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In the fall of 1975, Jacques Cousteau set sail for the Aegean Sea on his ship Calypso. He and his crew had spent a year searching for the lost city of Atlantis. But they would never find it, leaving the ancient question of its existence unanswered.
Instead, he would discover the wreck of a ship that had sparked controversy for decades: Britannic, a sister ship of the Titanic who met an equally gruesome fate.
It was November, 1916.
Requisitioned as a hospital ship, the Britannic ferried sick and wounded from the bloody fields of Gallipoli to Great Britain. During her return voyage to the Middle East, the Britannic sailed full speed ahead into the Kea Channel just south of Athens. Over one thousand souls—doctors, nurses, and crew—were on board.
On the morning of November 21, the double-hulled ship shook from stem to stern. The doctors and nurses jumped immediately to their posts. On the bridge, Captain Bartlett ordered the telegraph officer to send out an SOS signal.
But down below, the lower decks filled with water. Water also streamed in through portholes that the nurses had opened to ventilate the wards. The crippled ship listed to starboard and started to sink.
When news of the disaster reached Britain, fingers pointed across the Channel to Germany. “It was a torpedo,” survivors would claim, which the Germans stoutly denied. “She was carrying ammunition and troops,” the Germans declared, “but we did not torpedo her—it was a mine!”
The truth lay obscured on the seafloor of the Aegean for sixty years, until Jacques Cousteau happened upon her wreck.
Its precise location wasn’t known until Cousteau found it. The Vice President of the Titanic Historical Society had given Cousteau charts from the Admiralty that pinpointed where she supposedly lay. Equipped with the chart, and with a new technology—side-scanning sonar—Cousteau scoured the seafloor, looking for Atlantis, but always keeping the Britannic in the back of his mind.
Finally, on the morning of December 3, 1975, he found her—in four hundred feet of water, eight miles from where the chart had said.
When he and his divers inspected the wreck, Cousteau found no evidence that troops or ammunitions had ever been on board when she sank. Nor had she been torpedoed. She had, quite simply, strayed into a mine field, an unwitting casualty in a long and bloody war.
In the television documentary that depicts Cousteau’s discovery of the Britannic, he and his crew can be seen wearing DOXA Sub 300T dive watches.
Cousteau himself had been consulted in the creation of these hefty dive watches. In fact, he was also the sole distributor of the model in the United States through his company, U.S. Divers. While the orange dial variants are the most iconic and commonly-seen version, Cousteau favored one with a black dial, the Sharkhunter.
This particular example is yet another variant, the Diving Star, notable for its bright yellow dial. Like Cousteau and Atlantis, many vintage collectors can spend years searching for one, as the bright yellow dialed versions are truly elusive. Strap it on and you’re standing on the deck of the Calypso, next to the man himself, eyes on the rolling waves of the Aegean as he prepares to plunge beneath the surface one more time.
Stainless steel case is approximately 42mm (excluding crown). ETA Calibre 2782 Self-Winding Movement. Circa 1970s.
Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with light, normal signs of use and wear consistent with age. Bezel is in good condition with minor signs of wear. Dial is in very good condition with lovely patina to the luminescent elements. Second hand has been professionally relumed to match. Correct Synchron-signed crown. Case back with Synchron logo has some signs of wear consistent with age.
Includes one 20mm black rubber diving strap.>