Today's consumer is no doubt familiar with Movado's modern offerings, but might be surprised to find that the brand's archives are filled with unique and arresting designs. Even in the early days, the brand's watches garnered many awards, surpassing watches of their rivals in industry competitions. This tradition endured throughout the 20th century, when the brand gained notoriety for its Museum Watch, a watch with an iconic design that has transcended from horology and luxury and into the hallowed halls of modern design masterpieces.
But from the 1930s to the 1960s, Movado was producing tough, purpose-driven watches that, once seen, make the Museum Watch seem like an anomaly.
Movado released water-resistant wristwatches as early as 1935, and by the 1960s was producing dive watches to compete with the era's better known offerings from brands such as Rolex or Omega. The most desirable of these fall into the Super Sub Sea family, and the most elusive and sought-after of these is that unusual hybrid, the chronodiver--or the Super Sub Sea Chronograph.
Dating from the early 1960s, the Super Sub Sea Chronograph is a relative rarity. 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, placed 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 and lack the distinctive squiggly sub-dial hands of the earlier versions.
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. The Caliber 146HP is the last hurrah of manual-wind Zenith movements before the introduction of the game-changing El Primero.
The Super Sub Sea is certainly a stunner, with a large, strong 41mm case and prominent rotating bezel. The case is robust, with bevels as sharp as a dive knife. While you won't likely be diving with it, it has a legitimate aquatic heritage that sets it apart from the typical desk diver.
Stainless steel case is approximately 41mm (excluding crown and pushers). Caliber 146HP Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa 1960s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with crisp bevels on the lugs, only faint signs of wear, and no signs of over-polishing. Bezel is in likewise excellent condition with minimal signs of light and careful use with a light even fade. Dial is in very good condition with faint signs of age, particularly to the luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands. Movado signed crown. Original case back has some faint scratches but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 22mm olive green leather strap and two 22mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle