Bulova Oceanographer Snorkel
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Bulova Oceanographer Snorkel

Before the Quartz Crisis, Bulova had an obsession with precision. Almost from the founding of their plant in 1912, they implemented a system of mass production never before seen in the world of horology. This guaranteed an unprecedented interchangeability in their parts. The obsession with precision spurred them to produce the most accurate movement for a wristwatch. The aptly-named Accutron, with its tuning fork in lieu of the typical balance wheel, was the first ever electronic watch and is a legend in itself.

Their Space Age rivalry with Omega was fierce and acrimonious. Even though the Accutron wasn't selected as the official "first watch on the moon" (that honor of course went to the Omega Speedmaster), their timepieces did go to space. The movement that powered the Accutron was used in some fashion in almost every other timing device during NASA's Apollo missions outside the wrist-worn Omega Speedmasters.

Their reputation for technical precision and accuracy was perhaps surmounted by a flair for the unique in their designs. With a distinctive visual style that attracted the respect of the American public (in part due to their innovative ad campaigns, including the first-ever television commercial in 1941), Bulova's watches from the 1960s and 1970s certainly have an engaging appeal.

While earlier Bulova divers featured more straightforward designs, later designs in the Snorkel and Oceanographer lines like this one experimented with a variety of case shapes and bold dial designs. Dating to 1969, the cushion case measures in at 38.5mm with a crisp beveled edge separating the brushed and polished surfaces and and eye-catching gray and red acrylic bezel. The dial is also an attention-getter thanks to its blue finish, applied outer chapter ring, and crosshair design.

As a darling of budget-conscious collectors, Bulova has certainly earned its reputation for dependability, and pieces like this one prove that in the realm of design, they were no slackers either.

Details

Stainless steel case is approximately 38.5mm (excluding the crown). Bulova 11BLACD movement. Circa 1969.

Overall Condition: Steel case is in excellent condition with light, even wear from from age and use. Blue dial is in superb condition with crisp printing. Luminescent elements across the dial and baton style hands have taken on a fine, even patina from age. Bidirectional friction bezel, screw-down caseback and Bulova signed crown.

Includes two 18mm nylon straps by Crown & Buckle.

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