OceanicTime Archives

2020-10-09

AQUASTAR 2020 Deepstar RE-EDITION [Reemergence of a Shining Star of the Sea]

Jacques-Yves Cousteau once said of the sea, that: “once it casts its spell, it holds you in its net of wonder forever.” 

For some of us, this is a quote that I would imagine could just as easily apply to our love of diver’s watches. The humble dive watch for us has transcended far beyond its practical use as a timing instrument.

To the non-believer, a (dive) watch is just another inanimate object but for the faithful few it’s an emotive, living, beating entity. 

Just as magically as it mechanically animated, it provides us with a tangible link to the sea but also as per current trends a window on the past.

You can’t take the sea or the past with you, but you can strap a vintage diver’s watch to your wrist; whether you’re starring out of your window on a rainy day dreaming of your next dive or going over those dreaded tax returns wishing you were somewhere else – you can take a moment to glance down at your wrist and be transported to those pioneering days when a dive watch through sheer necessity, was and had to be a reliable and dependable diving companion, as it was for those trailblazers like J-YC, a critical piece of kit that they entrusted their very lives with. Today thanks to modern dive computers we no longer have to place our lives directly in the minute hands and timing bezels of our watches, sure they serve as backups for those of us that dive but to the sea dreamers, they’ve captivated our hearts and minds. The watch industry as a whole has been going through a bit of a revivalist period with the diver’s watch segment in particular seeing several historic brands resurface after decades of dormancy along with the rebirth of their historic dive watch icons. However until today there has been one brand, one of the dive watch community’s darlings that has been conspicuous by its absence, a brand that unlike many of its contemporaries started life with the sole purpose of producing diving instruments, that brand is Aquastar. Sure like any brand surviving in a competitive market they diversified, but their main focus was always divers and nautical watches. In their first decade alone, Aquastar was awarded several patents and for each new patent a new Aquastar family member was born. Among these new patents that included one for a crown sealing system that would be incorporated into all Aquastar models, was a patent for the Deepstar’s multi-functional dive-time and decompression bezel, developed by renowned Belgian technical diver, Marc Jasinski. In addition to tracking elapsed dive time, the bezel featured an outer scale designed to be used with dive tables to calculate required decompression times for safe repetitive dives.

This measure of additional safety had never appeared on a watch before and wouldn’t until the advent of the digital dive computer three decades later. 

Today that multi-function bezel is back, so is the diver’s watch that it equipped, and so of course is the pioneering brand that produced it – yes, Aquastar is back!

After a short absence, one of the most beloved brands from the realm of diver’s watches is back as a new chapter is opened on the fascinating story of Aquastar. 

But before we go ahead and look at Aquastar, their new Deepstar Re-Edition and the man responsible for their resurrection;

I should warn you that we have only touched upon Aquastar’s intriguing history; if you wish to deep dive into that; please go ahead and follow the link HERE for the whole story. 

The skeptical among you could be forgiven for thinking that someone has simply come along and bought the famous Aquastar name et voila but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Stood firmly at the helm of the modern Aquastar brand is industry veteran and longtime dive watch historian and entrepreneur, Rick Marei, the mastermind responsible for making the famous Doxa brand what it is today, the man that brought back Aquadive as well as two of the most iconic names in diver’s straps – ISOfrane & Tropic. Rick has spent over twenty years bringing iconic vintage dive watches out of the shadows and into the collecting conscious of the global watch community, ultimately yielding some of the industry’s best-known independent brand revival stories of the last two decades. Ever since he started collecting dive watches at a young age, it has been his lifelong passion to discover these hidden, Swiss mechanical gems and share them with the watch community. However with Aquastar, he believes he’s found his life’s true calling, which he strongly believes to be one of the most important stories of the watch world – a legacy that he hopes will continue to re-ignite the curiosity and sense of adventure of dive watch fans worldwide. The 2020 Aquastar Deepstar Column Wheel Chronograph is a faithful recreation of one of the most influential dive watches of the 60s, an unmatched diver-oriented tool watch with an instantly recognizable design. The 2020 Deepstar retains all the proportions of the OG Deepstar from the 60s while relying on a high end Swiss Manufacture automatic Chronograph movement instead of the manual wind Valjoux 23. Inside beats a manufacture column wheel chronograph caliber developed for Aquastar by Swiss movement specialists at La Joux-Perret. Meanwhile the radial finishing of its Cold Blue, Steel Grey, or Vintage Black dial, the polished applied markers, the oversized 30-minute counter, and of course, its dual scale rotating bezel breathe new life into the Deepstar. The modern Aquastar Deepstar is water-resistant to 200 meters, and is topped with a scratch-resistant domed sapphire crystal. Its pushers have also been engineered to be safely activated underwater – a rare hallmark of a true diving-chronograph. Just like the OG model, the Stainless steel case is topped with a rotating bezel bearing the brand’s own “no decompression” table based on the one used by the French Navy. This allows divers to use time repeated dives in addition to calculating deco stops (the duration of time which could be safely spent at any given depth without needing to incur a time-consuming and potentially dangerous decompression period) – capiche!

This pause in a diver's ascent is made in order to allow the body to expel any dissolved gases (specifically nitrogen) in the blood. 

Without deco stops, these gases would expand, forming into potentially deadly bubbles thus causing decompression sickness AKA the bends.

The watch comes fitted on a 22-millimeter genuine TROPIC rubber strap, with a second, handmade Shell Cordovan leather band, both with Aquastar-signed steel buckles. 

The Aquastar Deepstar Re-Edition will be available in three dial options: blue, grey, and the original black; each limited to an opening series of 300 individually numbered pieces.

The Aquastar Deepstar Chronograph has a full retail price of 3’590USD, but it can be pre-ordered during the brand’s launch period for 2’790USD. 

Follow the link or the one embedded, below to be taken directly to the new Aquastar website to PRE-ORDER the new 2020 Deepstar Re-Edition.

Thoughts? We’ve literally seen a plethora of old school brands brought back for our delectation, some of them better than others, some of them true legends and some unknown names from the past. 

Most of them have been pretty well received but only one has really stood head and shoulders above the rest, only one brand has become (within the watch industry) a household name, and that’s Doxa.

Now the man responsible for Doxa’s meteoric rise has poured his heart and soul into another legendary name, that man is Rick Marei, vintage dive watch virtuoso; and that legendary name is Aquastar. 

The stars have quite literally aligned. Welcome back, Aquastar! This is a tremendous way to kick things off but I can’t help but wonder what the future holds for the modern Aquastar brand?

Hopefully we will eventually see the return of the classic Benthos 500 and perhaps even its younger brother, the 1000m water-resistant, Benthos I with looks that only a mother could love. 

So what do you think? Let us in know the comments, below, on FB or IG.

DEEPSTAR CHRONOGRAPH SPECIFICATIONS: 

 - Case: 40.5mm, Stainless steel (numbered) 

- Movement: Automatic column wheel chronograph (time, running seconds, 30 minute counter, chronograph seconds) 

- Water resistance: 200 meters (pushers may be activated underwater) 

- Crystal: Sapphire - Bezel: Rotating, stainless steel with decompression engravings 

- Straps: 22mm lug width, includes two straps: TROPIC Rubber & Horween leather 

- Retail price: $3,590 (PRE-ORDER Price: $2,790) 

- Delivery: October, 2020

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