New Bulova A-11 Hack Is a Fresh Take on ‘The Watch That Won the War’

Bulova A-11 Hack Watch with a brown strap and a blue dial on a person's wrist in strong sunlight
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From dive watches to pilot watches and beyond, there are all kinds of timepieces on today’s market boasting a military pedigree. While some have a more tenuous connection to combat than others, the Bulova A-11 Hack deserves to be called “iconic.” This simple field watch was a standard-issue piece of gear for Allied soldiers in World War II, and thanks to its rugged design, excellent legibility, and ease of use, it proved to be a capable performer and earned the nickname “The Watch That Won the War.” How’s that for an impressive reputation?

Now Bulova is enlarging its A-11 collection. Last week, the brand released a new A-11 Hack that combines its predecessors’ legendary performance with dressier styling that’s perfect for everyday wear.

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Several features have distinguished the Bulova A-11 Hack since its introduction. First, it was designed to be easy to read thanks to a black dial design with luminescent hands and indices. Second, it was built for combat. Its name refers to an innovative “hack” seconds function, which allowed the wearer to pull out the crown and stop (or “hack”) the seconds hand at 12 o’clock to synchronize the watch with other timepieces—essential for coordinating with other soldiers while on a mission. According to Bulova, the A-11 was also intended to be used as a navigation aid, and many were put to work in the U.S. Army Air Force to help navigators keep their planes on course.

The new Bulova A-11 Hack keeps many of those hallmark traits but departs from the monochromatic color schemes that usually define military field watches. The new A-11 features the same simple dial design with white Super-LumiNova hands and markers for easy legibility, the case has the distinctive “coin edge” texture around the perimeter, and the hack complication is still present. But now the dial comes in a deep blue color (previous A-11s were available only in black or beige) and the seconds hand is painted bright red. In addition, the case size has been sized down to 37mm for improved wearability, and the watch is paired with a deep brown nylon strap (NATO-style, of course).

With the new colors, the watch preserves its military roots but moves from utilitarian tool to stylish accessory. That means you can wear it daily without looking like you’re about to parachute into a combat zone.

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Bulova A-11 Hack Watch with a brown strap and a blue dial on a white background.
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But make no mistake: This watch is rugged. It’s topped with domed mineral crystal for durability and scratch-resistance, and it’s equipped with a Miyota 82S0 automatic movement, which has a 42-hour power reserve for reliable timekeeping. In a nod to its military history, the case back is stamped with its specification number, serial number, and other data, and it’s water-resistant to 50 meters, so it can stand up to splashes and rain.

Tough, iconic, and easy to wear—that’s a military watch we can salute.

[$450; bulova.com]

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