This week I thought we would go back to the Girard-Perregaux Deep Diver family, to the reference 9108.
From the exterior look, it is similar to many other watches from the Funky 70’s era – mid 1960’s to mid 1970’s…
Watches like the Jaeger-LeCoultre E 558 Master Mariner Barracuda and the International Watch Company 816 AquaTimer comes to mind…
For the Wooden Beam season 2020 I promised to share watches T.W.O at the time – here are the Blue 9108 FG and the Grey 9108 FA, both with case back markings 2-70:
I consider the 9108 to be the “fourth generation” Deep Diver – Super Compressor case made by ESPA, mineral glass crystal, internal rotating bezel and big luminous hands and index.
The evolution of the Deep Diver line for men 7254 – 7897 – 8867 – 9076.
It is a bit unclear exact year of release for the 9108, but I have been able to trace it back to 1969, here featured in the 1969/1970 Girard-Perregaux catalogue:
The production sheet I have seen mentioning 2000 pieces were made between 1974 to 1976, with the Calibre GP 42, based on the AS 1843.
But since documents show the 9108 as early as 1969 and both my watches have the Calibre GP 461 which is based on the FHF 905 and case markings 2-70, I suspect there is a missing piece to the puzzle…
Could be that early versions of the 9108 used the GP 461 movement while later used the GP 42 movement. Change of Calibre between different batches of the same reference has been observed before.
Both movements have the same diameter, 11.5”’ / 25.6 mm, so it would be easy to change Calibre without any big changes to the case.
The cushion shaped case is 40.5 mm wide and 43 mm lug to lug. Including the slightly domed crystal, the watch is 14.5 mm thick.
The internal rotating bezel is operated by the crown at T.W.O o’clock and the the time is operated by the crown at four o’clock.
One nice detail with the GP 461/FHF 905 is the quick set on the date function, makes adjustment of date much easier…
The large luminous hands and index are over sized to give good visibility in the dark or under water.
Interesting to see these “Calypso” hands – some sources claims that one batch of the Jaeger-LeCoultre E 859 Polaris used these type of hands but I have so far never seen one…
The stainless steel Super Compressor case made by EPSA is waterproof rated down to 20 ATM/200 meters.
On the back is the Trident and the Deep Diver name – as you might noticed already, the Deep Diver name is not on the dial, only GP’s version of “Automatic” – Gyromatic is on the dial.
Mentioned on the back is “Scratchproof crystal” referring to the “new” mineral glass crystal. Yes, much harder to scratch than plexi, but we all know there is no such thing as “Scratchproof“…
Look at my wrist shot of the Grey 9108 FA, in the sun, scratches in the crystal are very visible as shadows on the dial…
As stated – many common points with other models from the same era like the Omega 166.0072 Memomatic or the Jaeger-LeCoultre E 558 Master Mariner Barracuda.
One detail which is not often pointed out on these divers watches with internal rotating bezel is that most of the times – the crowns are not located in the same plane.
Like here on the 9108 – the signed time crown is on a lower plane than the unsigned crown for the rotating bezel. As can be seen, the material is much thicker above the signed crown than on the unsigned crown. No, it’s not due to polishing of the case – look at any of these two crown super compressor cased watches from the 1960’s and 1970’s and you will find the same.
Another interesting fact is that the 9076 Deep Diver and the 9108 Deep Diver were both in the Girard-Perregaux at the same time – here is a scan from the 1971 Girard-Perregaux U.S. catalogue showing them side-by-side:
Girard-Perregaux U.S. used an entirely different reference system which makes it even harder to trace references – 66500 = 9108, 56501 = 9076. The M-number is related to style and colour of the watch.
After the 9108 there were other dive watches which are rather similar in design from Girard-Perregaux, but I am yet to find out if they also carry the Deep Diver name or not…
Here is one example – the 4057 with PVD coated case:
And a Quartz version – the 4103 which is water-resistant down to 30 ATM/300 meters. Both scans are from 1978.
In the end of 1980’s the Deep Diver name is lost… Instead Girard-Perregaux introduce the Sea Hawk – but that is a report for another day…
On the wrist the 9108 is extremely comfortable despite its big and bulky look!
The Blue 9108 FG on the wrist:
And the Grey 9108 FA on the wrist: notice the shadows from the scratches in the crystal?
Yes, the 9108 is another cool, typical Funky 70’s big and bulky diver!
If you want to learn more about Girard-Perregaux, make sure to visit GP Chronicles!
Stay tuned for more Wooden Beam 2020 reports – if summer allows, we will look closer on many interesting pair of watches!