The 2020 Aquastar Deepstar (emphasis on ‘star’) is a re-issue of the classic 1960s dive watch. This isn’t the first re-creation of a watch from a historic catalogue, and it won’t be the last. What makes it special are a few things – one, the recreation is superb, and two, the movement.
First, some history
The original Deepstar used a Valjoux 23, a hand-wound, column-wheel, mono-compax with running seconds at 9. The mono-compax means there’s just one register accumulating chronograph time elapsed.
The Valjoux 23 is called a Lépine-style construction. It’s derived from the Lepine pocket watch, which places the stem is opposite the fourth wheel (which drives the seconds hand). That’s the classic position for a pocket watch – stem at 12 and sub-dial at 6, first named by Lepine. A Lepine movement with the stem at 3 has the seconds subdial at 9.
The old Aquastar was branded by a few different brands – Duward, Lorenz, and I’m sure others, too.
… and today
Let’s just say it: The 2020 version is pretty faithful to the 1960s Deepstar. The bezel has a decompression scale, which some versions in the 60s had.
The Deepstar has gained 10 additional ATM water resistance over the original, for a total of 200 meters water resistance.
What’s really great here is that the proportions are held over from the original. The size is a modern but comfortable 40.5mm instead of the vintage 38mm.
The original movement was a hand wound Valjoux 23. It used a column wheel. The two types of construction for the chronograph pushers to actually engage and reset the Chrono are cam-and-lever or column wheel. The Patek, old Valjoux, and even the affordable China made ST19 family derived from old school Venus movements are column wheel. The ETA 7750 family are Cam and lever.
Cam and lever and column wheel have about the same amount of parts. Column wheels generally feel easier and more smooth to operate.
What makes the 2020 Aquastar Deepstar interesting is, it’s not using an ETA 7750 family movement. Aquastar describes this as a “High end Swiss Made Manufacture caliber, Mono-Compax Column Wheel mechanical Chronograph,” and it is.
But whose? There are relatively few Swiss manufacture calibers with integrated chronograph (not a module stacked on top of a 3-hand movement.)
Integrated chronographs incorporate the chronograph mechanisms into the three-hand movement. There’s all the pre-70’s vintage hand-wind chronographs, the automatic Zenith El Primero, the Valjoux 7750 (and all the earlier Valjoux hand-wind chronographs), the Lemania 870, 1870, 2310, 1340, the Rolex 4130, the Breitling B01 (also used by Tudor), and the TAG-Heuer 1887.
This is isn’t any of those. This is an automatic that’s similar in function to the hand-wound Venus 175. If you were struggling to figure out who made it, it is “custom manufactured for the Deepstar by La Joux-Perret, and like its predecessor the Valjoux 23,” has column-wheel operated pushers.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter. If you like the look, like the size, they’re only making 300 of these, so you may as well snap it up. The Aquasar Deepstar requires a deposit of $3950. The Aquastar Deepstar is available at Aquastar.ch
Tech Specs from Aquastar:
- 40.5mm 316L Stainless Steel Case,
- LaJoux-Perret column wheel mono-compax automatic chronograph movement
- Hour, minute and seconds indicators
- Operation indicator at 9
- 30 minute stop watch sub counter at 3
- Successive/Multiple dive non decompression table calculator according to the French Navy dive tables
- Steel grey sunburst dial design
- Applied stainless steel markers/indices
- High density filling old light Radium super luminova application
- high domed, AR triple coated sapphire crystal
- Matching color Genuine original Tropic rubber strap with signed Aquastar buckle Seatbelt NATO strap
- Stainless Steel BOR bracelet with fitted endlinks coming in January 2021
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