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