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New Bulova Oceanographer Devil Diver Watches Hands-On

New Bulova Oceanographer Devil Diver Watches Hands-On Hands-On Spurred on by the success of last year’s Archive Series Oceanographer Devil Diver, Bulova has recently announced the release of two new color variants to expand its heritage-informed collection. The new watches are, except for updated dial colors, identical to the last year’s non-limited, slightly less true-to-the-original, 44mm-wide Devil Diver, originally available with a black and red color scheme. While the new dial colors do not represent a totally new watch, the pieces are bold and representative of Bulova’s (and, indeed, the entire watch industry’s) ever-increasing interest in reissues.

New Bulova Oceanographer Devil Diver Watches Hands-On Hands-On

The general layout and design of the Devil Diver dial is the same, with large applied, luminescent 3D hour markers, a crosshair design, and simple, almost Doxa-like hands. Carried over from the previous (and original) version is also the traditionally positioned 3 o’clock date wheel and complementary square cyclops for easy date viewing. Dial text remains old-school, with an applied Bulova signature at 12 o’clock, “Oceanographer” just underneath, as well as “Automatic,” “Snorkel,” and the Devil Diver moniker “666” located at 6 o’clock.

New Bulova Oceanographer Devil Diver Watches Hands-On Hands-On

The two new dial colors are a sort of turquoise-like green and an orange and blue model, both with matching bezels. I am impressed with Bulova’s willingness to employ a couple of color schemes that are seldom seen in the watch industry, harkening back to the glory days of funky-looking and colorful watch dials, especially on divers.

New Bulova Oceanographer Devil Diver Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Bulova’s modern Devil Diver case features a retro cushion style, with polished sides and a polished top that slopes steeply to meet the acrylic inlaid bezel, one of the most powerful throwback elements of the reissued Devil Diver series. Each model’s bezel is color-matched to its respective dial in the first 15-minute section. The case itself is mostly polished, though parts of the bracelet and caseback are brushed. These watches are not meant to be subtle, and the shiny case presentation fits in with the showy 1970s look and feel.

New Bulova Oceanographer Devil Diver Watches Hands-On Hands-On

While 44mm would have been huge in the era of the original Bulova Oceanographer Snorkel, in today’s world it fits in nicely with comparable diver watch offerings. Those with very small wrists may find Satan’s most beloved diving watch ever so slightly hefty, but I would argue that diver’s watches are often at their best when they are slightly oversized. Though a bit large, the case does wrap, making the watch easy to wear and comfortable even for the smaller-wristed out there, myself included.

A somewhat restrained but aesthetically complimentary screw-down occupies the traditional 3 o’clock spot, and crystal duties are handled with anti-reflective sapphire, a nice touch for the not-unreasonable price.

New Bulova Oceanographer Devil Diver Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Last year’s limited-edition (and more expensive) Archive Series Devil Diver came complete with a Swiss movement (a Sellita SW 220), whereas the more pedestrian model featured a Miyota Cal. 821D. These two new Devil Divers also sport the more-than-capable 821D, a workhorse of an automatic movement that beats at a somewhat slow 21,600 vph and does not hack (gasp!).

New Bulova Oceanographer Devil Diver Watches Hands-On Hands-On

The lack of a hacking function will be a turnoff for some but does add in a small way to the vintage feel, as many older automatic divers were not bothered with the need for precise synchronization. The Japanese movement is also indicative of Bulova’s owners, Japanese watch giant Citizen. And a Miyota movement positions the Archive Series Devil Divers at a more affordable price-point, something we as watch nerds can get behind.

New Bulova Oceanographer Devil Diver Watches Hands-On Hands-On

As before, the Devil Diver comes complete on an eccentric stainless steel bracelet with entirely too many types and rows of links, as well as alternating brushing and polishing. One almost hopes the bracelet will rattle just enough to complete the vintage feel.

