Jensen heritage for the next generation


Item description: To those in the know, the name Aquastar is synonymous with diving watches, a brand made famous by the French diver, Jacques Cousteau. This Aquastar is from their ‘Grand’Air’ range for swimmers, sailing and water sports, and dates from 1966. Typical large stainless steel case with single central crown bearing the full brand name Aquastar. The dial in a beautiful, and very unusual sunray cassis colour, and with the Aquastar brand name and logo. Applied battons at the 12, 3, 6, 9 positions. To the edge of the dial, a fine silvered engine turned counter displaying minute marks. The case-back with Aquastar’s special opening and closing section, requiring their own tool. The central part of the case-back with the full Aquastar name and logo, along with the serial number, and model reference, ‘1686’. To the inside, a fine Aquastar branded 17 jewel manual movement. The watch completed with a new old stock cassis coloured leather strap with 1960s style stainless steel buckle.


Case size: 43mm x 33mm


Condition report: Close to mint condition, with just light use only. Case very good to excellent. Beautiful original dial with light aging to the luminous hour battons.  Case-back with satined and polished finish, free from scratches, and with clear Aquastar details. Strap of new old stock dating to the 1960s. Working condition (no warranty implied). The timepiece may have been opened, so it should not be used near moisture or water without being checked by a qualified watchmaker. Hard to find the Aquastar ‘1686’ in this condition.


Background to Aquastar: Daniel Jeanrichard (1665-1741) remains a legendary figure in Swiss watchmaking, now considered the “founder of the watchmaking industry in the canton of Neuchâtel” in the late 17th century. Jeanrichard was born in the hamlet of Les Bressels, between the villages of La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle in the Swiss Jura. In 1681 Jeanrichard made his first watch (the first known watch made in the region) , and not long after established his own watchmaking workshop. The JEANRICHARD Museum in La Chaux-de-Fonds houses several of his most outstanding watches, including the so-called ‘Daniel’ watch made in 1710, a technical and aesthetic masterpiece with a calendar aperture.


By 1958 the Jeanrichard brand had been acquired by Frédéric Robert, an experienced scuba diver with a passion for creating watches for divers. Initial watches were branded ‘Jeanrichard Aquastar’, however, by 1962, he dropped the name Jean Richard, and simply named the company Aquastar. Although specialising in diver’s watches, the company expanded their range to include regatta watches for sailing, along with ranges for general water sports such as swimming and sailing. Aquastar were the first company to design and use a so-called lollipop seconds hand, and also invented the bidiagonal bezel, patenting a system where the bezel functioned inside the case, and operated from the winding crown.


An Aquastar was the first and only watch to be worn at the deepest dive ever made in history – the DeepSea Challenge, where divers descended to the Mariana Trench . The watch was worn by diver Don Walsh. However, Aquastars became particularly famous amongst the diving fraternity, when Jacques Cousteau and his team wore Aquastar diving watches, such as the Deepstar, and the Benthos 500, during their many filmed dives in the 1960s. Today, Aquastar watches are gaining recognition as important vintage diving watches, and values are rising.


Special notes: According to the Swiss watchmakers breakdown of water resistance. A watch marked as water resistant for 10 ATM could be used for recreational surfing, swimming, snorkeling, sailing and water sports.


Provenance: n/a


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