Tornek-Rayville TR-660 (6)

Tornek-Rayville TR660 Long-Term Review

A Historic Name in the Hands of a Master

Admittedly, we at the Watch Clicker are a little late to review the TR-660 by Tornek-Rayville. Since its release, there have been numerous reviews of this watch that are fantastic and worth reading. The history of Tornek-Rayville’s past and how they got to where they are today is well documented elsewhere, so this article will simply focus on what you get for your hard-earned $950. Before we start, you will be presented with a quick primer about the brand and the man behind it.

A Brief History of Tornek-Rayville

Brands revived by a new owner, conglomerate, or private equity group is not new. The Partner’s Group recently acquired Universal Geneve. With George Kearns at the helm, they hope that the Breitling CEO and his team will revitalize the brand with enough prestige to fill their brand catalog above the price point of their other aforementioned brand, Breitling.

Tornek-Rayville TR-660 (8)

Unlike the well-known brands mentioned above, Tornek-Rayville was an obscure brand used by the US military for a short period of time. Due to the Buy America Act, the fact that, through rigorous testing, the Swiss Made Blancpain Fifty-Fathoms became the preferred watch for the American army presented a problem—a problem which Alan V. Tornek, a Blancpain distributor in the United States, solved. Through managing to have enough components for the watch of the approved design made and assembled in the States, the new substitute for the Blancpain then passed the threshold to be deemed to have been made in America and, thus, ready to be used by its militaries. The new watches were under the name Tornek-Rayville – the Rayville referencing Blancpain’s Swiss origins, Villeret.

The TR-900 was first issued in 1963, and the new TR-660, under its new owner, made several improvements to modernize the watch while keeping it affordable. Tornek-Rayville was bought by Bill Yao in 2010, and when he was ready to do the brand justice, he released its first model nearly a decade later. Mr. Yao is well known for making high-quality, military-inspired watches under his esteemed brand MKII. As you’ll see below, Tornek-Rayville has found its way into the most appropriate and capable hands.

With that quick primer out of the way, let us get started.

On Wrist

It is immediately apparent that the TR-660 wears light, comfortably, and splendidly blends into its environment. Mr. Yao has been making exquisite tool watches for over a decade, and like his MKII Paradive, you will never be disappointed while wearing the TR-660. You can read my review of the Paradive and get a little backstory for Mr. Yao and his importance to the watch industry here. Tornek-Rayville also offers a Paradive, but unlike its MKII sibling, it has a more sterile dial design. MKII offers a variant of the TR-660 we are reviewing today called the Stingray II. The Stingray has a slightly different dial, branding, hands, and date complication option. We will visit how the Paradive and the TR-660 differ in our section covering the case and which one is potentially best for you.

Tornek-Rayville TR-660 (3)

Where the TR-660 excels is in its dimensions and its vintage character. Vintage in its narrow proportions, this timepiece never calls out for attention. The TR-660 is smaller than its TR-900 ancestor, making this the rare occurrence of a reborn watch to have a smaller footprint on one’s wrist than its predecessor. Couple this with its entirely matt black dial, bead blasted case, and matt aluminum bezel (a shiny and gorgeous lumed acrylic bezel also an option), the TR-660 was the perfect and ideal companion for me in the past couple of months.

Tornek-Rayville TR-660 (15)

During November and December of 2023, I had to perform in environments where wearing recognizable jewelry would have been detrimental. I needed the heavy-duty gaskets of a dive watch to put up with repeated disinfectants, a quiet bezel for timing and luminescent hands, indices, and a bezel pip. Often, one or both of my hands were occupied. This meant that pressing the light button on my Garmin was not an option, and having a smartwatch’s or Casio G-Shock’s lights turn on with their gesture feature would have been undesirable, for it would have disturbed individuals in the vicinity who were resting or unconscious.

Tornek-Rayville TR-660 (4)

Mr. Yao’s design proved to be the perfect tool under these circumstances, and one that can and should be perfect for professionals, first responders, military, or otherwise.

Tornek-Rayville TR660 Specs

Case Width




Case Thickness


Lug Width


Water Resistance



Nytex Type I-42






Seiko NE15



The Dial

The diminutive matt black dial effectively conveys the time from all angles. Measuring just under twenty-eight millimeters, the bezel dominates most of the timepiece’s presence. The dial’s indices’ proportions are perfect and include various shapes. These included a triangle at twelve, rectangles at three, six, and nine, and circles for the remainder of the hour markers. Such variance in the markers increases legibility, especially when the direct line of sight to one’s wrist is obscured. This dial is based on the prototypical dive watch, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms; thus, the many decades the classic design elements find their way here with flawless execution.