New Bulova Oceanographer Devil Diver Watches Hands-On Hands-On

As I mentioned, Bulova has done nothing new other than to add a few more colors to its 44mm non-limited Devil Diver. While not a huge deal, the expansion of the Devil Diver collection indicates, at least to some extent, the success of its forebears, therefore indicating a market that can support still more heritage reissue models. More and more watch nerds are eschewing the often turbulent vintage market in favor of similar looking, yet modern, watches with the same feel, and the Devil Diver reissues are the product of that decision making process.

New Bulova Oceanographer Devil Diver Watches Hands-On Hands-On

As before, the Archive Series Devil Diver watches are still a reasonable value proposition at their full retail price of $795 and an even better deal at what are likely much lower Internet prices. For those who take their vintage inspired divers a bit larger and with some flair, the Archive Series Oceanographer Devil Diver ($795) in its new colors represents a welcome and interesting choice in a crowded market. You can learn more at bulova.com.

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  • Pete L

    The wonky date magnifier grates a bit but funky colours (especially like the turquoise one) and great value.

  • What fresh hell is this?

    I like them all but, come on, a Miyota 9015 please.

  • danowat

    Call me finicky, but the way those casting links look on the applied logo completely kills the look for me, they are way too apparent, the original has links that are way less obtrusive.

  • Citizen/Bulova should be ashamed of themselves for producing any watches with the 821D (or any 8000 series) movement since they have the so much better 9000 series movements. Surely these improved in every way movements can’t cost that much more can they?

    I’m not really a fan of the 70s style tonneau case but I get that this is a hallmark of dive watches from the period, so not really a complaint. But the short hands (all 3 of them) really bothers me. Otherwise (a case style I’m not in love with and hands that bug me), I do like these watches.

    • ???

      At least its minute/second hands have reached the markings, which many watches don’t have.

      • egznyc

        Right you are! But … those markings are inside the 3-D lumed hour markings, which is not my preference.

    • Martin

      Totally agree there, in this price point 9000 with hack?&handwind and 28800bph would be competitive, this way is to expensive. And that awful applied BULOVA sign on the dial that looks so cheap (printed would be better solution if they dont have tools or knowledge…). A big NO for me all together with price

    • Larry Holmack

      I agree…the case is just a bit too retro for my taste! I wasn’t a fan of this case style back in the ’70” when I was in college and I am still not now.

    • egznyc

      Yeah, what a crappy old movement to stick inside what would otherwise be a watch that’s competitive with a mid-range Seiko diver – and with a little more flair.

    • What fresh hell is this?

      Are the 8k and 9k movements interchangeable? Could you, if you were feeling perverse, have it replaced (or do it yourself)?

      • Not exactly. The case fitting and movement diameters are the same (26.0 and 25.6 respectively) however the stem is located lower in the (thicker 5.67 vs 4.10 mm) 8000 series movement measured down from the dial seat. So to use a 9015 for example,you would need to shim down the dial (within the case) with a ring that is 0.99 mm thick (the ring would be above the dial effectively pushing the 9015 movement down in the case). Hands would fit though. So you might be able to do it, but no it is not a simple swap.

  • Ugo

    i agree with the casting link critic below.
    also, if you put a square cyclop lens you’d better be sure that is aligned with the date window…

  • SuperStrapper

    Without insult, I just dont understand a hands on review of a dive watch that doesn’t include notes and image on lume.
    The hour markers here from a lume perspective are pretty cool and quite unique. Light is collected and likely magnified through those big raised (and set) Crystal’s, and then when glowing the lume is projected through them, like a fat chunk of fiber optic cable. It’s a nice look that again is unique and should have been worth mention and exposure. The bezel is not lumed aside from the triangle at 60. It would have been.nice to see a sapphire insert for the bezel.

  • Chris

    They are great looking but for $800 I would expect a minimum of a 9015 movement. Even if they actually sell at only 50% of that price it should be a 9015.

    • varanid9

      The miyota works fine.

  • Mark B

    That case style is becoming “over used.” In general, the case design works better without a large bezel. Omega got it right, it think, with the chronographs, like the 327.10.43.50.01.001

    • I agree it is overused. But I don’t like it even on Speedmaster Mark II watches.

