Wristwatch restoration, servicing and repair

Aquastar Atoll (A. Schild Cal. 1903)…

Another watch from one of my favourite vintage manufacturers, an Aquastar Atoll from the 1970’s.

(Click pictures to enlarge)

Probably best known for their Regate sailing timers and “bomb-proof” Benthos divers watches, Aquastar also had a range of regular divers watches including the Atoll (which was also available in a quartz version), the Seatime with an rotating internal bezel, and the 63. Here is an advertisement from the 1970’s which features some of their models.

Still in the possession of the original owner who bought it in the 1970’s and used it while Scuba diving throughout the 70’s and 80’s, this watch found it’s way into a drawer after developing a problem, where it lay ‘resting’ for some years. After stumbling across my blog, Michael thought it was time to dig out his watch and get it restored…. yet another vintage gem rescued from the back of a drawer! 🙂

On opening the watch it wasn’t difficult to see the cause of the problem, the winding rotor was completely free and rattling around inside the case. Further investigation showed that the axle on which the winding rotor mounts had broken off, probably as the result of a heavy knock.

Finding a replacement wasn’t too difficult this time as the same winding mechanism is used on quite a few A. Schild calibres.

With the obvious problem fixed and the rest of the movement serviced, it was on to the cosmetic issues. Looking at the first picture you’ll notice that the paint on sweep second hand was damaged/faded and the original lume in the hands had been replaced with white paint at some point which had subsequently cracked.

It wasn’t really a surprise to see that the lume in the hands wasn’t original, as this is the case in the majority of Aquastar watches that I’ve seen. For some reason Aquastar chose to use an incredibly thin layer of lume in their hands and on their hour markers, which after 30+ years has often cracked, or fallen out completely.

With the movement serviced and the cosmetic issues addressed, a new crystal and strap finished the job.

The strap is a copy of the Isofrane strap that would have been originally fitted to the watch. It’s great to see that these are available again as they were fitted to many dive watches during the 1960’s and 70’s. If you need one for your watch, you can buy them from http://www.isofrane.com/


** Many thanks to Michael Cattell for letting me feature his watch on the blog. **

3 Responses to “Aquastar Atoll (A. Schild Cal. 1903)…”

  1. Kai Says:

    Nice to see these beauties restored, up and running again! I also have a number of Aquastars including several regates, and the atoll is one of my favorites along with the first version regates. These watches are in my eyes designed beautifully for their purpose, and it is nice to see that also other people are investing in having them preserved. Keep on with the good work, and if you happen to have a spare Aquastar just let me know 🙂

  2. Guido Says:

    Hi Rich!

    This is Guido again:)

    I do have a similar problem with the same watch, I do have a Aquastar Atoll with a AS 1903.

    After a a very bad and heavy knock, in fact the watch felt on the flor by the ss back side.

    Now the watch is working properly, the automatic function works properly but the rotor while oscillating it sound like it’s touching somewhere, I did open the watch and the rotor looks not very flash to the AUTO BRIDGE WITH ROTOR POST PART .

    But because the watch is working properly without winding it, do you think the axe is broken? Bended?

    If I shake the watch looking at the dial, the rotor does not produce too much noise but if I flipped over at that point the rotor is touching somewhere.

    If I touch the rotor I can feel it where it’s touching but taking a very close look by a magnifier the AUTO BRIDGE WITH ROTOR POST PART sounds fine to me, no a bolt or other parts are touching.

    To take the rotor out of the AUTO BRIDGE WITH ROTOR POST PART, is there any spring or screw?

    I can purchase a used AS 1903 but I would like to swap the rotor Aquastar with whatever rotor the used AS 1903 come, do you think is it possible?

    Thanks Rich and I look forward to your response.



  3. Guido Says:


    I do have an Aquastar Atoll 1st issue in ecellent condition with a ss band always 1970.

    I would like to sell it, any one interested?

    Thank you!