Rare Blancpain Tornek Rayville TR900 U.S. Military Diver Watch (SOLD)
Brand: Vintage Blancpain
In the world of watches, the first thing MIL-SPEC might make you think of is the Rolex Mil-sub. But in the early days of purpose-built dive watches, Rolex was neck-and-neck in competition with Blancpain and its Fifty Fathoms, and that iconic watch is the starting point for the story of TORNEK-RAYVILLE.
One of the Rarest Military-Issued Watches, The Blancpain’s Tornek Rayville Reference TR-900, was developed in the early 1960’s by Allen V. Tornek of the Rayville factory, the representative of Blancpain in the US, less than 1,000 were made especially for the US Navy. Upon arrival to the Military base, the watch was assigned a serial number to its case back, written by the US Navy. These watches are so rare that it is believed that less than 100 survive, including those few that went directly to the US Navy, the vast majority of TR-900s having been destroyed by the government due to the Navy’s rules regarding atomic waste disposal.
The design of the Tornek-Rayville was based on Blancpain’s “Fifty Fathoms” model already in production; by changing its color from pink/blue to entirely pink, the humidity indicator to the lower half of the dial would show if water moisture had penetrated the watch.