Triton, The Iconic 1960's Dive Watch Brand is Back
Friends and customers, collectors all, will know that at Page and Cooper we have a penchant for the individual, the unique and the very different and thus we have for some time now been championing the re-emergence of the French watch industry. To that end it was indeed with great pleasure to be introduced to the owners of the historic dive watch brand, TRITON.
The latest Triton dive watch is named the Subphotique after the mysterious depths in the Oceans of the World where light does not reach and it is fitting that the Company chose this name for the re-launch of their classic watch, the Triton Subphotique.
So let’s dive a little deeper into the history of the TRITON brand, a brand which we consider to be a major addition to the P&C watchmaking family.
Triton was founded in 1963 by Jean Rene Parmentier, a former Colonel in the French Air Force who was a passionate watch enthusiast. 1963 was a time when innovation was awash (excuse the pun) among the diving fraternity. Parmentier designed a case where the crown was positioned at 12 o’clock and protected by a hinged crown protector which formed part of the case. When worn on the wrist this arrangement had the double benefit of protecting the crown and making the watch extremely comfortable to wear.
Watches were sold as an essential piece of professional dive equipment available only through the now famous Spirotechnique Dive shops, themselves established by Jacques Cousteau, marine conservationist, diver and explorer. The shops were innovative dive watch centres catering for specialist needs.
The Triton Watch was offered for purchase alongside other legendary brands such as the Rolex Submariner and as you will see from the original 1960’s print advert, the Triton was more expensive than the equivalent Rolex or Tudor submariners. However, sadly as was the way with so many bespoke and independent watch brands, Triton disappeared during the period of the quartz crisis during the 1970’s.
And the brand may by now have been long forgotten were it were not for the efforts of passionate Parisian watch enthusiasts Jean-Sebastian Costello and Philippe Friedman. These collectors and aficionados, in particular Rolex enthusiasts, were looking for another dive watch which combined history with character. During travels in Algeria, Jean-Sebastian was able to purchase an original vintage Triton and this watch and its supreme comfort and fascinating design sowed the seed of an idea to bring Triton back to life.
The ownership of the Company was still in family hands and was acquired from the original owner’s widow. Sebastian and Philippe began a long process of creating Triton for a new age.
Due to the complexity of the design and a shared passion to be as close to the original as possible, the duo approached the best of Swiss watch experts. Thus began two years of development with the best designers, engineers and manufacturers in the Swiss watchmaking industry.
And now, let’s take a look at the superb final result of their efforts in greater detail.
The new Triton Subphotique Divers Watch is a faithful recreation of the original and, of course, retains the the famous crown at 12 o’clock and the hinged case crown protection. Performance has been substantially enhanced. (The original 1963 Triton was one of the first diving watches to withstand a depth of 200m. This is why the French navy amongst others adopted it). Today’s Triton is fitted with a helium escape valve to better withstand decompression in a chamber and is rated to 500m. At this considerable depth the watch becomes ‘Subphotique’ and natural daylight cannot permeate.
This new automatic Swiss made version maintains the aesthetic clues of the original. Steel case (enlarged from 37mm to 40mm) and is just 10.87mm thick, exceptional for a 500m dive watch.
Eye catching design (see photos) shows the graduated bezel and is faithful to the original with oversized digits 1,2,3 etc for the ten minute markers which aid legibility under water. A number of stunning dials are available options with a choice of applied indices or hand painted luminova dots which are as per the original. In low light this watch actually glows like a torch, a true sign of expert Swiss manufacture.
The Triton Subphotique is powered by a customised automatic movement (based on the Soprod A10-2). It is fitted with a rotor and bridge decorated with ‘Cotes-de-Geneva’. This movement is 100% Swiss made and has a frequency of 28,800 bps and 42-hour power reserve. Triton chose this movement for its slim and compact size and also as every component including the hair spring is made in house by this truly independent manufacturer situated in the Jura region.
And now we must turn to the strap and bracelet choices and, oh my, what a bracelet. Fully integrated it has been custom designed for Triton and is a work of art in itself. The thickness reduces from 3.1mm at the Watch end to just 2.85mm at the amazing clasp and the width tapers from 25.6 to just 19.95. Great, wonderfully flexible and comfortable to wear. The finishing is beautiful. Alternative brushed and polished links alternate.
Being a practical Dive Watch there is a choice of straps. Louisiana alligator or silicon, each lined with black rubber and attached with a tang buckle bearing the Triton logo and, a custom NATO strap.
It is our opinion that this Triton Watch is truly exceptional. To let you into a secret we have had Triton on display in our showroom for the past couple of months and the response from visitors has been outstanding. To illustrate this fact we have sold a number to already existing customers all actually Rolex owners. Jean-Sebastian and Philippe have done a brilliant job and with a manufacture of just 200 pieces annually Triton are offering us an additional personal service. We are able to commission bespoke one off pieces. This truly is fine Swiss watchmaking at its brilliant best. Fascinating heritage, unique design, stunning quality. This watch is going to be a very valuable addition to our, and we hope your, horological family.
But don’t take our word for it, come visit to see Triton, hold it in your hand, and make up your own mind. We know you won’t be disappointed.