In 1971, for his film “The Dragons of Galapagos”, the best-known pioneer of marine research, Jacques Cousteau, undertook an expedition to the remote islands in the Pacific. He not only succeeded in capturing sensational underwater footage of the Galapagos marine iguanas: he also learned much about the mysteries of their way of life. In honour of this enlightening journey of discovery, IWC unveils the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau”.
The Calypso ploughs powerfully through the Pacific waves. Leaning against the railing, the obligatory red beanie pulled down over his forehead, marine researcher Jacques Cousteau (1910 –1997) carefully observes the coastline. The Galapagos marine iguanas bask in the sunlight on the black volcanic rock before sliding into the ocean to graze on the algae covering the sea floor. No human has ever systematically documented their behaviour underwater. It was the year 1971, and scientific exploration of the oceans had only just begun. Cousteau’s diving adventures, commit- ment to environmental protection and prizewinning under- water films had long made him a legend. For his TV series “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau”, he and his comrades had set sail for the remote Galapagos Islands in order to understand the existence of these living fossils.
As a diving pioneer, he was fascinated by the ability of the iguanas, which have no gills, to remain up to 15 metres below the surface for as long as 30 minutes. “Here on the Calypso we have a special reason for being interested in marine iguanas,” said Cousteau in his film “The Dragons of Galapagos”, “because we’re always on the lookout for new ways of making humans better divers.” As co-developer of the first diving regulator, the technology-mad engineer contributed much towards the growing popularity of amateur scuba diving. Ultimately, it is perhaps due to him that IWC became aware of the growing market for diver’s watches in the mid-1960s, and in 1967 revealed its first Aquatimer, which was water-resistant to 200 metres – a sensation at the time. With Jacques Cousteau, IWC Schaffhausen
shares not only a technological pioneering spirit and a passion for perfection, but also the commitment to an intact environment worth living in. For this reason, the company has already devoted six special editions to the visionary champion of the oceans. In 2014, the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Expedition Jacques Yves Cousteau” (Ref.IW376805) is a memento of the Calypso’s fantastic voyage of discovery to the Galapagos archipelago.
A Typical “Cousteau”
The new IWC special edition is immediately recognizable as a typical “Cousteau”: the sea-blue dial with its internal rotating bezel and small coral-red seconds hand in the subdial at “9 o’clock” are a tribute to Cousteau’s lifelong passion for coral reefs. Technically identical with the Aquatimer Chronograph, the timepiece comes in a stainlesssteel case and has all the features needed in a diver’s watch designed for expeditions purposes. The newly developed external / internal rotating bezel with its IWC SafeDive sys- tem prevents the watch’s settings from being accidentally changed and, together with the increased water-resistance (from 12 to 30 bar), makes it even more practical. As a chronograph, it records stop and aggregate times up to 12 hours, naturally underwater as well. This makes the watch an invaluable backup system during dives, as a means of measuring decompression stops, for instance.
The Super-LumiNova ® * luminescent coating guarantees outstanding underwater legibility in darkness or poor visibility conditions. In order to eliminate any confusion, the relevant hands and indices glow in different colours: green for those specific to the dive and blue for the hour display, while the small seconds hand glows coral red, even in the dark, to indicate that the watch is functioning normally. The watch comes with a day and date display. The back engraving shows “le Commandant”, as Jacques Cousteau was also known, with his hallmark woollen beanie. The watch is supplied with a black rubber strap and fitted with the new IWC bracelet quick-change system. This provides a fast, easy way of swapping the rubber strap for the option- ally available stainless-steel bracelet at home.
IWC And The Cousteau Society
During their expedition to the Galapagos, Cousteau and his team accompanied the prehistoric-looking creatures down to the bottom of the ocean. The scarcity of food on land forces them into the chilly ocean waters in search of sustenance, despite the fact that, as cold-blooded creatures, they are not partial to cold water. “They only dive to stay alive,” said Cousteau, commiserating with the animals, which have proved to be remarkably adaptable. By contrast, Cousteau dived because he loved the sea. With his films, books and articles, Cousteau gave an audience of millions a breathtaking insight into a hitherto unknown world and shared his discovery of the ultimate secrets of our blue planet.
In 1973, Jacques Cousteau founded the Cousteau Society, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the preservation of marine life. IWC has been a partner of the Cousteau Society since 2004 and supports the organization in its establishment of marine protected areas. This is widely accepted as one of the most effective methods of protecting the fragile underwater world from overfishing, poaching and environmental destruction. Part of the proceeds from sales of every Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau” watch goes to the benefit of the Cousteau Society and helps ensure that the legacy of this committed environmental activist is fulfilled.