Any collector of diving watches will tell you: it’s impossible to ignore the Triton Spirotechnique – the French diving watch born in 1963. Today, a pair of French watch enthusiasts – Jean-Sébastien Coste and Philippe Friedmann – have relaunched the brand with a model dubbed the ‘Subphotique’, all the while keeping the unique DNA of its illustrious ancestor.
The Triton was designed in 1962 by Jean René Parmentier – a former colonel in the French Air Force whose passion was watches and watchmaking – for the Spirotechnique Company, founded in 1946 by the famous Jacques-Yves Cousteau. He had patented the unique crown protection system, designed to secure the winding crown and guard it against accidents during dives. The watch was instantly recognisable due to its crown at the 12 o’clock position and its hinged crown protection fixed to the case. This singular, and aesthetically pleasing, design was not created just to look good, but to avoid possibly fatal diving accidents caused by the winding crown snagging on something during a dive.
A new chapter begins…
Precision engineered and hand assembled by the best Swiss watchmakers, the new Triton maintains its famous crown at 12 o’clock and hinged crown protection. It is now fitted with a helium escape valve to better withstand decompression in a chamber and is rated to 500 metres (1640 ft). At this depth the watch becomes ‘subphotic’, beneath the photic layer of the sea (around 200 metres) after which light no longer penetrates. The new, automatic, Swiss made version maintains the aesthetic clues of the original Triton – steel case (enlarged from 37-39mm to 40-41mm) a unique style of figures on the graduated bezel (oversized first digit 1, 2, 3, etc. for the ten minute markers) for increased legibility under water, ‘roulette’ date wheel – alternating red and black number for the odd and even dates, ultra-legible hands finished in type C3 Super Luminova, applied by hand.
Decidedly sport-chic, the Triton Subphotique displays an attention to detail in the quality of its finish and the choice of materials, resulting in a singular elegance.