Vintage Ads: The Series – Part #9 Deep Sea Alarm

 By: blomman Mr Blue : September 4th, 2011-12:38

Hello Vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre Lovers,


I would like start with dedicating this part to my dear friend Rafal for making this possible!


Rafal, I am deeply grateful!




Lately there have been a lot of posts about the TT DSA here.


IMO, the strongest watch from JLC this year together with the Reverso TT 1931.


So naturally I have to have a part in this series about the original Deep Sea Alarm!




As you might know the original DSA is quite a rare bird.


Less then 1000 ever made in a couple of years time (less then 1/5 was the JLC version).


Launched in 1959 as “the worlds first automatic diving alarm watch”!


Ref E 857, calibre 815 bumper automatic.


What makes writing this part difficult is that not many documents on the DSA are known (at least to me).


Maybe JLC is hiding some documents; maybe some other collectors have some they don’t share with us..?


I don’t know…


To my knowledge there are only two original documents showing the Deep Sea Alarm.


If you know others, please – please enlighten me, I would be forever grateful!



Let’s start with the Jaeger-LeCoultre document:


Jaeger-LeCoultre, French catalogue, 1960.


Automatic, alarm, waterproof.


Proven to a depth of 200 meters.


Flexible extensible steel bracelet.


Jaeger-LeCoultre, French catalogue, 1960.


The water resistance I will not test...




But the flexible extensible steel bracelet I had to try!



Well I am not very found of this kind of bracelets, I prefer the vintage Tropical…



One interesting detail is that the DSA don’t have a French reference as most of the other watches in the list.


It’s using the European ref E 857.


Jaeger-LeCoultre, French catalogue, 1960.


I wonder how much 590 NF would be in EUR today..?




OK, let’s have a look at the LeCoultre document.


Now it starts to get complicated…


LeCoultre, North American catalogue, 1959-1960.


Nor on the cover or the front page of the catalogue says anything about LeCoultre watches…


LeCoultre, North American catalogue, 1959-1960.


Instead it says: Logines-Wittnauer!


Earlier in this series we have experienced that there was some sort of collaboration between LeCoultre and Vacheron & Constantin but also together with Logines-Wittnauer.



In this ad from 1948 all four brands are mentioned.


LeCoultre, North American Ad, 1948.


While in this one from 1955 no mentioning of Vacheron & Constantin.


LeCoultre, North American Ad, 1955.


Does anyone know what year LeCoultre and Vacheron & Constantin parted ways in North America?


Not even in the introduction of the catalogue there is any mentioning of LeCoultre.


LeCoultre, North American catalogue, 1959-1960.


Finally in the index there are some LeCoultre watches listed!


LeCoultre, North American catalogue, 1959-1960.


But only two of them.


And luckily one of them is the Deep Sea Alarm!




Is Logines-Wittnauer pushing for their own watches?


So, why did they even include the DSA in that case?


On the page before the DSA, Longines presents their own competitor in this class:


The Longines Skin Diver T 910 – the predecessor of the Longine Diver (to become model for the Legend Diver).


LeCoultre, North American catalogue, 1959-1960.


Now the really strange things start…


Note the name: Deep Sea Automatic Alarm.


LeCoultre, North American catalogue, 1959-1960.


“Visual warning is shown by arrow on manually rotated outer bezel.” ?!


Was the outer bezel supposed to be rotating?


Well, it would have made sense on a diving watch.


But, no the bezel IS NOT rotating!



“…tested warterproof to 500 feet.”


1 feet is approximately 0,3048 meters.


That will give us 500 x 0,3048=152,4 meters.


Almost 25% less then the Jaeger-LeCoultre version (200m)!


To my knowledge there are no differences in the construction of the two versions.


They share the same case, crystal (plexi), crowns…


Only difference is the dial (that I know of).


200m are approximately 656 feet, why didn’t they put that in the catalogue or at least 600 feet?


Was the watch not water resistant to more then 500 feet and they corrected the info in the Logines-Wittnauer catalogue?


Or was it just an error in translation between meter and feet..?


Who knows…




Did you notice that both the Longines Skin Diver and the Deep Sea Alarm are shown on the same bracelet?


LeCoultre, North American catalogue, 1959-1960.


Same era, similar watch, similar price…


135 USD sounds good to me – two please!




Well, the Deep Sea Alarm has always been and will always be a mythical lady!


To me She is the root of all good and great when it comes to JLC diving sports watches!




Do we really want to know all the details about the Deep Sea Alarm or are we happy that some things still waits for us to be found deep down in the dark sea..?





Thank you for reading this Part 9 of this Vintage Ads Series.


Hope you enjoyed!







Vintage Ads: The Series – Intro!


Vintage Ads: The Series – Part #1 Futurematic


Vintage Ads: The Series – Part #2 Memovox Pocket Alarms


Vintage Ads: The Series – Part #3 Electronic


Vintage Ads: The Series – Part #4 The Planet-Sphere


Vintage Ads: The Series – Part #5 Memovox Parking  


Vintage Ads: The Series – Part #6 Advertising as art


Vintage Ads: The Series – Part #7 Géomatic


Vintage Ads: The Series – Part #8 Atmos

These are 2 rare documents, for sure. But there is more.

 By: amanico : September 4th, 2011-13:03

1/ A notice, coming with the DSA US, where you learn that the DSA is WR to 500 Feet ( + 150 meters ) ( Thanks to Karmin! )

2/ An american ad: ( Credit pic: Clavi ) :

At least as it seems that there is something else, but not communicable for the moment.

Excellent post, as always.



2 great posts...

 By: BDLJ : September 4th, 2011-22:26

...from Blomman and Nicolas. Thanks, guys. These are great references.

As for the 500' v 600' v 200m, I wouldn't hold too much store in the technical details of these documents, who knows how they were tested and these documents were likely to have been written by 3rd parties - witness the 'rotating bezel' information in the sales pamphlet and the strange wording/info of the dive alarm advice.

There were some very approximative things, at this moment.

 By: amanico : September 4th, 2011-22:33

From the catalog and the AD, by the way...

Even if it is writtten in the ad or in the catalog that the bezel is not turning, it was easy for the AD to check that point.

But, hey, this is also the charm of these vintage documents, AND this kind of approximation can be seen today:

Several fellows and TT DSA fans wrote to me because they were told by their AD that the TT DSA was 41,5 mm big, which is absolutely wrong ( 40, 5 mm ).

Therefore, we spotted, at the beginning of this year, several mistakes about the watches intorduced at the SIHH.

How do we ay? " Error is Human "?



That's exactly it...

 By: BDLJ : September 4th, 2011-22:44
...that's what makes these documents so enjoyable. If everything from history was absolutely precise, we'd lose the fun of piecing it together.

Thank you!

 By: blomman Mr Blue : September 5th, 2011-12:40

Yes, you are probably right…


But I can’t help thinking if maybe something there..?


Some differences between the two versions..?






Great collection of rare docs. Another one

 By: Clavi : September 5th, 2011-00:51

Here is the full size version of the above picture.

To my knowledge, this is probably the only time the DSA was shown / advertised in a broad audience newspaper, the New York Times
(all the rare documents you have shown come from brochures which were aimed at retailers and clients I think)

 The DSA in the original advert context:


 And a zoom , showing the typical, but so rare bracelet:

Many thanks to you Blomman for the great work and for showing these incredibly rare documents

Thank you Clavi, for such a nice ad. First time I see it complete.

 By: amanico : September 5th, 2011-00:59

Some additional material

 By: Clavi : September 5th, 2011-02:37

Interesting details on original package, as well as small hands and round font bezel version, obviously a true rare find:

DSA Round fonts small hands 1 DSA Round fonts small hands 1

(not mine unfortunately and can't remember who to credit it for, this is a very old file from my archive, from many years ago)

We're lucky they didn't release the DSA with the Red Dial! ;)

 By: amanico : September 5th, 2011-02:51

The manual!

 By: blomman Mr Blue : September 5th, 2011-12:53

Thank you for these, Clavi!




Q? The image of the DSA (in red) is it showing the JLC version in the LC manual?


I can’t see the Deep Sea Alarm the on the alarm disk…






Retail price of LC DSA ?

 By: karmin : September 6th, 2011-06:23

This thread loooks like a real tresor hunt ! Thx Blomman for all this material, very useful indeed.

Checking the pics posted by both of you, Blomman and Clavi, I have to admit a slight confusion in my mind regarding retail price of the LC DSA : your docs (both catalogue and price tag) mention 135 USD in the early 60's.

The LC DSA I have, and for which I also have the invoice, did cost only 68 USD to its owner, but in 1966 :

A 50% discount for a watch ? Well, indeed we do not know conditions under which this watch was bought, but still, that's quite surprising.

Any indications on the success of the watch when it was released ? Could the rather low production number (to say the least...) be (partially) explained by a limited public fancy for this model ?



Well, a thing often happened, at this time ...

 By: amanico : September 6th, 2011-07:10

You often had a big gap between the year of fabrication and the year of the sale.

I saw several Rolex which had a 5 years gap between these 2 moments.

As for the discount, I'm too young to tell you if it is a modern thing or something which was usual at this time.


Best, Karmin, and thanks for posting the now famous whole set!

Nicolas This message has been edited by amanico on 2011-09-06 07:13:30

It was a bargain, in any case

 By: nilomis : September 6th, 2011-07:48
Considering that, based on the historical devaluation of the US$, the factor to convert US$ 135 (1966) to current value is 6.705, the price should be US$ 905,18!!

