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Bulova Accutron II Review - Who’s the Snorkel 96B208?

September 21, 2021

The Accutrons are Bulova’s highly accurate timepieces. They come in all shapes and sizes. In our Bulova Accutron II review, we took a look at possibly the most popular one, the 96B208. We’ve compared it to alternatives from the collection, giving you a good glimpse at who you’re working at as well.

The Watch - At A Glance

Before diving in, read through the following table. We summarized the timepiece’s specs.

Preview
Bulova Accutron II
96B208 BULOVA Wristwatch
Product
Water resistance
660 feet (200 meters)
Case (size)
1.69 inches (43 mm)
Case
Stainless steel
Bezel
Stainless steel
Strap
Stainless steel
Movement
Japanese quartz
Crystal
Mineral
More Information
Bulova Accutron II
Preview
96B208 BULOVA Wristwatch
Product
Water resistance
660 feet (200 meters)
Case (size)
1.69 inches (43 mm)
Case
Stainless steel
Bezel
Stainless steel
Strap
Stainless steel
Movement
Japanese quartz
Crystal
Mineral
More Information

The Watch - A Review

Design

If you’ve been following the brand, you would have heard of the Deep Sea before. The Bulova 96B208, also known as the Accutron Snorkel, is reminiscent of it. Its counterpart was released in the 60s, which is why the Snorkel has a retro look to it.

Its body is shiny. This is as it’s made from high-quality stainless steel. The metal not only helps it look good, but it makes it scratch resistant and water-proof too.

Its rectangular case is one of the main things that make it look retro. You don’t find units with such builds anymore. Speaking of its case, you may be wondering how big it is. It stretches 1.65 inches (43 mm) across. If you have smaller hands, it might be too big for you. You’ll still be able to wear it, though. It would just look a bit awkward on you.

We’re fans of the steel meshing on its strap. This is not present on the Deep Sea. It makes the timepiece extra resistant as meshed steel is hard to crack. It also gives it a more jewelry-like feel.

You can pick the Snorkel up in multiple colours. The silver and orange one is our favourite. There’s a full matte-black one that’s appealing as well.

Dial

If you’re planning on getting rough with the piece, know that the crystal on its window is mineral. Having read our reviews before, you’d know that it’s not the toughest glass around. That’s why Bulova decided to dome it. This gives it extra resistance. The doming also makes it look more expensive. You can see this effect in luxurious Swiss devices.

Although its case is 1.69 inches (43 mm), its dial is not that big. The borders on its case are thick, taking a chunk of space. This means if you have bad eye-sight, you might be squinting to read the time.

You’ll be reading the time through rectangular markers on its face. They are full of lume and you’ll be able to read the watch in the darkest of settings. In terms of the lume present, we have no idea what it specifically is. Bulova didn’t make this public knowledge. However, it is quite bright.

Are you also getting pigment on its hands? The answer is yes. No surprise, you’re not getting any on its thin seconds’ hand. But its seconds’ hand is needle-like, and a sharp red, so it’s extremely easy to read.

If you’re not a fan of reading rectangular markers, its bezel would tickle your fancy. It consists of the minutes in an hour boldly written. The cherry on top is the fact that it rotates. More on why this is needed below.

You don’t have to look closely to notice the calendar in the 3 o'clock position. It reads the day’s date boldly. Bulova did a good job making the numerals on it more readable.

96B208

Case

The company made its case very ergonomic. There are also 2 crowns on it. Thankfully, they’re not in positions that would slam against your wrist. At the same time, they’re not the easiest to use, especially the top one – it’s hard to pull.

If you flip its case over, you’d realize that the watch is sealed well. This is as the Snorkel was made for the seas.

Water Resistance

So, how much water can it handle? 660 feet (200 meters) underwater. You might be wondering if it’s dive-ready or not. The answer is no. It was sealed well, but not well enough. It is not ISO 6425 certified.

If you’d like a look at a more dive-ready piece from the company, you can check our Bulova Sea King review out. It’s resistant up-to 1000 feet (300 meters) underwater and comes with a 262 Khz quartz mechanism.

What can you do with the 96B208? Swim and snorkel.

The fact that it’s made from quality stainless steel helps it be fit for time underwater. The metal is super water-proof. If mud, muck, or anything were to latch onto it, you can just wipe it down.

