Croton Depthmaster "Pacman"

Croton Depthmaster "Pacman"

In life there are certain unsolvable mysteries. Such as, who killed JFK? What happened to D.B. Cooper?

Who in heaven’s name made the case of this vintage watch?

While we admit this particular mystery might not be as all-consuming as some of the others we’ve mentioned, it certainly puzzles those of us with a horological bent.

This Japanese article on alleges that it was the product of one Boa Company. However, a search for “Boa Company” reveals a company that manufactures athletic performance wear. That’s not precisely what we had in mind, Google, but thanks.

Whoever made them, these cases first hit the market in 1963 and were soon picked up by brands from Japan to Switzerland. Collectors have come to know them as “baby Panerais” due to their similarity to cases used by Panerai. One of the earliest was marketed by Sandoz, whose version was depth-rated to 1000 meters; even Jaeger-LeCoultre adopted the case for the Master Marine.

However, the most desirable variants are those manufactured by Nivada Grenchen, known as Croton (or Croton Nivada Grenchen) in the United States.

Although these variants lack the 1000m depth rating of those made by Sandoz, what they lack in that they more than make up for in style. We’ve seen some with sterile dials, or some with bold luminous Arabic numerals that hint at a military inspiration. However, neither of these come close to the funky and engaging style of the one we offer here.

Because of the Art Deco shape of the numerals at the poles—particularly at 6 and 9 o’clock—collectors have given it the nickname of “Pacman.”

Of all the so-called “Baby Panerais” out there, the Pacman is one of the rarest, with a cult following of its own.

The Pacman that we offer here shows signs of a life well-lived. The “baby Panerai” case has some signs of wear, particularly to the bezel. Although the Pacman dial shows some signs of age, the rich patina gives the unusually-shaped markers a distinguished look. 


SKU: AS02410

Stainless steel case is approximately 38mm (excluding crown). ETA 2451 Self-Winding Movement.

Overall Condition: Case shows some signs of use and wear in keeping with age. Dial is in very good condition, showing some signs of age, including patina to the luminescent elements. Unsigned crown.

Includes one 18mm nylon strap.

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