Bulova’s Oceanographer Devil Diver GMT brings travel-ready utility to a fiendish retro classic Bulova’s Oceanographer Devil Diver GMT brings travel-ready utility to a fiendish retro classic

Bulova’s Oceanographer Devil Diver GMT brings travel-ready utility to a fiendish retro classic

D.C. Hannay

Ever since Bulova remastered their infamous Oceanographer “Devil Diver” a few years back as part of their Archive Series, vintage fiends like yours truly have been gorging themselves on all that retro-flavoured goodness. Here was a classic ‘70s diver, available once again with modern specs and durability, all at considerably less than vintage prices. And now, Bulova has upped the ante with three new GMT variants that keep the period-correct looks while adding real-world travel functionality.

The case

bulova oceanographer devil diver gmt root beer wrist

The Devil Diver’s cushion case sits in the same stylistic wheelhouse as retro classics like the Seiko Turtle or the classic Doxa Sub, and if those icons are a good fit for you, it’s as close as you can get to a sure thing that the Oceanographer GMT is going to wear well. The three new models feature a nice blend of brushed and polished textures, and all have 41mm stainless cases that measure 45.2mm lug-to-lug, so comfort is a given. Case height is 14.6mm, which might seem a bit tall, but it’s partly due to the double domed sapphire crystal, always one of my favourite features on a vintage-leaning watch.

bulova oceanographer devil diver gmt pepsi case profile

The case finish varies depending on the colourway, with the blue-dialled “Pepsi” version rendered in brushed and polished stainless. The two other variants include the “Root Beer” model with a rose gold finish, and the fully lumed black and white edition that features a gunmetal grey plating. The bezels differ depending on which version you choose, with the Pepsi and Root Beer going with bicolour and bidirectional 24-hour bezels, and the lume dial version getting a black and white unidirectional dive version. And true to its diabolical nickname, the Devil Diver GMT is water resistant to 666 feet, just over 200 metres, thanks to the screw-down crown and caseback.

The dial

bulova oceanographer devil diver gmt lume dial close up

The dials on the current time-only Archive Series Devil Diver reissues are available in green or an eyeball-scorching orange, but the GMT versions are a bit more conservative, with blue for the Pepsi, black for the Root Beer, and a black and cream-coloured one for the full lume model, which gets its 24-hour scale on the dial rather than the bezel. The hour indices are one of the coolest features of these dials, taking the form of frosted crystal cylinders set in jewellery prongs, with lume plots below. It’s a unique look that you’re not likely to see anywhere else. The dials also have a cool crosshair pattern that evokes vintage designs, and all models get a framed date window at three. Hands are stubby and wide, similar to Doxa’s, and the GMT hand has a diamond-shaped end filled with lume. And rest assured, the Number of the Beast is still featured on the dial text as it should be.

The movement

bulova oceanographer devil diver gmt root beer caseback

The Devil Diver GMTs utilise a traveller GMT movement, meaning you get an independent hour hand that doesn’t require interrupting normal timekeeping to set. It comes from Bulova’s corporate sibling Miyota, the automatic Caliber 9075, and it’s become one of the movements of choice among entry level GMTs from several microbrands, as well as other brands that fall under the larger Citizen umbrella. Specs include 24 jewels, a beat rate of 4 Hertz, and a 42-hour power reserve. Accuracy is decent, although not world-beating, at -10/+30 seconds per day.

The strap/bracelet

bulova oceanographer devil diver gmt lume dial case profile strap

The Pepsi and Root Beer models come standard with a stainless bracelet in matching finishes, and the more dive-oriented lume dial version gets a beefy grey polyurethane strap that features a textured middle section and stitched edges. A lug width of 20 mm makes the Oceanographer a strap rogue as well, and I can see any of these on a wide variety of rubber, sailcloth, canvas, nylon, and even leather choices.

The verdict

bulova oceanographer devil diver gmt pepsi 1

Summing up, these new additions to the Devil Diver lineup are note-perfect when it comes to all-day vintage vibes. The convenience of a GMT complication for frequent travellers can’t be overstated, and one with an independent hour hand makes things even easier. You can’t argue with the great vintage looks of the Pepsi and Root Beer versions, and the full lume model is an absolute blowtorch with a more modern vibe. All told, the entire proposition is an attractive, retro-leaning timepiece with modern convenience and durability, and a worthy contender in the new realm of accessibly-priced GMT watches.

Bulova Oceanographer Devil Diver GMT pricing and availability

The Bulova Oceanographer Devil Diver GMT is now available from Bulova retailers. Price: A$1,950 (Lume, Pepsi), A$2,099 (Root Beer)

Brand Bulova
Model Oceanographer Devil Diver GMT
Reference Number 96B405
98B407
97B215
Case Dimensions 41mm (D) x 14.7mm (T) x 43mm (LTL)
Case Material Stainless steel, IP-coated rose gold, IP-coated gunmetal
Water Resistance 200 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire
Dial Blue, lume dial, black
Strap Steel bracelet, fitted rubber strap, PVD rose gold bracelet
Movement Miyota 9075, automatic
Power Reserve 42 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, date, GMT
Availability Now
Price A$1,950 (Lume, Pepsi)
A$2,099 (Root Beer)