This article covers the Enicar Seapearl transition to the Enicar Sherpa and the development of other early single crown Enicar Sherpa models. It will be followed by other articles covering two and three crown Enicar Sherpa models.
Enicar Sherpa History: The story behind the Sherpa name
After World War II, under the leadership of Ariste Racine, Jr., Enicar modernized and expanded production to a new factory in 1953. The company then boasted that their movements were cleaned in a laboratory during manufacture, leading to the Ultrasonic brand found on many watches in the 1950's and 1960's. This eliminated the need for regular oiling. The company had begun producing their own movements by then, with as many as 70,000 produced annually in the early 1950's. Their movements were quite accurate as well, with Calibre 1010 winning chronometer certification by the Neuchâtel Observatory for the first time in 1954. Enicar also helped develop a water-resistant case with an unusual bayonet back, introducing it as the Seapearl in 1955.
1957 advertisement featuring Sherpas and Ultrasonic. the watch is a turtle lugged Seapearl.
In the late 1950's Enicar began supplying watches to mountain climbers and other sportsmen and adventurers as a marketing exercise. Enicar Seapearl watches accompanied the Swiss expedition to the top of Lhotse and Everest in the Himalayas in May 1956. The Swiss team led by Albert Eggler, consisted of Wolfgang Diehl, Hans Grimm, Hansrudolf von Gunten, Eduard Leuthold, Fritz Luchsinher, Jürg Marmet, Fritz Müller, Ernest Reiss, Dolf Reist, Adolf Reist and Ernst Schmied and twenty two Sherpas.
Albert Eggler’s book mentions Enicar automatic watches, some of them fitted with a thermometer. Current consensus is that the expedition used automatic Seapearl watches, but this is not conclusive.
On May 18, 1956, a Swiss expedition reached the summit of the Himalayan Lhotse Mountains (8516m) and the bordering summit of Mount Everest (8848m) on May 23, 1956. This was only the second time the summit of Everest was reached. Perhaps some expedition members were wearing Enicar Seapearl automatic watches. One key to the success of the Enicar Seapearl model was the use of the Swiss patent #98243 Bayonet type closure compressor case made by the Ervin Piquerez SA (EPSA) company. The earliest known Seapearl marked (back and/or dial) model watch with the bayonet type compressor case with EPSA STOP marking is dated 10-55. The automatic movement was perhaps either an Elsa Bidynator HM1560 movement, or an AR1034 (AS1361N) used in other Enicar watches of the period. A black dialled automatic Enicar with the Dauphine hands of the period is shown lower below.
A turtle lugged Enicar Thermograph of 1955 is shown below, and this feature was used on some watches used by the party.
Enicar seized on this publicity by registering the word Sherpa on 6 November 1956 and branding their "explorer" watches Sherpas or Sherpa later that year. Within a year or two the word Sherpas was dropped, particularly from the dials of watches. It persisted longer on the case engraving. Over 100 different Enicar Sherpa watches were introduced in the following decade, becoming their most famous brand. Enicar also proved the watertight capacity of their watches by attaching an Ocean Pearl to the keel of the sailing ship Mayflower II as it crossed the Atlantic in 1957. The watertight case led to the creation of a family of Sherpa Dive watches from the Seapearl line.
The initial 1957 advertising referred to Everest and the word Sherpas, see below :
The photo above right features the Seapearl 600 (but this is a 1957 model) thought to be the model used in the Everest expedition together with post Everest watches, one being a turtle lugged Sherpa as advertised above left, and the other being a Healthways dive watch. Healthways was an early Scuba manufacturer in USA.
In the photo upper right is an April 1956 Seapearl with a white dial as in the 1956 advertisement above left but without the turtle shouldered lugs. The watch has Dauphine hands and a date complication. ('56 Seapearl watch images by watchuseek user: Reich)
Below is a turtle lugged Seapearl dating pre Everest with Dauphine hands similar to the above model.
Image by watchuseek forum user: Crazyfist
This Seapearl has a Supertest movement and February 1956 EPSA STOP back. This could have been the Everest model as it predates the expedition and the Supertest model was checked in house by Enicar to be accurate within 5 sec in 24 hours. (Image by watchuseek user: KK)
One of the first Sherpas watches from January 1956 featured Sherpas on the dial, and interestingly predates the Everest expedition. The movement is the 21 jewel Incabloc manual wind AR1010 and the case is an EPSA Stop marked 1-56. Enicar made a decision to drop Sherpas, and use Sherpa in late 1956.
1957 advertisement featuring Sherpas, and the turtle backed lugs of the 1956 model.
