AQUASTAR Benthos HERITAGE ONE [the living embodiment of a legend]

A lauded legend resurfaces from the annals of history and into the collective (collectors) consciousness of modern day horophiles. 

Arguably the first ever diver’s wristwatch was Longines’ Hydrographic Survey watch, born in the early 1940s and preceding anything from Blancpain or Rolex by more than a decade.

In the eight long decades that’ve passed since British Royal Naval saboteurs (equipped with the aforementioned Longines) wrought havoc on the Italian Navy, diver's watches have evolved giving rise to countless innovations.

Greats have come and gone, icons like the Submariner have withstood the passage of time, and legendary names resurrected from archival vaults, like the Fifty Fathoms or Ploprof. 

But ask any diver's watch aficionado, and surely they'll tell you that among only a handful of truly legitimate legends, one dive watch must be counted every time, and that is the Aquastar Benthos.

The Benthos family of models spanning the 1970s until 1985 remains legendary in vintage dive watch collector circles to this day. 

The Benthos I Professional with 1,000 meters of water-resistance and looks that only a mother could truly ever love, from the late 70s to the mid-80s. My favorite.

The Benthos 500, its better looking, better known, older brother from the 1970s. The fan favorite, and the first Benthos to be equipped with the family’s famous central chronograph with its iconic oversized, orange flyback totalizer. 

Now Aquastar’s most hotly anticipated diver makes its return as a Limited Edition of 500 pieces, paying homage to one of the watch world’s most lauded diver’s models from the 1970s. And marking the 60th anniversary of AQUASTAR.

Introducing the Benthos Diver H1 (Heritage Chapter 1) — a striking, 3-hand dive watch that retains the visual cues, capability and dimensions of the pioneering Benthos 500 from 1970, which was the world’s first dive watch achieving 500 meters of depth resistance without a monobloc case design.

The mighty Benthos also enjoyed the distinction of being one of the few dive watches approved in the U.S. Navy diving manual throughout the 1970s. 

The new Benthos H1 continues Aquastar’s earliest traditions of building innovative and ultra-capable tool watches that could cater to the needs of mariners, professional divers, and ocean conservationists.

And while the original Benthos was known for its impressive depth resistance and unique center-mounted chronograph functionality, the H1 retains the marked capability and signature crown position of the Benthos but in a more streamlined and economical time-only format.

“The Benthos range of models from 1970 to 1985 remains a legend in vintage dive watch collector circles, and as we celebrate the brand’s 60th anniversary, we wanted to pay tribute to this tool watch icon from two distinct perspectives,” says Rick Marei, Aquastar’s modern helmsman. 

“The Benthos design and utility were light years ahead of their time back in 1970, and we’re very excited that we’ve found a way to ensure that everyone has a chance to enjoy this” he continues.

Retaining the original proportions and exact dimensions of the 1970 Benthos 500, the new 2023 Benthos H1 is built around a tonneau-shaped 42mm 904L stainless steel case, with the crown once again in its unique position at 2:00. As the purest expression of the Benthos visual DNA, this reference is powered by a Swiss-made ETA 2824-2 élaboré grade movement, and has been embellished with modern updates throughout, including a unidirectional rotating dive bezel with a ceramic insert, and generously applied modern SuperLuminova in Aquastar’s signatur“old radium” ecru color to punctuate its inky black dial. Just like the original Benthos with its pioneering depth resistance, the H1 also maintains a robust 500 meters of water resistance — making it the deepest diving modern Aquastar to date.

The Aquastar Benthos H1 comes as a Limited Edition of 500 pieces and has a suggested retail price of 1,390 USD. During its launch period it can be pre-ordered for the special price of 1,090 USD. 

This watch may be reserved exclusively at www.aquastar.ch

And there's a special offer for early bird's who'll have the opportunity to have their new Benthos H1 accompany them as they curl up with a good book, where a Benthos 500 is one the main characters. The first 300 Benthos H1 orders will receive a signed copy of DEPTH CHARGE, Jason Heaton’s debut novel, an old-school Flemming-style adventure thriller that takes an American underwater archaeologist, Julian Tusk aka Tusker to the other side of the world, and into a high stakes adventure deep under the Indian Ocean. On Tusker’s wrist is a special watch, an Aquastar Benthos 500 given to him by his late father, who was a Navy diver. The watch is not only a family heirloom; it is a companion on Tusker’s adventures, as any good dive watch should be.

Thoughts? You could get this beautifully made authentic, modern-day Benthos 500 reproduction model aka the Benthos H1 for a thousand bucks or so, faithful in every way, safe for the chronograph movement and its totalizer pusher. 

Or you could try and get a good vintage example for around 7 or 8K (I know because I've looked).

But if you're of the same breed of idiot savant as I am, one whose knowledge of vintage watch collecting amounts to barely enough to cover the posterior of pygmy shrew. 

Thus exposing you to the potential minefield of Franken-fakes and phonies, and worn out old nags fit for the knackers yard. 

Then this is probably the most compelling Benthos 500 proposition that guys like us are likely to ever stumble upon.

But perhaps you're lucky enough to own an original Benthos 500 that you daren’t even take into the bathtub with you. Then this new Aquastar Benthos H1 would make the perfect avatar. 

Modern-made with ETA élaboré-grade reliability, 904L stainless steel toughness (like a Rolex) and scratch-resistant ceramic to boot, but every bit as charming and handsome as the historic model.


- Case: 42mm 904L Stainless steel (47mm lug-to-lug, 16mm thick), crown at 2:00 

- Movement: Swiss-made Swiss genuine ETA 2824-2 élaboré grade, hours, minutes, seconds 

- Water resistance: 500 meters, 1500 feet - Crystal: Flat, triple-coated AR sapphire 

- Dial: Semi-gloss Black, applied hour markers with high-density SuperLuminova (ecru color) 

- Bezel: Unidirectional rotating elapsed time ceramic bezel with SuperLuminova filled application 

- Straps: Includes genuine 20mm ISOfrane Rubber 

- Retail price: $1390 (Pre-Order Price: $1090) 

- Limited Edition: 500 pieces worldwide 

- Delivery: 1st batch of 250 December 2023, 2nd batch of 250 March 2024

1 comment:

  1. Put my order in and looking forward to seeing the new Benthos H1 on my wrist soon!


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