Photoessay: ZRC Etanche Grands Fonds sub

Thread: Photoessay: ZRC Etanche Grands Fonds sub

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  1. #1
    Member siddhartha's Avatar
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    Photoessay: ZRC Etanche Grands Fonds sub

    Here is a watch that you don't see too often-a vintage Etanche Grands Fonds submariner!


    I came across this watch for the first time on the TZ Sales Corner. I had never seen such a watch before, and thought that it looked quite interesting indeed. I thought about it, researched what I could, and had a restless night-I knew I would have to sell something in my collection to attain this one, but I just wasn't sure. I mean, what if this turned out to be a real dud??

    So, I negotiated with the seller a bit, and paid the price. Then I waited...

    As soon as I opened the box, I knew I was on to something. First off, the steel bracelet was VERY long, and there was NO way that I would be able to wear this on my 7 1/2" wrist. The more I thought about it, it dawned on me that the bracelet was intended to be long to fit over a wet suit, so the length was indeed correct. I was able, through trial and error, to fit the bracelet to my unwetsuited wrist-the connectors between the bracelet links were actually opposing "C" type clips, so the bracelet was indeed adjustable.
    Next, I looked over the case-it is a 36mm x 43mm case, excluding the crown at 6 o'clock. It is 13.5mm thick, including the domed crystal.



    The case is a relatively simple steel slab-type construction, with a rotating bakelite bezel. The caseback denotes a 300M water-resistance, the ZRC name, and "antimagnetique" designation. The crown was an unmarked screw-down model-more on that later.

    Opening the caseback, I saw a soft iron shield, and a small disc intended to help keep the shield in place-so, this was indeed antimagnetic! Prying off the soft iron cover, I saw the vintage ETA 2472 movement. This is a standard, 21-jewel automatic movement. Nothing too fancy, but thanks to a screwed balance, capable of excellent accuracy.






    Looking at the dial (again, soft iron was used for the dial side, too) one notices the simple "12-6-9" layout, with the date window taking the place of the "3" position. The date wheel has red date indicators. Simple hour markers are used in the remaining positions, and a small luminous dot is present at each hour designation. The hands are quite broad, and are full of lume material, difference in hour/minute hands being the length only. The second hand has a luminous dot at the end, with a small point at the very tip.

    I knew through my research on the internet that these watches are quite rare, and were used by several high-profile groups through the years., including the French Navy, French Commando Hubert, and various search and rescue units. Also, I have seen video captures of members of the Cousteau team wearing the watch as well.



    My particular model seems to be one of the earliest models, and there are several versions that share the same case. The hands seem relatively unique to this model, although there are similar hands-minus the seconds hand-on later models from ZRC.



    When my watch arrived, as it had an uncertain service history, I decided to send it off for service. At one point, when I inquired as to the projected return date, I was told that the watchmaker (not one I had used before) was waiting on a crown/stem to be delivered, as the existing crown was bent. I had noticed that it was difficult to set the time on the watch when I received it, and that there was a certain wobble when winding it. So, I asked that the original parts be returned, and I got back to waiting.
    Unfortunately, when the watch arrived, the crown that the watchmaker had installed was too small, and was difficult to turn. I thought that I had little recourse, as the original crown was no longer water tight, and was in essence unusable, so I put the watch in my watchcase, and proceeded to forget about it for about a year or so.

    A few weeks back, I decided to send the watch off to someone I knew could correct the problem-Jack, at IWW. After a few emails, I sent the watch off to him, and waited for the results-we had discussed putting on a triplock crown, which I thought was a possibility due to the lack of crown guards on the ZRC, and the thickness of the case-it was!

    So, a few days ago, I got my ZRC back, which, after the crown/tube replacement, passed a pressure test-now I can resume wearing this watch, and it has reclaimed a place on my wrist



    tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock....

    Note: Some pictures borrowed from the wonderful "Cousteau and watches site," and ForumAMontres sites-thanks for the information gained!
    Last edited by stuffler,mike; May 10th, 2013 at 13:33.
    --
    "What you think, you become"

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    my current collection: '68 Tudor Sub-military, '83 Rolex Seadweller 16660 (matte dial), '62 Rolex Zephyr, Doxa Sub 300T Professional Reissue, Doxa Divingstar 750 GMT, Omega Flightmaster c911, Omega Seamaster 300/date, Omega PloProf 1200, Seiko MarineMaster 300M, Seiko 6105-8110, Seiko Kinetic 200m SportDiver, Seiko Scubamaster M726, Helson Sharkmaster Destro, Helson Tortuga, MeisterSinger Scrypto

  2. #2
    Member suddha's Avatar
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    Re: Photoessay: ZRC Etanche Grands Fonds sub

    One of the most unique divers I have ever seen. Great story and photos. I love reading people's acquisition and refurbishment sagas.

