Sous Marine were the rival to Super Compressor cases for serious divers watches, and this was rated to 300m and has a helium escape valve rarely seen on vintage divers.
HOW DO WE DATE THIS WATCH?
The article from worn and wound suggests these were made circa 1965, but also the Swiss patent application number on the case back ends /65. This could be coincidence, but everything else fits.
There is a good article on Worn&Wound about Sous Marine watches that you can read here. Herma were established in 1928 in Villers-de-lac in France, just ten minutes from Le Locle in Switzerland, but in this instance the watch is not so much about the brand who assembled the watch and distributed it, but the case supplier. Sous Marine cases can be found on Yema, Michel Herbelin and other brands too, and are sort after. The case features a helium escape valve set into the crown which allowed it to go to 300m at a time where the Rolex Submariner could only go to 200m. It wasn’t until 1967 that Rolex fitted a helium escape valve when the Sea Dweller was launched that they could go deeper. This is largely irrelevant now of course, as no vintage watch should be considered waterproof, but still nice to know. Other features to help with divering are a bi directional ‘coke’ bezel with lume pip set into the acrylic, and a screw down crown. The lumed hands and pips have turned an even creamy colour, and none of the lume has fell out of any of the hands. The case has day to day wear marks but nothing too bad, although the screw down case back does have tool slip marks. Inside is an ETA 2472 automatic movement with semi quick date that is running nicely and without issue, and the rubber strap is new.
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Width with crown 43.6 mm
Width without crown 40.9 mm
Between lugs 20 mm
Lug to lug length 49.8 mm
Case Thickness 12.8 mm
All sizes are approximate.
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