French watch brand Ondex -like this 1960’s-era dive watch here, strongly reminiscent of similar military dive watches of the same era – 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. What is known is that the 1960’s were an exciting time for diving, and, well, the French.
Why was this, you ask?
During this era, a French gentleman and diver named 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.
With the patina’d bezel insert and lume on this Ondex diver, contrasted with the tastefully faded green numerals, there’s more than enough visual contrast going on here to make the watch engaging. Couple this with a velcro one-pass strap strongly reminiscent of the NASA astronaut straps (replete with beige/green canvas) and you have an excellent vintage dive watch, which bears a strong semblance to many much higher priced offerings of the same era.
This Ondex diver comes with a velcro one-pass strap, nylon NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1960’s Ondex Mechanical Dive Watch
DIAL: Brilliant and detailed original black dial, which features large numerals in military-esque script – a great touch that really makes this watch stand out from many of the same era. Original lumed hour, minute, and seconds hands.
CASE: Original 36mm (38 w/crown) x 44mm stainless-steel case, no wear is evident anywhere on case, which remains in excellent condition overall.
CRYSTAL: Slightly domed acrylic crystal, no scratches or blemishes.
BAND: This Ondex comes with an 18mm one-pass velcro strap, akin to those worn by NASA astronauts (albeit shorter) – a great compliment to the military-like design of this dive watch. This watch also comes with a black nylon NATO.
MOVEMENT: Original Ondex manual-wind mechanical movement.