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FS: Rare Vintage ZRC Grand Fonds Series III DIVER

It's time to let go of one the rarest divers in my collection, the ZRC Grand Fonds Series III. The ZRC divers from the '60s are coveted by collectors for good reasons, not least of which being that they were serious tools. The French Navy used these watches, and they were designed with both creative and practical features. The most obvious was that the crowns were affixed at the bottom of the case, and protected from accidental shearing by both the case and bracelet. The bezels were also designed to ratchet counter-clockwise only, preventing accidental rotation which could have led to timing problems.

Here is some further, interesting detail, taken from the recent introduction of the ZRC 300 re-edition:

In the early 1960s, Louis BRUNET and the Annecy diving team with the support of local figures such as Louis SERVETAZ, launched plans for an affordable and efficient diving watch. Messrs. PASTRES & DIGNE, watchmakers in Toulon, diving watch specialists contributed wholeheartedly to the creation of the Grands Fonds 300 which will be immediately approved by the French Navy. After several months of tests, the Navy asked ZRC to “modify” few things such as the 3 o’clock crown too vulnerable during the underwater manipulations. The Navy as well asked for a “smart” sizable metal band system together with a mean to protect the crown without impeding wrist movement and above all, to ensure it could not open under water. The team set work and developed the famous 6 o’clock crown, connected to the case using an exclusive system consisting of a canon cut from a single block, making the Grands Fonds 300 the first watch to be equipped with a 100% Monobloc case. Furthermore, the case is machined in a particular type of steel reinforced with molybdenum that is completely antimagnetic (an absolute necessity for the Mine Clearance Divers’ group). All watches therefore underwent a test period, being trialed in all possible conditions of “military-related harsh use”. The STCM in Paris approved the new equipment and entered it into the general equipment catalog for the commissariat, attributing it the 6645 family member for deep sea diving watch.

Motored with the 2472 ETA movement, the GF300 is more than reliable. Its super luminous MAGNUM hands provide a perfect legibility underwater. Revolutionary watch under many ways, the GF300 was issued to the Paris fire fighter department as well as the French waterskiing team. But it was above all the watch of the French Navy (Toulon diving school, 3rd division of Toulon Mine Clearance Group, the Hubert Commando) as well as the Italian Navy. It was also adopted by non-military units supported by the French Navy, including the famous CALYPSO of Commander COUSTEAU, which took the watch around the world and firmly established its reputation.

The watch that I am offering is in very good condition throughout. The case measures 36mm. The upper and mid-case are in excellent condition, while the back shows a few scratches from tools. I see no evidence of polishing, though the back shows signs that the watch has been well-worn over the years. The original anti-magnetic cover is present, as well as the interesting (copper coloured) piece that secures the cap in place when the back is screwed down.

The dial and hand-set are in excellent condition. I would note that it is possible that there was a partial re-lume years ago. I am not at all certain of this, but while none of the lume appears new, the colors are not perfectly consistent.

The screw-down crown is in excellent condition and working properly. The 21j ETA cal. 2472 (I believe) was recently serviced, and is working well.

The bezel is in remarkably good condition for its age – one of the best that I have seen, and it frames the watch beautifully.

The (presumably) original bracelet is in excellent condition, and, as a bonus, I will also include a correct NOS ZRC bracelet (pictured below)!

These watches do not appear often in the market, and especially in very good or better all-around condition. I can find only one other for sale at the moment, with an asking price of ~4500€ (and no offers accepted, apparently), with a less desirable (not sure if original) second hand. Here is a link:

I will consider offers above €3000. All offers will be considered seriously, but a strong offer will result in an immediate sale!

I am well known on many vintage forums, and have many references. I am based in Portugal, so EU residents need not worry about customs duties. I will ship EMS express (insured), and FedEx is a possibility. I would prefer a bank transfer, and can accept either Euros in the EU, or USD equivalent in an American account. Paypal only with strong references and fees to be discussed.

Please excuse the reflections in the crystal, as these type of watches are very difficult to photograph.

Feel free to ask any questions!

Messages In This Thread

FS: Rare Vintage ZRC Grand Fonds Series III DIVER
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