Can't Afford a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms? Buy This Military Dive Watch Instead

Historic brand Tornek-Rayville is being resurrected with a reissue of its badass diver from the 1960s.

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Though many horological enthusiasts may not know the historic name Tornek-Rayville, the look of the brand's first watch in decades will be familiar. In the 1960s, Blancpain's now-famous Fifty Fathoms was tweaked and rebranded with the name of its US distributor for issue to American special operations forces as the Tornek-Rayville TR-900. Now, the Tornek-Rayville name is being resurrected, along with a recreation of that watch it's calling the TR-660 Dive Watch.

As vintage watches have been revived en masse, entire once-defunct brands have even joined them. Tornek-Rayville is brought to you by the people behind MkII watches, which has specialized in producing affordable vintage military watch homages for over a decade. The new TR-660 is very much in line with MkII's approach, but adds a more direct connection to a vintage model and brand.

Built to military specifications back in the day (specifically MIL-W-22176A), the modern TR-660 features improved modern features like a "proprietary non-radioactive" Super-LumiNova for the hands and indices, 200m of water resistance and a longer power reserve thanks to the Seiko SII NE15C automatic movement inside. The original watch also called for automatic winding, and it should be noted that this current version of Seiko's basic automatic movement features hand-winding and hacking.

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Though the original TR-900 watch was different than the contemporary Fifty Fathoms — it used a different type of luminescent paint and a matte case finishing — it shared that watch's basic design and features. Unique touches included a leak gauge on the dial in the form of a dot which would turn red if moisture was detected inside the case, indicating it had been compromised. The new TR-660 visually nods to this feature with a large dot on the dial where the "automatic" text and water resistance rating are displayed.

With an entirely bead-blasted finish, the TR660 case measures 40mm wide and 14.7mm thick, and it comes with choices of nylon and rubber straps. Pre-order starts today, and a deposit of $450 will get you the watch at a price of $895, while final retail will be $949 with delivery towards the end of 2021. Production isn't limited, but the first run might sell out quickly, so you should act fast if you want one.

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