The depths of the ocean have always had a special allure to those of us who seek to adventure and explore. When scuba diving rose in popularity in the 1960’s, aided by The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, watch brands wanted to capitalize on the rising popularity of the sport as well as the technical prowess that it would take to make a watch that would function at depth. Bulova was not immune to this allure and launched the first watch in the Snorkel family in the early 1960’s. During this time the standard dive watch was rated to 600 feet, but Bulova, wanting to gain an edge over its competitors in technical skill and marketability, rated their dive watches to 666 feet. The number 666 obviously comes with its own connotations, it’s the so-called “number of the Beast” in the Bible’s Book of Revelation. As a result, the public has coined these watches as “Devil Divers” and Bulova would continue using this depth rating for almost two decades.
The Bulova Snorkel dive watch seen here is reference 774 and shows a number of hallmark features that define the Snorkel line for Bulova. These hallmarks include a sturdy cushion shaped case, automatic movement, cross-haired dial and three-dimensional markers containing luminescent tritium. These features not only make this watch a fantastic functional dive watch but also makes a stylistic statement. One that says that the wearer is up for adventure, both in and out of the water.
This specific watch dates to 1969 as indicated by the M9 marking on the inside of the caseback.
The cushion shaped 44mm case looks to have been polished but still shows sharp edges and the correct finishing on all surfaces with only minor scratches throughout. The lume is missing from the invented triangle at the top of the bi-directional rotating bezel and the paint is wearing in spots. The six notch screw down case back is the earlier of the two casebacks used on this reference and features the Bulova dancer insignia and is marked on the inside with the M9 date code. The crown features the Bulova tuning fork insignia and is thought to be non-original.
The Dial and Hands
The dial is a beautiful matte black with red cross-hairs that extends out to frame the date window at 3 o’clock. The lume on the indexes is full and puffy as is the lume on the hands. The applied indexes at 12, 9 and 6 are particularly interesting as they are finished with a stacked color design with a red reflective coating facing the edge of the dial, then polished metal and then another application of lume. The top of the dial shows Bulova Snorkel and the bottom of the dial shows Automatic 666 feet and T Swiss T.
The watch features the Bulova 11BLACD 17-jewel automatic winding movement. These movements were used throughout the snorkel line of watches for a number of years. The movement is part of the larger 11B family of movements which has several variants spanning time only manual wind to the automatic, sweeping seconds, date movement seen in this watch. The watch is currently running and keeping good time but the service history is unknown.
The watch comes on a non-original black strap and non-original buckle.
|Location||New York City|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Leather Strap|