Vintage Eye for the Modern Guy: Hands-On with the Bulova Oceanographer Devil Diver

About a month ago, after writing on the Citizen Tsuno Chronograph Racer, the publicist I was borrowing the watch from for the article let me know they were the first to have the retail model of the Bulova Oceanographer Devil Diver in New York. I’ve written on the watch before after its initial release, but this was one of the first market models available for review, which I did so over the course of a couple weeks.

To refresh, the new Devil Diver was released in 2018 after a survey jointly conducted by the Citizen-owned brand and the New York based vintage watch dealer Analog/Shift asked fans which of three models they should re-issue, and the 1972 Bulova Oceanographer was chosen (picture below, via Watchsteez). This historic watch — so nicknamed for its 666-ft depth rating written on its bright orange dial — was a part of the 1960s and ‘70s Oceanographer Snorkel series. It wasn’t the most beautiful or technologically advanced diver, but it had an interesting dial, comfortably sized 40-mm case, and could take a beating, so they were popular in their time and remain so today among vintage collectors Continue reading

Swatch Group 2019 Release: The New Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Chronograph

The Swatch Group decided to forgo Baselworld in 2019 and have its 12 exhibiting brands release their latest novelties on their own terms. While we’ve seen a number of releases slowly trickle out over the past six months, it’s all led up to this week for the Swiss conglomerate. WatchTime was one of the select few American publications invited to attend the inaugural “Time to Move” event that took place over the past four days in Switzerland. We spent that time meeting with six of the Swatch Group’s most prestigious marques — Breguet, Blancpain, Jaquet Droz, Glashütte Original, Harry Winston, and Omega — to view the watches that would be defining the rest of the year. Here are the highlights so far.  Continue reading

Swatch Group 2019 Release: Blancpain Revives the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda and Fifty Fathoms Nageurs de Combat

The Swatch Group decided to forgo Baselworld in 2019 and have its 12 exhibiting brands release their latest novelties on their own terms. While we’ve seen a number of releases slowly trickle out over the past six months, it’s all led up to this week for the Swiss conglomerate. WatchTime was one of the select few American publications invited to attend the inaugural “Time to Move” event that took place over the past four days in Switzerland. We spent that time meeting with six of the Swatch Group’s most prestigious marques — Breguet, Blancpain, Jaquet Droz, Glashütte Original, Harry Winston, and Omega — to view the watches that would be defining the rest of the year. Here are the highlights so far.  Continue reading

Summertime is Sea Time: Rizzoli Releases Hardcover Book Aimed at Dive Watch Enthusiasts

Avid readers of WatchTime, especially those who devoured luxury author Aaron Sigmond’s best-selling hardcover book, DRIVE TIME: Watches Inspired by Automobiles, Motorcycles and Racing in 2016, and its expanded edition in 2018, will be lining up to dive into its sequel, SEA TIME: Watches Inspired by Sailing, Yachting and Diving — a volume that teams Sigmond (who also penned last year’s horological history tome, Bulova: A History of Firsts for Assouline) with WatchTime’s own Senior Editor Mark Bernardo as co-authors and features the most comprehensive collection of nautical-inspired timepieces ever assembled between two covers. Continue reading

5 Divers’ Watches That Stole the Show at WatchTime L.A.

Last week’s WatchTime L.A. event was populated by many dozens of luxurious timepieces, — tourbillons, perpetual calendars, astronomical world timers, and any number of other high-end and often idiosyncratic complications. But those looking for a little “tool watch” appeal in their timepiece also found quite a few to strike their fancy, including several highly individualistic takes on the humble, albeit mega-popular, dive watch. Here are five that are worthy of note.

De Bethune unveiled its first-ever divers’ watch this year and, in typical De Bethune fashion, it’s highly memorable. The DB28GS Grand Bleu features De Bethune’s 27th in-house produced movement with a five-day power reserve and a manufacture produced balance wheel made of titanium and white gold. The 44-mm case is made entirely of titanium and offers a water-resistance rating of 105 meters. The newly designed lugs feature black zirconium inserts referencing the middle side of the case. The Grand Bleu’s unidirectional dive-scale bezel (the first one appearing on a De Bethune timepiece) rotates in the traditional manner but the scale’s numbers are actually applied to the sapphire crystal, a design De Bethune says it chose to keep the watch thin. The most intriguing aspect of the new diver is the application of a mechanical dynamo system that emits a blue-white light around four spots in the bezel. Using zero electronics or batteries, a pusher flush to the case at 6 o’clock activates a small gear train driven by the twin barrel. This gear train, via its miniature dynamo, provides the necessary energy to light up the watch. Once the five-day power reserve has dropped to a single day (indicated by a subtle display between 9 and 10 o’clock), this function will be blocked in an effort to conserve energy. De Bethune worked with lume expert James Thompson of Black Badger Advanced Composites to create a unique and proprietary blue photoluminescent material to improve the readability of the hands, indexes, and timer while remaining true to the brand’s trademark blue color. Continue reading

Reservoir Watches Introduces its First Dive Watch with the Hydrosphere Collection

Although Reservoir Watches has been around since 2015, my first experience with the brand was at Baselworld 2018 where I was struck by the brand’s all-or-nothing approach to watchmaking. Every single timepiece produced by Reservoir is focused on a dueling complication setup for the time display. The hours are indicated via a digital aperture in the lower hemisphere of the dial that physically “jumps” when the minute hand strikes 60. The minutes are read courtesy of a retrograde display that stretches around the periphery of the upper two-thirds of the dial. A power reserve display is located directly underneath the hour window at the bottom of each dial that uses either a hand or a sequence of three-dimensional spheres to indicate how much autonomy is left. In some models, a date window is placed to the right of the power reserve. Continue reading