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Bulova’s 1973 Parking Meter Reissue is Retro Perfection (Live Pics & Price)

Bulova Parking Meter Chronograph

While they’re not the only brand plumbing their archives, Bulova’s historical slate is enough for many a watchmaker to be envious of. While the obvious one is the phenomenally cool Accutron, this time they’ve gone for something a little bit funkier: the 1973 Chronograph “31008-6W”, better known as the Parking Meter Chronograph.

Aesthetically, the name says it all. A bullhead chronograph is already pure 70s, (Omega’s take being particularly handsome), the Bulova Parking Meter Chronograph combines the crowns-at-12 layout with a particularly retro dial. As a racing chronograph, you have the tachymeter bezel around the edge of course, but the main action is happening on the dial proper.

Bulova Parking Meter Chronograph

An elongated blue outline for a second time zone at 12 o’clock, combined with a square indicator for running minutes create an outline that’s the spitting image of something you’d find next to a pay-as-you-go parking space.  The shape has no practical purpose; it’s just damn cool, and the silver and blue colourway is timelessly lovely. With a few orange highlights, it’s a dial that’s more nostalgia-infused than Stranger Things.

Bulova Parking Meter Chronograph

It’s unusual on the wrist. Despite being thick enough that you won’t fit it under many cuffs, its still feels like a good diameter. The chronograph pushers simply take up the space the lugs would normally be, so it hasn’t gained any weight during the layout shift.

Bulova Parking Meter Chronograph Dial

What has changed in the almost 60 years since the Parking Meter was first launched however is the movement. The original was the first Bulova to use the then-advanced “ChronoMatic” automatic chronograph movement, a seriously impressive calibre. The new version instead relies on quartz.

Bulova Parking Meter Chronograph

On the one hand, that makes it far less prestigious a release – quartz may be more accurate, but it lacks any vintage charm – but on the other it lowers the price point considerably. While I wish it was indeed a 70s movement, not all pieces can be the Oris Holstein Edition.

As it stands, the 31008-6W Bulova Parking Meter Chronograph is a funky design paired with an accessible price tag of just RRP £449 and limited to a (not all that limited) 5,000 pieces. As a lover of unique retro designs, will I get one myself? Probably, yes.

Price & Specs:

  • Model: Bulova Parking Meter Chronograph 31008-6W Limited Edition
  • Ref: 98B390
  • Case/dial: 43mm diameter x 11.8mm thickness, stainless steel case, silver and blue dial, blue IP tachymeter bezel
  • Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
  • Movement: Miyota calibre OS21, quartz
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, central chronograph seconds, 60 minute counter, 24 hour hand, date
  • Strap: Brown leather with stainless steel buckle
  • Price/availability: £449, limited to 5,000 pieces

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About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.