be.  Orient watches deliver quality and great value at affordable price points, many times discounted even further online.

For this review, I wanted to cover two Orient watches I recently acquired, and while different in their appearance, still share many of the same characteristics and Orient fundamentals.  I thought it would be fun to compare and contrast these two models, the Polaris and the Neptune.

I still don’t know where all these names for various watch models come from and it’s really gotten to the point of being ridiculous, even Rolex watches have monikers now (although not officially from the company).  What makes this Orient GMT a ‘Polaris’?  Same goes for the diver, what constitutes it as a ‘Neptune’?  Regardless of the naming scheme, these two watches are fine examples of what Orient brings to the table and would be worthy additions to any watch collection.

To clarify from the start, the Orient Polaris is more or less a dressy watch, with a light silver or white textured dial, blued hands and a GMT complication.  The Orient Neptune is a purpose-built diver (tool watch) with strong lume, higher water resistance and a rotating bezel.  Let’s start the comparison.

Here are the items that are the same with the Orient Polaris and the Orient Neptune:

-Movements:  in-house Japan-made automatics; Neptune caliber 40N5A; Polaris caliber 40P51
-Case material: stainless steel
-Casebacks:  screwdown stainless steel (display back on the Polaris)
-Crystals:  sapphire
-Complications:  quick set dates and power reserve meters, Polaris adds an independently adjustable GMT hand
-Lug width:  22mm on both watches
-Presentation:  modest black inner and outer boxes

And the differences:

-Case dimensions:  Neptune measures 43.4mm, Thickness 14.1mm; Polaris measures 42mm, Thickness 12.1mm
-Bezel insert material:  Neptune has black aluminum insert with a rotating bezel, Polaris has polished stainless steel bezel as part of the case
-Lume:  Neptune has great green lume, Polaris has no lume
-Dial color and markers:  Neptune dial is black with applied markers; Polaris has a white/silver dial with texturing and silver applied markers
-Hand set:  Neptune has silver tone sword style hands with inset lume; Polaris has blue tone Dauphine style hands with no lume
-Bracelet:  Neptune has stainless steel bracelet with double locking clasp and stamped steel deployant; Polaris has leather strap with polished machined deployant

The Polaris caught my eye because of its GMT complication coupled with a power reserve meter, which are two complications I really like and are not seen too often together on a watch.  The Polaris has a fully polished stainless steel case that measures 42mm without the unsigned, non-screwdown crown; 44.5mm crown inclusive.  Thickness is 12.1mm, lug width is 22mm. 

The stainless steel screwdown caseback is a display type with a mineral crystal that shows off the mildly decorated 22-jewel movement that also features a nicely signed rotor.  The top crystal is sapphire.

The Polaris features an alligator-grain brown leather strap and polished pushbutton machined deployant.  The strap measures 22mm at the lugs and tapers to 19.6mm at the clasp.  As you can see from the pictures, the clasp is a bit cumbersome and not all that comfortable, so I may be installing a different strap with a standard pin buckle instead of the deployant.

The Polaris dial is a light silver or white with a textured inner circle.  The faceted markers are polished silver tone and are applied, giving them a rich, classy appearance.  All the hands are blue-toned with no lume.  The hour and minute hands are Dauphine style, while the center seconds hand is a simple blue stick. 

The GMT hand is a stick with an open pointer on its end.  The 24-hour GMT track encircles the perimeter of the dial, acting as the chapter ring.  The GMT hand is independently adjustable, allowing you to track a second time zone with ease.  The hand is set by pulling the crown out to the first click position, and rotating the crown counter-clockwise.  Rotating the crown clockwise in this position sets the date.  This procedure is opposite of the GMT hand setting on the popular ETA 2893-2 movement, which sets the GMT hand in the clockwise position and the date in the counter-clockwise position.

A quickset date resides at the three position framed with a silver square.  The date wheel is black on white and alignment within the window is good.  The power reserve meter sits below the 12 position on the dial and is graduated in 10-hour increments from zero to 40. 

An Orient logo and script with the word ‘automatic’ reside at the nine position on the dial, while another logo, ‘water resist’ and ‘GMT’ are present above the six position.

The Polaris is factory rated at 50 meters of water resistance.

Overall, the dial is a clean, clear and fairly open layout that is easy to read and even though there’s no lume, the blued hands really look sharp.

