Aquastar 1970/1980’s


 

 

Aquastar_logo_1960s

 

The in part one described first Aquastar Regate  from the 1960’s with the Felsa 4000N movement was limited with a 5 minute regatta countdown. And as the regulations changed for regatta’s, a new movement was developed by Aquastar, now with a 10 minute countdown. This time with the help of Lemania’s star designer Albert Piquet (his name is mentioned as inventor on the patent), and soon the new Lemania caliber 1345 was born!

With this new patent (CH563037, US3910362) Aquastar is at the origin of all regatta watch developments which have been made subsequently on this coloured disc model used as regatta countdown with minute indicator. The new Lemania regatta caliber 1345 is derived from the 1341 movement. After the introduction of the new Aquastar Regate the Lemania 1345 movement comes available for other brands as well.

 

US39103621_W1US39103621_W2

New patent filed by Aquastar, but ascribed to Albert Piques as inventor. Here the USA version 3.910.362.

 

“The presented timer count-down includes an ordinary hour and minutes hands, respectively designated 1 and 2, a hand for the seconds 3, susceptible to be brought to zero with the help of a mechanism described hereafter, and a disc indicator of minutes 4, able to count the limited numbers of minutes, presenting for this purpose, two differently coloured hemispherical zone 4a and 4b, appearing successively in five cut windows on the dial, designated 6 of the count-down. The disc 4, showing the minutes, is automatically immovable at the end of its run and can be brought back in its initial departure position, with the help of it’s above mentioned command mechanism.”

You can download the Swiss version of the patent as PDF here.

 

Aquastar_Lemania_1AAquastar_Lemania_2A

New 1970’s model Aquastar Regate with the Lemania 1345 movement.

 

Model: Aquastar Regate.
  • Reference: ?
  • Caliber: automatic Lemania 1345 fly-back movement with regatta module.
  • Case size: Ø 38,7 mm / H 15,6 mm.
  • Year: mid 1970’s.

 

The new version of the Aquastar Regate with the Lemania 1345 movement came in a 2-piece-case. Or even 3-piece if you like, as the caseback can be unscrewed from the inner section too:

Aquastar_Lemania_5Aquastar_Lemania_6

As the gasket between the two case parts looses its flexibility over the years, it can be very difficult to separate them. When using to much force, there’s a chance that the crystal will break and damage the dial and hands, so be careful if you are going to do this!

Other brands like Roamer, Seiko, Favre-Leuba and Heuer have used the same case design, but they all have a caseback that cannot be removed. The crystal has to be removed first, to be able to take out the movement. As Aquastar uses a normal screwed caseback, the movement can be removed from the back as usual, and there is no need to remove the crystal first.

Aquastar_Lemania_7

The caseback has an engraved circular section in the middle with the Aquastar star-logo and the text ‘AQUASTAR – GENEVE’, and a serial number engraved. Click on the picture to have a better look.

The silver coloured dial has a small red circle painted onto the dial above ‘REGATE’, an applied silver Aquastar star logo and only three applied hour markers (at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock):

Aquastar_Lemania_13Aquastar_Lemania_14Aquastar_Lemania_15

Where the crown of the first 1960’s Regate  was signed ‘Aquastar’, the crown of the new 1970’s Regate  has the Aquastar star-logo on it:

Aquastar_Lemania_18Aquastar_Lemania_19

 

Aquastar_wristwatch annual 1974

As many of these Aquastar Regate watches have been sold, they appear today with a variety of different straps. A 19 mm Isofrane rubber strap seems to be the original, but I think they came with a rubber Tropic Sport strap as wel. The straps had a buckle with the Aquastar star-logo on it.

Aquastar_buckle

 Aquastar_Lemania_20Aquastar_Lemania_21

 

 

How the countdown function works:

The Lemania regatta caliber 1345 is like the Felsa caliber 4000N in the first Aquastar Regate a modified chronograph with fly-back function. It has the crown to set the time at 3 o’clock, and one pusher at 2 o’clock for start/reset of the countdown. Under the dial lays the indicator disk coloured silver, red and blue (or black, red and blue in case of a black dial). There are five round holes cut out of the dial, between 10 and 2 o’clock.

With the chrono activated the five dots colour blue and the sweep second hand returns to 60. By releasing the pusher the countdown starts and the sweep hand is set in motion counting backwards from 60 to zero. The indicator disk runs continuously clockwise. After one minute the first dot colours red, and after five minutes all 5 dots colour red. Again one minute later, so after 6 minutes, the first dot colours silver. And after 10 minutes all dots colour silver. The indicator disk stops revolving, but the second hand moves on.

 

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Movement:
  • Make: Lemania.
  • Caliber: 1345.
  • Type: automatic flyback gronograph with yachttimer
    function.
  • Size: 13,75″  Ø 31 mm.
  • Frequency: 28.800 A/h.
  • Power reserve: 44 hours.
  • Jewels: 17.
  • Shock protection system: incabloc.

 

Aquastar_Lemania_4

 

The caliber 1345 is a modified Lemania 1341 movement, with the regatta parts integrated into the caliber. The caliber 1341 was used in some of the Omega and Tissot chronographs from the same period.

A comprehensive description of how the Lemania regatta caliber 1345 works, is written by Richard Askham on his website Thewatchspotblog.com, see here.

You can download two pages of the technical documentation of the Lemania regatta caliber 1345 here and here.