We need, urgently, a time machine.
We can return to 1966 and acquire two or more!!


Good question, Karmin!

 By: blomman Mr Blue : September 7th, 2011-13:02

You raise a good question!


Was the DSA not that popular and that’s why not so many was made?!


In the end they were sold out at half price..?!


Thank you for joining with your beautiful whole set!


And for your kind words!


Feel free to post more pics of your beauty!







Great ad, Clavi!

 By: blomman Mr Blue : September 5th, 2011-12:48

I have like 6-7 different Atmos + multi watch ads…


But no one with the DSA.


Great find, my friend!


Thank you for your kind words and scans!








Another riddle.. For the mythical ladies ..

 By: hs111 : September 5th, 2011-01:19
Thx for this again so interesting complementing information,
- seems, as so many times, not all what is written.. Is iron-clad 'truth', but serves a purpose,
and helps to trace back, likely .. Fascinating always !

Further to that, a little double Q, as per to the hands on both vintage DSA's:
( and as I had the pleasure to have seen the elusive beauties, you know where/when..)

- sorry my short memory ( seem to have forgotten with all recent happenings),

1/ on Clavi's pic shown, the hands on the LC-US show Dauphine type, if I see right
( 'true' variant or just another reason, as replacement or such ?) and
2/ on Blomman's pics of the JLC-DSA EU his showed the hands, simliar to the Geophysique
( which was also just born - 1958 - so probably around and produced) - same topic as ad1/ but different type

- I think to remember some discussion previously here, but forgot the location

Other than that, as always, pleasure to read, to look, trying to understand
.. through these tracings into the genetic past of these great mermaids !

As a tiny final note: also those original steel bracelets quite attractive still to me,
although a (vintage ?) true tropical is so appropriate

Best, hs


- always great to learn more,
now that I have completed the TT-DSA 'double', recently..

It seems that the only original hands are those skeleton pointed ones.

 By: amanico : September 5th, 2011-01:31

Exactly like those which are on the TT DSA.

I wrote " it seems " because we don't have a lot of material ( press files, ads, catalogs, and so on ) to affirm that the pointed skeleton were the only ones.

BUT, from these docs, plus another one I saw, there were no other configuration.



Merci ! .. Comprend .. Comprende.. Capito :)

 By: hs111 : September 5th, 2011-01:51

on hands

 By: Clavi : September 5th, 2011-01:31

The hands of the actual watch which is placed above the DSA advert (your point 1) were replacement / incorrect

The hands on Blomman's pics of the JLC-DSA EU (your point 2) are much more likely to be correct, although this combination, as is evidenced in this thread, has never been supported by any documentation (to date).
BUT, I have probably seen 4-5 different DSAs (US versions) with this exact type of hands, so I strongly suspect that some DSAs might have been released with these hands.

As we can see, we can't always rely upon past brochures to know for sure how the real product was ultimately when it left the factory.

And to speak of the DSA, we know it has had 2 different fonts on the bezel (although again only one shows in the documentation), so why not 2 different types of hands ?

I think the question of legitimacy of the small pointed hands is still not yet answered  (and might never be) 

Enlightment appreciated !.. Thx for the kind comments :))

 By: hs111 : September 5th, 2011-01:37
Some remaining 'mystique' I guess, also contributes to the magic,

Well said, Clavi and interesting reply - kind 'merci' !

Best, hs

Nicolas and Clavi already answered about the hands…

 By: blomman Mr Blue : September 7th, 2011-13:11

You know me, my friend – I am always curious and want to learn more!


So always some questions included…




Thank you kindly, KoC!


I am sure you will enjoy your TT double even more the more of their background and history we discover here!




Soon I hope to make mine…






Sure you will.. And indeed, pleasure this will be .. :))

 By: hs111 : September 7th, 2011-13:53
.. You pick it up in person ?

--shall I send my little Volvo truck??

Very happy for you, already now, my friend !

Best, hs

He, he…

 By: blomman Mr Blue : September 7th, 2011-14:08

My collection wouldn’t fill a soda can…


So no truck needed!




Thank you for the offer, my friend


But with some luck I will have it soon!








Now, I am curious to see the size of your usual soda can. :))) [nt]

 By: amanico : September 7th, 2011-14:13
No message body

33 cl ! ;) [nt]

 By: blomman Mr Blue : September 7th, 2011-14:19
No message body

Come on, you're too modest! ;) [nt]

 By: amanico : September 7th, 2011-14:20
No message body

OK- 50 cl... ;) [nt]

 By: blomman Mr Blue : September 7th, 2011-14:21
No message body

50 liters, you meant, you damn Gargantua! :))) [nt]

 By: amanico : September 7th, 2011-14:23
No message body


 By: blomman Mr Blue : September 7th, 2011-14:28

In that case – if I am the one left and you are the one to the right!









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