One of the most popular categories of watches in recent years is the revival watch. Bringing back a historic model and paying tribute in a very faithful manner can result in truly cool watches. And it’s not something done only by mainstream manufacturers like Longines or Tissot, but also by smaller, lesser-known manufacturers. And it becomes even better if a re-edition of a watch comes in the form of a completely revived brand. We all know the quartz-crises wreaked havoc in the watch industry in the 1970s and 1980s, causing many brands to go defunct or dormant, including some of the names listed today. But with the rise of the revival watch, some of these names have made a glorious return. With that in mind, lets take a look at 6 of the coolest revived names and watches.
Aquastar Deepstar 39
First up is Aquastar, a brand that originated in the early 1960s and was revived a couple of years ago. Aquastar was initially relaunched with the Deepstar Chronograph, a chunky diving watch of 40.5mm in diameter. What stood out was the single subdial for the chronograph display and the double-scale bezel. This re-edition has now been discontinued and replaced with the smaller Deepstar 39. The reduction in size means the Deepstar is even more faithful to the original professionally oriented diving instrument. With a smaller diameter and lug-to-lug distance, it becomes even more wearable, without losing any of its cool retro vibes. The new Aquastar Deepstar 39 is priced at EUR 3,590 on a rubber strap or EUR 3,790 on a beads-of-rice bracelet.
For more information, please visit Aquastar.ch
Quick Facts – 39mm x 14.8mm – stainless steel case, brushed and polished – bidirectional bezel with double scale – domed sapphire crystal – 200m water-resistant – sunray brushed blue dial – polished markers and hands – old light Radium Super-LumiNova – bicompax column-wheel chronograph made with La Joux-Perret (Valjoux 7750 base) – 28,800vph – 55h power reserve – hours, minutes, running indicator, chronograph central seconds and 30-minute counter – tropic rubber strap or beads-of-rice bracelet – 300 pieces per year – USD 3,590 (rubber) or USD 3,790 (bracelet)
Airain Type 20 Re-edition
Airain is one of the two brands revived by Dutchman Tom van Wijlick (the other being Lebois & Co), which once belonged to the Dodane family. The brand was once issued to produce Type 20 pilot’s chronographs according to a specific set of specifications, along with Breguet, Dodane, Chronofixe, Auricoste and a few others. The return of the Airain name started about two years ago, and the Type 20 Re-edition follows the very same principles as the original did. The watch comes in a 39.5mm wide steel case with a bidirectional rotatable timing bezel on top. The black dial has a bicompax layout and contrasting numerals and markings. Power comes from a manual wound chronograph movement made with La Joux-Perret. The Airain Type 20 Re-edition retails for a very sensible EUR 2,600.
For more information, please visit Airain.com
Quick Facts – 39.5mm x 10.85mm – stainless steel case, polished and brushed – domed hesalite crystal – solid caseback – bidirectional bezel with 12h countdown scale – 50m water-resistant – matte black dial – painted numerals with beige SLN – white minute track – snailed subdials – Calibre AM1, made with La Joux-Perret – manual wound column-wheel flyback chronograph – 28,800vph – 60h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph with 30-minute counter – cognac or brown suede leather strap – EUR 2,600
Nivada Grenchen Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver
While most of the returning brands in this list are featured with their first revival watch, Nivada Grenchen already has multiple ones in the catalogue. One of the most accurate and down-right coolest pieces in the collection is the Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver. Originally born in the early 1960s and revived last year, the Chronomaster is basically a go-anywhere-do-it-all Super Chronograph. With a 38.5mm wide stainless steel case with a sturdy 100m water resistance, a bidirectional timing bezel and a Regatta timer, it truly lives up to its name. You can have it with an automatic or manually wound Sellita SW 510 chronograph movement, and in multiple dial and strap/bracelet configurations. Prices start at CHF 1,690.
