Bulova 98B104 Marine Star Watch Review

Bulova 98B104 Marine StarAll of the watches in Bulova’s sport collection are designed for everyday wear. The Bulova men’s 98B104 Marine Star is no exception; it is a beautiful combination of classic style, affordability and wearability. This is the type of watch you could wear with casual every day attire with no problem.

As far as the technical specifications go, you’re looking at a Quartz powered watch with a 3-dial chronograph (minutes on left, seconds on bottom, hours on right) and water resistance to 100 m. As with any watch from Bulova, you’re buying from a brand with a history of great watchmaking, and to this day they offer some of the best customer service around, especially for the brands marketing under $1,000 watches.

Below you will find a review of the pros and cons:

Bulova Men’s 98B104 Sport Collection Marine Star Calendar Watch

Pros:

  • Absolutely fantastic design… I love the subtle-but-rich rose gold tone on a deep black, lightly textured background. Looks much better in real life than in pictures.
  • Roman numerals are A+
  • Easy to read in both the light and dark thanks to the thick, luminous hour and minute hands.
  • Very large sized watch is perfect for bigger guys with large wrists and forearms.
  • A nice break from the plain stainless steel designs that you see so frequently these days, including from Bulova.
  • The thick rubberized strap is surprisingly flexible and very robust, even though it’s not my personal preference.

Cons:

  • Rubberized straps – you either love them or you hate them. Fortunately, in my detailed review I’ll show you where you can get an excellent replacement.
  • Several customer reviews revealed that this watch is vulnerable to sweat. Don’t wear this while working out or doing intense physical labor. (One more reason I recommend a more breathable replacement strap below)
  • Please be aware of the size of this watch… If you are an average sized guy (under 5′ 10″ and less than 200 lbs), the Bulova 98B104 may be too big!
  • A few customers have complained of factory defects, e.g. a dial stopped working, or arrived with a hand fallen off. Fortunately, Bulova has excellent customer service!

Click here to read more customer reviews

My Detailed Bulova 98B104 Marine Star Review

Unfortunately, as you can see this watch has a lot going for it, but it is not flawless and it is not for everybody.  For the price you get a ton of features and a very good-looking men’s watch, but make sure you’ve read the in-depth review below to get the whole picture.

Black Dial with Rose Gold Accents; Chronograph and Date Function

Starting with the most important part of the watch, the men’s Bulova 98B104 has a black dial with Rose Gold colored hands and hour markers. The dial has a very nice touch that you may not notice in the pictures – The black background has a very subtle line-pattern to it that goes only under the area covered by the hour markers; very well done and much more noticeable in real life.

I am a huge fan of the Roman numerals, and the chronograph is functional even if it’s not the most robust one you will ever find. For under $500, you’re simply not going to get the type of reliable chronograph that you would in a more expensive watch, but this is to be expected.

The date function is very clear and has a nice rose gold frame. The second hand is clearly marked with a red border around the arrowhead, and the hour and minute hands are luminous for nighttime usability.

44mm Rose Gold and Black Stainless Steel Case with Flat Mineral Crystal

Bulova 98B104 Marine Star ProfileThe stainless steel case is very well done. You have rose gold coloring on the bezel which is attached to an octagonal black stainless steel plate which frames the watch. The rose gold bezel is thickly coin edged with six black screws evenly spaced around the perimeter.

As I noted in the pros and cons overview, the 98B104 men’s Marine Star is a very large watch. At 44 mm you are looking at a watch that is just under 2 inches in diameter (for those of you unfamiliar with the metric system). It’s not actually that heavy thanks to the rubberized strap, but it still looks best on larger guys. I would say 200 to 220 pounds would be a pretty reasonable threshold. If in doubt, feel free to try it on at your local Macy’s or something, but just remember that Amazon has the best deal.

One more thing to note – this case is not perfectly waterproof. I would say that the 30 m water resistance should probably be closer to 30 m. I wouldn’t recommend exercising or anything like that while wearing this watch, and I certainly wouldn’t shower with it on. If you do, moisture may appear on the inside of the crystal. Just be careful!

Black Rubberized Strap with Rose Gold Stainless Steel Clasp

Bulova 98B104 Marine Star Case BackLast but not least we come to the strap of the watch. I am personally not a very big fan of the black rubberized straps. This one is high quality – very thick, but still soft and flexible – but I still prefer stainless steel or leather straps.

If you do decide that you want to get a different strap, I recommend you get the strap from the Bulova 98B103 Marine Star. It’s made from black perforated leather, so it’s much more breathable and more comfortable than the rubberized strap. If you’re interested, you can acquire one of these straps by contacting parts@bulova.com or calling 1-800-233-3350.

My Verdict of the Bulova 98B104 Marine Star

The Bulova 98B104 Marine Star is a ruggedly stylish watch. I love the rose-gold on black color scheme, I REALLY love the Roman numerals and I always enjoy a chronograph, but I recommend replacing the rubberized straps and this “water resistant watch” is not sweat proof.

Next Watch Review: Bulova 96B103 Dress Collection

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