Tornek-Rayville TR-660 (16)

The white pointer seconds hand precisely points out the second that just passed, making timing incidents less than a minute effortless. The seemingly simple and perfectly proportioned white fence post hour and minute hands tell the time and again, draw no attention. The split in the minute hand, which features two separately luminous sections, is only noticeable when the lume is burning its brightest within the first five minutes of being activated. Thus, this design feature will not be appreciated throughout the night. The lume will comfortably last for the typical forty-minute recreational single-tank scuba dive. However, if you are diving for any duration longer than ninety minutes, a quick recharge from your diving torch will be needed.

Tornek-Rayville TR-660 (1)

The branding of Tornek-Rayville US is subtle and does not immediately bring an expensive luxury brand to the minds of onlookers. This is a “if you know, then you know” kind of watch. To date, only one stranger has noticed it on my wrist and complimented me on my “Tornek” before moving on to their night shift.

The original TR-990 had a circular moisture indicator on the dial positioned just above six o’clock. Thanks to modern manufacturing, this feature is no longer needed. Instead, the circle on the TR-660 is still broken in two hemispheres, the bottom in grey reading 200 M (for its water resistance), and the top in black reading Automatic. Like the modern-day special edition Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, which both take inspiration from the vintage Blancpains and Tornek-Rayvilles, this adds a visual element of interest with historical significance. Honestly, it makes me smile each time I see it, and it is a welcome design decision that I am glad Mr. Yao decided to implement here. Without it, much of the original Tornek-Rayville character would be lost, and we would have been left with a relatively unadorned dive watch. If you desire this watch without the split-circle design motif, Mr. Yao has you covered with the MKII Stingray II, which forgoes the circle but adds some visual flair with different hour and minute hands.

Tornek-Rayville TR-660 (9)

Case, Bezel, and Movement

Earlier, it was mentioned how the bead-blasted case and overall mat finish of the TR-660 made it ideal for those who do not want to draw attention to themselves. The weight of the case does its part in not drawing any unnecessary attention from those wearing the watch. The main difference between the TR-660 and its Paradive stablemate is how dense and heavy the two watches are. The Paradive feels like a bank vault with immense heft and density on your wrist. The TR-660 takes a lighter approach, and this is appreciated. Both are very comfortable due to their rounded casebacks, but the TR-660 wears noticeably lighter. Both watches use the same excellent Seiko NE15 movement, and the Paradive’s dense case mutes the movement’s sound. The TR-660’s movement can be heard in a quiet room, especially when placed on a hard surface or a book. The TR-660 does feature a phantom date setting on the crown due to not having a date wheel. Initially, I was put off by having the second position of the pulled-out crown not doing anything, but I very quickly got over this, and it should not be considered a negative. The movement proved reliable, consistent at +2 to +4 seconds a day while on my wrist for 21 hours and 3 hours facing dial side up on my bedside table.

Tornek-Rayville TR-660 (17)

Its lightweight and narrow dimensions make this a perfect watch to be worn throughout the day. However, the narrow dimensions have led to some confusion from potential customers due to some photography of the watch online. Some had personally voiced their concerns to me about the incorrectly perceived lengthy lug-to-lug distance of 48.5mm. From looking at photographs (most of which were not helped by the distorted near-26mm wide-angled equivalent lens on smartphones), they feared that this made it unwearable for their sixteen-to-seventeen-centimeter wrists. In reality, the TR-660 wears like a dream, and you should not let the vintage proportions throw you off and dissuade you from buying one. Because of the narrow and compact presence of the watch, the length of the watch looks longer on one’s screen than in person. Its humble dimensions make the TR-660 wear well with all but the most formal attire.

Tornek-Rayville TR-660 (7)

As mentioned before, the bezel, which measures six millimeters, dominates the watch’s stance, and like the Paradive, its mechanism does not attract too much attention. Its near-silent gasket mechanism proved vital for me, and its luminescent pip hitting the markers without fault made it something I did not need to worry about. Even though the knurled bezel is flush with the case, I never had any issues gripping and using the bezel with dry, wet, goopy (yes, there’s a difference, and don’t ask) and gloved hands. This bezel gets a ten out of ten score for functionality and design. I have the aluminum bezel option, which is better suited to the muted character that I required from it, though I would love to one day own the more (in my opinion) attractive acrylic option as well.

