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Model: Deep Sea Chronograph 666 Feet Diver watch ref. 31001 with blue "solo" dial (no depth rating) and "ghost" bezel; Swiss Made; M9 date code = 1969; early first-generation example
Case: Solid stainless steel case with screw-down back is approximately 38mm excluding the original signed "BULOVA" winding crown
Bracelet: Rare NOS (new old stock) 20mm Bulova stainless steel bracelet with signed Bulova folding clasp; full length with removable links
Movement: Bulova cal. 14 EB (base Valjoux cal. 7733) manual-winding chronograph movement (17 jewels); 18,000 BPH; Swiss Made
Features: Stunning original matte blue dial with white sub-registers and puffy yellow Tritium lume plots (early first-year example with no depth rating on the dial); original handset with matching yellow Tritium lume; 30-minute chronograph recording capability; original rotating blue "ghost" bezel with countdown feature; oversized stainless steel case with original acrylic "super-dome" crystal; rare NOS Bulova bracelet
Condition: Fantastic original condition overall with minor honest wear consistent with age and use; sharp solid stainless steel case appears to be completely unpolished with the original finishes throughout; crisp caseback remains clearly legible; original blue rotating diver bezel has faded to a cool "ghost" grey hue; incredible original matte blue dial with all Tritium lume plots in tact and aged to an attractive yellow hue; excellent original hands with all luminous material in tact and matching; clean original domed acrylic crystal
Other: Vintage Bulova Deep Sea Chronograph models have been consistently rising in value and popularity in recent years (and for obvious reasons). Simply put, it's hard to beat a high-quality vintage chronograph with a great look like this for the money. When Bulova debuted the Deep Sea Chronograph in 1969, this blue 31001 was the only model in the lineup. The Deep Sea Chronograph "A" (Surfboard) and Deep Sea Chronograph "B" (with new case design and black/red bezel) wouldn't be introduced until the following year in 1970. What we have here is a very special example of the blue 31001 from the initial production run in 1969.
There are several distinguishing characteristics of the earliest examples with the most obvious being the "M9" date stamp on the caseback. The initial dials did not say "666 FEET" and Bulova would add that in 1970 to advertise the impressive depth rating of these watches. Interestingly enough, Bulova chose to proudly embrace the 666 feet rating, hence the Devil Diver moniker. The earliest hands featured shorter luminous inserts. Later hands would come with longer luminous inserts for improved legibility in low light. Early examples also feature skinny, elongated numerals on the rotating bezel. We will refer to this as a MK1 bezel. Later MK2 bezels featured shorter, rectangular numerals. All watch nerdery aside, the condition on this watch is absolutely top. The faded "ghost" bezel is super cool and compliments the matte blue dial perfectly. The tall domed crystal and funky Bulova bracelet scream vintage and at 38mm, this watch wears extremely well on the wrist!