      • Mark B

        I have been thinking about buying a 327.10.43.50.01.001 for some time now. Speaks to me somehow. Not sure why. I don’t typically like cushion case watches. Go figure…..

      • BNABOD
      • David Malphurs

        The case doesn’t feel nearly as prominent as the Mark II. Nor nearly as scratch prone with the bezel protecting it! Someday I will add a Mark II to the collection though, so I can scratch one for myself.

      • egznyc

        I’m going to disagree that it’s overused (hey, wanna fight about it? ;-)). It’s used far less than the ubiquitous circular case style – and I don’t hear anyone complaining that round cases are overused ;-).

        • I would (complain about round cases) but then I just like to be a contrarian sometimes 🙂

          • egznyc

            Hey forget about the Mark II. Maybe they (or YOU) could make the Mark C (maybe in a tonneau case?) ….

  • Yeah but faithful to the original – see make a bad choice now and it will show again 50 years later, ha ha.

  • The real question of this “turtles” is: will the dials and bezels align?

    • varanid9

      Why wouldn’t they??

      • It’s a Seiko thing; you wouldn’t understand.

  • David Malphurs

    I read this article with trepidation, having recently purchased one of the limited edition devils. I love the new colors and am happy that this series is getting some variety. I’m also happy that the limited edition remains so, and that they aren’t producing the same watch in a different color. The absent date magnification, swiss movement, and more handsome bracelet set the limited edition model apart.

    The devil keeps excellent time and has become my favorite watch to wear. I save my speedy and aquaterra for special occasions.

  • Tristan

    Wow, there’s some serious negativity in the comments here. It’s a fun and funky watch at a good price. Sure, the movement isn’t an ETA 2824, but if it was and it was coming from a Swiss brand it would cost twice as much. I’ve had the original 666 Oceanographer and the movement in that was nothing to write home about and getting cosmetic and case parts was nigh on impossible. I’d be very happy to strap on one of these. Thanks for the review, Benjamin.

  • Ethan

    I bought my NOS original for literally half the price……

    • Daniel Harper

      Definitely the route that I’d go! That’s a hell of a price though if they’re out there NOS for $400, I might have to try and snag me one!

      • varanid9

        I saw one on Ebay earlier tonight for $417.00.

  • RF96

    that turqouise dial is a beauty- a welcome respite from the extremes of gaudy, tacky 2-tones and dull, overdone, bauhaus minimalism. quite affordable too.

  • Drazen B

    I like these. It beats omnipresent, overdone Seiko Turtles, even if at the higher price point.

  • dennis

    C’mon a 821 movement at $800, 666 on the dial, only a blind
    man would buy this mess.

    • SuperStrapper

      What with the devil/666 comments? Are people really this wary of fiction?

  • Ulysses31

    I like the vintage style, but I don’t like the lack of hacking in a watch of this price, and the very obvious connections between the letters of the logo just look ugly. I realise other watches do this, but in this case, it just seems so prominent that it’s hard to ignore.

  • Fargo

    No… 🙂

  • Sternenmensch

    I absolutely adore the one with the blue and yellow bezel but cannot find it anywhere but these photos. Was that color scheme a prototype of super limited edition?

    • Not that I was aware of – I believe the colors photographed here are all the new regular-issue options.

    • ComedyGold

      On Ebay you’re seeing those bezel (copies not as good) so they’re available somewhere. I’d rather have the Bulova but they’ll look good on my vostok.

  • Pretty basic foldover with the flip lock that you’d find on pretty much any diver at this price point.

  • varanid9

    What if we re-name it to, say, Beelzebub?

  • varanid9

    It is a repro of an early ’70s watch and has a more “retro” look than the Seiko. It definitely stands out more. Anyway, I have both.

  • varanid9

    Yeah, because of all the split second high-altitude bombing runs, commando raids and bank robberies you coordinate?

  • varanid9

    I don’t notice it on mine. It only shows up in big blown up pics to bother the anal.

  • I like the hands if they were a bit longer is all. I like the hour markers!

  • Only if your watchmaker can fabricate a 0.99 mm ring (easier said than done) with the desired inside & outside diameters. Not something watchmakers usually do BTW.