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In 1881, watchmaker Achilles Ditesheim opened a workshop for the production of pocket watches in La Chaux-de-Fonds, that horological hotbed that's produced such big name brands as Patek Philippe, Gallet, Girard-Perregaux, and Heuer, among others. His brothers Léopold and Isidore joined him in 1886. By 1900, the brothers Ditesheim began to produce wristwatches.
In 1905, the brothers moved production to a new facility and christened their brand Movado, which means "always in motion" in Esperanto. Even in the early days, watches produced by the brothers garnered many awards, surpassing watches of their rivals at competitions. Movado produced incredible mechanical timepieces through the 20th century, gaining notoriety for their Museum Watch, a Bauhaus-inspired design from 1947 characterized by its singular hour marker at 12 o'clock, reminiscent of the sun at noon.
Dating from the early 1960s, the Super Sub Sea Chronograph is a relative rare version of that elusive hybrid, the chronodiver. Earlier versions of this chronograph bore the M95 movement, first developed by Piguet in 1938, which has the distinction of being the first modular chronograph movement. These Super Sub Sea chronographs can be distinguished from later versions by the position of the chronograph registers, being closer together than in later versions.
The look of the Super Sub Sea chronodiver changed after Movado and Zenith were united in 1969 under their parent holding company, Mondia-Zenith-Movado. This of course was a banner year for horology, being the debut of the Zenith El Primero movement and the Caliber 11 developed by Breitling, Heuer, and Buren. Due to a change in movement, the registers of these later Super Sub Sea chronodivers are farther apart now, and they lack the distinctive squiggly sub-dial hands that set the earlier chronodivers apart.
At first glance, this later-model Super Sub Sea chronodiver takes designs cues from the Zenith A277, with its reverse-panda dial, rotating bezel, and prominent pushers. Indeed, these watches share the same movement: the caliber 146HP, developed by the Swiss èbauche manufacturer, Martel, whom Zenith bought out in 1960. Martel, which had developed movements for Universal Gèneve prior to the acquisition by Zenith, adapted the design of the Universal Gèneve cal. 285 to create the cal. 146HP. The cal. 146HP is the last hurrah of manual-wind Zenith movements before the introduction of the game-changing El Primero. The last of a bygone era, the cal. 146HP is elegant, a testament to the days when the manually-wound movement was king.
The Super Sub Sea is certainly a stunner, with a large, strong 41mm case. The case is sharp, robust, the kind of watch you won't definitely forget you're wearing when it's strapped to your wrist. For a watch that's as rare as it is sharp, it will certainly catch eyes.
Stainless Steel Case is approximately 41mm (excluding the crowns). Cal. 146 manual-wind movement. Circa mid-1960s.
Overall condition: Stainless steel case is in excellent condition over all, with only the slightest signs of wear consistent with age and use, mainly on the case back. Dial, bezel, and hands are likewise in excellent condition, showing nice even patination to the luminescent elements. Signed crown and case back.
Includes one 20mm suede Bulang & Sons strap and two 20mm nylon straps by Crown & Buckle.