For more information, please visit NivadaGrenchenOfficial.com
Quick Facts – 38.5mm x 14.80mm (automatic) or 13.75mm (hand-wound) – stainless steel case, brushed and polished – rotating bezel with double scale black insert – domed sapphire crystal – 100m water-resistant – matte black dial – subdials with regatta countdown track – tachymeter scale – broad-arrow hands and indices with cream Super-LumiNova – other variations available – hand-wound or automatic Sellita SW 510 – cam-operated chronograph – 28,800vph – 48h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph – multiple strap/bracelet options available – priced from CHF 1,690 upwards
Timor Heritage Field
The “Dirty Dozen” is a legendary group of watches, issued British Armed Forces during WWII to be used as timing instruments for pilots and aviators of the allied forces. The list of manufacturers included big names like IWC, and Omega but also lesser known ones like Grana. One name that has recently made a comeback is Timor, with a very accurate recreation of their Dirty Dozen watch, now called the Heritage Field. It follows the simple principles of the WWW watches but is modernized in terms of materials and movement. It comes in an accurate 36.5mm diameter and 11mm tall steel case, with a matte black dial and the signature Dirty Dozen design. Priced at EUR 925 it’s a very attractive proposition.
For more information, please visit TimorWatch.com
Quick Facts – 36.5mm x 11mm – stainless steel case, bead-blasted – domed sapphire crystal – solid caseback – 50m water-resistant – matte black dial – railroad minute track – sword-shaped hour and minute hands – small seconds subdial – hand-wound Sellita SW 216 or automatic Sellita SW 260 – 28,800vph (both) – 38h (automatic) or 42h (hand-wound) power reserve – Seatbelt NATO strap and vintage-inspired AF0210 strap – EUR 925
The next watch featured today is a true piece of American watchmaking history. Without going into too many details, the Tornek-Rayville TR-660 is perhaps one of the most interesting dive watches created. The original watches were basically rebranded Blancpain Fifty-Fathoms watches, as the Buy American Act of 1933 prevented the use of non-US-manufactured products for the US armed forces. (check the full backstory here). True to the original watch, the modern-day Tornek-Rayville TR-660 features a very purposeful design. It’s 40mm in diameter, has a bead-blasted steel case, a hefty 200m water-resistance rating and a utilitarian matte black dial. Equipped with the automatic Calibre SII NE15 by Seiko, the watch costs a reasonable USD 950.
For more information, please visit Tornek-Rayville.us
Quick Facts – 40mm x 14.5mm – stainless steel case, bead-blasted – 120-click unidirectional bezel with acrylic insert – double-domed sapphire crystal – solid caseback – 200m water-resistant – matte-black dial with white indices and markings – sword-shaped hands – Calibre SII NE15 (Seiko), automatic – 21,600vph – 50h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds (hacking) – woven nylon strap – USD 950
Vulcain Cricket Alarm
The Vulcain Cricket Alarm is a truly historic watch, as it is perhaps the most iconic alarm watch ever made. Created in 1947, almost a century after the company was founded, the Cricket came with a mechanical movement with alarm functionality. Vulcain had a rocky time during the seventies and eighties and eventually went bust. Now though, the name is back from the dead with a collection of the Cricket watches as a tribute to the original. Available in 36 or 39mm sizes, the new Cricket uses a movement manufactured by the same company that produced it the first time around. Two distinct dial designs in multiple colours are available, retailing for CHF 3,600 (36mm) or CHF 3,900 (39mm). For more details, check out our hands-on review here.
For more information, please visit Vulcain.ch
Quick Facts – 36mm or 39mm x 12.70mm – stainless steel case, polished and brushed – box-shaped sapphire crystal – screwed caseback – 50m water-resistant – two dial styles in multiple colours – outer track for alarm function – central hour, minutes and seconds hand – Vulcain V-10 Calibre, hand-wound – 165 components – double barrel, 42h power reserve – Exactomatic system – 18,000vph – hours, minutes, seconds and alarm – leather strap with pin buckle or folding clasp – CHF 3,600 (36mm) or CHF 3,900 (39mm)