I always called the countdown cutouts with a colored disc rotating under it “5 dots”, named from the dots were drilled in the dial. You will find on other sides and on one or two advertisements the expression “balls”. So lets keep the first thought I had and call them 5 dots!
1960´s – the Felsa 4000N movement and the first Heuer 5 dots Regate
The grandmother of the 5 dots is the Aquastar Regate with the Felsa 4000N movement. It is modified with a special drive wheel for the colordisc.
We knowing 2 executions of this first Aquastar Regate. And some co-branding versions, the most important by Heuer with INTREPID you can find here plus a kind of exotic version.
But first – how was the developement of the 5 dots countdown?
Pete Millar, the author of the Aquastar Book found in the Aquastar archives this nice document about a first layout of the 5 dots. Maybe it was more easy to use a full size disc and so the Regate Felsa 4000N was born.
The full document is here:
But now lets see, what 1st and 2nd executions of the Aquastar Regate 4000N we know.
Aquastar Regate 4000N 1st Execution: container case
Isn´t that cool? You always have to learn. Last month Pete showed me the part of the Aquastar Regate from his book, that will be available soon and I helped with some pics. And I was really astonished that there is a 1st execution with a container case like we seen on the later execution c-shape case. Crazy. OK, I never had one in my hand but you can see it on a little cut on the case next to the pusher and the plain caseback with no Aquastar star-pattern. There are drilled holes over 6 and under 12, it seems that there are for fixing the movement with a screw.
Another difference is the little smaller case then the 2nd has and inside on the rotor of the movement it is an engraving of “Aquastar Watch Co” on the rotor.
The first is quite rare and we have seen less then 10 pieces.Big thanks to Pete for figure out that while writing his Aquastar book and thanks to vegabain Juan and Kurt and his daughter for the ultracool pics.
Aquastar Regate 4000N 2nd Execution: standard diver case
The 2nd exec is a screwback case, needs a special case opener with the star layout to open it without scratches. There are 2 different cases known, with same size but little bit different lug thicknesses. We need to research that deeper, I can not say if it´s depending on the serial which case was used.
All about the special equipped Felsa 4000N movement you can see here on Richards website.
Aquastar Regate 4000N 2nd Execution: Heuer co-branded
This watch was branded with the Heuershield too, starting with the partnership from Heuer with Aquastar in the middle of the 60´s.
Since then Heuer sells 5 dots Regatta-watches under his brand, all produced by Aquastar and later with using the Autavia-Cases by their own production.
And Heuer starts the marketing for that Aquastar Regate, labeled with the Heuershield.
Aquastar HEUER Regate 4000N 2nd Execution: INTREPID
The Heuer Aquastar Regate “INTREPID”
Jean Richard Aquastart 4000N 2nd Execution case, no dots on the dial
Another special watch is the Jean Richard Aquastart, mady by Aquastar.
Why it fits in this post? Because it´s a watch in a Aquastar case, caseback is signed with Aquastar Regate 4000N but no serial (maybe because Jean Richard branded dials?).
The movement is a full Regate one with the regattadisc – under a dial without cutouts for the countdown!
A real gem when you find one, only around 5 are known to me. Maybe it was just a test series, but from the founds we do not believe they are built together because they were found on different places, no single dials are known till now and why it should be built like this when dials for the standard 2nd exec regate are seen from time to time? No idea… but if you know, please contact me!
More to read?
Additional informations you find in the link-section on the right. Richard Askham shows the working of the Felsa 4000N and the movement details of the Heuer Regatta on his blog very well.
There are a lot to read about later models of the Aquastar Regate, then with Lemania 1345 calibre and some other brandings of the 4000N ones like Pirelli.
And of course have a look at Marks very large collection of pics and descriptions of them, please have a look.