Vintage Chrono Divers Water Rating?
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  1. #1
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    Vintage Chrono Divers Water Rating?

    Hello,

    I've been wanting to pick up a vintage chrono (2 or 3 register). I see a lot of them on the 'bay from the 1970s that are diver chronos which have a diving bezel and relatively high water rating for a chromo (10 to 20 bar). Some brands are Tissot, Ardith, Croton, Waltham, Unichron, Lejour. All of them have either some 77xx valjoux or landeron, or lemania movement.

    My question is how were old watches like manual winding chronos with no screw down crown/pushers, able to get such a high water rating?
    It seems like todays chronographs barely even offer 50m water rating. Are those style divers watches par of a lost art?

    Are there any modern diver chronographs that still have the proportions of the ones from the '70s? Like case sizes around 37-40mm with a manual movement, and 10bar+ WR?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Re: Vintage Chrono Divers Water Rating?

    As long as you don't use the pushers while submerged, I don't think it is necessarily so different to seal pusher tubes compared to stems.

    Regarding the question about modern dive chronographs, I suspect you might find a lot of knowledgeable people on the dive watch forum.

    Why do you want such a high depth rating? Are you planning to use it for diving?
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  3. #3
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    Re: Vintage Chrono Divers Water Rating?

    Screw down crowns mean nothing except for accidentally popping it out under water. It's all about the gaskets. There are some watches that have the screw crowns, but if for whatever reason you forget to tighten it up, it will still be good for 200 feet.
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  5. #4
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    I tend to like the aesthetics and charm of vintage chronograph dive watches. When I’m on vacation I do some swimming and water activities so the water rating is a huge plus. Ideally, I’d like to find a vintage chronograph with dive bezel that could ensure at least 100m WR. Screw down pushers would add to the peace of mind, but it would be rare to find vintage watches with all screw down crowns/pushers.

  6. #5
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    Re: Vintage Chrono Divers Water Rating?

    Well you could buy one of the common vintage diver chronos (e.g. Nivada/Croton or variant), and give it a shot to see if you can restore the seals well enough that it would pass a pressure test. In principle it should work, but it could become a project that sends you down a rabbit hole. It would help if you started with one in excellent condition. Restricting yourself to examples with screw-down pushers will make the task a lot harder.

    Personally, I think this doesn't sound like the greatest idea.
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    Re: Vintage Chrono Divers Water Rating?

    That's a good point. It's pretty easy to pick up a new chronograph (Tissot, Hamilton, etc) with a V7750, but the style and case shape don't really sing to me. I'd figure I can spend a few hundred on a vintage chrono, perhaps source nos crystals and cases, give it a proper service and get a nice daily for around 1k. since there were copious 77XX floating around for a while, I think it would be possible to find cases, gaskets, and crystals. First thing would be to find a good candidate (maybe a Croton or Nivada like you mentioned), then try to source replacement parts if necessary.

  8. #7
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    Re: Vintage Chrono Divers Water Rating?

    Quote Originally Posted by effovex View Post
    That's a good point. It's pretty easy to pick up a new chronograph (Tissot, Hamilton, etc) with a V7750, but the style and case shape don't really sing to me. I'd figure I can spend a few hundred on a vintage chrono, perhaps source nos crystals and cases, give it a proper service and get a nice daily for around 1k. since there were copious 77XX floating around for a while, I think it would be possible to find cases, gaskets, and crystals. First thing would be to find a good candidate (maybe a Croton or Nivada like you mentioned), then try to source replacement parts if necessary.
    You mentioned manual-winding, so I assume you are talking about Valjoux 7730, 7733, 7734, or 7736. The diver chronographs with these movements have become surprisingly desirable, so I do not think you will purchase one, have it serviced, replace parts, and get it pressure tested for $1k. In fact, I think the purchase price for a decent one will be close to $1k for a lesser brand, so you should budget more like $1.5k and hope that's enough.
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    Re: Vintage Chrono Divers Water Rating?

    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
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    Re: Vintage Chrono Divers Water Rating?

    I would not really feel comfortable with taking a vintage chrono in the water. I do not even wear them outside when it rains.
    I just don't see why you would need a watch in the water besides a dive watch.
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  11. #10
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    Yeah , these are the styles I really like. I see no harm in servicing them and ensuring the water resistance. I’m not deep sea diving (I’d take a proper diver for that) but for any other water activity, a pressure tested watch should be ok.

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