AQUASTAR Model 60 RE-ISSUE [the third crewman]

Meet the third crewman of the bathyscaphe, Trieste! 

A mechanical diver’s watch can be many things to many people. Perhaps it simply fulfills the requirement for a rugged timepiece, something to be worn as a daily beater; a watch then that could survive the rigors of an active life and more; a watch to be worn beneath the waves, for diving, even.

Perhaps your mechanical diver’s watch fulfills a more aesthetic function as something to be worn to dress up or dress down an outfit. 

But to so many of us, a mechanical diver’s watch fulfills a far more emotional function, providing that tangible link in time.

To a time when there was a different way of doing things; like how they did in the good ol’ days when a mechanical diver’s watch was still an integral part of a diver’s safety equipment. Or before the quartz watch revolution wrought havoc upon the Swiss watch industry.

One of the cool things about owning any half decent mechanical diver’s watch today is that it should be able to do the all of the above with the greatest of ease. 

However the great thing about owing an exceptional mechanical diver’s watch like an Aquastar is that it’ll do it all, brilliantly.

From its time honored design that makes use of classic, elegantly-styled silhouettes to its use of clean unambiguous dial layouts that recall that golden, pioneering era of ocean exploration, far-flung, yes, but never forgotten. An epoch when the Aquastar name, proudly displayed on the dial today, just as it was back then offered an assurance of reliability thus giving peace of mind to those that were required to operate in such uncompromising environments as found 130 feet below the water’s surface on a recreational dive.

Or indeed on a 36,000ft descent in a submersible to the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Like the one that US Navy Lieutenant, Don Walsh embarked on with his co-pilot Jacques Piccard on Jan. 3rd 1960. 

And who was famously accompanied by that legendary experimental, Rolex wristwatch, strapped to the hull of the bathyscaphe, Trieste.

But however was (perhaps not so famously) also accompanied by a third crew member, his trusted Aquastar Model 60 (not a Submariner) strapped to his wrist. 

This is the story of the Model 60, and this is its fully modernized, spiritual successor, the new Aquastar Model 60 Re-Issue.

Paying tribute to the brand’s inaugural 1957 diver’s watch, of the same name, that introduced a crucial safety measure for all diver’s watches of the era: a friction ring in the rotating bezel to facilitate against any accidental rotations. 

Devised and originally patented by Aquastar, this simple, but vital feature would later become a standard feature echoed by legions of diver’s watches in the years that followed.

The 2023 Model 60 continues Aquastar’s earliest traditions of capability, adventure and exploration, which began in earnest on January 23rd in 1960 when US Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh – 

wearing an original Model 60, and co-pilot Jacques Piccard, made a pioneering journey to the bottom of the Challenger Deep, aboard the bathyscaphe, Trieste to a record-breaking depth of 10,916 meters (35,814 feet).

Walsh’s Model 60 is recognized as Aquastar’s inaugural tool watch, and would set an early precedent for the budding watchmaker, as Aquastar’s innovative and ultra-reliable watches would quickly earn a reputation as the foremost timekeepers of choice for sub-mariners, professional divers, and ocean conservationists alike.

But watches weren’t Aquastar’s only competency — in the brand’s early years under the watchful eye of founder and innovator Frederic Robert, it also produced a wide range of nautical instruments, 

like compasses and analog depth gauges, many of which could be worn in conjunction with an Aquastar watch to create a singular timekeeping and navigational instrument for the wrist.

The 2023 Model 60 pays tribute to this special era, with a new oil-filled compass which can be secured to the watch head using the tail end of a Tropic or NATO-style pass-through strap at 6:00.

 “With every Aquastar release, we try to look at the product cycles introduced by the brand’s original founder, Frederic Robert, and look ahead to what he might still be producing, had the brand never been paused during the quartz crisis,” says Rick Marei, Aquastar’s modern helmsman. 

“We are proud to be both historians and custodians of this rich brand, using the new Model 60 to pay tribute to Aquastar’s influence and innovations in the world of undersea exploration,” he continues.

Thoughtfully sized in a 37mm Stainless steel case the Model 60 is a somewhat unique reference in the deep Aquastar archive, as it follows a more traditional dive watch execution, using bold hour markers and lume-filled paddle hands, a 60 minute rotating bezel, and a center-mounted seconds hand – 

omitting those bold asymmetrical dial elements that would go on to characterize later Aquastar models, like the iconic Deepstar Chronograph.

In keeping with Aquastar’s modern traditions, the new Model 60 maintains a robust 200 meters of water-resistance, and is powered by a top-grade La Joux-Perret G100 automatic movement with 62 hours of power-reserve, made in Switzerland. 

And in keeping with the watch worn on Don Walsh’s pioneering dive to the bottom of the ocean, this modern Model 60 encapsulates the adventurous spirit, capability, and category-defining innovation defined by Aquastar in the 1960s, and presents it for an entirely new generation to enjoy.

The Aquastar 2023 Model 60 will be available with a black dial. It has a suggested retail price of 1,290USD but can be pre-ordered during its launch phase for the special price of 990USD. 

The marine compass will be included at no additional charge for the first 100 orders of the Model 60, after which it can be purchased separately for 70USD. Both are available exclusively from www.aquastar.ch

Thoughts? This unsung hero of the deep, the third forgotten crew member of that epic foray into the Marianas Trench mightn’t have been the timepiece that the World’s eyes were on back then. 

It has managed to sail largely undetected by the sonar of all but the most knowledgeable dive watch connoisseurs for more than six decades. 

Those few in the know like its modern day custodian, Rick Marei for whom its second life is credited. 

But in its former life, it had however caught the eye of one US Navy Lieutenant, Don Walsh whose confidence in it was such that he entrusted it with the crucial role of timekeeper on that potentially perilous dive into a deep sea trench.

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