Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Non-homage Dive Watches
Post Reply
madasboot
Tinkerer
Tinkerer
Posts: 304
Joined: April 19th, 2019, 2:26 am
Location: Singapore

Frequent Flyer

VIP

Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by madasboot »

Hi M.
Do you think that Tornek dials were printed in USA?
As far as I understood, Blancpain was doing most of the parts.
Tornek was originally just a reseller and they built a workshop just to comply with Buy American Act.
I've read a funny fact on this: according to BAA, contractors had to buy US jewels, but Tornek found that Swiss ones were definitely better. So Tronek was buying US jewels, but didn't use these! :crazy:

@Fizzzz
Hi S.
It is not a thought, it is a fact.

Tornek dials were made in the US, cases were produced with imported Swedish steel and finished with a grained matte surface, making the watch reflection proof.
The dials lume compound was promethium-147 - the PM 147 ref. printed below the chapter.

S., if Mr. Tornek was a mere reseller why would he be buying jewels, or a factory / special production line in Brooklyn twice the size of Centre Georges Pompidou? :)

Now read this:
“(…) The initial order was for 780 watches (at $187.50 each) and the last of them were delivered in June 1965.
A few months later another order for slightly fewer than 300 was received but that was it for the navy.
Two years later, Mr. Tornek approached the navy asking if they needed any more watches, but as the Vietnam conflict was at its height, the powers that be had other things on their minds and told him that they didn’t think that they would need any more. So the special production line was dismantled, and the external suppliers (dial and steel companies) were told that their services were no longer needed.”

Best,
M.
Ace0nBase
Super Lost Sheep
Super Lost Sheep
Posts: 33
Joined: March 9th, 2019, 11:28 am

5 year veteran

Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by Ace0nBase »

I've actually been eyeballing this exact case for a FF's build. I'll likely pull the trigger soon on one. I have a proper bezel removal tool so I will remove the original insert first (I'll make a new one out of plexiglass) and then try to pop the bezel off. I'd like to see if there is a way to reduce the height of the bezel in order to be more in line with the FF's case. Also, I am guessing this is a 120 click bezel? I believe the original FF's were a friction based turning bezel but I could be wrong. Do any of you gents know for sure?
User avatar
Mir36
VIP
VIP
Posts: 439
Joined: June 13th, 2018, 1:49 am

5 year veteran

Frequent Flyer

VIP

HF veteran

Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by Mir36 »

@Ace0nBase RDUNAE is a 120 click bezel. Solid feel if I may add.
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
User avatar
Fizzzz
Mad scientist
Mad scientist
Posts: 434
Joined: June 4th, 2018, 5:43 am

5 year veteran

Frequent Flyer

VIP

HF veteran

Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by Fizzzz »

@madasboot
Hi M,
I wrote that Tornek was originally a reseller for Rayville S.A. which was producing Blancpain FF.
it's mentionned in the same article you quoted.

Another source: https://www.blackbird-watchmanual.com/m ... y-fathoms/
"Following the role of the French Navy in its conception and their issuing of the watch to their divers, it was inevitable that other armed forces would take note. Thanks to their relationship with their American agent, Allen Tornek in New York, a variation of the Fifty Fathoms designated TR-900 was entered into the assessment of the US Navy..."
"Due to the Buy American Act ensuring that the US government had a strong preference to buy domestically made products, a workshop was set up in Tornek’s home to assemble watches, and they were obligated by the military to buy rubies for the US that were inferior, so were simply discarded for the Swiss jewels to be used; fortunately the US Navy were not aware of these details."


- 1959: MIL-W-22176
- 1959: Tornek submitted Blancpain FF MILSPEC I to US Navy BUSHIP
- 1961: MIL-W-22176A
My understanding is that TR900 ancestor developped for US was this one:
Image
"A very early example of the watches made for the US Navy, before the dial was branded as Tornek-Rayville"
- then they had to create Tornek-Rayville company and the assembly line in NY to avoid taxes due to Buy American Act.

