French watch brand Vilmont – like this 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 large Arabic numerals, patina’d lume, and a slender yet poignant bright red seconds hand on this Vilmont diver, there’s more than enough visual contrast going on here to make the watch engaging. Couple this with a well-designed stainless-steel bracelet and you have an excellent vintage dive watch, sans the high price point witnessed in similar watches of the era.
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, 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 Vilmont comes with an unbranded stainless-steel bracelet, nylon NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1960’s Vilmont Mechanical Dive Watch
DIAL: Brilliant and detailed original silver Vilmont-signed dial, with large stylish Arabic numerals. Original hour, minute, and seconds hands.
CASE: Original 36.5mm (38mm w/crown) x 45mm stainless-steel case; limited evidence of wear on case, which remains in great condition overall. Bezel rotates correctly in either direction.
CRYSTAL: Slightly domed acrylic crystal, no cracks or imperfections.
BAND: This diver comes with an unsigned stainless-steel bracelet and a nylon NATO strap (also with stainless-steel hardware).
MOVEMENT: Original Vilmont manual-wind mechanical movement.