Aqualung Dive Watch
Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
1943 was the height of World War II, but it was also the year that would forever change the nature of skin-diving, and would serve as the genesis of a classic timepiece design: the diver's watch.
In the icy waters of the Marne River, a young lieutenant in the French Navy by the name of Jacques Cousteau tested a new apparatus that he developed with his colleague, Emile Gagnan.
Prior to this year, diving for extended periods was only possible with the aid of long hoses connected to tanks on the water's surface. But Cousteau and Gagnan designed a regulator to emit air at an intake of breath, hooking the regulator to a hose that was connected to two tanks of compressed air that could be strapped to the diver's back.
After a few slight adjustments to the intake and exhaust valves, Gagnan and Cousteau patented their invention, calling it the Aqualung. By 1946 the Aqualung was being sold in France to commercial and amateur divers, and by the 1950s it was available in the US and Great Britain.
The advent of the Aqualung self contained underwater breathing apparatus made skin-diving as a sport much more accessible to lovers of the sea. Before electronic diving computers, watches were a crucial tool for divers, who required them to calculate dive and decompression times. This necessitated the development of specialized, easy-to-read watches with waterproofing that would hold up under the increased pressures of depth underwater. Rolex and Blancpain's iconic dive watches were released during this decade, the Submariner and Fifty Fathoms, and both have become the stuff of legend.
Though perhaps best-known with their association with Blancpain and DOXA, Aqualung also marketed contract-built watches under its own name alongside the diving equipment sold in its catalogs and dive shops. These attractive divers (also known as “Skin 666” from the last three digits in the number on the case back) used contract cases manufactured by A. Schild, with thick beveled lugs and handsome brush finishing throughout. They were powered by the sturdy, no-nonsense A. Schild/Felsa Caliber 4004 movement.
The crowning glory of this watch (aside from the actual crown on the bezel at 12 o’clock) is the absolutely gorgeous radium dial, in this case in outrageously beautiful preserved condition. Featuring generous plots of Radium luminescent material and large stylized hands, these Aqualung branded watches are highly sought after by diving enthusiasts and tool watch fanatics alike.
Aqualung’s reputation for their contributions to the diving industry is well-deserved, and this watch is a testament to the brand’s quality. Uncommon and undeniably attractive, it offers the collector a rarely-seen alternative to the Fifty Fathoms and Submariner, with no less of a diving pedigree.
Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.
We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Shipping & Returns
Shipping & Returns+
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.
Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.
We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.
We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Aqualung Dive Watch