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In 1955, a U.S. Navy expedition led by Admiral Richard Byrd ventured to the Antarctic. As the least explored area on the planet, the continent proved ripe for scientific study. Byrd and his flotilla of six ships—crewed by 1800 men—broke their way through the dense pack ice of the Ross Sea with the intention of establishing permanent research stations on the continent.
Work went quickly. Soon, the crew set up a base, and even a landing strip. Flights from this airstrip allowed the crew to survey over 800,000 of the continent that, for many years, had been little more than a blank spot on the map.
Despite these advances, the expedition was not without its hardships. One of the planes, a VX-6 UC-1 Otter, crash-landed on a plateau over 2700 feet above land. The seven crew members sheltered overnight from the punishing Antarctic cold, and—on sleds and skis—made their way for Okuma Bay, where the U.S.S. Glacier was moored.
After six days, they were rescued.
Throughout their travails, their watches—made by Croton Nivada Grenchen—kept ticking.
In a letter to Croton, Admiral Byrd had this to say of the watches: “They were subjected to prolonged immersion, extreme altitude and high-magnetism. They were dropped and knocked against ice. They were never wound. Through all these tests, [the watches] kept perfect time.”
This hardy nature was certainly not limited to the watches Admiral Byrd and his crewmen wore. The brand prided itself on the rugged durability of its products, and Operation Deep Freeze only proved them right. Throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s, the brand launched a succession of sports watches that are desirable even now.
This watch, the Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver, is one of them.
In a period marked by exploration, watch brands released scores of watches to meet explorers’ every need. Released in 1963, the Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver (or, in its earliest iteration, the Chronograph Aviator Sea Diver) had much in common with other sporty chronographs like the Omega Speedmaster or the Heuer Carrera. However, due to the increasing popularity of SCUBA diving as a recreational sport, Croton Nivada Grenchen incorporated a rotating diving bezel.
The example that we offer here is a later version from the 1970s, notable for its stick hands (rather than the broad arrow hands found on earlier examples). With sharp faceted lugs and an attractive color way, this is a chronograph worthy of accompanying you to the farthest reaches of the world. Maybe even to the South Pole.
Stainless steel case is approximately 37.5mm (excluding crown and pushers). Landeron Calibre 248 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa 1970s.
Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with moderate signs of use and wear in keeping with its age. Dial is in very good condition with some signs of age, including patina to the luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands. Unsigned crown.
Includes one 20mm black rally-style strap with red contrast stitching.
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options