Built in the United States as a 140 ft. wooden-hulled mine
sweeper, Calypso serves in the British Navy during WW II
as hull number J-826. Cousteau finds her in a naval
salvage yard in Malta after the war and begins refitting as
a research vessel in 1950.
In January 1996 while being readied for an expedition, she
was struck by a barge and sank in Singapore Harbor.
Salvaged a few weeks later, she now lies rusting away in
the French port of La Rochelle. Embroiled in legal
disputes and awaiting restoration, she is once again at
risk of sinking.
UPDATE: November 18, 2004: Carnival Cruise Lines
announced it will underwrite a $1.3 million restoration of
the Calypso for the Cousteau Society. Once restored,
Calypso will become a floating center for science and the
environment at a location yet to be announced. The ship
will retain its French flag.
UPDATE: December 28, 2005: Calypso continues to
deteriorate in French port of La Rochelle while the
Cousteau family fights over ownership rights.
UPDATE: March 2009: The Cousteau Society reports
Calypso has been moved to the Piriou Shipyards in
Brittany for restoration.
UDATE: June 2010: BBC reports Calypso is to be
re-launched to mark the centenary of Jacques Cousteau
birth (June 11, 1910). As of the date of the centenary
(June 11, 2010) one of the ship's former crew who has
seen Calypso at the shipyard shipyard reports the vessel
was still being stored in several pieces and is unlikely to
sail any time soon.
This watch still has it's original Marine Nationale (French Navy)
decommission paper, establishing it's provenance as MN issue. The
number engraved on the back is its issue number, 1139B.
Spirotechnique was formed in 1947 to develop the patent for the first AQUA-LUNG
regulator invented by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan. Cousteau was a
French Naval Officer in WWII and helped create France's commando frogman unit.
Cousteau was a member of the Boards of La Spirotechnique, U.S. Divers Co., Inc. and
their parent company Aqua-Lung International. My thanks to Zaf on this one, he really took
care of me, and I do appreciate it.
Marine Nationale Issue
Case Diameter: 42 mm
Case Height: 12 mm
Case length: 47.5 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Movement: ETA 2824-2, 25 jewel hacking
automatic. Quick-set date, 28,800 bph,
40 hour power reserve.
Case material: Stainless steel
Crown: Screw down
Bezel: Uni-directional, indexed w/ 60 clicks.
Water resistance: 200 meters
Bracelet: Signed bracelet w/ wetsuit extention