I don’t remember exactly where or when I caught wind of MKII’s Bill Yao getting ahold of the Tornek-Rayville trademark, but it’s been in the back of my mind for a very long time. Today, I’m excited to share the first official look at the new Tornek-Rayville TR-660, a diver that resurrects an ethos first put forth with the TR-900, a watch which earned its place as official equipment of the U.S. Navy’s Experimental Diving Unit in the early 1960s. The TR-900 is legendary today due to its relative rarity, along with the story of its origin, which of course begins with Blancpain.
Our story begins in the late ‘50s, with Blancpain on their A game producing top spec submersible dive watches for both military and civilian markets. The Fifty Fathoms, and its associated mil-spec offspring laid the very foundations of the dive watch as we know it today. It’s kind of a big deal. When the U.S. Navy was looking to kit out their Underwater Demolition Team divers, they went to the American company Bulova, whose chairman at the time was retired General Omar Bradley, with the request.