A similar turtle lugged model with a EPSA STOP case dated October 1956 and AR1034 movement. The split index at 12 is a feature of early Enicar models.
Image by Omega Forums user TexOmega
Another similar turtle lugged model with a EPSA STOP case (Brevet + 98243).
Images by uhrforum user: Hr.Lose
The watch above has both Sherpas and Seapearl on the dial, as part of the transition from Seapearl, to Sherpas, and then to Sherpa. The watch below is a black dialled version of this watch, with different index markers, and numerals at 3,6,9 and 12 with an open 6 and open 9 as in the earlier 1956 watch.
Transition branding with dual Sherpas and Seapearl. Image by watchuseek forum user: Randal Womack
Another two everyday turtle lugged Sherpas. The 1957 model on the right is branded Sherpa and has a supercompressor case.
The above introduction refers to the transition from waterproof Seapearl to the first Sherpa and Sherpa divers watch. The Seapearl and Sherpa divers watches made a transition from white faced watches with Dauphine hands to a black face, with large trapezoidal hour indices at 3,6,9 and 12, triangular indices elsewhere, broad baton hands, and a unique second hand with a lollipop heart tip. Later versions had a pencil strip of lume on the second hand.
Seapearl models with no reference to Sherpa continued in production, but we will not discuss them in this article.
Various Sherpa dress watches continued in production, for example the models below, but these will not be further included in this article either. Some typical Enicar design features can be seen in these models, which are featured in other models, including the baton hands and thin red triangle second hand.
Image by klocksnack forum user: Ariste
Image by klocksnack forum user: Empa
The Early Sherpa Dive Watches
A black faced September 1955 Enicar ultrasonic watch with turtle lugs, and the unique second hand seen in Enicar dive watches is shown below. It had an EPSA STOP case model 100/61 as in the image below.
The light faced watch above has the same caseback and model number, and features large trapezoidal indices which were to feature in later models.
The 6 May 1957 edition of Life Magazine featured the Seapearl 600 dive watch. The watch dial sometimes features the words Seapearl 600 in a rectangular box. This has turtle shouldered lugs.
The May 1957 edition of Life Magazine featuring the Enicar Seapearl 600
The 1957 Seapearl 600 does not have a Sherpa back.
Image courtesy of vintagewatchclassics.com
The back of the model above has no Sherpa indication, and is an EPSA STOP case model number 100/61-10.
Image courtesy of vintagewatchclassics.com
Below is another Seapearl 600 and a model just branded Enicar. Both feature turtle lugs, baton hands, and the unique Enicar second hand, unfortunately without lume remaining.
Image from klocksnack forum user: Ariste
In July 1958 the US Navy Experimental Diving Unit reported on the performance of the Seapearl 600 watch as several of its members were already using this model. It compared the Seapearl 600 to the Blancpain 50 Fathoms Milspec 1 and the Rolex. The Seapearl 600 was favourably recommended for situations where no rotating bezel was required. The broad second hand was considered of value. It was also considered so cheap that it could be used for a year and replaced anew, rather than being serviced.
The description of the model was:
Images by watchuseek forum users: MMMD (left image) and dougiedude (right image)
The later 1957 Seapearl did not have turtle shouldered lugs and had Sherpas engraved on the casing. The movement in most cases was the AR1010 (Ariste Racine 1010 caliber). This used an EPSA supercompressor Brevet # 314962 back. EPSA compressor housings were used by over 100 manufacturers, and both 36mm and 41mm casings were used by Enicar.
Turtle shouldered lugs featured heavily in Sherpas of this era, and below is a post Everest 1957 Seapearl (September 1957) and Healthways 100 which are almost identical except for branding. This model Seapearl 600 had Seapearl and Sherpas engraved on the back as shown above. The Seapearl 600 on the top left has Sherpa written on the dial. A later, straight lugged Seapearl 600 is on the top right.
The identical Seapearl 600 and Sherpa Healthways (images by watchuseek forum user: MMMD)
1955 Healthways back was EPSA STOP (image by watchuseek forum user: MMMD)
The very early Seapearl and Healthways watches had Dauphine hands, but later models are most often found with baton hands with a unique second hand.
Earlier Seapearl and Healthways Sherpas had dauphine hands while later models are with baton hands (image on the right courtesy of uhrforum user Käfer)
In America this watch was marketed as the Enicar Healthways from 1955 to 1958, variously labelled 100 Fathom, 100 Fathoms and just 100. Healthways was an early American scuba equipment manufacturer.
