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08/05/2021
 4 minutes

Frank Sinatra and Bulova: An Ongoing Courtship

By Sebastian Swart
15_RZ_S_FRANK-01

Frank Sinatra and Bulova: An Ongoing Courtship

From Abraham Lincoln to Michael Jordan, America has its fair share of iconic historical figures. Some of these legends happen to have close links to the world of watches. After publishing an overview of famous American watch fans, we decided to take a closer look at a few specific individuals. We began this new Chrono24 Magazine series by looking at Bruce Springsteen and his watches. For the second installment, we’re introducing you to the current Bulova “Fly Me To The Moon” model, which is reminiscent of Frank Sinatra’s favorite timepiece from back in the day.

Frank Sinatra and Bulova

“If you’re not early, you’re late.“ These famous words from Frank Sinatra are pretty indicative of how the superstar managed his schedule. During his impressive career, “Ol’ Blue Eyes” (another of his nicknames) recorded over 1,400 tracks and earned more than 40 platinum and gold albums. Sinatra also performed countless times in Vegas as part of The Rat Pack with Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford. The prolific entertainer can count 60 movies to his name and even won an Oscar for best supporting actor in the 1953 film From Here to Eternity. As if this wasn’t enough to keep the “Chairman of the Board” (yet another nickname) on his toes, he also ran The Frank Sinatra Show from 1957 to 1958, where he hosted other greats on the air, including Bing Crosby, Robert Mitchum, and Natalie Wood. There isn’t much more Sinatra could have done to deserve the “icon” label more.

With all these projects pulling him in different directions, you can imagine how important time management was for Sinatra. In an era when smartphones or digital timepieces were a figment of the imagination, mechanical wristwatches reigned supreme. Frank Sinatra had a long-lasting penchant for watches from Bulova. He owned several different models from the brand over the years. In case you’re not familiar with the manufacturer, Bulova was founded in NYC in 1875 by Joseph Bulova, a Czech immigrant. The brand is known today for its electric Accutron tuning fork watches from the 1960s. In 1971, however, Bulova also made history in space when their Lunar Pilot joined an astronaut on the Apollo 15 mission to the Moon.

Back down on Earth, Sinatra preferred Bulova’s classic mechanical dress watches from the 1950s and 60s. At the end of 2020, the brand presented an exclusive Sinatra collection reminiscent of the vintage models worn by the legendary entertainer.

The Frank Sinatra “Fly Me To The Moon”

Bulova introduced four different models, each with its own unique configuration. Each series is named after a Sinatra song title. We’ll be taking a closer look at the “Fly Me To The Moon,“ a model that looks quite similar to the vintage timepiece Sinatra can be seen wearing in several old photographs. Of course, the historical model had a different name and only became famous through the influence of the man himself.

The “Fly Me To The Moon’s” design clearly emanates the classic charm of the 1960s. The curved, 39-mm case is similar to the so-called “C” case that Omega used for their Constellation series at the time. The timeless shape suits a wide range of occasions and attire. You can choose between stainless steel and gold-plated versions. The black or silver-white dial (depending on the model) stands out with its radial pattern and Arabic numerals. You’ll find Sinatra’s signature above the date display at 6 o’clock. The most historically authentic option is the ref. 96B347, which boasts a stainless steel case and silver-white dial and is as close as it comes to Sinatra’s preferred timepiece.

As close to the original as it gets: the Bulova "Fly Me To The Moon" ref. 96B347
As close to the original as it gets: the Bulova “Fly Me To The Moon” ref. 96B347

While the original 1960s timepiece got its power from a Swiss movement, the current version uses an automatic Miyota caliber 8215 from Japanese manufacturer Citizen. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, seeing as Citizen bought the Bulova brand in 2008. The modern movement has a power reserve of 42 hours and is visible through the display case back. Both the song title “Fly Me to the Moon” and an image of Sinatra’s famous fedora are printed on the back.

The ref. 96B347 also looks good from behind thanks to a display case back and Sinatra text
The ref. 96B347 also looks good from behind thanks to a display case back and Sinatra text

In short, Bulova has introduced a line of elegant and versatile dress watches that aren’t just suitable for fans of the famous musician. The stainless steel version of the “Fly Me To The Moon,” in particular, has a lot in common with the timepiece worn by Sinatra himself. It’s rare to find vintage Bulovas from the 1950s and 60s today, so this new collection offers the chance to enjoy the aesthetics of a bygone era without digging too deeply into your pockets; all the watches in the Sinatra line are priced in the $500-1,000 range.

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About the Author

Sebastian Swart

I've been using Chrono24 for years to buy and sell watches, as well as for research purposes. I've had an infatuation with watches for as long as I can remember. As a …

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