If you remember, there’s ample lume on its face. It helps you read the Snorkel when submerged.

Its bezel rotates. It acts as a timer, ticking loudly as it turns. It tells you when your oxygen supply would run out. Did you notice that its bezel has an orange part to it? Once the timer has reached the numerals in it, it means your oxygen supply isn’t doing that well.

Strap

As its strap is meshed, it feels comfortable on your wrists. The fact that it’s meshed prevents sweat from collecting too – air would always be flowing in.

Its strap is not thick. This helps it be comfortable. And you’re getting a butterfly clasp. It is a type of deployant one. It’s not the best to work, but it’s super secure. It also oozes luxury.

Movement

The watch is Japanese quartz. It’s very accurate. It makes use of a mechanism that rotates at 262 Kilohertz. The original Accutron technology was so good that it was used by NASA.

It is accurate by up-to 15 seconds a year.  Regular quartz pieces definitely can’t compete. 

What helps you make your time even more accurate is the ability to hack the device. The feature lets you halt its seconds’ hand, synchronizing it to an atomic clock.

Alternatives

Now that you know everything about it, give the following section a read. We compared the Accutron II Snorkel to siblings.

Bulova Accutron II 96B239

The 96B239 is a shiny stainless-steel device. Being made from quality metal, it’s resistant and water-proof. It has large pushers on its sides. They work its chronographs. Its chronographs are the three sub-dials on its face. They read the milliseconds, seconds and minutes passed. You can think of them like ultra-accurate stop clocks.

Like the Snorkel, you’re getting thin rectangular markers on its dial. They are not full of lume, unfortunately. But you’re getting pigment on its hands. No, there isn’t any on its seconds’ hand. That being said, it’s needle-like, helping you accurately tell the seconds’ passed.

You’re familiar with the glass on its display. It is mineral. It is domed, just like its counterpart.

Something else that it shares is its movement. You’re getting a 262 Khz Japanese quartz mechanism. The timepiece is incredibly accurate.

It is water-resistant. However, it can’t handle as much water as the Snorkel. It’s only resistant up-to 330 feet (100 meters). What can you do with such a resistance rating? You’ll be able to swim and snorkel with it.

The clasp on it is secure. It is the double press deployant type.

Bulova Accutron II 96B236

Build-wise, it looks a lot like its counterpart. Its case is retro, almost rectangular-like. Its strap is especially like the Snorkel. They both rock meshed steel bands. As you might’ve guessed, the steel on it is high-quality. Good luck trying to corrode it.

The 96B236 is huge. Its case stretches 1.77 inches (45 mm) across. If you have smaller wrists, it might not be for you. The watch is especially hard to wear if you have petite wrists because of its massive pushers. Like the entry above, they work its chronographs.

Its chronographs are the three sub-dials on its face. They read the milliseconds, seconds and minutes passed.

There are thin rectangular markers on its dial. They are full of luminous pigment. There is pigment on its hands too. Unfortunately, you’re not getting any on its seconds’ hand.

Its bezel rotates. It has the minutes in an hour written in neon-yellow. They contrast sharply against the black backdrop. It’s great that its bezel rotates as the 96B236 is water-resistant. But does it have a better rating than the Snorkel? This is not the case. It’s only resistant up-to 330 feet (100 meters).

There’s a date-feature present. We’re not the biggest fan of it. It’s at the 4 o'clock position. This means that you’ll be straining your neck trying to read it.

The mechanism inside of it is Japanese quartz. It is 262 Khz, making it super accurate.

Final Thoughts

Bulova knows what they’re doing. They’re not the most expensive brand, but they produce watches that come with lasting quality. They look good too. Everyone’s a fan of how accurate their quartz pieces are.

Just take a look at the Bulova Snorkel – it’s a fabulous purchase.

Why?

It’s accurate by up to 15 seconds a year, which is very impressive. It also works almost 10 times faster than regular quartz units. The fact that it looks so good is the icing on the cake.

Author
Thomas Vanderlaan
When Thomas Vanderlaan was a child, the moment he learned about mechanical watches he was hooked. His first love being mechanical watches, he decided to pursue a career in engineering as he was entranced by the science behind its gears. As the years passed, his passion grew. Although he worked a hectic career as an automobile engineer, he’d always collect watches during his spare time.
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