French watch brand Les Routers – like this recently serviced 1960’s-era dive watch example here – is a mystery, mostly lost to the time before the interwebs. It was a sold mainly in France and saw limited distribution outside the country.
With its quite unique multi-colored dial, slender yet poignant hour and minute hands, and copious green lume, there’s more than enough visual contrast going on here to make the watch engaging. Couple this with the included handsome leather strap or NATO, and you have an excellent vintage dive watch, sans the high price point witnessed in similar watches of the era.
But back to the 1960s - what is known is that the era was an exciting time for diving, and, well, the French.
Why was this, you ask?
During this era, French gentleman and diver Jacques Cousteau gathered fame for his involvement with a set of three projects to build underwater "villages,” with each ensuing project was aimed at increasing the depth at which people continuously lived under water, and were an attempt at creating an environment in which men could live and work on the sea floor.
Cousteau was so much more than just a diver; he was also a French naval officer, explorer, conservationist, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher – he was also a filmaker. A meeting with American television companies created the series “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau,” with the character of the commander intended to give the films a "personalized adventure" style. This documentary television series ran for ten years from 1966 to 1976 – also roughly the same era French watches like Vilmont were in their prime.
This diver comes with a leather strap, nylon NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1960’s Les Routiers Mechanical Dive Watch
DIAL: Vibrant original Les Routiers-signed dial, with original stylish stick hands. Numbers, hour indices, and hands all lumed.
CASE: Original 36.5mm (38.5mm w/crown) x 42mm stainless-steel case; original caseback - engravings are still clear.
CRYSTAL: Flawless domed acrylic crystal, no cracks or imperfections.
BAND: This diver comes with a light brown leather strap, as well as a black premium nylon NATO strap - both feature stainless-steel hardware.
MOVEMENT: Original Les Routiers manual-wind mechanical movement.