Aquastar is a brand created for a single purpose, manufacturing purpose-built tool watches for use on and in the water. Founded in 1962 as a subsidiary of Swiss maker JeanRichard SA, the brand was quick to produce some of the most recognizable and collectible watersport wristwatches ever with their divers and regatta timers. After a short period of co-branding both JeanRichard and Aquastar, the success of this product line quickly necessitated dropping the big brother and creating a separate entity completely. Aquastar SA, as it came to be formally named, continued on to become what some consider to be the most important manufacturer in the water-focused sports watch world.
Used by what some may call “real heads” back in the era, Aquastar diving and regatta watches were bought and used by real divers and yachtsmen, not desk divers. These were made to be and remain as hard-wearing tool watches even more so than peer vintage offerings from other brands. Models to look out for are the 63 diver, Regate regatta timer, and Deepstar waterproof diving chronograph all in similar and very distinctive cases.
Widely considered the first regatta timer, Aquastar’s Regate was introduced to the market in 1964 and produced under a few different brand names, even co-branded as Heuer, throughout the 1960s and 70s. A regatta or yacht timer is meant to count down the minutes to the start of a regatta or yacht race where 5-minute intervals are paramount. Many times an announcement is made 15 or 20 minutes prior to the starting gun going off for teams to maneuver the boats to the starting line precisely on time. Yacht races are known to be won and lost during this pre-race maneuvering. If you ever find yourself in the middle of such a race, the Regate is the perfect tool to have strapped to your wrist.
Even without a yacht or a race on one, Aquastar’s regatta timer is worthy of a spot in any watch box—or just sitting on a shelf in your closet with a couple of other watches if that’s more your speed. What was created as a pure tool watch has aged to a piece of art with distinctive features and beautiful finishing. The example for auction here is from the first years of the model and is considered a first-generation Regate, distinctive from the rest by case shape, dial configuration, and movement rotor engraving.
The Regates stainless-steel case is in great condition showing no signs of previous polishing and very sharp lines. Lug shape always stands out on these watches, but in this condition, the case shape really shines. Flaws on the mid-case at 9 o’clock are photographed well by the seller, looks to be some pitting.
A correct and presumed original screw-down caseback is fitted. The Aquastar logo signed crown is correct and appears original, same with the pusher, and the acrylic crystal is in good shape. A vintage brick link bracelet is being offered with the watch, it is not original but matches the Regate well in style and condition.
The Dial and Hands
The dial is in generally good condition with no major spots or flaws on the starburst silver finish. However, the luminous material from the hands and hour markers looks to have flaked and created some dust on the dial surface. The lume at the hour markers appears to be in good condition but may have some loss due to that seen on the dial.
The handset is correct and presumed original. Some lume loss is seen in the minute hand. Hand and dial lume appear to match.
The Aquastar signed and modified Felsa caliber 4000N is in good running condition, service history is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Movement||Automatic, Aquastar Modified Flesa 4000N|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Period correct stainless-steel brick link|
|Clasp Type||Stainless-Steel Deployant Clasp|