IWC Aquatimer Chronograph “Cousteau Divers”


Aquatimer Chronograph “Cousteau Divers”

The legacy of the Commander
La Cote des Montres - May 28th, 2006

The cooperation between The Cousteau Society and IWC, first entered into in 2004, has since grown into a close friendship. The anniversary expedition to the coral reefs in the Red Sea in the year 2003, undertaken with the support of IWC, marked the start of this cooperation: 50 years after the legendary voyage of Jacques-Yves Cousteau into these maritime wonders of nature on his research vessel Calypso, the divers of The Cousteau Society were able, by making direct comparisons, to find evidence that the submarine biotopes were still predominantly in a reassuringly good state and were in need of strict conservation measures. 50 years after the voyage, a new film was also made in this wonderful “Silent World”, which backs up this statement.

IWC Aquatimer Chronograph “Cousteau Divers”
Now, through a second campaign, the Schaffhausen watch manufactory is again supporting the active marine conservationists and the heirs of the Commander: Part of the proceeds from sales of a Special Edition of the Aquatimer Chronograph limited to 2,500 watches will go to The Cousteau Society.

In this way, every purchaser of an Aquatimer Chronograph “Cousteau Divers” not only enters into an idealistic alliance with the active marine conservationists of The Cousteau Society, led by Francine Cousteau, the widow of the Commander. He also becomes an associate and participant in an ecological challenge of the first order, which Cousteau himself described as follows: “People protect what they love.”. From an ecological point of view, the tropical coral reefs can be regarded as the rain forests of the oceans.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau was the pioneer who not only recognized this relationship, but also brought it to the attention of the world through his popular films. His spirit lives on. The proximity to the ideas of the most famous Frenchman of modern times finds expression in a quite unusual way in the Aquatimer Special Edition: Every watch incorporates a small piece of the legendary Calypso, the first vessel from which Cousteau and his crew dived on the world’s oceans. Inlaid in the steel back of the watch and secure behind the sapphire glass is a sliver of timber from the converted minesweeper, presented to the marine researcher by the Irish brewer Noel Guinness shortly after the end of the war.

Current research remains the central area of activity of The Cousteau Society to this day, and this would most certainly have been the intention of Cousteau, who popularized diving as a sport and made marine conservation a topic of global significance. Through his films, millions of people all over the world accompanied him into unknown underwater paradises. The man in the red woollen cap, who died in 1997, opened the eyes of mankind not only to the magic of our oceans, but also to the threat faced by them. Without his films and books, the “Silent World” – the title of the award winning film, made in the Red Sea in 1953 – would most likely have become a world in which the natural fundamentals of life were overexploited. The Cousteau Society, founded by the Commander in 1974, operates today as a non-profit organization under the auspices of UNESCO, and for the first time it has accepted a cooperation partner from the world of business on board in the form of IWC.

The Calypso comes along for the dive


The Calypso, the legendary research vessel of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, was not a submarine, but a converted minesweeper, as afficionado’s are aware from countless films. Now, however, it dives down to120 metres: Packaged in water-resistant fashion inside the Aquatimer Chronograph “Cousteau Divers”. A small sliver from a piece of the original timbers bearing the silhouette of the Calypso is held securely in place behind the sapphire glass on the steel back of every watch. It is intended as a tribute to the “man of the seas”, who made research history with his famous ship. “Tribute to Calypso” appears on the back of the watch together with the consecutive limited-edition serial number. IWC is once again supporting the work of The Cousteau Society with the Aquatimer Chronograph “Cousteau Divers”, a special edition limited to 2,500 watches: Part of the proceeds will go to the non-profit organization, which is committed to marine conservation and the preservation of tropical coral reefs.

This unusual special edition of the Aquatimer Chronograph also differs in a few external details: The case diameter is 44mm, instead of 42 mm. The dial is still blue – like the first series of the Aquatimer “Cousteau Divers”. The equipment also includes a rubber strap, also in blue.

In all other respects, the watch adheres rigidly to the motto of the entire family of diver’s watches from IWC: Diving and accurate time keeping are two sides of a medal. Diving is always associated with a time limit. Time under water is precious and must be counted in minutes.

