5913 - 1st Generation Calypsomatic

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The First ever Titus Calypsomatic appeared in the early 1960’s, likely between 1960 to early 62. The 60’s were the golden years for vintage divers as many would call it.  With the significant increase in commercial work in the ocean and seas the demand for well made, robust, waterproof watches took off.  This created a field of strong competition and demand and as a result some of the best dive watches were produced in the 60’s.  Like other brands looking to compete in such a booming industry, Titus introduced the beloved Titus Calypsomatic. The first execution for the Calypsomatic is the 5913, some including a (-a) 5913-a on the case. Although there are a couple variations of the 5913 as a reference itself the first generation has a very specific dial, hands and crown that differentiates itself from the rest.

 

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The first noticeable feature are the hands which are the most unique of all Calypsomatics and only used on this model. It features a 3 section pencil shaped, lume filled hands for both the hour and minute.  The luminous material should be radium. The hands are painted white so its common to see a little chipping or discoloration around the edges due to the radium. The second hand has a wonderful big bubble with luminous material that is applied on top of the circle. This is not lume filled but applied over a base. If the luminous material is missing from the seconds hand you won’t have a hole but just a white base plate underneath.  On occasion you might notice the paint on the second hand to be slightly brighter likely due to less radium material on them. 

 

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The next distinction is the dial itself which is a highly desired gloss dial. The glossy finish is susceptible to some cracking, spider lines and scratches so expect to see them similar to most glossy dials of its period. While the other early Calypsomatic used gilt (gold text) for the print of the logo and writing of the words, the first generation used white print over the glossy finish. This was also used for the minute track, the surrounds around the lume plots and the date window box.  A spectacular feature when you examine the dial is that the lume plots are connected to the hash marker, a feature also known as a lollipop. Something to notice is the lume plots should be neat but relatively tall and you should be able to see the white paint around the plots boarders for the original finish. A sloppy finish could indicate a relumed job. The dial also has a distinct star located between the words “Calypsomatic” and “21 Jewels”. This was exclusively used on the first generation dial. Also, below the 6 o’clock marker should state the word “swiss”. There is no “T” denoting tritium because the first generation used radium for the luminous material.  On a Geiger counter it can read moderate to high. Expect the dial and hands to glow briefly after being exposed to light. A UV light should be used to inspect the luminous material, expect a greenish textured color. 

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This is my lowest reading first generation Calypsomatic.

This is my lowest reading first generation Calypsomatic.

My highest reading first generation Calypsomatic.

My highest reading first generation Calypsomatic.

 

So the third major distinction is the case crown. While the case itself is essentially identical to other references it is the crown that is most unique. There is to belief that there are 2 different crowns used on the first generation Calypsomatic I can confidently affirm the one most often used and seen in actual advertisments is the “superocean” style crown which premiered on the early Breitling diver reference 1004 in the late 50’s. This crown which aesthetically is great looking, to be frank, is a terrible design. If you find an example with the crown design not replaced it is certainly worth more as this is one of its major distinctions. It's no wonder the Calypsomatic immediately abandoned the design with the later push in big crown used in its predecessor.  The crown has a two piece design with the base that is actually a part of the case itself and then a flat ~5.8mm crown that screws into the base.  These proved not be very durable so don’t be surprised if you find a first generation model with a replacement crown.  The stem used is a two piece where one end slips into the other. 

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The second crown was likely used after the superocean crown as a quick fix to the poor original design which is the Parmentier crown.  The parmentier crown is a short, very small crown with a thin lip underneath a removable screw down cap. These caps once unscrewed was completely separate so they were often lost so consider it a bonus if yours still has it. 

 

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The case is beautifully designed as a utilitarian watch it has the practical drilled lugholes and pointed downward bending lugs that wrap very nicely over the wrist.  These cases are waterproof rated for 20 ATM or 200 meters with a screw back case.  

The long dimensions from the top lug to the bottom is what gives the watch a strong wrist presence and feels much larger than the often mentioned ~38mm list diameter. 

The long dimensions from the top lug to the bottom is what gives the watch a strong wrist presence and feels much larger than the often mentioned ~38mm list diameter. 

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The first generation has a thin one piece metal bezel that feels like a hard plastic material in the hand.  The bezel is painted black and has silver numbers and a lume filled circular pip.  The bezel is all one piece and snaps into place with a commonly used thin metal retainer ring underneath that keeps it attached to the case.  It is a non-click friction rotating bezel. The first generation should have a count-down 60 minute bezel with a circular lume filled pip. *you will notice that the count-down circular bezel is slightly shorter in height then all the interchangeable bezels for this model.  

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*These snap on and off relatively easily. When reinstalling the insert force down the side with the most metal showing first and then push the rest of the bezel down until it snaps into place. 

*These snap on and off relatively easily. When reinstalling the insert force down the side with the most metal showing first and then push the rest of the bezel down until it snaps into place. 

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*While interchangeable the count down circular pip first generation bezel on the right is the only one that is shorter in height.

*While interchangeable the count down circular pip first generation bezel on the right is the only one that is shorter in height.

The acrylic crystal should have a cyclops magnifier on the plexi located above the date where the 3 o’clock marker would be.  This example below has one that is underneath the crystal but more commonly seen is the magnifier sits on top.  The bubble will not be as big and as exaggerated as the 7085 crystal. The date wheel on the earliest version is a red text only date wheel (not red/blue) with open 6's and 9's.  

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The case-back is a one piece stepped that screws down and should have 5913 engraved on it.  There are two different case-backs for the first generation both being stepped and screw down.  The first being a rarer one with an extremely large logo covering nearly the entire back with the word “Titus” written big in the middle and underneath the words "swiss incabloc waterproof non-magnetic".  You will see "stainless steel" and "5913" engraved below the 3 circles in the logo.  The second is the more common small logo with “Solvil et Titus Geneve” and 5913 engraved below it.  The same words written but going around the outer edge.  Inside the case-back you will see a Swiss patent number which is +Brevet 238872.  There is an edge for a rubber O ring to go around. 

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The movement is a ETA 2452, 21 jewels.  The rotor should be signed with “Solvil et Titus” along with the jewel rating.

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For the bracelet you would be looking at an oyster style rivet with a thin Titus name & logo stamped clasp.  These are generally rare to find with the watch. 

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Spring bars are thick and long. Very similar to the Rolex spring bar used on the vintage Submariner.

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