The model below is almost identical to the model in the advertisement above, with broad baton hands and turtle lugs, but is not branded Healthways 100 Fathoms, but Sherpas instead. This is a September 1957 model. AR1010 movement.
Image by montresmecaniques forum user: corsaire75
From left to right: A turtle lugged Sherpa Automatic, Sherpa Healthways 100 Fathom, and a straight lugged Sherpa Seapearl (image by watchuseek forum user: Taswell)
The Sherpa 600 dive watch appeared later with Seapearl 600 on the dial. This is the straight lugged version. The watch on the left has the later Enicar below Saturn logo. The Seapearl watches of late 1957, and early 1958, with Enicar embedded in Saturn, were engraved Sherpas on the case back.
The Enicar Sherpa 600 Dive watch (image on the right courtesy of farfo.com)
The Seapearl brand of dive watch continued, as shown below with a post 1964 model, Cal AR1140, but the similar Sherpa brand of dive watch which appeared briefly as discussed above, was transferred to other single and two crown models, and will be covered in another article.
The model below with rectangular T lumed hands, and lollipop dot second hand has a Seapearl oyster case, engraved Sherpa and model 148/013
Sherpa caseback, model 148/013
|Movement||Cal. AR-1145||Cal. AR-1125||Landeron 4750||Enicar AR-1035||Enicar AR-1034||Enicar AR-1010|
|No. of Functional Jewels||24 jewels||25/30 jewels||12/13 jewels||17/30 jewels||17/30 jewels||17/21/25 jewels|
|Vibrations per hour||18000 A/h||18000 A/h||18000 A/h||18000 A/h||18000 A/h||18000 A/h|
|Markings||STAR JEWELS ENICAR Watch Co SWISS 24 JEWELS||THIRTY 30 JEWELS SWISS SUPERTEST ENICAR WATCH Co||THIRTEEN 13 JEWELS SWISS MADE||17 SEVENTEEN JEWELS SWISS ENICAR WATCH Co||17 SEVENTEEN JEWELS SWISS ENICAR WATCH Co||17 SEVENTEEN JEWELS SWISS ENICAR WATCH Co|
|Instant setting for day & date||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Bilingual for day of week||Yes||No||No||No||No|
The early success of a bayonet type closure compressor case made by the case manufacturer Ervin Piquerez S.A. (EPSA) was based on brevet (patent) # 98243 which is the EPSA Stop case, a forerunner of the supercompressor cases. EPSA then developed brevet #314962 which is a bayonet supercompressor used only by Enicar for both 36mm and 41mm cases, and this formed the ongoing basis of the 600 diver series.
Super Compressor is a trademarked name for specific case designs made by the case manufacturer Ervin Piquerez S.A. (EPSA). They designed a patented case sealing method that actually became more water tight the deeper the watch went. The deeper you went, the more pressure was applied to the case-back, pressing it against the O-ring gasket.
Enicar was perhaps the most prolific and imaginative brand when it came to Super Compressors. They made many different versions of both case sizes, from simple single crown divers to small and large dual crown divers, and GMT divers. Two models, the Ultra Dive and the Sherpa OPS had unique crown guards built on to the case in between the crowns.
Sherpa Dive Watches
Later Sherpa dive watches added a rotating bezel and sometimes carried Sherpa on the dial, and these will be dealt with next in this article.
Sherpa Diver 600
The US Navy evaluated two Sherpa dive watches in 1958, The Sherpa Seapearl 600, and the Sherpa Diver 600, which had a rotating bezel first introduced in dive watches by Blancpain in 1953. It did not include the Sherpa Seapearl 600 in final consideration as it did not have a rotating bezel. The version tested was automatic.
This is a 1958 model Diver 600 which is 36mm diameter and has a Caliber AR1034 movement. The 0/60 marker on the bezel is narrow, and there are large dots at 15,30,45 and 60 (two dots) on the bezel. The hands have a broad lume applied as in the advertisements on the left. This and other early models did not have the red rotating ring between the crystal and bezel, which was added later.
This 1959 Diver 600 does not have the word automatic on the dial, although some models did. It has an AR1034 movement. The red ring between the crystal and the rotating bezel is still not present. The bezel has a broader red marker at the 0/60 point, and the large dots have been removed. The lumes on the hands are now narrower, perhaps in reaction to the liberal use of radium in the earlier model. Diver models do not have 30 marked on the rotating bezel. (Image on the right courtesy of uhrforum user uptool, left images from watchuseek forum user MMMD)
The late 1950’s version now with red rotating ring inside the bezel (image by uhrforum user: Helmet)
A white dial model was also available. The model below has Enicar beneath Saturn, but has the same style hands with thin lumes, but features Automatic on the dial. This is a January 1961 model, and still has the original rice grain pattern Enicar band.
