It’s difficult to tangibly describe to non-watch-obsessives just why the Deep Sea is as cool as it is. The model, released next to the Fifty-Fathoms and original Submariner, met divers’ needs through a completely fresh design. Rather than a rotating bezel to externally time intervals, the Deep Sea had an internal alarm mechanism which would be set through a second crown and inner dial triangle. That alarm would sound when necessary. Divers seemed to prefer the usability associated with having visibility of the interval and, as such, the diver’s alarm never truly caught on. The Deep Sea was then discontinued until just recently. Today, collectors have another shot at acquiring one of the 959 2013 reissue pieces, albeit at marginal premium.
It’s a bit like the apocryphal story where the Americans developed a pen for antigravity whereas the Russians just used a pencil. Rolex took the ‘Russian’ approach to diving, JLC the ‘American.’ Despite being more complicated, the European Deepsea is also more subtle. Where the American market pieces have ‘Deep sea Alarm’ printed on the dial, the European market versions just have a small brand logo, high at 12. This EU reference is aesthetically one of the more gorgeous divers ever produced. At 40.5mm, the case is modern but restrained. The twin crowns even leave the wrist with a bit more mobility, offset from center. JLC got it just right, showing outright respect for the original reference and not fucking it up in the slightest. I once described the original 1960s Deep Sea Alarm as telling ‘even the most grizzled collector you know exactly what you’re doing’. I stand by that for this thoughtful reissue, just the collector will have a bit less of headache when the time for servicing approaches.
This example presents exactly as one might hope. The case is unpolished (factory polished, secondarily none), its fauxtina, tritium-adject lume still perfect, on original strap, and with a full box & papers set. This is a fundamentally modern watch with vintage looks that has lived its eight years of life with gentle grace thus far. It comes from a well-regarded, Parisian retailer.
Find this Deep Sea Alarm here from Tokant for 12250 EUR.