Movements and Reissues
Bulova is part of the Citizen brand and recently we have seen more movements being used in new Citizen watches that then trickle down into Bulova reissues. Most recently the use of the Miyota OS21 turned on its side to suit the 98b390 Parking Meter. Miyota is actually a brand of movements manufactured by Citizen. In 1959 Miyota Precision Co. Ltd. was established in the town of Miyota, Nagano Prefecture. The company produces watch parts such as crystal oscillators and bearing jewels, but its watch movement manufacturing business has been transferred to Citizen Watch Manufacturing Co., Ltd.
I was excited to see that Bulova had got their hands on the new 9075 Miyota GMT movement when they released the Wilton GMT. The presentation of the watch is good with a nice exposed case back and a textured dial featuring the globe viewed from the north pole. What didn’t sit well with me is the larger 43mm case size – this would have been exasperated by the lack of bezel to hide all that extra dimension.
The use of a full 24-hour inner bezel assists with viewing your home time when you are on the other side of the globe. A true GMT movement indicates that the second-hour hand or ‘home time’ takes a full 24 hours to perform a single rotation around the dial. In more basic movements the second hour hand simply stays a certain number of hours ahead or behind depending on where it has been set. A good example of this is the original Accutron Astronaut models where the hour hand does not perform 24-hour functionality.
I was tempted by one of these as I have a slot open for a true GMT – but the sizing and lack of metal bezel was a serious turn-off. But as we know with Bulova they are not too proud to reduce the dimensions of some of their larger watches to meet demand or to match the correct sizing of an original.
Bulova Oceanographer Snorkel
Probably the most notable reissue produced by Bulova is the Oceanographer Snorkel. When they were first considering reissues they produced a poll for all visitors to their site to vote on what they should manufacture. The choices were the Parking Meter, the Deep Sea Chronograph ‘B’, and the Devil Diver. The results put the Oceanographer ahead and true to their word it was made. Now that time has passed and the introduction was a success Bulova is on a roll of looking at their extensive back catalog and bringing these designs to their modern consumers.
Their original reissue is a 44mm beast and luckily wears nice and snug due to a curved case and relatively square dimension. The 60s version was smaller at just over 40mm. There were obviously internal conversations and then a couple of years later smaller case sizes started appearing at 41mm with different designs and colours. Initially launched in Europe the designs were more block colours with either black dial and black bezel or black dial and red bezel. The last use of the model was a PVD black version with a rubber strap, most notably this features a tangerine dial and bezel quarter that is exceptionally orange in person – it’s something you need to see in the flesh.
As possibly one of their most successful reissues it does make sense that they would explore other avenues of how this legendary case shape and designs could be used for future models.
Bulova Oceanographer GMT Snorkel – The Trinity – Grey, Pepsi and Root Beer
I found these browsing eBay this morning. It was listed on some random jewellers in Canada. Initially, I thought it was some self-made mess of parts but upon closer inspection, these were legitimate and there were multiple styles. I did not initially realise these were GMT – but it became pretty obvious when you see the black second-hour hand hiding under the grey handset. Using the new 9075 movement in a much more appealing combination and with 200 metres of water resistance.
The first I saw was the 98B407 which is a PVD grey case with a rubber strap.
As you can see there are some changes to a few things. It’s worth noting the use of the 24-hour track in odd numbers only on the dial interspersed with those well-known lume pots. The bezel is a new variation of black and white and the whole piece looks incredibly 70s with an almost roulette-style dial. It reminded me of Favre Lueba Deep Blue and the Omega Seamaster Soccer Timer. The advert photos suggest that the top size is matte however the underside is showing as gloss. From underneath it’s also possible to see the quick-release mechanism on the strap.
Next up is the 96B405 which is the absolutely classic Pepsi colouration. The blue denotes night and the red denotes day. The pallet is similar to the Rolex GMT Master 1675 but with a more refreshing blue dial. The second hour is presented in bright red with the classic Devil Diver handset.
This model comes complete with the bullet bracelet on a quick release but there looks to be no improvement on the clasp from previous models. An often overlooked part of the bracelet – on-the-fly micro-adjustments are quite an improvement over your standard deployant clasp.
Finally, I found the absolute pick of the bunch. The 97B215 is in rose gold colour with a full matching bullet bracelet.
This is your classic root beer colouration with the black and orange bezel with rose gold tones. I will be on the hunt for one of these if they reach the UK – I’ve already emailed Bulova to ask the question.
There’s no extra information on dimensions of the Bulova Oceanographer GMT other than the 41mm case size. It would be good to know if there is an increase in case thickness or if this uses the same case as previous models. The quick release mechanism does suggest bracelets could be swapped – so the rose gold might look nice on the rubber strap for times you are worried about bashing the bracelet regularly.
So tell me – which one of the Bulova Oceanographer GMT is your favourite?