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The Devil Diver resurfaces

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The Bulova Devil Diver aka the “666” Oceanographer is one of the nicest three handed dive watches I’ve seen in a long while. Created as an homage to Bulova’s original dive watch, the Oceanographer, the 666 is so named because of its odd depth rating. The 41mm face, which tells you you can snorkel down to 666 feet in this beast, is bold orange, and the entire package is so well-made that I’m surprised that they’re selling it for $750.

The watch is a bog standard diver with screwdown crown, cushion-style case, and a rubber strap. The diver’s bezel is unidirectional and features the standard orange 15 minute timer. The orange color itself is a kind of bright sherbert and is quite striking.

And then there’s the lume.

I shot this in the relative gloom of my attic after charging this watch for a few seconds against a lamp. It is glorious. The hour pips are actually transparent and act as light tubes that carry the light through to the face. The hands are amazingly lured and the whole thing shines like a spotlight.

The watch runs a Miyota 821D movement with calendar window and a reverse cyclops – basically a prism inside the crystal – keeps the date visible at all times.

Here’s the bad news: that movement is pretty janky. There is plenty of play in the seconds hand when you set the time and the entire thing isn’t as precise as I would have liked. That said, it’s the same movement that powers a number of popular watches and I think the rest of the package makes up for the limitations it creates on the watch as a whole.

At this point in my collecting career I like to rank watches by whether or not I’d pay full retail for something like this. A $750 diver from a storied maker is definitely well within my range of acceptance and I could definitely see this as an alternative to a Seiko Orange Monster. It’s a bit pricier than the Seiko, obviously, but it’s definitely worth a look.

It’s not every day someone comes out with an amazing, classic, mechanical diver and Bulova really pulled it off. I’m glad they’re back on the automatic movement kick and I’ll spend the next few months drooling after this devilish diver until they release something new.

Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: Oceanographer Devil Diver
  • Price: $750
  • Who we think it might be for: A great watch for diving fans who love classic styling and classic designs.
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: I’d buy this, definitely. It’s hard to justify the purchase of another three-hander but if you consider this a one-off piece in your collection it’s well worth it.
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: A better movement. The movement feel is a bit off.
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch: Lume, baby, lume. I love this thing from face to case and it’s quite a feat.

Tech Specs from Bulova

  • Case Width: 41 mm
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel
  • Band Color: Black
  • Buckle/Clasp: Buckle
  • Case Color: Stainless Steel
  • Case Finish: Polished
  • Case Shape: Cushion
  • Case Size: Full Size
  • Crystal/Lens: Acrylic
  • Dial Color: Orange
  • Dial Markings: Lumed
  • Water Resistance: 200 meters
  • Case Height: 14.55 mm
  • Attachment Hardware Color: Stainless Steel

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