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You can’t talk about 1960s dive watches or chronographs without mentioning Zodiac in some form or fashion.
This particular form is the Zodiac Sea-Chron; and the fashion is a chrono-diver, a chronograph with a rotating diver's bezel meant to act as well below water as it did above.
The Sea-Chron came at a time of increasing interest in watersports and all things oceanic, such as scuba diving.
In 1965 the fourth James Bond movie Thunderball was released, in which Bond (played by Sean Connery) searches for two stolen NATO atomic bombs. Near the end of the movie, a harrowing fight takes place in the middle of the ocean, in which Bond and his men gain the upper hand over the SPECTRE henchmen. This scene is iconic, and showed off to the general public the immense potential for underwater breathing apparatuses.
Adjusted for inflation, Thunderball was the highest-grossing Bond film until Skyfall in 2012, meaning many, many people saw this epic deep-sea brawl.
At the same time, all throughout the 1960s, the US Navy was conducting the SEALAB experiments. SEALAB I, II, and III were meant to prove the viability of saturation diving, as well as the possibility of humans living in isolation for extended periods of time. Occurring as they did at the same time that NASA was undertaking manned space missions, the lessons learned in the SEALAB missions were easily applied to the Mercury and Apollo missions. In fact, astronaut Scott Carpenter took part in SEALAB II, where he stayed in the habitat for a record 30 days and was congratulated by the president of the United States.
In preparation for SEALAB I, Navy divers had to descend and remove live rifle grenades from the sea floor. The Navy then built an underwater habitat, which was lowered to roughly 58 meters under the surface of the ocean, and a number of professional divers lived in it for weeks on end. The SEALAB missions were rife with the danger of the unknown (much like the Apollo missions), shrouded in the mystery of the ocean.
During this era, when the Sea-Chron was created, eyes were turned toward the deep blue. More and more people were descending beneath the waves to find and discover. All of these adventurers needed a reliable watch to make the voyage.
The Sea-Chron was Zodiac's answer to that call, and it was just about as perfect a response as could be. Despite the presence of so much information on the dial (a tachymeter ring and triple registers for the chronograph), the dial is uncluttered, easy to read. And the rotating bezel has hash marks and triangles from 0 to 20 minutes, to let the diver know at a glance how much air is left in his tank.
This particular watch has a strong case, amazing bezel, and an incredibly clean dial--perhaps the cleanest we've seen. Moreover, it comes complete with a box, instructions, and guarantee papers. If you're looking for the perfect companion for everyday exploration--over the waves rather than beneath them--look no further.
Stainless steel case is approximately 40mm (excluding crown and pushers). Valjoux Calibre 72 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with sharp bevels on the lugs. Case does have signs of use and wear in keeping with its age, including some slight scratches throughout, but particularly on the sides of the case. Rotating bezel is in very good condition with some signs of wear, particularly at 0 or 12:00; also, the luminescent bead is missing. Zodiac crown. Zodiac case back has some scratches and tool marks but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 20mm light brown leather strap.
Also includes box, guarantee papers, and instruction papers.