Bulova 98H51 Dress Collection Men’s Watch Review

Bulova 98H51 Dress CollectionSometimes simplicity says a lot more than complexity. Sometimes class is effortless. Sometimes the clearest message is spoken at the softest volume. And sometimes, as with the Bulova 98H51 Dress Collection, vintage fashion comes in an affordable package.

As you can tell just from looking at the picture of this beautiful – but minimalistic – men’s watch, it doesn’t take a whole lot of features or a complex design to create a very classy timepiece. This watch is elegant, functional, wearable, and nothing more. As you continue reading, I will give you a brief summary of the pros and cons, followed by a more in-depth Bulova 98H51 review below:

Bulova Men’s 98H51 Dress Watch With Calendar


  • This watch has a single goal – to be functional but classy – and it does it very, very well
  • The uncluttered design of the dial makes this watch very easy to read, even at a quick glance, although with poor eyesight it gets a little bit more difficult (see the cons)
  • You might not be able to see in the pictures, but the white background is actually slightly pearlized and has a subtle line-pattern dancing around the perimeter
  • You really can’t beat the price – for less than $100 on Amazon at the time of this writing, the Bulova 98H51 is very affordable
  • Bulova is a very well-respected and historically innovative brand.
  • The rose gold tone looks much better in real life than in the pictures, and pairs very nicely with the brown leather strap and white pearlized dial
  • 37 mm stainless steel case is very comfortable on the wrist; it’s lightweight and the perfect size for a more slender forearm


  • The strap is made from pigskin leather as opposed to calfskin, so it will probably take a day or two to break in and feel “right”. Fortunately, straps are the easiest thing to replace if you don’t like it
  • The calendar function is a little bit on the small side, so if you wear glasses it might be slightly difficult to read
  • Mineral crystal is less scratch resistant than sapphire crystal; this isn’t even a con because you’re not going to get a sapphire crystal window in anything under $500 most the time

Click here to read more customer reviews

My In-Depth Bulova 98H51 Dress Collection Review

Now that you have read the pros and cons review, as promised I will go into more detail on the dial, case and strap of the watch. This will give you a better idea of my personal opinion of this men’s watch, and whether or not it’s for you.

Pearlized White Dial with Rose Gold Markers and Hands

Obviously, the dial and its design are what most specifically define the Bulova 98H51, so we will start by reviewing it first.

As with most classy watches, to really appreciate the lightly patterned, pearlized white dial and the subtle rose gold tint of the hour markers and hands, you must see it in person. However, what I can tell you is that this watch goes very well with just about anything. Even though the brown leather strap isn’t perfect with a black suit, the rose gold and white tones of the dial make up for it. This is a watch for gentlemen with simple tastes, and the open-air design is very easy to dress with.

To go into a little bit more detail regarding the readability of the dial, I personally have no problems discerning the time quickly and easily, despite the thin hour and minute hands. I do admit that the date window is a little on the small side, and I could see how someone with less than perfect vision would have trouble quickly reading the date. I do wish they would’ve made the hour and minute hands a little bit thicker, because sometimes at a quick glance you can confuse the secondhand and minute hand, but ultimately this is nitpicking.

This is a feature-lite watch, and I like it that way. It reminds me of the Baume et Mercier Classima collection, in that it’s simple, vintage-y and regal, but of course, at a tiny fraction of the price. With a Japanese made quartz powered movement, the watch should stay fairly accurate… You’re probably looking at around 5 seconds per month of variance, although your mileage may vary.

37 Mm Stainless Steel Case with Rose Gold Tone

Bulova 98H51 Dress Collection Case ProfileAs I said in the pros and cons, I really like the size of the Bulova 98H51, and really, any of the watches in Bulova’s Dress Collection. I’m above average height at 6′ 1″, but I have slender wrists so while I CAN wear those large 45 millimeter watches that are currently in style without looking too weird, I find the slightly smaller cases to be much more comfortable. This particular case is just under 6 mm thick, so it is very easy to fit beneath a cuff or sleeve without snagging on anything.

As for the coloring of the case, it is primarily silver stainless steel with Rose Gold tone around the top of the bezel and horns, as well as the entirety of the crown. The sides and bottom of the watch are polished silver stainless steel. I just want to point this out to make sure that you know that the entirety of the case is not rose gold tone… I’ve seen a couple customer reviews where men were surprised when they found this out only after ordering the watch.

The watch is water resistant to 100 m, and the window is a flat mineral crystal, which I generally prefer to curved or domed mineral crystal. As I said in the cons, mineral crystal is a less scratch resistant than sapphire crystal, but then again, sapphire crystal is what they use in Rolex-caliber watches, and the Bulova 98H51 is only $100ish…So, what do you expect?

Brown Leather Strap with Stainless Steel Clasp

Bulova 98H51 Dress Collection Case BackLast but not least, the Bulova Dress Collection 98H51 features a pigskin leather strap with an alligator skin pattern.

Some men like it, others don’t, I’m personally indifferent. The few bad reviews that this watch has received on Amazon were in large part due to the strap, so take that as you will.

That being said, the strap is certainly comfortable, and it’s what you would expect from a watch at this price. It certainly doesn’t compare to the padded calfskin leather you would find in more expensive Bulova watches, but to a certain extent you get what you pay for. The strap certainly isn’t shoddy, but it’s also not the highest quality strap the world.

Ultimately though, after a couple days it will break in and feel just fine, and it’s certainly secure enough that you don’t have to worry about the watch falling off or anything like that. The strap is secured via a standard stainless steel clasp, polished silver in color.

My Verdict of the Bulova 98H51 Dress Collection

The Bulova 98H51 Dress watch makes a great entry-level watch with vintage looks and a classy appeal. It is light weight and slim on the wrist, so it is comfortable to wear everyday. There’s always something to nitpick about, but if you can find it for around $100 then it is an excellent deal for the craftsmanship and design behind the watch.

Next Watch Review: Bulova 96B130 Precisionist Longwood

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