A damn great watch doesn’t always have to require dipping into to your least successful child’s college fund. It’s easy to become cynical when a humble no date Sub is listed as an ‘investment class’. Yet, I believe in the core of my being that watches should be enjoyable to their wearer, and that in all of horology this is what matters greatest. And one may find an interesting, enjoyable watch still in 2022 in many less monetarily valuable forms. Of the great vintage divers, perhaps the most frequently overlooked may be a category known as the Devil Divers.
Devil Divers, or as I like to call them the Satan of the Seas, were a range of watches largely from Bulova (a US watchmaker) and Caravelle (their value arm) who gained their moniker for a 666 Feet depth rating. 200m (656 feet) was the Swiss standard in the 1960s, and Bulova decided to just test deep enough to smash that standard. The range of 666-feet watches sold extremely well and gained a reputation for being accurate and bulletproof timekeepers. These qualities saw latter iterations become the choice of many operators in the Vietnam war.
Today, the 666 appeal is inherent. This dial features and Explorer-ish layout with a 12-6-9 in thick tritium numerals and a date window at 3. Its case is a well-judged 35mm with an acrylic crystal that has its own squared cyclops. The bezel is no-nonsense steel. Not only that, but the handset evokes the best of some old Zenith styles. These were powered by a basic calibre 11ALACD which featured a slow 18000 vph beat and 42 hour reserve, but could take a beating. At just 5.15mm high, the movement allowed for a very thin case proportion. The charm is not difficult to understand. The relatively low values these still trade hands for? That’s little more tricky to comprehend, though I’m going to chalk this one up to people only buying what they see on celebrities’ wrists or in the next Bond. Thinking for yourself is not terribly common in life or indeed watch purchases, which is a good thing for us.
This example is one of the better I’ve seen in recent months. Its case has full lugs and a deep back engraving with light surface wear. The dial is lovely, with all its huge tritium plots a deep yellow tone. The bezel even has some lume left at 12. The correct signed crown and plexi crystal are still present. It comes from a retailer out of Italy on Chrono24.
Find this Snorkel Devil Diver here on Chrono24 for 1285 EUR.