O&W Caribbean 1000
Case Diameter: 40 mm
Case Height: 16 mm
Case length: 46 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Crown: 6.5mm, screw down
Crystal: 30mm, domed acrylic
Movement: ETA 2452 17j
automatic, 18,000 bph, 42 hr
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel: Bi-directional, no index
Features: One-piece case, 5 mm
thick domed acrylic crystal
secured by threaded retaining ring
Water resistance: 1000 meters
Vintage: Early '70s
Founded in 1956 by Mr. Ollech and Mr. Albert Wajs, O&W concentrated on manufacturing rugged sports watches at
affordable prices. O&W eliminated the middleman by advertising in military, aviation, scubadiving and outdoors magazines
and selling via mailorder direct to the user. Most famous of their watches is the Caribbean 1000 meter dive watch.
The Caribbean 1000 case features a “user replaceable” crystal locking system. This allowed scratched and damaged
crystals to be easily replaced by the owner, without complicated watch making tools or skills, and without compromising the
integrity of the water resistance rating. The instruction manual states crystal replacement can be accomplished “in less than
a minute, by means of a special opener supplied on demand.” The domed crystal itself is 5mm thick. The Caribbean 1000’s
trademark is its one-piece monoblock case, which means no screw-on back (fewer opportunities to leak), and a triple-
sealed, double-thread, screw down crown. These features are what make the watch waterproof to 1000 meters, which was
quite a feat for the time.
The Caribbean 1000 was also a stylish watch, available with a variety of dial colors, and with the choice of an elapsed time
diving bezel, a decompression time bezel, or a 12 hour GMT bezel. Dials and bezels were all available in matching colors. I
can remember seeing these in the dive shops sold as a kit with all three bezels. The watch shown here has the GMT bezel.
The original instruction manual, from the late ‘60s or early ‘70s, shows a retail price of $135.
This is a later version of this watch, probably from the '70s. The later watches had larger dial indices and used an upper-
case C in the Caribbean signature.
Here’s an early catalog
advertisement showing a
price of $75.