As part of its on-going “Archive Series”, and following on from the Lunar Pilot Chronograph and Chronograph C “Stars and Stripes” re-issues, Bulova last year held a public vote in partnership with online retailer analogshift.com, to determine which vintage charmer to revive next. The people spoke, and the winner was the Oceanographer Devil Diver.

Bulova Archive Series Oceanographer ‘Devil Diver’

Beating the Chronograph A Surfboard and Bullhead chronograph to the chequered flag, the Oceanographer is a self-winding, 40mm, stainless-steel, cushion-cased dive watch dating from 1972. Notable features found on the Oceanographer include a crosshair-design dial and plastic hour markers held in place by jewellery-like prong settings. The memorable “Devil Diver” nickname comes from the dial’s “666 FEET” depth-rating signature – 666 being “The Number of the Beast”, according to the Book of Revelation.

Regarding the re-release, a preliminary 666-piece limited-edition version with an automatic Selita SW 220 mechanism, orange dial, black and white bezel, day/date complication, Jubilee-style bracelet and vintage-matching 40mm case was launched via analogshift.com in January.

Orange-dialled Devil Diver in 40mm case
Orange-dialled Devil Diver in 40mm case

As the previous Lunar Pilot and Chronograph C Archive Series re-issues were powered with quartz calibres, the use of a mechanical movement for the 2018 Oceanographer is a particular highlight.

Shown for the first time at this year’s Baselworld, the standard-production Devil Diver redux exhibits several key differences that mark it out from its ruddy-faced counterpart, namely a black dial, a more contemporary 44mm case size, a Miyota movement (thankfully still automatic), a black-and-red bezel, a date-only calendar complication, an oyster-style bracelet, and a cheaper price tag.

From left: Surf-Board Chronograh, Bull-Head Chronograph and Oceanographer ‘Devil Diver’
From left: Surf-Board Chronograh, Bull-Head Chronograph and Oceanographer ‘Devil Diver’

Coming in at under $1,000, the black-dialled Archive Series Oceanographer ‘Devil Diver’ is a splendid and remarkably well-priced heritage throwback watch that also serves as a great example of how to successfully promote and execute a vintage re-issue watch today. All in all, it looks to be a pretty bright future for Bulova and its burgeoning Archive Series.

Technical Specifications

Movement

Automatic Miyota movement

Case

44mm stainless steel; water-resistant to 200m (or 666ft)

Strap

Stainless-steel bracelet

Bulova Archive Series Oceanographer ‘Devil Diver’