As usual with Swiss Watch industry, it's never easy to know clearly where the parts come from ;-)
madasboot
Tinkerer
Tinkerer
Posts: 304
Joined: April 19th, 2019, 2:26 am
Location: Singapore

Frequent Flyer

VIP

Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by madasboot »

[/quote]

Hi M.
Do you think that Tornek dials were printed in USA?
As far as I understood, Blancpain was doing most of the parts.
Tornek was originally just a reseller and they built a workshop just to comply with Buy American Act.
I've read a funny fact on this: according to BAA, contractors had to buy US jewels, but Tornek found that Swiss ones were definitely better. So Tronek was buying US jewels, but didn't use these! :crazy:

Another point: I've seen Blancpain military watches auctionned, some had Tornek engravings inside caseback...
Anyway, MIL-W-22176A design and measurements are far from actual dials.
madasboot wrote: January 29th, 2023, 6:22 am Lume was applied over a flat surface (contrarily to the swiss counterparts which were curved dials in their majority) so there is no need to carve the indices because they should have a white printed background.
The carved indices were usually to get more radium in and had the purpose of a lume box with a first layer of zync oxide, reflective to enhance glow.
Originally these dials had a straightforward build, flat, white printed and matte.
The recess for the litmus can make sense so in case of swelling by moisture, not compromising the functionality of the watch (hour hand overhead).
Summing, I find its not necessary to carve the indices and it does not present any advantage, especially for luming.
@Fizzzz

I was just replying to your first paragraph.

“ Hi M.
Do you think that Tornek dials were printed in USA?
As far as I understood, Blancpain was doing most of the parts.
Tornek was originally just a reseller and they built a workshop just to comply with Buy American Act.”

Dials and cases were produced in the US; it is documented not an idea :)

Best
M.
User avatar
Fizzzz
Mad scientist
Mad scientist
Posts: 434
Joined: June 4th, 2018, 5:43 am

5 year veteran

Frequent Flyer

VIP

HF veteran

Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by Fizzzz »

Ace0nBase wrote: January 29th, 2023, 9:01 pm I've actually been eyeballing this exact case for a FF's build. I'll likely pull the trigger soon on one. I have a proper bezel removal tool so I will remove the original insert first (I'll make a new one out of plexiglass) and then try to pop the bezel off. I'd like to see if there is a way to reduce the height of the bezel in order to be more in line with the FF's case. Also, I am guessing this is a 120 click bezel? I believe the original FF's were a friction based turning bezel but I could be wrong. Do any of you gents know for sure?
It depends on which version of FF you want to build...

To comply with MIL SPEC, Tornek-Rayville had a special bezel to prevent accidental rotation.
check manual below: It takes 3 fingers and a push down to rotate the bezel
Image
madasboot
Tinkerer
Tinkerer
Posts: 304
Joined: April 19th, 2019, 2:26 am
Location: Singapore

Frequent Flyer

VIP

Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by madasboot »

@Fizzzz
That is a simple friction bezel…
It will not move with just one finger…
contrarily to the recent reedition:
45349FB0-144E-4F85-A17C-CB78A1274DDA.jpeg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
Fizzzz
Mad scientist
Mad scientist
Posts: 434
Joined: June 4th, 2018, 5:43 am

5 year veteran

Frequent Flyer

VIP

HF veteran

Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by Fizzzz »

@madasboot
Simple friction bezel? Then why need to push down?

Funny note on contemporary Rayville manual:
they are based on Lancaster Ave, PA,
so probably close to former Hamilotn factory...
Ace0nBase
Super Lost Sheep
Super Lost Sheep
Posts: 33
Joined: March 9th, 2019, 11:28 am

5 year veteran

Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by Ace0nBase »

Mir36 wrote: January 30th, 2023, 1:44 am @Ace0nBase RDUNAE is a 120 click bezel. Solid feel if I may add.
@Mir36 Thanks for confirming!
madasboot
Tinkerer
Tinkerer
Posts: 304
Joined: April 19th, 2019, 2:26 am
Location: Singapore

Frequent Flyer

VIP

Re: Blancpain US Navy… now within reach

Post by madasboot »

Fizzzz wrote: January 30th, 2023, 8:00 am @madasboot
Simple friction bezel? Then why need to push down?
S., S., S…
If you dont press it doesn’t rotate.
These damn things are friction but tight… :)
Post Reply