Image courtesy Omega Forum user : Brench
This photograph shows a late 1950’s Diver 600 with a the next model 1960’s Diver 600 above right. Note that the 5 minute indexes on the dial, and the baton hands, bear no resemblance to any earlier Enicar diver model, but are similar to the later model Sherpa Divette models below. The word Enicar on the dial is below Saturn, a design change made in the early 1960’s.
Below is the later model with an AR1145 movement. This has baton hands with T lumes, and a thin second hand.
A later Diver 600 T. The T is for tritium which replaced radium in the lumes. The second hand has a red lollipop dot.
The early Diver 600 watches had trapezoidal hour indices, and the broad baton hour hands, and unique second hand mimicking the design style of the earlier Seapearl and Seapearl/Sherpa models. The word Enicar was within Saturn on the logo. Later Diver 600 watches changed the baton hands, and the second hand style became more conventional. Later Diver 600 models exist without reference to Sherpa, and are not discussed here.
In 1965 Enicar started using the word Star in their model types, and Star Diver models succeeded the Sherpa models, but the engraving Sherpa continued to be used on the supercompressor case backs.
Enicar aqua-lung 1000ft
U.S. Divers was the largest and best known of the five original U.S.A. SCUBA/skin diving manufacturers including Heathways, Dacor, Voit and Swimaster.
In 1967 their catalogue featured an image of the Enicar Super Dive, with aqua-lung script, but no know models of this exist.
However, a few models of an Enicar automatic aqua-lung do exist, marked either “aqua-lung 1000 ft” or “aqua-lung 1000 feet”. The watch appears to be a different dial version of the Sherpa Diver 600 dating to about 1967.
It is probable that this model did not have the red rotating ring with triangular pointer.
Image courtesy of Ed LaRochelle
This watch features a mid-size stainless steel supercompressor case measuring 36mm wide without the crown, 39mm wide with the crown, 44mm lug end to lug end and takes an 18mm wide band. The original dial face is black having the new style steel with white down the middle hour markers with a square of radium on the outside marker end at 6, 9 and 12 and a dot of radium inside the marker end at 1,2,4,5,7,8, 10 and 11. The hour/minute hands are rectangular with a slit at the end meeting with the radium spot providing an inverted T for luminescence. There is a dot of radium at the end of the lollipop second hand. The dates in the window at the 3 position are red.
The original movement in this watch was the high grade gold gilt automatic AR 1145 with date feature. It had the rare OBA Swiss watch movement USA export code and was marked unadjusted.
Below is a very early Sherpas diver style watch with a rotating bezel. It is 40mm diameter, with an AR1034 automatic movement but is labelled Sherpas, and not Sherpa Dive. The use of the word Sherpas probably dates this to pre - 1958. While the features of the dial are repeated in other Sherpa watches, the bezel is unique, and may be a replacement. The red rotating ring is also missing.
A January 1960 model, just labelled Sherpa is shown below. This has no bezel, and may be a cross over to the sports watch models. AR1034 calibre.
Perhaps slightly earlier in about 1959, a similar model 100/120 diver labelled Sherpa on the dial, and Seapearl and Sherpas on the clover back case. AR1034 with rotor labelled 17 jewels.
The hour and minute hands on the diver watches changed from broad single lumed baton hands to hands with 2 broad lume rectangles on the hour hand and 3 broad lume rectangles on the minute hand.
Early Dive models had the large dot on the bezel, as in the earlier Diver 600. Below is one such model with skeleton hands, the lume having become lost.
One of the earliest known Dive models is a March 1958 model which belonged originally to Captain Bo Cassel (1920-2004). In April 1961 after massive effort the magnificent Swedish warship Vasa was brought to the surface after being submerged for 333 years. Bo Cassel played a significant part as master of the submarine rescue ship HMS Belos, and this is his watch below.
Below is a November 1958 model, 40mm diameter, with an AR1034 calibre movement. This watch is one of the earlier Dive models, but unfortunately does not have the original second hand. Note that Sherpas is engraved on the back as well as the model number 100/124. The caseback later changed to 100/224. The supercompressor case brevet # 314962 is used.
Image by uhrforum user: SR-71
Below is a late 1958 model with a bezel with line markers, rather than dots, and smaller numerals at the 5 minute markers on the bezel.
The diver and explorer Dr Hans Hass used later dive models and featured in Enicar advertising.
