Ftd: Ice-skate bezel divers Bulova Eberhard Titus Invicta 100ATU

What is the ice-skate bezel design on vintage dive watches?

This post is about the various different branded diver that share the same case with roughly the same bezel. So I want to take you on another Find-The-Differences tour. One thing all divers have in common is the black ice-skate bezel designs surrounding them.

The race for higher depth ratings

This case was used on various models during the 1960’s. All swiss made watches on unknown smaller brands as well as bigger brands, just non of the more expensive brands. It seems this case was a great opportunity for some upcoming and some established brands to ad divers watches with a very high depth rate to their lineup.

Bulova Snorkel 666 Feet (200 meters)

Through the 1950’s and 1960’s the race for making watches that could resist large depths was on. The cases we are now looking at were sold until the early 1970’s. Bulova showed above was the most modest with their claims, only 200 meter. It also has a slightly different bezel where the ice skates are combined and there is a triangle at the top. The case clearly has lugs. The lineup below all have the same bezel design with a circle on top.

Eberhard Scafograf 500 meter

One of the most expensive models must be the Eberhard at this time. When looking at these other watches, one might ask why. Beats me as well. I see the ice-skate bezel design with a matching case.

Montique 50 Atmos (500 meters)

Small watch brand I never heard of before and can’t find another one so not sure if the colors are just faded from orange to bleek yellow or that it was originally sold with yellow dial accents and yellow hand. I suspect it was orange as well.

Elgin 600 Feet (180 meter)

The above models all have a case with hidden lug design and clearly share the same hand set. In addition all dials are the same design with date and 11 hour markers. The bezel have smaller luminous pip / circle on top and the black ice-skates bezel design seems to be flat with the top of the bezel. It looks like there is one common supplier that offers a combined set of case / dial / hands to different brands.

Royce Leadership Automagic 20 Atm (200 meter)

This Royce is the only version with the hidden lug case design and a total different dial and hand combination, not to mention, the only version with a day display besides the date. Another interesting fact is that in one of the pictures I found, there seems to be a Caravelle signed movement inside (which is connected to the Bulova brand).

Now let’s check out the last models which all have even higher depth rating (on the case at least).

Potens de Luxe 3000 FT (900 meters)

This watch still has a very similar dial and hand design design, but the bezel is slightly different. The ice skates are more round to the ends, this is because the lie deeper in the steel bezel and are filled with black paint. Also the pip / circle is larger and color pained. The case clearly has lugs now. Because of the same handset as before I think it is same to assume this case comes from the same supplier as before.

Felser’s 3000 FT (900 meters)

Almost same design as before yet the dial is slightly different.                                                                                                                                    

Titus 100 ATU (1000 meters)

The Titus and Invicta below have a totally different dial design then the watches before.  The pip / circle turned from red to pink, for as far as I can tell this is the correct color. Case seems exactly the same as the 2 before. I love the high laid up logo and 3 square hour markers that hold a lot of luminous fill to be useful for reading underwater.

Invicta 100 ATU (1000 meters)

 The invicta als comes in the Titus orange-yellow design and the Titus can be found in the grey-red design. Again laid up logo. Both brands use their own hands sets.

What you can’t see

For as far as I know all watches have screw-down crowns, except the Bulova (hence the low depth rating). I am not sure if all were signed or sold without logo on the crown. For the smaller brands this may have been a to expensive option? All of these watches do come with a very high dome plastic crystal, made to withstand the high pressure from water at great depths.

The bezel on all models is bi-directional by the way, this was common in the 1950’s and early 1960’s but some of the diver brands were at this point issuing watches with uni-direction bezels that would not shift by accident when diving. This would upset the dive time measuring.

Look at the back!

Another interesting aspect of these ice-skate bezel divers is their overall high quality finish. And from what I could find out, all watches have an interesting case back. Mostly with a brand specific design, below shown the case backs for the Bulova, Titus and Invicta.

Interesting enough, like the non-signed crown basic option, it seems there was a generic back provided by the watch case supplier as well. It was at least found on the Potens en Felser’s ice-skate bezel divers. It looks like this:

The other intriguing backside I found is the one to the Royce Leadership Automagic 20 Atm. Very plane with only little text surrounding it.

Conclusion

There are a lot of differences to be found in these watches but the similarities are clearly there. As it was common that watch brands did not make all their own components and had to rely on other parties. In that period it was not at all possible to check which other brands used the same suppliers or was going to feature the same models in their next years line up. So it was probably not a problem that they looked alike. I must compliment Bulova for going out of their way to make the Bulova Snorkel 666 feet ice-skate bezel diver, just a bit more interesting by using their own dial design, their own handset and a little different ice-skate bezel.

Check-out the Bulova Snorkel 666 Ft ice-skate bezel here and you can find the Invicta 100 ATU here.

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Date: October 27, 2017
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