P810 Cornavin AMF Diver
There has been nothing like the Carnavin P810 before or since its 1960 introduction. Some will say this is as it should be, as the aesthetic is polarizing to say the least. Yet, I find its extremely quirky layout more charming for the simple fact that is an extreme of form following function. The series of decompression stages, wandering hours, square radium plots, oversized 41.5mm case, all unlike any rotating bezel sub-analogue. Before the formula for what we call a dive watch was defined, experimentation ran rampant. The P810 is an emissary to that spirit.
In the words of Antiquorum, ‘strangely little’ is known about the P810. That mystery is undoubtedly a component of its charm, perpetually some historic element is still left to discover. What is known is that Cornavin created the first dive watch with wandering hours around 1960, a complication simply meaning that hour indication is on a date-like wheel under a window, rotating through under the dial. This is highly unusual, as is the fact that its handset includes only a minute and running seconds. The equally unusual dial is entirely a series of decompression stages, used for divers to properly time out the intervals for which they’d have to hang out at a certain depth to resurface safely. Intervals are sectioned at 12-3-6-9 with fat radium squares, matched in the minute hand. Only a handful (seriously, double digits) of these are known to the market in the last few decades.
This example has a sharp case with full lines. The unsigned crown is correct. All dial printing is still clear with minimal degradation or radium burm. I believe these utilized a Felsa movement which should be relatively easily serviceable. It comes from a retailer out of Singapore.
Find this P810 here on Chrono24 for 14000 EUR.