I've recently acquired a late 50's JeanRichard Aquastar 60 and an Aquastar Deepstar.
These are both iconic divers watches, but less seems to be known about them than I would have expected , especially the Deepstar.
The deepest dive ever, was at the Mariana Trench in September 1960. The Bathyscaphe Trieste dived nearly 7 miles to the Ocean bed.
Rolex attached a watch / device outside and it survived the trip. One of the two pilots Don Walsh went on to be an ambassador for Rolex. It then emerged that
allegedly the watch that he actually wore on his wrist that historic day was his favourite watch - A 1958 JeanRichard Aquastar 60. True or false ? ( a rhetorical question as I don't know )
This watch was only in production from 1958 - 1962 and decent surviving examples are getting scarce.
JeanRichard then morphed the model name 'Aquastar' to a stand alone manufacturer brand name. Aquastar concentrated on serious diving equipment. The JeanRichard brand still exists.
Aquastar made various dive watches and are probably best known for the wonderfully named Aquastar Deepstar.
This models claim to fame is two fold.
1. The Worlds first chronograph rated at a genuine 10 atmospheres ( 330 ft ).
2. It appeared to be a favourite with Jacques Cousteau and his crew on the Calypso whilst filming ' The undersea World of Jacques Cousteau ' in the 1960's.
The watch featured a very distinct extra large chronograph register at 3.00 o clock and was powered by either a Valjoux 23 or Valjoux 92.
I believe that it was in production somewhere between 1963 and 1969. This is where history, myth, bravado and guesswork rule the waves.
As with most manufactures models, dials are changed regularly over their lifetime. But how did it progress on the Deepstar ?
Most Deepstar's feature large applied chevrons at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o clock. These seem to run with the Val 23 and have serial numbers starting with 5 ------
My own watch uses a Val 92 and these models seem to start with serial numbers 2-------
Both types appear to have been sold with dials in either black , deep midnight blue / purple or silver. Some, like my own also feature a little propeller at 9.0 clock which
runs continuously with and without the chrono function being engaged.
Logic dictates that the earliest model would have been those using the big chevrons rather than ' big lume blobs ' as the Val 23 is an earlier movement ?
But logic also dictates that the big blob dial ( as used by the crew ) is a direct descendant of the the JeanRichard Aquastar 60 with it's big blobs ( kindly excuse the the highly technical terminology )
The chevron design continued with other Aquastar models well into the 70's. Nobody seems to know which was first or last.
Does anyone know if black dialed versions started midnight blue and aged into black ?
These watches were never 'bank safe queens' and were used for a purpose and many have seen a hard life.
I would appreciate any further information about either watch. I also have an Enicar Super Compressor habit, but those watches are very well documented. The Aquastar's seem a bit of a mystery to me.
Hears my own Deepstar big blob with rotating propeller and fading peppermint green lume on the hands,