Tornek-Rayville TR-660 (18)

The Crown

The crown is getting its own section because it is probably the most impressive design feature of the entire watch. The seven-millimeter unmarked crown is not merely a simple crown. First, it requires a sizeable amount of force to become undone, and then it requires a fair amount of turns before the pressure on the gasket is released. This is appreciated because many lesser crowns have come loose on my wrist on many dives. Furthermore, the symmetrical case acts as crown guards. When viewed from the back, you can see that the crown recedes well into the case. Though not as protective from impacts as full crown guards, this is an approach that, from years of diving experience, I prefer.

Tornek-Rayville TR-660 (5)

Lesser crowns in the past have, on several occasions, come loose to the point where the gasket pressure from the crown was released on a dive. This happened either because the crown was caught on an exposure suit as it expanded and contracted or its threading and stem thickness were inadequate. The level of ease of access to the crown that the TR-660 provides ensures that I will have a better chance of screwing it back in while wearing neoprene or drysuit gloves. This is due to the crown guards not protruding and getting in the way of my heavily gloved and often freezing non-dexterous fingers.

I have ended a handful of dives and temporarily paused a group’s descent because of this, and I have written at length about this elsewhere in the past.


The TR-660 can be optioned with a black or khaki Nytex Type I-M2 single-pass strap. Initially rigid and tough, this strap will remain so even as it breaks in. This strap has never caused an issue for me, but others have complained about their wrists taking a beating from them. Remember that at least the people who have complained about this to me in person admitted that they were always picked last in gym class. I appreciate how wonderfully tight the weaves are on the strap and how tough they are. I have had no reservations about wearing these straps in the past and will not going forward. I may, however, have reservations about you being on my dodgeball team.

Tornek-Rayville TR-660 (13)

The watch also has 2.5-millimeter shoulderless and 1.8-millimeter standard spring bars. The thicker spring bar option provides more security if the wearer deems it necessary. Feel free to use your discretion as to which you use.

Tornek-Rayville TR-660 (12)

Also available for purchase is a black rubber strap, which I prefer from Tornek-Rayville. This strap makes the lightweight watch wear even lighter, moreover, it does not add height to the watch. This, once again, makes it harder to notice by strangers. The rubber strap is also easier to clean and dry quickly before heading back to your tasks. Both the single pass and rubber straps have buckles that feature the double harpoon brand logo.

Final Thoughts

Bill Yao has been making tool watches inspired by military watches for many years. Pictured here is an early version of such a watch, which took inspiration from the TR-900 and his Stingray from 2007.


His level of care with the TR-660 proves he is the best person to take such a brand into the future. The Blancpain Fifty-Fathoms, under the guidance of the Swatch Group, has mutated into a luxury item that no longer aligns with the objectives that necessitated the creation of Tornek-Rayville many years ago. The TR-660 embodies the affordable tool that outperformed and outbid the likes of Bulova, Rolex, and many more in the 1950’s. It is priced similarly to other watches issued to militaries worldwide, such as those from Marathon, and they are nearly or just as robust. Furthermore, what had proven useful for militaries in the past had proven ideal for the difficult circumstances I found myself in recently. This is why we love tool watches. They are built to a standard that ensures their performance under unpleasant and demanding circumstances and, therefore, can always be relied upon. Like the Paradive, the TR-660 is a watch that I will always cherish and will continue to call on them when they are needed.

I only wish that more TR-660s could be made and more regularly available. More professionals who use discreet and robust dive watches daily would benefit from such an instrument. The TR-660 is a valuable tool that offers the wearer what many luxury mechanical watches bring. The downtime during stressful periods, be it between consequential meetings at work, or while waiting between shifts, gazing down at the precise sweep of a mechanical watch’s seconds hand is simply meditative. It is a shame that more people do not have the chance to wear Mr. Yao’s watches in the field. For now, it is only possible for the TR-660 to be built to such a high standard because of its limited production cycles, but one can certainly dream.

So, if you ever find yourself on the fence about acquiring a Tornek-Rayville or MKII watch, jump at the opportunity. Such useful and beautiful mechanical watches are uncommon and will serve you well in your darkest and brightest moments.

Check out more dive watch reviews at the Watch Clicker here

Check out the Tornek-Rayville website here

More Images of the Tornek-Rayville TR660

Comments 2
  1. Hard to tell, but isn’t that double trident the lo-mu/low magnetic signature symbol? In case you gotta swim up on a magnetic mine…

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