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U.S. NAVY DIVE WATCHES
COLLECTIBLE DIVE WATCHES
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
HOW THEY LOOK

 

NOTE. THE 2 DOXA 300T THE BLACK WOULD HAVE BEEN THE ONE UTILIZED THE EARLY ZODIAC NON-DATE WAS THE TOP VIETNAM ERA MIL DIVE RARE NON HACKING VERSIONS WERE THE FIRST ZODIAC MILITARY THE BULOVA AND BLANCPAIN WERE ALL DESIGNED FROM MIL SPECS BULOVA BUILT THE FIRST NAVY AUTOMATIC THEY BUILT AND TESTED A SERIES OF DIVES TO 300 PLUS FEET THEN THE FINAL SPECS ARRIVED 1961 WHICH HAD THE CIRCULAR MOISTURE INDICATOR U.S. NAVY SPEC MIL W 22176 A BULOVA DID NOT RENEW THE CONTRACT CHOOSING TO OFFER CIVILIAN WATCHES WITH THE TECHNOLOGY THEY DEVELOPED BLANCPAIN TOOK OVER AND USED ORIGINAL BULOVA TECHNOLOGY FOR CASE ETC AND THE NEW Milspec 1 SPECIFICATIONS IN U.S. NAVY SPEC MIL W 22176 A TO PRODUCE THE TR-900 NOTE THE FIFTY FATHOMS WAS UPDATED TO INCLUDE THE U.S. NAVY DEVELOPED MOISTURE INDICATURE DOWN TO THE CHEMICALS THAT MADE IT WORK AND THEN PLACED THIS TECHNOLOGY INTO THE FIFTY FATHOMS Milspec 1

(NOTE: THEY HONORED THE U.S. NAVY )

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U.S. NAVY SPECA MIL W 22176 A

NOTE IN 1940 THERE WAS THE

U.S.N. BU SHIPS
Canteen Style Diver's Watch

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U.S. NAVY SPECA MIL W 22176 A

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U.S. NAVY SPECA MIL W 22176 A

THE FIRST AUTOMATIC DIVE WATCHES

The modern scuba diving watch was introduced to the public in 1954 at the annual watch trade show in Basel, Switzerland; BLANCPAIN AND ROLEX INTRODUCED THE FIFTY FATHOMS AND RO9LEX SUBMARINER RESPECTYIVELY..

With existing contracts with the Air Forces and Army, the US Navy FIRST entered into an agreement with the Bulova Watch Company IN 1956, and it's Bulova Research and Development Laboratories, to develop and manufacture a new AUTOMATIC DIVE WATCH WITH PLEXIGLASS CRYSTAL AND 350 FEET CAPABILITY.

 

BY 1964 THE BULOVA 666 (FEET) & 333 (FEET) MODELS WERE  LAUNCHED ALL FUTURE LINES AND MODELS OF THE FAMOUS NAVY MILITARY DIVE WATCHES DURING VIETNAM WAR AND ALL FUTURE DIVE WATCHES. WE CAN NOTE WITH PLASTIC/PLEXIGLASS CRYSTALS, INCLUDING THE DOXA.

ADDITIONALLY, THE FIRST OFFICIAL US MILITARY DIVER WATCH WAS IS THE RESULT OF THREE GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS FROM 1958,TO 1961, [MIL-W-3181 / MIL-W-22176 / MIL-W-22176A]. IT WAS IN 1961 THAT BULOVA, UNDER US NAVY CONTRACT TO PERFECT THE FIRST AUTOMATIC DIVE WATCH WITH PLEXIGLAS CRYSTAL, WAS FINALLY SUCCESSFUL AND IT PASSED ALL GOVERNMENT TESTS INCLUDING DIVING TO 392 FEET.

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WHILE STILL IN DEVELOPMENT, IN 1963, BULOVA DROPPED THEIR CONTRACT & THE CONTRACT WAS TAKEN OVER BY BLANCPAIN, ["BLANCPAIN MI SPEC 1" ]WHO PRODUCED THE TR-900 DIVE WATCH. THE TR-900 DIVE MATCHED MUCH OF THE SPECS, CASING AND OTHER DESIGNS OF BULOVA' FINAL VERSION, INCLUDING THE VERY LOOK AND DESIGN DOWN TO THE RADIUM MARKERS, MOISTURE INDICATOR, BEZEL AND BEZEL INSERT. ABOUT 1000 TR-900'S WOULD BE PRODUCED UNDER TWO CONTRACTS FOR THE NAVY DURING 1964 & 1965 AND ISSUED TO NAVY UDT FROGMAN TEAMS AND MARINE RECON UNITS DURING THE VIETNAM WAR. AROUND THE SAME TIME, BULOVA RELEASED THEIR PLEXIGLAS AUTOMATIC 666 DIVE WATCH FOR COMMERCIAL SALES AND WERE AVAILABLE AT MILITARY PX ANSD R&R LOCATIONS. IT IS IN THIS TIME FRAME THAT ELGIN PRODUCED THEIR FIRST AUTOMATIC WATER PROOF, ALL STEEL DIVE WATCH WITH RADIUM MARKERS.  

