New Release: The Aquastar Model 60 — The Return Of The Brand’s First Dive Watch
Aquastar has been on a tear since its relaunch in 2020. Since then, we’ve enjoyed a new Deepstar chronograph in two different sizes. The Deepstar II has also been a great success as a time-only rendition of the chrono. Today, we’re excited to share a new dive watch that strays from the Deepstar formula. The Aquastar Model 60 brings back the brand’s first-ever diver with modern specs.
Yes, we’ve really enjoyed Aquastar here at Fratello. Under Rick Marei’s leadership, the brand has produced some truly attractive watches. Until now, though, all of the new watches have been based on the Deepstar. Today, that changes with the release of a modern version of the Aquastar Model 60. This is a far more conventional piece when compared to the Deepstar. How does it stack up?
The original Model 60 — some history
Before we get into the new Aquastar Model 60, it’s important to provide some history on this model. The historic version of this diver first debuted back in 1957 with a water resistance rating of 100 meters, and it was seemingly the earliest watch to use a skin-diver-style case. It also came with the name “JeanRichard” on the dial along with “Aquastar.” Aquastar was actually the model name for the watch until it became the brand in 1960. Interestingly, the Model 60 dial changed that year as the water resistance increased to 200 meters. Perhaps most importantly, in 1960, the original version of the Model 60 would embark on one of man’s more historic journeys. Naval Lieutenant Don Walsh wore his personal watch down to the bottom of the Mariana Trench while inside the Trieste submersible. This isn’t quite the same as landing on the Moon, but the journey was a record until 2019!
The new Aquastar Model 60
Understandably, the Aquastar Model 60 was due for a reboot due to its place in history. The result is an oddly endearing watch. I say that because, compared to the ornate Deepstar series, this watch is about as straightforward as it gets. Nevertheless, good is good, and I say that after wearing it for a couple of months. Yes, if you’d have spotted me in April in South Florida, this embargoed watch was likely on my wrist while sucking down some raw oysters! Alas, here it is nearly two months later, and I still dig it.
The Model 60 will feel familiar to those who have tried the Deepstar II. Its stainless steel case comes in a 37mm diameter with a 47mm lug-to-lug and a slim 11mm thickness. It also means that it comes with a vintage-correct 19mm lug spacing and is available with a standard Tropic strap, an optional beads-of-rice bracelet with a safety clasp, or a nylon strap. Water resistance remains at 200 meters, and the sunburst-finished steel bezel is bidirectional. Naturally, the signed crown is a screw-down affair. The screw-in case back is adorned with star-shaped edges and the Deepstar insignia. I asked about this, and Rick explains that it is part of “the family.”
Details that matter
The Aquastar Model 60 has a classic, legible black dial with printed details. A white font and minute track adorn it along with printed hour markers done in “Old Radium” Super-LumiNova. The hands are the same as the Deepstar aside from the addition of a central seconds hand with a lume pip. They’re historically correct for the model and nicely sized in a smallish vintage manner. You’ll note the inclusion of a date function, which also differs from the Deepstar II. I dare say that on such a simple design, this feature actually adds instead of typically detracting.
The watch is topped off with a domed sapphire crystal with the requisite antireflective coating. The surrounding bezel, though, is really what helps makes this watch special. I have a “neither here nor there” relationship with case-matching dive bezels. Normally, I find that they disappear into the watch and look anonymous. Here, though, the bezel finish contrasts with the circular-brushed case, and it stands out nicely. Add to that the buttery smooth 120-click action afforded by the use of ceramic ball bearings, and it’s a really nice detail.
A movement that competes
When looking at a watch like the Aquastar Model 60, it’s hard not to draw comparisons with the Seiko Prospex SPB147 and other 62MAS reinterpretations. Yes, this watch is smaller, but the same general look of a skin diver is there. We’ll get to pricing in a bit, but let’s just say it’s right on the money. The movement in the Aquastar is pretty nice, though. In this watch, we get the La Joux-Perret G100, which features a 68-hour power reserve and is adjusted to four positions. That competes well with the automatic Seiko 6R35 with its 70-hour power reserve.
Impressions while on the wrist
I’ve spent equal time with the new Aquastar Model 60 on the Tropic strap and beads-of-rice bracelet, and I enjoy both. Even though the bracelet has “male” end links, it wears well and is a comfortable companion. It also smooths out the suddenness of the case ends, which, essentially, finish at a 90-degree angle. Of course, a Tropic or a nylon strap also works with this style of watch. Much like the Deepstar II, this watch simply feels great on the wrist and isn’t too large or small. Plus, some may even like its more conventional looks. The finishing certainly competes with other approachable watches, making it a no-apologies choice.
Pricing and a sweet initial offer
The Aquastar Model 60 will be a regular production model for the brand, which is a refreshing turn of events these days. As is normally the case with watches that Rick is involved with, this watch will be available at a special introductory price. In USD, on the Tropic strap, the Model 60 will start at $990 and rise to $1,290 at some point. The bracelet will cost an extra $159, which feels like the right move. There’s also another bonus for first movers as Aquastar has recreated its liquid-filled compass that can be attached to either a Tropic or nylon strap. The first 100 buyers will receive one for free, but they will also be available separately for $70. Watches will begin shipping this month.
The Aquastar Model 60 might not have the wild looks of the Deepstar II, but it’s an incredibly nice watch that wears perfectly. Once again, Rick and his team have come up with a competitive diver that is also approachable during this age of some silly watch prices. If you’re up for a retro skin-diver, this is a great option.
For ordering information on the Aquastar Model 60, visit the official Aquastar site.