AQUASTAR Benthos 500 Founder's Edition CHRONOGRAPH [return of the mighty minute creeper]

Aquastar's present-day helmsman, Rick Marei lands his white whale. Aquastar's recent return to prominence has been a journey that has unfurled like the pages of an epic nautical tale. The acquisition of arguably one of maritime horology’s most important names came about after years of relentless pursuit and was the culmination of a quarter of a century's veneration for those lost but not yet forgotten diving greats of yesteryear. Among the notable names from the 60s and 70s resurrected by Rick Marei, that include; Aquadive, ISOfrane, Jenny, Synchron, and Tropic, the modern-day Doxa brand largely owes its success to him after he plucked them obscurity, known only by those “in the know”, and into the consciousness of today's watch enthusiasts. However there was another name, one that was unique in the world of horology, famed for being one of if not the only Swiss watchmaker whose sole focus was on the production of timepieces, designed, engineered and destined for the world of diving and sailing. So focused were they in their chosen field of expertise that they were the only fine Swiss mark sold exclusively by diving and nautical supply shops. This venerable mark was none other than the illustrious Aquastar, pioneers and innovators in the field of diver’s and regatta watches. After decades of absence, their inaugural diving chronograph, the DEEPSTAR with its classic skin diver silhouette, big-eye chrono-counter, lozenge-style movement indicator, offset dial text and patented bezel for calculating decompression stops and more, heralded Aquastar's rapturous return in 2020. However a legend lingered in the brand's historic archives, a model that for more than half a century remained a paragon of form and function, a rarity in watchmaking both for its unique design and functionality as well as its physical scarcity as surviving examples remain rare and highly collectable. The Benthos 500 Chronograph has been notably absent from the modern brand's growing catalog but not without good reason. There existed no suitable engine to propel Aquastar's Benthos 500 progeny through the depths. This exalted diver's chronograph that once stood at the forefront of diving instrumentation innovation, boasted a centrally-mounted, mono-pusher-actuated, flyback-chronograph with its prominent orange arrow-head chronograph (dive-time) indicator that once set would make its 60min. journey around the dial, allowing a diver to safely, accurately and unambiguously measure elapsed immersion time. This unusual (by today's standards) chronograph function, nicknamed the “minute creeper” and accompanied by a traditional diver’s bezel offered the diver the flexibility to even time a second event along with said bezel if so desired. However, the historic Benthos 500 was powered by the A.Schild caliber 2162, which is not only defunct but without any modern-day counterpart. Naturally this presented a problem for anyone wishing to reproduce a faithful recreation of the Benthos 500 Chronograph particularly in terms of its unparalleled functionality. Early this year Aquastar released the Benthos 500’s spiritual successor, the BENTHOS H1 which was well received by fans of its 1970s namesake. However, purists, among them the esteemed creator of the H1 were left wanting more. Today we now know that the H1 was merely a preface to the Benthos 500’s enduring tale as its grand saga marches on, entering into modern times. For 2024 that A.S cal. 2162 has made way for a brand-new La Joux-Perret monopusher chronograph movement, developed exclusively for Aquastar which faithfully reproduces the vintage Benthos’ unique centrally-mounted 60 minute totalizer display. Introducing the NEW Benthos 500 Founder's Edition, a seamless blend of homage and innovation, crafted with a sleek 316L Stainless steel case echoing the iconic silhouette of its 1970 predecessor, this timepiece boasts a bespoke La Joux-Perret monopusher chronograph movement, meticulously designed to mirror the vintage Benthos' distinctive 60-minute totalizer display. Reforming comfort, the Founder's Edition enhances ergonomics in three pivotal ways. Slimming the case to a mere 15.4mm thickness, refining the lug contours for a lower center of gravity, and relocating the chronograph pusher to 2:00, optimizing accessibility even when donning neoprene diving gloves. True to Aquastar's legacy of functionality, the chrono-pusher remains operational even when underwater, a hallmark feature of modern diver's chronographs. Limited to just 300 pieces, secure your piece of horological history with a special PRE-ORDER price of $2,790 USD exclusively at www.aquastar.ch. Thoughts? Just as Ahab's pursuit of the elusive white whale ended in defeat, and Santiago's heroic battle with the great marlin ended in loss, so too Rick Marei faced his own challenges in realizing his horological ambitions. Yet, amidst the crashing waves of adversity, a beacon of hope emerged when he finally took the helm of Aquastar in 2020. Like Santiago hauling his prized catch ashore, he has prevailed, bringing to fruition his own "white whale" his prized catch —a timepiece as significant in the sphere of diver's and nautical watches as it is in the world of horology as a whole. Where it will surely be devoured as Santiago's “great fish” was, not by sharks but the voracious appetites of collectors and aficionados who will surely appreciate the significance of such a watch.


 - Case: 42mm 316L Stainless steel (47mm lug-to-lug, 15.4mm thick), chronograph pusher at 2H, crown at 4H 

- Movement: Swiss-made Calibre 1MPS Mono-pusher 60-minute center-mounted Chronograph, Top Grade (Aquastar exclusive, produced in collaboration with La Joux-Perret) 

 - Power Reserve: 60 hours without chronograph operation - Time Display: Central hours, minutes and seconds, central 60-minute timer (actuation from 2H) 

- Water resistance: 200 meters, 660 feet - Crystal: Flat, triple-coated AR sapphire 

- Dial: Semi-gloss Black, applied hour markers with highdensity SuperLuminova (ecru color) - Bezel: Luminous, unidirectional rotating elapsed time ceramic bezel, fully graduated with 60 minute markings 

- Straps: Includes genuine 22mm ISOfrane Rubber 

 - Retail price: $2,790 (PRE-ORDER Price: $3,790) - Limited Edition: 300 pieces worldwide - Delivery: May 2024


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