Over the last few years, several iconic dive watches from the past have been reintroduced as so-called “homages” by brands that were not originally involved with the production of said watches. Sometimes other versions of these same watches have even been launched simultaneously by the original brand, which had the exact same idea (and a lot more legitimacy in doing so). One of the more recent examples of such a multi-reintroduction is the rather unique-looking French dive watch, the Grands Fonds 300 (grands fonds means “great depths”), which debuted in the 1960s and featured, among other attributes, a monobloc case construction, a flexible bracelet, and a crown positioned at 6 o’clock.
French brand Zuccolo Rochet, based in Chavanod (ZRC), decided that it was time to offer wristwatches again and have started doing so by reintroducing (currently only in France) two dial versions of its Grands Fonds 300, of which the Ref. 510013 (pictured in the center of the above photo) seems to be the closest to the original, while the Ref. 511013 “Sport Chic” (left) is equipped with a less dominant set of hands and a date window. If you’d prefer a strap instead, the Ref. 511015 (also called “Sport Chic”) comes with a leather strap instead of a bracelet (right).
Instead of the monobloc case of the original, this 40.5-mm-diameter stainless steel watch comes with a standard case construction: the crown is still located in the unusual position of 6 o’clock and is clearly marked to ensure correct handling. Another plus: if the crown is unscrewed, the bracelet will not fold over it, which should help to prevent accidental damage of the movement (an ETA 2824, in this case) as well.
At 12 o’clock, the bezel (60 clicks) now comes with an opening, marked with “ECS” for easy clean system, which is intended as a better way to rinse the bezel with fresh water after a dive — but, on the other hand, might let dust enter more easily as well.
The bracelet comes with two flexible elements, which together have always been one of the greatest advantages of the Grands Fonds 300: the deeper you dive, the more pressure your body and suit will experience (and vice versa), a situation which is best compensated for with such a flexible construction (more about this here).
It seems like ZRC has removed official pricing info from its site since our first visit. From what we saw and heard, you should expect a price between 2,490.00 and 3,390.00 euros. We have already contacted the seller in order to get more info, so expect to see and read more about the return of an interesting dive watch from the 1960s soon. (In fact, we at DiveIntoWatches.com are working on a hands-on review even as we speak).