Lancaster 844 Diver

Lancaster 844 Diver

To tell the story of this watch, we need to tell the story of an obscure but important company called Georges Monnin, SA. They specialized in tooling, making cases and assembling watches. They designed the case this watch lives in, known as the 844, sometime in the mid 1970s.

The Monnin 844 was an instant hit, and taking a look at it, it’s easy to see why.  It has all the hallmarks of a proper diver including pointed crown guards, a unidirectional bezel, and a comfortable 40.5mm diameter. Used by brands throughout the industry in a variety of executions, the Monnin 844 even housed Heuer’s first dive watch, helping to save them from financial ruin and leading to an award-winning line that continues with today’s Aquaracer.

This particular execution is an early one, dating to circa 1976. Inside the distinctive case, it features a gloss black dial with bold markers, stick hands, and a Bakelite bezel in a red and black “coke” color pattern.

Lancaster is one of those brands that seems to have been lost to the sands of time. They were likely one of the dozens, if not hundreds, of brands taking advantage of the concentration of high quality parts in the Swiss Alps to build their own watches.  But with sharp looks, an interesting history, and a time-tested ETA movement, this piece checks all of the vintage diver boxes without breaking a sweat. 

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