Fit and finish is what I expect from Orient, which is excellent, especially for the price point.

The watch winds, hacks, sets and aligns as it should, the quickset date, power reserve meter and GMT hand work fine and it turned in a good 45 and two-thirds hour power reserve.

If you’re looking for a fairly dressy GMT watch that you won’t see everyday, you certainly can’t go wrong with the Orient Polaris.

And now onto the Orient Neptune!

When it comes to divers, Orient has you covered and the Orient Neptune is no exception.  Building on the success of the now discontinued Orient OS300/Pro Saturation Diver of which I have owned two examples, the Triton is a somewhat smaller version of the Pro Saturation with slightly less water resistance, but still a rugged, solid watch for a great price.

After selling my second OS 300, I was interested in the Neptune due to its smaller dimensions and lower price and after waiting for the right deal to come along, I pulled the trigger and got a black dial/black bezel Neptune.  The Neptune can also be had in blue with a blue bezel and black with two tone accents on the bezel and hands.

The Neptune has a polished and brushed stainless steel case that measures 43.4mm without the signed screw down crown that’s located at the 4 position.  The crown also features a black stripe in the center, which makes it easier to identify whether the crown is screwed down or not.  The crown action is good with about 2-1/2 turns to lock it down. 

The Neptune measures 47.2mm with its crown.  Thickness is 14.1mm and lug width is 22mm, with the lugs being drilled for easier strap changes. 

Speaking of which, the photos show the aftermarket 22mm strap I installed instead of the factory stainless steel bracelet, which features solid links, solid end links, a pushbutton double locking clasp and a stamped steel deployant.  The bracelet is brushed on top with the sides of the links being polished.  The bracelet measures 22mm at the lugs and tapers to 19.9mm at the clasp.

The caseback is stainless steel, screwdown and is nicely embossed with the Orient logo in the center.  The crystal is sapphire.

The Neptune is factory rated at a fine 200 meters of water resistance and complies with the Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) for a Class 1 Diver watch.  This classification makes it usable for recreational scuba diving.

The Neptune features a 120-click uni-directional rotating bezel with a black aluminum insert and   a lume pip at 12.  The bezel is graduated in one minute increments, with hash marks throughout and arabics every ten minutes (10, 20, 30, etc.)  Bezel action is fairly good with some backlash.

The Neptune dial is black with a quickset date angled at the four position.  The date wheel is white on black; alignment within the window is good.  The power reserve meter is located between the 12 and 2 positions and is graduated the same as the Polaris meter, although the zero to 10 hour part of the meter is red, with the rest of the meter being black.  The power reserve pointer is red.

All the markers on the dial are applied with inset lume, with rectangular markers at 3, 6 and 9, with an inverse triangle marker at 12.  The remainder of the markers are round (and not too large, thank you Orient, as too many dive watches these days have oversized round markers that make the watch look clownish).

The hands are silver tone with inset lume, the hour hand is a pointer style with the minute hand being a sword style.  The seconds hand is a pointer style with a long tip at the end.

Lume is green and strong, as Orient lume usually is.

Above the six position are the Orient logo and script, along with ‘automatic’ and ‘Diver’s 200m’.  Overall, the dial is easy to read and very purposeful.

Functionally, the Neptune is great.  The 40N5A 22 jewel automatic movement is the same movement that was featured in the Pro Saturation diver.  Beating at 21,600 vph, the Neptune turned in an average accuracy of -11 seconds over 24 hours during my testing.  Power reserve was an ample 46.5 hours.  The watch winds, sets and hacks as it should, with the quickset date and power reserve functions working fine.

The Neptune is one of the best values going in a true dive watch these days and is a very affordable watch, especially when purchased second hand. 

Overall, while different in their appearance and functions, but not different in their approach, the Orient Polaris and Orient Neptune are two fine watches that have good in-house movements, good overall performance and a price/value equation that’s hard to top.  Now you can see why I like Orient watches and what they have to offer.


Polaris: clean dial, independently adjustable GMT hand, power reserve meter, good price point

Neptune:  solid build, good lume, power reserve meter, nicely sized for a true diver


Polaris:  blue hands a bit too blue, no lume, clasp is somewhat cumbersome

Neptune:  accuracy could be better, bezel action could be tighter

Verdict:  both of these Orients deliver the goods, with overall quality, features and looks that are hard to beat, especially at the price.  Orient does it again!

Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics.