Bulova’s Trio of New Oceanographer GMTs are Fun Yet Timeless Options for the Globetrotting Diver
Bulova is honoring its 1972 “Devil Diver” watch by combining a GMT function with eye-catching designs that are at once universally familiar yet distinctly heritage inspired.
If you ask us, there has been enough of a spike in new GMT-equipped dive watches recently to qualify as a trend.
Between offerings like the new Longines HydroConquest GMTs, a GMT model in Omega’s 70th Anniversary Seamaster line, and the new trio of Oceanographer GMTs from Bulova that we’ll be talking about today, the concept of what is, at its core, a dive watch doing double-duty as a travel watch is catching a foothold in this year’s horological developments.
In the Bulova Zone
Introduced in 1972 and earning the enduring nickname of the “Devil Diver,” the Bulova Oceanographer has now been updated with a GMT function. Powered by a modern 42-hour-power-reserve Miyota automatic movement, accurate second time-zone timekeeping is a snap in terms of precision and on-the-fly time zone setting.
However, that these new Oceanographer GMTs have also been made more relevant and modern than their predecessors by drawing inspiration from the classic is perhaps just as significant an update as its useful new function. More specifically, Bulova uses a combination of small and large design nods to make the new 41mm Oceanographer GMTs even more appealing.
For instance, part of the dial badging includes the figure “666 feet,” which is both a departure from standard 10 and 20m increments of water resistance and gave the original models, often pegged for U.S. military use, the “devil” part of their nicknames. Then there are the official “nicknames” Bulova gave the new Oceanographer GMT models. These are even more telling.
Additionally, since both models are presented on three-link steel bracelets and carry price tags under $1,500, you’ll certainly get a big dose of the luxury brand zeitgeist with either the “root beer” or the ”pepsi” on your wrist for only a fraction of the cost most watch enthusiasts associate with those nicknames.
Looking at the “Lume”
That brings us to the third version, which the brand calls the “lume” watch, and it is probably the best way to tell the story of the modern Oceanographer because this version is purely Bulova in its design inspiration.
For starters, if you blur your eyes – even a bit – there is an awful lot of the classic Bulova Astronaut and the modern Accutron reissue in this execution of the Oceanographer GMT. That is because although all three Oceanographer GMTs feature a large, commanding bi-color bezel, the “root beer” and “pepsi” executions’ are bi-directional and lean into a numeric design befitting their “R” word inspiration (Hint: It rhymes with schmer-schmolex).
The monochrome “lume” variant, on the other hand, is more diver-legit with a unidirectional bezel in a bold black-and-white colorway and defers to a more technical mixture of gauging and numerals to log bottom time. Similarly, a military-inspired UTC 24-time ring runs along the flange of this monochrome variation with its gunmetal IP plating on the stainless steel case and gray silicone textured strap.
The “lume” is obviously the more technical, tough-looking outlier of the trio, and perhaps, in that case, the most defining of the unique spirit of the Oceanographer heritage. And, of course, the “lume” nickname is well earned with a dial and bezel awash in chemical lighting, seeing as this model features a full-lume dial as well as the Oceanographer’s signature lume-filled columnar hour indicators.
Pricing & Availability
All three of the new Oceanographer GMTs are available at Bulova retailers and the brand’s website at three price points: The “lume” watch (ref. 98B407) lists for $1,295; the “pepsi” execution (ref. 96B405) costs $1,350; and the “root beer” version (97B215) retails for $1,395.