Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Non-homage Dive Watches
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Mir36
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Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by Mir36 »

The US Navy Tornek-Rayville needs no introduction to the HF community.
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But lesser known are the 4 Blancpain US Navy timepieces in existence, believed to be produced prior to the Tornek-Rayvilles. These house the A. Schild caliber 1361 modified with hacking seconds, and glossy dials with a humidity indicator. Two were sold at Phillips auctions in 2015 and 2021, for $136k and $95k respectively:
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So what are our options now for building this iconic timepiece?


You can drop $950 for the TR-660 Bill Yao, of MKII fame, released in 2022 (he bought the naming rights in 2009). It seems a decent homage to the original, sans humidity indicator, and a 20mm lug width, as opposed to the 19mm of the original.
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The caseback is also one piece, instead of the two-piece screw on ring and cover of the original.
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There is however, a better value proposition. Enter RDUNAE.
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I imagine this was the company Bill Yao contracted to make his TR homage. The case is very similar to Yao’s version, except for the smaller (and also correct) crown.

The sterile version is a great option for those who want a ready-to-wear, period accurate timepiece.
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At $160, it’s absolute value for money. Check out the full specs at rdunae.com. I suspect this will turbocharge the BFF homage scene.


Now to add fuel to the fire…


Enter @Madasboot.


M posted his Buship build "viewtopic.php?t=8279" a few weeks back, and I knew nirvana was within reach :)


Presenting… Madasboot Blancpain USN dial + RDUNAE
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The specs:
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Dial: Madasboot Blancpain US Navy. The text font is hand traced. The humidity indicator is functional. The dial received M’s trademark finish, achieved through several cycles of lacquering, sanding, and polishing to achieve a unique texture. The lume is perfectly applied and aged.
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Hands:
The hands on the RDUNAE are period correct and sized perfectly. The hour almost touches the 12 o’clock triangle. The minute sweeps over the minute hashes and almost touches the rehaut. The seconds are the same length as the minute. The only thing I did here is give the lume a light wash of Derwent’s Raw Sienna. If I had to do it again, I’d have gone with Madasboot’s suggestion of Copper Beach, for a starker contrast with the white hands, and a closer match to the indices.
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Note: In some reference photos, the hands have aged green. Also, different hand types were used on the originals, so this is where you can personalize your build further.
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Case and movement: RDUNAE and NH35 with hacking seconds. The midcase construction looks very close to gen. The crystal is a very clear domed mineral. I love the fat blue gasket.
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Talented HFers with a lathe should have no problem modding the caseback into a two-piece (i.e. drill out a hole, keep the outer ring, add a cover and an internal dust cover), like this:
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So there you have it. This was practically a plug and play build, centered around M’s amazing dial. Equally important, the watch is waterproof to 200m, and I’m looking forward to taking this to the pool, and eventually to a proper dive.
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Thank you again to @madasboot

Thanks for looking :)
Last edited by Mir36 on January 28th, 2023, 8:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
My PreVs, PreAs and more: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6554
PreV and PreA cases: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6652
PreV dials: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6651
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Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by Nottingham »

AWESOME eye Candy and budget friendly homage!
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Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by Simpsan »

That’s really nice and a great history lesson as well!
I bought the same watch only a day or so ago with the same intentions 🤣😀, looks like I will be contacting @madasboot in the coming days.
Great tip with the Derwent Raw Sienna / Copper Beach wash.
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Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by toofsy »

Really nice work.
Did you try to remove the bezel? I have another plan for my Rduane but impossible to remove the bezel...and I don't want to destroy it.
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Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by tafari »

nice build
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Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by freshtripe »

Just picked one of these up - thought I was happy with it... until I see this! Awesome work.
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Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by geoffdragon »

Great teamwork. What a fabulous build.
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Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by Aikidosan »

I see a massive influx of PM's for you.
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Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by Mir36 »

Aikidosan wrote: January 27th, 2023, 7:08 am I see a massive influx of PM's for you.
You mean to @madasboot :lol:
My PreVs, PreAs and more: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6554
PreV and PreA cases: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6652
PreV dials: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6651
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Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by madasboot »

Mir36 wrote: January 27th, 2023, 7:26 am
Aikidosan wrote: January 27th, 2023, 7:08 am I see a massive influx of PM's for you.
You mean to @madasboot :lol:
Ahah :) not yet @Mir36.
BTW, I will tell you this weekend the reason for different ageing between hands and dials :)
and beer is on me!

Best
M.
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