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A marketplace for chronographs, dive watches and other tool-type wristwatches and timepieces
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Here comes a really rare bird for all vintage dive and serious tool watch aficionados:
A LePhare diver chronograph with a quite unusual profondimètre (depth gauge) function/complication and, as a cherry on top, also the original guarantee slip. (LePhare was a Swiss brand that today still is well-known for some extraordinary watches for water sports (diving, yachting) and this particular piece fits in perfectly.)
What makes this dive timer so rare and exceptional is the depth gauge function incorporated into the mineral crystal:
At the 3 o'clock position there's a single aperture that lets water flow into a circular cannula with a diameter of approx. 0.3mm once the watch has been submerged. The deeper the watch goes under water the more liquid enters the tube (due to the increasing water pressure) and compresses the air bubble inside which can't escape. Because of the difference in light refraction between water and air only the part of the tube filled with water reveals a red coloured ring underneath the liquid indicating the diving depth reached that can be read from the scale on the fixed bezel. This simple yet effective so-called "Boyle Mariotte depth gauge" based on physical laws has no moving parts, requires no maintenance and is amazingly accurate to read (at least for depths down to around 10 metres).
And now for the condition report:
Case - The bold tonneau shaped all stainless steel case (42mm wide without / 45mm wide with crown, 47mm lug to lug, 21mm lug width) is in excellent original condition (unpolished, not refinished) with only few superficial marks and no deeper scratches or dents whatsoever. The original brushing pattern on the front and sides is fully intact and the edges towards the backside are super-sharp. The caseback shows some marks from opening but overall still is in very good condition. The crown (non-screwed) and pushers are all original. To sum it up, the case is not NOS but still extraordinary well preserved showing that this watch was not worn a lot over the past decades (as was also confirmed by its previous single owner). The case was originally tested and depth rated to 200m/600ft but, as usual with vintage pieces, I am not guaranteeing water resistance today.
Dial and hands - The anthracite dial is in superb condition, too, and offers perfect legibility with two white subdials ("inverse panda" style) and a mustard coloured minute/second track. Around the dial there's a steep anthracite tachy scale. The right minute counter subdial is larger than the left one ("big eye" style) and adds some more mustard coloured accents for the first 15 minutes. Inside the subdials there are some very minor and barely visible marks (mainly to be seen playing with the light and its incidence angle). All original lume markers are intact (there is no markers at 2 and 4 o'clock due to the larger right subdial) and the tritium has taken on a bright vanilla colour, perfectly matching on dial as well as the all-original handset.
Crystal – For sure, the mineral crystal is the critical part of the watch because of the incorporated depth gauge tube (cf. above). Towards its centre it shows some superficial scratches that can be seen only under very specific angles (cf. pics below) but don't bother the appearance for normal use. With the help of some diamond paste it could be brought back to 100% flawless glory should the new owner seriously consider this to be necessary (but I would strongly recommend to leave it as it is first since there's absolutely no visibility problem at all).
Movement - This chronograph is powered by the reliable hand-wound Valjoux 7733 with a less common 45 minute counter. It winds smoothly and keeps time with a slight gain of approx. +15s/d (when laid down in the dial up position). All chronograph functions (start, stop, reset) work just as they should. The previous owner didn’t remember the last service made (however, there is a watchmaker's engraving on the inside of the caseback) so, consequently, the movement’s service history is unknown to me.
Strap and accessories - The watch comes on a Swiss made Tropic Sport style rk-strap which is exactly the type that these watches were originally delivered with, according to all my (sparse) available info. The strap is 22mm wide tapering down to a 16mm stainless steel clasp. Along with the watch comes its original guarantee slip issued in Germany in 1981 (the watch is definitely older but obviously was sold already being a youngtimer).
Price - Given the excellent original condition and the sheer rarity of this watch I am asking EUR 1.800,- for it, worldwide fully insured shipping included. It's really hard to find the appropriate price for it as those profondimètre watches are hardly sold. The last one I could find was sold by a well-known dealer here: https://goo.gl/GnC8yW - but it had the less desired brown/golden dial whereas here we have the inverted panda beauty ;-).
Eventually, here come the pics.
The watch is located in Austria (EU) and so am I. I do have plenty of international references from various watch enthusiasts (also known here), so please feel free to ask for them.
Just for the records: I am a private collector and, therefore, the watch comes without any personal guarantee given by me. Nevertheless, I am offering to give a full refund less fully insured shipping expenses in case the piece sold would not be as described by me (within an inspection period of three days and to buyers from within the EU only due to the complex customs procedure in case of an overseas deal).
Thanks for reading and thanks to the Chronotrader platform and its host!