Finds Vintage

Jaeger-Lecoultre E558 DeepSea Master Mariner ‘Barracuda’

Jaeger-Lecoultre-E558-DeepSea-Master-Mariner-Barracuda

The only watch to hold a candle to the European market Deepsea Alarm in terms of rarity or beauty (to my eye) is this: the JLC E558 DeepSea Master Mariner—better known as the Barracuda. Brevity is lost on the Swiss. The patented Super Compressor-cased model was produced from 1967 to 1974 for a total of just 1532 pieces. This intersection of sporting JLC, compressor case, and NSA bracelet spells total 70s charm for any for any vintage collector.

Jaeger-Lecoultre-E558-DeepSea-Master-Mariner-Barracuda

These Super Compressors were some of the first of JLC’s Master Mariner line. These divers utilized a 36mm compressor case to house JLC’s K883 automatic (complete with Fausses cote decoration, JLC can’t help themselves). The watch was water resistant to a depth of 200m, competing with the Sub and Seamasters in period. It features a date and the ever enjoyable inner-rotation 60-minute bezel operated by the crown at 2.

Jaeger-Lecoultre-E558-DeepSea-Master-Mariner-Barracuda

The case on this example shines as its strength. The bevels are true and there’s substantial material. Its original NSA bracelet looks every bit of vintage perfection. The applied logo and dial’s text are very visible, with all original dial lume looking ace. There is a slight discolouration or mis-match between the dial tritium and handset lume, which may have been created in service. The seller notes that a JLC invoice from 2011 shows no cosmetic parts were changed. Crowns are original too. This is the only item of note and worth investigating further. I have seen this on a few examples, others are perfectly matched. I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but if I had to guess: a service in the 80s or 90s. This could be very easily remedied or left, depending on your views of collecting. Either way, it’s a mega diver I’d enjoy sporting any day of the week.

Find the Barracuda here from Tokant Paris for 8500 EUR.

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