BY 1964-1967, DIVE WATCHES WERE IN HIGH DEMAND. ESPECIALLY AUTOMATICS. AND, WITH A WET HOT HUMID VIETNAM WAR BUILD UP--- THE PX & R&R LOCATIONS WERE A HOT MARKET.

[NOTE: ALL THE WATCHES SHOWN WERE RESTORED BY ROCK]

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BULOVA, WHO ACTUALLY DEVELOPED THE FIRST AUTOMATIC DIVE WATCH WITH PLASTIC CRYSTAL UNDER US CONTRACT, RELEASED THEIR AUTOMATIC MODEL IN COMPETITION WITH THE 1964 ZODIAC SEA WOLF AUTOMATIC. WHICH WAS INTRODUCED AT THE 1964 WORLDS FAIR.

 

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  THE ABOVE ADVERT INFORMS IT'S READERS TO VISIT THE ZODIAC EXHIBITION IN THE SWISS WATCH PAVILION AT THE NEW YORK WORLDS FAIR AND THE ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNE WAS HEAVY ON TV AND RADIO. THIS WAS 1964, IN FLUSHING QUEENS NY.  I WAS THERE AND VISITED THE PAVILION. IT WAS FREE. IF YOU READ MY BOOK, YOU WOULD READ HOW WE WENT TO 14 FREE EXHIBITS THE WATCH PAVILION, GENERAL ELECTRIC AND THE IBM EXHIBITS WERE THE BEST AND THE AMPHIBIAN CAR THAT WENT INTO WATER MADE IT A GREAT EXPERIENCE; ESPECIALLY FOR MY BROTHER WHO WAS 7 AND I , AT 11, WERE JUST KIDS BEGINNING A JOURNEY ["RUNNING AWAY"].

BOTH OF THESE, AS WELL AS OTHERS, WERE INVESTED IN BY US AND AUSTRALIAN SOLDIERS FROM PRIVATE TO OFFICER...I FACT, BULOVA MADE MORE SALES AND MONEY THAN BLANCPAIN, WHO HAD TAKEN OVER THE BULOVA CONTRACT AND UTILIZED ALL THE MAIN FEATURES OF BULOVA RESEARCH IN PRODUCING THE US MILITARY DIVE WATCH!

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WALTHAM [ABOVE], ANOTHER LONG TIME US MILITARY WATCH DEVELOPER, FOLLOWED WITH THEIR OWN MODEL WHICH WAS LARGER THAN THE BULOVA, ZODIAC OR ELGIN.

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ELGIN, WHO HAD SUPPLIED US MILITARY WATCHES SINCE WWI. RELEASED THERE OWN VERSION WITH STRAIGHT DROP LUGS, MEDIUM BEZEL IN A SMALL CASE SIMILAR TO THE OLD ELGIN WWII CASES. IT WAS ONLY LARGER DUE TO THE BEZEL.  

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AND, FINALLY, WE HAD BENRUS. BENRUS HAD, BY BEATING OUT BULOVA, ACTUALLY WON THE FIRST MAIN CONTRACT FOR MILITARY ISSUED VIETNAM SERVICE US ARMY AND AIR FORCE WATCHES AND ALSO A MILITARY DIVE WATCH. THEY WOULD INTRODUCE THE SINGLE CASE BENRUS. AT THAT TIME, DUE TO ITS SINGLE CASE DESIGN AND THE SIMPLY BEZEL WITH ELGIN STYLE LUGS, IT BECAME A HIT WITH THE GI'S. BUT THEY TOOK ANOTHER STEP. TO MAKE THEIR DIVE WATCH STAND OUT, THEY INTRODUCED A LIMITED 25 JEWEL INCABLOC MODEL. THEY UTILIZED A 25J A.S. EUBACHE AND A ETA 17J ROTOR ASSEMBLY TO PRODUCE THE LIMITED SELF WINDING ULTRA DEEP 666 FEET.

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