 

 

 

Aquastar Regate with Lobster Tail bracelet: 

A rather unusual version of the Aquastar Regate  is housed in a more square case in combination with a steel Lobster Tail (or Armadillo) bracelet:

Aquastar_Lemania_8Aquastar_Lemania_9

On the caseback of this lobster-type-case, there’s a text being painted. Unfortunately this would have quickly worn off, so it is hard to find one with the original text still intact these days. There’s also a serial number engraved.

Most likely both cases were made by or for Lemania, as all watches that used it have a Lemania caliber 134x movement. And as Omega, Tissot and Lemania were part of the SSIH group (see the Tissot section here), very similar cases were also used by these brands.

The Lobster Tail  Aquastar Regate  was available with a silver, with a black or with a blue dial:

Aquastar_lobster_silverAquastar_lobster_blackAquastar_lobster_blue

The silver-dialed version has black hour- and minute-hands; the black- and blue-dialed versions have white hands. These dials no longer have an aplied Aquastar star logo, but a painted one. The number of aplied hour markers has increased from 3 to 9 (from 2 upto 10 o’clock). In all versions the big sweep-second hand is again orange, but changes from either with a straight (middle picture) to a pointed (left and right picture) tip. The indicator disk changed from blue-red to blue-orange.

 

Variations:

More than once I came across the combination of an Aquastar-lobster dial (with 9 aplied markers), housed in a Tissot case (see the Tissot section here) with the Galleon glued upon the case-back:

Aquastar_Lemania_17

  

Over the years special editions have been made, some examples I picked up from the internet:

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Aquastar_elRecioAquastar_BuchererAquastar_Bucherer_rotor

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Benytone Regatta, Rodania Regatta, Delma Regatta and elRecio(?) Regatta, all four housed in a Tissot-case with silver dial; Bucherer Regatta housed in an Aquastar case and the rotor signed ‘Bucherer’; Valgine Regatta and Pierce Regatta with black dial, both housed in a Lobster case. Note that all seven variations have 9 marker dials and are called ‘Regatta’ in stead of ‘Regate’.

 

x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x

 

In the late 1970’s Aquastar then introduces the model Regate Olympic Start  with the same Lemania 1345 movement, but in a different 1-piece case. This case is probably also made by or for Lemania, and must have been cheaper to produce, but I don’t know whether this was the reason. And again a similar case was used at least by Tissot for a Navigator.

The number of aplied hour markers on the Regate Olympic Start  dial is back to three, and the aplied Aquastar star logo is also back. Is was available with either a silver (with black hands) or a black (with white hands) dial.

 

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Late 1970’s model Aquastar Regate Olympic Start.

 

Model: Aquastar Regate Olympic Start.
  • Reference: ?
  • Caliber: automatic Lemania 1345 fly-back movement with regatta module.
  • Case size: Ø 39,0 mm / H 15,8 mm.
  • Year: late 1970’s.

 

The Aquastar Olympic Start  case has the same caseback with the circular section in the middle, but now with an extra text etched around it:

Aquastar_OlympicStart_4Aquastar_OlympicStart_5

 

It was available with either a steel bracelet (black dial), or with a black Tropic style rubber strap (silver dial). At least these two options are shown in the brochure below. The steel bracelet has a tri-fold safety clasp, with the Aquastar star logo and name engraved in the clasp:

Aquastar_OlympicStart_6

 

x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x – x

 

The last regatta watch that Aquastar released with an automatic movement, was the model Regate Newport  in the mid 1980’s. It houses the same Lemania 1345 movement as before, and uses the case from the Heuer 134.50X series in which Heuer had launched their Regatta  models in 1983. Obvious the collaboration with Heuer still existed. The silver and black dials are equal as in the Olympic Start  models, except for the name Olympic Start  which has been replaced by Newport.

Although Heuer launched only two versions (134.500 and 134.505, see the Heuer section here), Aquastar had at least three different ones as shown in the brochure below. Pictured are a stainless steel case and bracelet with gold screws and black dial, a stainless steel case and bracelet with steel screws and silver dial, and a stainless steel case with golden bezel and steel screws, with an Isofrane rubber strap. Most likely other configurations where sold as well.

 

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1980’s model Aquastar Regate Newport.

 

Model: Aquastar Regate Newport.
  • Reference: ?
  • Caliber: automatic Lemania 1345 fly-back movement with regatta module.
  • Case size: Ø 40 mm / H 15,8 mm.
  • Year: mid 1980’s.

 

The Aquastar Regate Newport was available either with a steel bracelet (with golden or steel screws to match the bezel), or with a black Isofrane rubber strap. The Aquastar signed steel bracelet is similar to, but different from the Heuer variant, and has a folding clasp:

Aquastar_Newport_5Aquastar_Newport_6

 

It has an equal engraved caseback as the Olympic Start  models:

Aquastar_Newport_7

 

After the introduction of the Aquastar Regate Newport, it seems both the Olympic Start and Newport  models were sold in the same time, as this brochure suggests:

Aquastar_brochure

Aquastar brochure with both the Olympic Start and Newport models.

 

 

 

Source:
  • http://www.aquastar.ch/
  • Many thanks to Richard Askham for your patience and helping me so much with this section.
  • Many thanks to Roland for scanning your brochure for me.
  • Many thanks to Manish Jain for sending me the picture of your Aquastar-Rodania-Regatta.