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A History Lesson With the Military Watches of Bulova
Words by Windup Watch Shop

Bulova has a long history of providing watches to the US military. When the US Armed Forces put out a specification for watches, Bulova was one of the most prominent brands to answer the call. We’re happy to offer a wide range of Bulova military watches in the shop, and we’ve paired up each of them with a nylon ADPT strap for a limited time. Let’s take a closer look at these watches, along with their perfectly-paired straps.

P.S. - We'll have all of these watches featured on ADPT Straps at the Windup Watch Fair in New York this weekend!


A-11 Hack - Black (98A255), Ivory (96A246), or VWI Special Edition

Known as the “watch that won the war”, Bulova’s A-11 Hack is a direct descendant of the field watches worn on the wrist of American soldiers during World War II. The modern counterpart measures in at 38mm in diameter and features a natural steel case on the ivory dial or a gray steel case on the black dial. Like the name implies, these watches were known for their “hack” feature – where you can stop the seconds hand to precisely sync up time with the rest of your unit. The watch features 30 meters of water resistance, a double-domed mineral crystal, and currently ships with an ADPT strap. The ivory dial is perfectly paired with a Rust strap, while the black dial ships with a Black strap. There’s also a special edition black/steel model that supports the Veteran’s Watchmakers Initiative – a foundation that supports the training of veterans in watchmaking. The program is a callback to the original school that was set up by Bulova to help teach a trade to soldiers returning from war. This special edition will come with an 18mm ADPT in Forest green.


A-11 Hack 96A282

The A-11 was a classic field watch reference that is immediately recognizable as one of the most iconic military watches in existence. This “Hack” from Bulova shares a lot of the same DNA, but takes a little bit more creative freedom with the design. You’ll notice the vibrant blue dial, more subdued dial text, and coin edge bezel right off the bat. It shares the same automatic movement, 37mm case size, and double domed mineral crystal. This beautiful blue-dialed A-11 Hack ships with an 18mm ADPT Strap in Paprika to complement the red seconds hand.


A-15 Pilot

Another timepiece from the Bulova Military Collection is the A-15 Pilot. Based on the original military-issued “Elasped Time Watch”, the A-15 has some pretty neat features that will come in handy even if you aren’t currently on the battlefield. You’ll notice that the watch has three crowns. The upper and lower crown manipulate two internal timing bezels, while the central crown is used to set the time. Around the outside of the dial, you’ll find a 60-minute counter, and further towards the inside a bezel with 12 hour markings to track a second time zone. There’s a lot of functionality packed into this vintage-styled watch that’s based on the 1944 original. You’ll receive your new A-15 Pilot on a 20mm Mil ADPT Strap in Coyote – an excellent pairing.



Crafted specifically to meet the “Bureau of Ships Contract Specification” for the US Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT), Bulova’s MIL-SHIPS watches never entered commercial production and are therefore exceedingly rare and collectible. The current production MIL-SHIPS-W-2181 is a faithful recreation of the experimental watches supplied to the Navy in 1957 and 1958. Modernized for today, it is 41mm wide and paired with a historically-accurate 16mm strap width. The vintage-inspired dial is protected by a double domed sapphire crystal. The MIL-SHIP is water resistant to 200m and includes a moisture indicator on the dial (another callback to the originals). It is powered by the automatic Miyota 82S0 movement and comes on a pass-through nylon strap. 

With real history tied to iconic military watches, Bulova continues to produce modern versions of their historical pieces. There are plenty of options to choose from, even one that directly supports the Veterans Watchmaking Initiative. Right now, all of the Bulova military collection watches come with a perfectly paired ADPT strap, only from the Windup Watch Shop. Stop by the Windup Watch Fair this weekend to take advantage of this deal!