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Bulova Phantom

The world's thinnest watch in 1979


The Bulova Phantom was more than just a watch - it was Bulova's offensive in a war.

Bulova Phantom Advertisement (Cropped)

The 1970s were very hard on traditional watchmakers and that period became known as the "Watch Wars" as new quartz watch technology pitted low cost semiconductor technology against the traditional high quality mechical movements. Many estabilished Swiss companies that were initially relucant to embrace quartz were soon scrambling just to survive.

Bulova Phantom Advertisement (Complete)

At the end of the 1970s, the Swiss were bent on showing that they not only could compete in the new digital era, but that they had the upper hand in technology. A war was on to produce the thinnest watch as a means to demonstrate technical dominance.

With the Phantom, Bulova showed the world that it had not lost its Mojo. At only 3mm thick, the Phantom was the thinnest watch in the world when it was introduced in 1979. The Phantom was available in 3 styles - a solid 18KT gold version with an integrated solid gold band at $5000, an 18 KT gold case with leather band at $1500, and a gold plated case with leather bracelet at $500 (the model shown here).

Concord Delerium Advertisement

In 1980 , Seiko produced an LCD watch 1mm thinner, but it didn't have the Phantom's style. That same year, the title of thinnest watch title went to the Condord Delerium, a very expensive analog quartz watch. To this day, the thinnest watch in the world is the Delerium IV from 1980 at just under 1mm thick. Unfortunately, the Delerium IV could not actually be worn because any strain from the band would destroy the movement! So, in some respects, the Phantom is still the world's thinnest practical watch.

The Concord Delerium IV - a watch that is too thin to wear!

Although large, chunky watches are in style today, thin continues to be a mark of sophistication. In 2002, a watch company from India called Titan introduced "The Titan Edge" which was billed as "The Slimmest Watch in the Universe" at 3.5mm thick. The 30 year old Bulova Phantom is still thinner!


Case: Very good.
This watch is in very good condition with some faint scratches on the front of the case. The case back is in mint condition with the original plastic sticker on the back.

Face / Hands: Very good.
The front face is in very good condition with just a few minor scratches visible under magnification.

Crystal: Very good.
The crystal has one or two light visible scatches.

Band / Bracelet: Very good.
The original band is in fine condition.

Function / Accuracy: Very good.
The watch works and all functions operate as they should. The front buttons are a little bit stiff and require a firm press to operate and the battery does't last as long as one might wish - less than a year. Digital quartz accuracy.