Caravelle Devil Diver

Why play around with an expensive watch this summer?

In a previous article, I highlighted the value for money that Caravelle watches offered. I also noted the increase in demand for certain design styles such as the Sea Hunter and World Timer. These watches graced the stores at less than $29.99 back in the 70s and often provided decent water resistance and accurate jewelled movements. For those interested in the relative prices, that’s around $230 today.

Please him all the time with all the time… one of these new Caravelle 17 jewel Date and Day watches by Bulova. Tells the time, the day, and the date. Instantly. Accurately. Automatically! Never needs winding. Man-sized watches, rugged, water resistant, smartly styled in stainless steel, and guaranteed by Bulova. A great gift at a pleasant price.

I do enjoy that many of the adverts for Caravelle boast the ‘man-sized’ watches for rugged activities. The advert on the left for the Day and Date “R” and “S” shows a racing driver and a sea captain – both very manly activities, perfect for Caravelle.

Speaking of rugged watches here’s a Caravelle launched with the iconic 666ft of water resistance.

Caravelle 666

Bulova is no stranger to boasting its water resistance on the dials and cases of its dive watches. So it’s no surprise that its sister company is also very good at letting everyone know how deep you can go.

The 666 range began in 1961 with the first generation all-stainless steel Bulova Snorkel featuring an automatic 11AFACD. Brevet actually provided the case and is clearly marked on the back – were they sold these new ‘super waterproof’ cases or were Bulova savvy enough to specify?

Moving forward a decade we have this rough and tough Caravelle from 1971.

The lume is applied sparingly to dots just inside the large steel hour markers and the date is surrounded by a brutalist bevelled border. The matt black dial is always a favourite providing clear legibility in any lighting level – later 666 models feature exceptionally glossy dials that reflect everything.

Powering the Devil

Considering the flat case back you would be forgiven to think that the dimensions suggest only a manual wind movement with a lack of rotor. However, this model is powered by the 17 jewel 11ULACD featuring centre seconds, date and automatic winding. This is an A. Schild Cal.1903 (AS 1903).

Later generations of this model feature 11OWACD movements with some being made in West Germany. You can tell them apart as the dial will state either ‘Swiss’ or ‘West Germany’.

As with most Bulova and Caravelle watches there is a wealth of information stamper on to the case back. Including the water resistance rating providing the Caravelle Devil Diver name. As confirmed by Joe this is a Sea Devil ‘A’. There is also a Sea Devil ‘B’ that is complete with a fumé dial.

The friction-fit bezel is made of aluminium and takes on peculiar colours in different lights. I imagine it started life as a rich blank tone but now it’s fading towards an almost purple hue.

The friction-fit bezel is made of aluminium and takes on peculiar colours in different lights. I imagine it started life as a rich blank tone but now it’s fading towards an almost purple hue.

This Caravelle Devil Diver has been paired with an aftermarket rivet-style oyster bracelet. It really suits the overall style and usage of the watch.

The dimensions come in at 37.5mm case width and a lug-to-lug of 45 mm.

These are becoming more sought after as the prices of other 666 variants become more expensive. I believe this model holds its own against the myriad of competition within just Bulova and Caravelle. The all-stainless steel bevelled case and austere design make it a serious watch for any dive watch collector.

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