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Founded in 1962 in Geneva, Switzerland, Aquastar then and now focuses on dive and sailing watches – like this 1980s Aquastar Atoll 200m dive watch here – by Frédéric Robert, a SCUBA diver, sailor and watch designer.


Aquastar is likely not a name familiar to many here, but it was easily one of the most innovative dive watch brand of the 1960s – it had over a dozen patents for everything from bezels to depth gauges within ten years of its founding, even.  And it’s easy to understand why – after all, the company originated within the venerable Jean Richard brand, one of the oldest Swiss watch brands at the time.


Aquastar introduced the Atoll diver in circa 1970 – first as powered by an automatic movement, and then a quartz one – and it bears a passing resemblance to a certain popular dive watch, the Submariner.  Available in steel, gold, and PVD cases, there was also a women’s version.


Per Hodinkee, “The first dive watch from Jean Richard was the Aquastar 60, debuting in 1958.  It was a modest time-only diver in a case that would become one of the archetypal shapes of the next decade: what we've come to call the "Skin Diver," with long arching strap horns with a flattened case surface between them, no crown guards, and a thin, curving profile.  It's a case style that went on to be used by countless brands, and its popularity endures to this day…”


In 1962, Jean Richard, seeing the success of its Model 60, formally launched the Aquastar sub-brand, which was overseen by Frédéric Robert, who was the son of Jean Richard's then-owner, Jean Robert.  “Frédéric was a keen scuba diver and sailor, whom we nowadays would call a 'waterman,' and threw his passion into developing watches and instruments solely designed for use on, in, or under the surface of the sea.”


Shortly thereafter, the Jean Richard name was dropped entirely and Aquastar became a standalone brand, producing dive watches, wrist compasses, thermometers, depth gauges, and an innovative sailing timer known as the Regate.


Robert sought to create professional grade instruments specially designed for divers and aquatic activities, such as the Deepstar, Benthos and Regate regatta watch.  In fact, in its early years, Aquastar watches were only available through professional diving equipment outlets – never offered by retail distributors.


In 1982, Aquastar changed this policy and its mainstream dive and sports watches were made available to the general public through retail outlets.  With the encroaching Quartz Crisis mostly rendering mechanical watches moot, Aquastar developed and patented an affordable timepiece made of plastic and housing robust quartz movements which marked a new era of commercial success for the brand.


This Aquastar Atoll comes on suede leather strap, and with nylon strap, rugged travel case, and springbar tool.

1980s Aquastar Atoll 200m Dive Watch

  • DIAL: Signed black dial; script remains crisp and defineed. Date display at the 3 o’clock position works as designed. Matching stainless-steel “Mercedes” hour, minute, and second hands. Lume on dial and hands remains bright, following exposure to strong light.


    CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 38mm (41mm w/crown) x 45mm, with matching Aquastar-signed caseback. Bezel insert is in good condition, despite age; bezel rachets when rotated counter-clockwise, as designed.


    CRYSTAL: Mineral crystal is scratch and crack-free.


    BAND: This Aquastar diver comes on a dark brown suede leather strap; it also comes on a black, red, and grey nylon strap.


    MOVEMENT: Swiss seven-jewel quartz movement.


    CROWN: Stainless-steel screw-down crown.

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