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About the Bulova School

Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking

One of Bulova's most significant contributions to the world of horology was the creation of the Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking, founded in 1945 by Joseph Bulova's son Arde Bulova (then Chairman of the Board). Arde Bulova "wished to repay, in some small measure, the sacrifice and service of returning disabled veterans after the Second World War." *

The Bulova school helped train an entire generation of American watchmakers. The school provided tuition-free education to teach disabled servicemen the skills of watchmaking "under the most expert supervision and with an all-inclusive curriculum in a pleasant environment where similar interests and problems developed a close-knit, affable group of men working toward common goals." *

By the early 50's, as the demand for skilled watchmakers increased in America, the Bulova school opened its doors to disabled civilians as well, and graduates of the Bulova school went on to pursue meaningful careers as not only watchmakers, but also as instrument makers, instrument repairers, micro-machinists, and other trades requiring the precision skills and dexterity of a watchmaker. Over 1500 jewelers pledged to hire Bulova graduates, so employment upon graduation was assured.


The school provided a well-equipped facility for its disabled students, and was a pioneer of "accessibility" with automatic doors and extra-wide elevators. Facilities included a medical department on school premises which housed an infirmary, dispensary and exercise room. The services of a physician, physical therapist, full-time registered nurse and a "physical medicine consultant" were provided free to the students. The school also housed an extensive horological library, recreation facilities, and a full kitchen and dining room.

The school received its financial support from the Joseph Bulova Foundation.

* "Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking Training Manual", 9th edition, pub. 1968.

Time Line of Events:

1946- The Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking Opens its doors.  Funding for the school provided by the Bulova Foundation

1948- 200 Graduate from the School

1949- Two Bulova school graduates are hired by Tiffany & Co.

1950-300 Veterans have graduated from the school

1950-53-400 Have now graduated from the school

1959-590 Graduates from the Bulova School find employment

1961- By this time 700 have graduated

1963-760 total Graduates

1964-796 have completed the program

Due to the collapse of the mechanical watch industry and the advent of inexpensive quartz watches, the school fell into decline and closed .



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