Helvetia Tropical

Helvetia Tropical

When you think of 1960s divers, there are a few names that readily spring to mind. For example, Blancpain, Rolex, Seiko, or Doxa, or Benrus. But the truth of the matter is that the 60s and 70s were a high point for divers, with dozens, if not hundreds, of brands bringing compelling examples to market. 

Helvetia is one of those brands that might not be that well-known today, but produced a wide variety of timepieces, from military-issue pocket watches in the early 20th century to svelte-but-sturdy divers into the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, Helvetia traces its lineage all the way back to the mid-19th century, when the Brandt brothers--Louis and Cesar--formed the General Watch Company in 1848. Watch historians will recognize Louis Brandt as the founder of Omega.

Indeed, Omega is an off-shoot of the General Watch Company that separated from its parent company in 1903, leaving Helvetia behind. But the brand soldiered on throughout the 1920s, when the Swiss government united the General Watch Company and several movement-makers into the entity known as ASUAG, a predecessor of the Swatch Group. It was after the merger that Helvetia became best-known as a producer of military pocket watches, not just for the German army, but for the Allies as well. 

After the war, like many of its contemporaries, Helvetia shifted its production to watches with a less martial application. Among these are divers like this one with a compact cushion case with gorgeous sunburst finishing. Housed in the case is a robust ETA Caliber 2602 movement.

But what's perhaps the most stunning component of this watch is the dial. We've seen tropical dials before, but not one that's taken on this particular gradation. It's almost ombre, getting progressively lighter when viewed from left to right, almost like a quarter moon.

At 37mm this diver's a lot less bulky than its contemporaries, making it an excellent choice for a collector who wants a diver that will slip unobtrusively under the cuff--but with a dial as stunning as this, it'll definitely catch the eye!


Stainless steel case is approximately 36.55mm (excluding crown). ETA Caliber 2602 Self-Winding movement. Circa 1960s.

Overall Condition: Stainless steel cushion case is in very good condition with minimal signs of use and wear throughout, particularly on the sides of the case. Tropical dial is in very good condition with signs of age, having lightened substantially over time. Unsigned crown. Signed case back has some light scratches and tool marks but is in otherwise very good condition.

Includes one 18mm nylon strap from Crown & Buckle

SKU: AS0TT01128

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