Eberhard Scafograf 300
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Eberhard Scafograf 300

Mankind has always been fascinated with the ocean. Legends of drowned cities like Atlantis and Ys haunted the ancients, and in the Middle Ages cartographers wrote “Here Be Dragons!” on the edges of maps over seas yet to be explored. Though the ages, the unexplored regions of our planet grew fewer, and dragons disappeared from the maps, but the vast world beneath the waves still mystified (and terrified) the mariners who sailed over it.

Still, there were brave souls who dared venture into the depths. Early attempts to develop underwater breathing devices—like the Rouquayrol-Denayrouze regulator, patented in 1865, the first to be mass-produced—relied on surface air supply. But the invention in the 1930s of a diving suit that incorporated a cylinder of compressed air, created by Frenchman Yves Le Prieur, freed divers to swim farther and deeper than ever before without the encumbrance of a hose that tethered them to the earth.

But of course the Aqualung—ancestor to modern SCUBA equipment—was what made recreational diving possible for the masses.

Before long, SCUBA diving was featured in pop culture, with the heroes of movies and TV shows all affixing a SCUBA mask to their faces and plunging headlong into the ocean in search of adventure.

Perhaps the most popular of these was Sea Hunt. Starring Lloyd Bridges (himself a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard), Sea Hunt depicted Mike Nelson, a former U.S. Navy frogman-turned-SCUBA diver. On his trusty vessel, the Argonaut, Nelson sailed the world’s oceans, rescuing children from flooded caves and salvaging nuclear missiles. The show, which ran in four seasons from 1958 to 1961, educated the audience about the world below the waves. At the close of many episodes, Bridges would appear and deliver a brief message educating the viewers on the importance of preserving undersea ecology.

With the commercial availability of SCUBA equipment, the barriers that once prevented civilians from recreational diving were dissolved; however, that often led to tragedy, as novice divers ventured into danger without the proper training.

Therefore, in 1960, veteran diver Albert Tillman co-founded the National Association of Underwater Instructors with fellow diver Neal Hess. Tillman first caught the love of the ocean at the age of ten. As an adult, Tillman served in the United States Coast Guard; after his service was ended, Tillman developed the first public skin diving and SCUBA program for Los Angeles County, thus beginning a lifetime of public service as he educated the masses in SCUBA safety.

Like Jacques Cousteau, who made the study of the sea his life’s work, Tillman dedicated himself to bringing awareness of the sport. Tillman personally logged 10,000 open water dives during his career and personally certified thousands of divers and instructors. Thanks to Tillman’s work, countless lives—tens if not hundreds of thousands of lives—were saved, and the sea is now a safer place for divers.

1958, the year Sea Hunt debuted, also saw the introduction of Eberhard's first dive watch: the Scafograf.

The Scafograf 100 (so named for its depth rating of 100m) lacked a rotating bezel, but it had a distinctive dial--with large luminous triangles at the poles and luminous plots at the rest of the hour markers--that would be carried through to its successors.

Only 200 of the Scafograf 100 would be made, and it was followed shortly by the Scafograf 200, which increased the depth rating to 200m. Like the Scafograf 100, only 200 of the 200m Scafografs were produced. However, the model saw the introduction of the rotating bezel which would remain in the watch that followed: the Scafograf 300.

Released in 1965, the Scafograf 300 was given a new case by Hugenin Frères with twisted, faceted lugs similar to that of the Omega Speedmaster Professional. The dial was also given a date window (its quirky, asymmetrical shape reminiscent of the Universal Genève Polerouter Date) and featured long markers and baton hands. Most importantly, the Scafograf now had a "professional" depth rating of 300m.

This particular Scafograf 300 is an early execution model, combining the the large triangular indices on the dial, but updated with a date window at 3:00, offering a look at the roulette date below. In beautiful condition with its correct bracelet, the only attention this watch needed when it came to us were the hands, which were weathered and poorly refinished at some point in the past.  After a professional restoration by one of our master watchmakers, this piece shows just the right amount of wear and patina dive watch enthusiasts go nuts for.

Few watches demand the intense and focused second look from collectors that the Eberhard Scafograf does, for the seasoned eye knows that the search for rarity, horological uniqueness and killer looks rarely combine so effortlessly.

Details

SKU: AS01989

Stainless steel case is approximately 43mm (excluding crown). Eberhard Calibre 261-123 Self-Winding Movement. Circa 1960s.

Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with razor-sharp bevels on the lugs. Case does show minor signs of wear and use consistent with age. Rotating bezel is in very good condition with minor signs of use and wear. Dial is in very good condition with fine overall patina to the luminescent elements of the hour markers. Luminescent elements of the hands have been professionally refinished to match. Signed crown. Case back has some scratches but is in otherwise very good condition.

Includes one 20mm stainless steel stretch bracelet with Eberhard signed clasp. Bracelet is in excellent condition with minimal signs of stretch from wear.

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