The fact that IWC is also one of the pioneers in this respect can be appreciated from an entire series of extreme watches: With the incipient popularization of diving as a sport in the 1960s, which was stimulated by Cousteau in particular, the first diver’s watch left the manufacturer under the name “Aquatimer”. This was the start of a new tradition in the construction of specialized timepieces for underwater use – extremely water-resistant watches, which were a match for ever-increasing loads. The “Ocean” (1982) with its record-breaking pressure resistance down to 2,000 metres, the Aquatimer 2000 (1997), also with the ability to withstand 200 bar, or the “Deep One” (1999) with its combined mechanical depth gauge, come to mind.

Perfect timing under water in the dual sense is the speciality of the Aquatimer Chronograph. Equipped with an automatic chronograph movement and water-resistant to120 metres, this watch combines the advantages of the Aquatimer family with the supplementary uses of a chronograph adapted to the particular conditions encountered by a diver’s watch.

The Aquatimer Chronograph “Cousteau Divers”, like the standard model, has the useful, supplementary function of a rotating inner bezel that is indispensable for diving, but which can only be rotated in a single direction for safety reasons. The chronograph reset button at 4.00 is designed with a dual function – as a crown for adjusting the unidirectional rotating bezel and, at the same time, as a reset button for the chronograph. When this combined operating element is depressed, the small internal transmission wheel for the rotating bezel is disengaged automatically. This facilitates operation of all the functions of the watch. Similar technology was already used in the reset button of the Deep One for the fly-back hand of the depth gauge.

Diving with the “Calypso”


She was not in fact beautiful. And yet every child knew her name: Calypso – the research vessel on which Jacques-Yves Cousteau sailed to the most beautiful dive sites in the world’s oceans. The converted minesweeper, which the French scientist and inventor had received as a gift from the Irish brewer Noel Guinness shortly after the end of the war, remained in service until the 1990s. Following the death of its leader in 1997, The Cousteau Society used a more modern successor vessel, the Alcyone, with it two distinctive Turbosail masts. It is the Calypso, however, that remains the symbol of the pioneering age of marine research and the popularization of diving as a sport.

A small piece of the Calypso, namely a sliver of wood from the interior of the vessel, will ensure that the 2,500 limited examples of the Aquatimer Chronograph with the additional name “Cousteau Divers” become coveted rarities in the future. The authentic souvenir ornamented with the silhouette of the Calypso is inlaid into the solid steel back of the watch, where it remains visible behind a sapphire glass.

This means that the Calypso can now accompany the diver. The diver’s watch with its mechanical movement, chronograph and automatic winding system is pressure-resistant to a depth of 120 metres.

Like all the watches in the Aquatimer range, it has the practical rotating inner bezel for setting and reading the dive time, which is operated via a dual-function reset button for the chronograph at 4.00. This means that the operating element can be used as a button for resetting the chronograph, but also as a crown for adjusting the rotating inner dive time bezel. With its blue dial and its special, blue rubber strap, the Aquatimer Chronograph “Cousteau Divers” in its 44mm diameter case is an impressive watch in its own right, which in addition plays a direct part in the service of marine research: Part of the proceeds from every Aquatimer Chronograph “Cousteau Divers” will benefit The Cousteau Society. This non-profit organization, which operates under the auspices of UNESCO, has been cooperating successfully with IWC since 2004 for marine conservation and the preservation of tropical coral reefs.

Technical data

Aquatimer Chronograph “Cousteau Divers Réf. IW3782 



Mechanical rotating inner bezel, mechanical chronograph movement, day and date display, small seconds with stop function, automatic winding, IWC bracelet system with push-button release safety clasp, case back with an inlaid sliver of timber from the Calypso, special back engraving, limited to 2,500 watches



Vibrations:28,800/h / 4 Hz
Power reserve:44 h



Material:stainless steel
Glass:sapphire, convex, antireflective coating
Water-resistant:12 bar (120 m)
Diameter:44 mm
Height:16 mm



Watch in stainless steel
with rubber strap
:146 g