    Let's see a wrist shot of that unique band.

  3. #3
    Member Duffy0401's Avatar
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    Re: Photoessay: ZRC Etanche Grands Fonds sub

    Very cool story. I love that watch. It's really something you don't see everyday. That's why I search the forum everyday in hopes to see something different from the everyday run of the mill watch.

    Chris

  4. #4
    Member siddhartha's Avatar
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    Re: Photoessay: ZRC Etanche Grands Fonds sub

    Thanks for the kind comments!

    Here is the obligatory wrist shot, and a shot of the clasp:




    Clasp is interesting-it has a ratcheting mechanism that slides to increase/decrease the size. Also, it flips open, like a traditional clasp, so the combination makes it easy to take on/off

    Chris
    --
    "What you think, you become"

    -Buddha

    my current collection: '68 Tudor Sub-military, '83 Rolex Seadweller 16660 (matte dial), '62 Rolex Zephyr, Doxa Sub 300T Professional Reissue, Doxa Divingstar 750 GMT, Omega Flightmaster c911, Omega Seamaster 300/date, Omega PloProf 1200, Seiko MarineMaster 300M, Seiko 6105-8110, Seiko Kinetic 200m SportDiver, Seiko Scubamaster M726, Helson Sharkmaster Destro, Helson Tortuga, MeisterSinger Scrypto

  5. #5
    Member jimmyk26's Avatar
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    Re: Photoessay: ZRC Etanche Grands Fonds sub

    Great pictures and a great watch! Thanks for sharing the refurbishing story with us. It gets me re-interested in possibly finding an older watch and bringing it back into working order...hmmm...maybe I'll start with something simple like a Seiko 6903...we'll see!

    Thanks again for posting!
    Current Line Up
    Bathys 100 Fathom
    Marathon SAR
    Breitling Steelfish 42mm
    Doxa 1000T Pro
    G-Shock GW5525


  6. #6
    Moderator Jason71's Avatar
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    Re: Photoessay: ZRC Etanche Grands Fonds sub

    Quote Originally Posted by siddhartha View Post



    Clasp is interesting-it has a ratcheting mechanism that slides to increase/decrease the size. Also, it flips open, like a traditional clasp, so the combination makes it easy to take on/off

    Chris

    Chris, that is really funny that I came across your thread. I was just reading about this watch last night. What a great find, and really glad that you got your crown issue straightened out. The clasp seems to function just like the vintage Doxa clasps. Really a neat mechanism.

    Thanks for sharing
    Best Regards,
    Jason


  7. #7
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    Re: Photoessay: ZRC Etanche Grands Fonds sub

    What a fantastic vintage diver! Those hands are some of the coolest I've ever seen on any watch.
    Martin


  8. #8
    Member siddhartha's Avatar
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    Re: Photoessay: ZRC Etanche Grands Fonds sub

    One thing I noticed in the pics is that it is set on an odd angle on my wrist in the pictures-makes it appear smaller than it is.

    Need to get a new pic up-it stands up nicely to today's diver sizes

    Take care,

    Chris
    --
    "What you think, you become"

    -Buddha

    my current collection: '68 Tudor Sub-military, '83 Rolex Seadweller 16660 (matte dial), '62 Rolex Zephyr, Doxa Sub 300T Professional Reissue, Doxa Divingstar 750 GMT, Omega Flightmaster c911, Omega Seamaster 300/date, Omega PloProf 1200, Seiko MarineMaster 300M, Seiko 6105-8110, Seiko Kinetic 200m SportDiver, Seiko Scubamaster M726, Helson Sharkmaster Destro, Helson Tortuga, MeisterSinger Scrypto

  9. #9
    Member 04lund2025's Avatar
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    Re: Photoessay: ZRC Etanche Grands Fonds sub

    I do not know how I missed this thread the first time! But I am glad it bumped to the top. Great watch! :thanks so much for sharing!

    Stephen
    Stephen & Sandra




  10. #10
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    Re: Photoessay: ZRC Etanche Grands Fonds sub

    Great post, great information on an absolutely beautiful watch.

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