Buships Canteen Diver (quartz homage) Review

September 2, 2008




In the late forties the US Navy issued a new specification for a diver’s watch for its underwater demolition teams. The watch was to be water resistant to a depth of 100 feet (how times have changed), employ a 17 jewel hand wound movement and a domed acrylic crystal. The most striking feature, however, was the large canteen crown. The original dimensions were tiny by today’s standards, 32mm in width with a 16mm band lug width. Original models of this watch, made by Elgin, are hard to find these days and command premium prices. (For an excellent account of the history of this watch see this site)

The Buships diver you see above is a modern homage to that Elgin diver, albeit with a number of modifications to reflect changes in taste and technology. Initially, this version was enlarged somewhat. Realistically, a 32mm watch, like the original, is simply not going to appeal to folks today. The new version is 36mm in width and uses an 18mm band. Still not exactly big by today’s standards but the canteen crown makes the overall package 44mm wide and thus reasonably large by today’s standards. The other big change with this model is the movement. The new diver uses an ISA 1198 quartz movement in place of the original hand cranker (not as nice by far but much more affordable). The water resistance is the same as the old Elgin however, 100 ft (3 atm). Additionally, the new version uses what appears to be superluminova on the hands only. The crown on the re-issue is purely decorative incidentally; there is no seal in it that I can see. Lastly, the watch ships with a period style canvas military band that compliments the watch nicely.

All in all, the Buships is a pretty nice watch. It is both very distinctive looking and quite accurate (like most quartz watches). It is not a premium piece by any means but at well under $100, it’s not going to break anyone’s budget either. If you like the military look, and your wrist size is less than 7″, the Buships is worth a look. I picked this one up here.

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3 Responses to “Buships Canteen Diver (quartz homage) Review”

  1. ANTON C Says:

    That’s a cool looking watch. I like the blue hands against the black dial.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Nice blog that I’ve been following via RSS feeds. Kind of a random question, but it seems like you’re pretty local to me and I was wondering if you had any recommendations on a watch repair shop. I need a basic cleaning of a Victorinox Airboss Mach 2 as I must have got some isopropyl alcohol in it when I cleaned it. Now the underside of the front AR-coated sapphire crystal is hazy in addition to whatever issues might arise due to water/liquid infiltration. Hopefully there’s no damage to the movement and that any servicing will be cheap. You can PM me and check out my thread on WUS here: http://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=184166Thanks

  3. Anonymous Says:

    yes really nice watch. Got it from ebay.


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