This is a Bulova dive watch made to military specification MIL-W-22176, CIRCA 1957. It has a manually wound, American made, 17 jewel, center sweep 10 BPCHN Bulova movement. This watch was a follow-on to the Elgin Grade 647 UDT dive watch in service from the early 1950s. A similar watch to the Bulova is the USN Tornek-Rayville Model TR-900 made to MIL-W-22176A specifications, circa early 1960s. You will see many similarities between the two. One difference is the strap width. This Bulova is a throwback to the US military watches from WWII in that it has a lug width of 5/8 inch (16mm). The TR-900 had the more modern width of 3/4 inch (18mm). From what I have been able to find and infomation sent to me by other collectors, it seems that this watch migt have been a prototype http://stinet.dtic.mil/oai/oai?&verb...fier=AD0777669 http://stinet.dtic.mil/stinet/jsp/do...28s%29&MC=&PE=
of the MIL-W-22176 specification that did not pass the qualifications and never made it to the point where it was actually issued. This is very plausible and believable but from the wear on the case back you can see that this watch did see some wear, more than what you would come to expect from military trials. When I got the watch, the movable bezel and insert was missing and the movement did not run. After looking at the movement, I noticed that the winding gear's center screw was loose and was not allowing the mechanism to engage properly. After alighning the gear and tightening the screw, the movement was started to run. After winding it up fully, I was truly amazed when after 24 hours had elasped that it was only 2 seconds off of my computer's internal clock! Not bad for a 50 year old movement having never been opened and serviced. I plan to have the movement fully serviced and a new bezel and insert are currently in the process of been created by my watchmaker/restorer. He will also try to have the crystal polished to remove the many scratches and divots. I would like to keep the original crystal if at all possible.
What a classic dial and still very good looking today. It definitely has the look of the US military watches from the Second World War and not the later 1960s on US military watches.
Notice the strap wear pattern on the case back? This watch definitely saw some heavy use.
The spring bars are original to the watch and are surprisingly heavy duty.
You will notice that the movement serial number (0127) is repeated on the case back.
The original crystal is lead soldered and is quite thick and highly domed.
The inner movement holder is machined from brass. It looks like it was custom made and a assembly line made part.
I don't know how many of these watches were made but after 18 years of collecting military watches, this one was the first that I have ever seen. Shortly after aquiring this example, a friend of mine contacted me and sent me pictures of the watch that he had. He had bought the case (with bezel) sans movement and thinking it was some type of Blancpain, he had a Blancpain movement and dial/hands installed. It was only after seeing pictures of mine that he thought his might be similar. Unfortunately, he did not have a movement, dial and hands or inner movement holder. As luck would have it, a complete movement and dial/handset popped up on the radar and he bought it. The odds of something like this happening are astronomical! So now all he needed was an inner movement holder and all that I needed was a bezel and bezel insert. We made plans to have measurements made of his bezel and my movement holder and now we are both waiting for the parts to be created so that there will be two examples of this very rare watch. I hope to have my watch completed maybe by the end of the summer and I'll post pictures of mine then. I hope this was of interest to others.