The advertisement above is from 1959. This watch had better sealing and a modified outer bezel than the earlier model. The lumes in the hands were narrower, with the hour hand having an arrow lume as well.
The bezel on this model has no marking at 30 as in the advertisement above.
The model on the left is a 1958 special model made for the 1958 Brussels exposition with broad lumes and no 30 marker on the bezel, and the other two models have 30 on the bezel. The Dive now has a rotating red pointer ring, and the logo has changed to Enicar below Saturn.
And later, more variations were developed including a Rubyrotor version. The correct original unique second hand with lollipop heart shaped tip lume is shown on the right. Some early Dive models had 30 marked on the rotating bezel, which was only subdivided with minute marker dots from 0 to 20 minutes. (Images by uhrforum user: Helmet)
Above is a Dive 30 model with markings on the bezel to 20. No model number on case back. Below a Dive 33 model with markings around the bezel.
A September 1964 model with baton hands with inverted T lumes and a lollipop dot second hand. T on the dial signifies the use of tritium. The date window featured red numerals.
A later 33 jewel version with baton hands and thin second hand. This now has trapezoidal indices with dot lumes.
A later version Sherpa Dive 33
Image credit : exoticwatches.net
Above is a Rubyrotor version from about 1962, which had a Seapearl supercompressor case.
An earlier model light dial Rubyrotor model with the Enicar in Saturn logo is shown below. The lumes in the hands are narrow, with the hour hand having an arrow lume as well.
Sherpa Mini Dive
The Mini Dive dates to about 1958 and the early models featured a white dial with Dauphine hands, but this quickly changed to baton hands, and Enicar below Saturn on the dial. The rotating bezel had no 30 mark, and featured dot markers.
The Mini Dive features a Sherpa 300 supercompressor back case and is much smaller at 27mm diameter as shown in the advertisement below, again with a bezel with dot markers.
The rotating bezel in the next model featured lines rather than dots, and also has 30 engraved when compared with other Sherpa divers. Some white faced models exist (one features on the Enicar.com website). The calendar is black with white numbers, but later models reversed this. The hands are baton style with a lozenge lume in the hour hand and a thin second hand. The AR765 movement can be wound using both manual wind and automatic modes. The model below is from November 1968.
More modern Mini Dives are shown below with baton hands using a lozenge lume on the hour hand, and thin triangular second hand which are unique to Enicar.
Images by uhrforum user: kfranzk
Image by orologi forum user: PanTigra
This early Divette model is reminiscent of earlier Seapearl models, with Dauphine hands, and fluted indexes, and may be a forerunner of the more common black faced model. The bezel does not have a 30 minute inscription.
The Divette was intermediate in size between the 27mm diameter Mini Dive and the 40mm Dive models at 36mm. It was an AR1034 caliber model, and often was found with baton hands and the unique second hand as used in companion models. Broad lumes were used on the hands.
Image by uhrforum user: Helmet
The Sherpa 600 back on this model corresponds to the Sherpa 300 back introduced in the Graph line, see the other article on Sherpa Graph models. This model also has a thin triangular second hand.
This next version of the Divette had the image of Saturn above Enicar, and the baton hands and a triangular second hand seen frequently on the two crown Sherpa models of the same era. Sherpa 600 supercompressor back. (Image from Jam Batavia at /bataviajam.blogspot.com.au)
Sherpa Divette 33
The early Sherpa Divette 33 was also model number 100/216, and featured the pointed baton hands and unique second hand of other early diver models.
The Divette 33 had a 33 jewel AR1124N movement. The model below has indices corresponding to the model with the rectangular baton hands above, and a lollipop dot second hand. The rotating bezel on this Divette 33 was anodised, and usually fades with time.
This model has different ridged rectangular indices to those in the Divette model with baton hands above. It also has has broader indices at 3,6,9 and 12 o'clock (this time inverted T indices) as in other Sherpa 33 jewel models, and rectangular baton hands with T lumes at the tip. The second hand is a thin pointer. This model also has the tuning fork minute hand.
Enicar Sherpa Divette 33 AR 1124 (images by uhrforum user pearl.harbour [left] and Flickr user Bidle [right])
Sherpa Star Diver
The Sherpa Star Diver was introduced in the late 1960’s with an asymmetrical cushion or pillowcase supercompressor case, 42mm in diameter. It came in stainless steel or PVD. Caliber AR 167D. Model numbers 147 - 05 - 01 and 147 - 05 - 02.
The dial was generally black, and does not have the Enicar Saturn logo, but this is engraved on the case back. The case back has the Seapearl oyster and is marked Sherpa Star Diver. The dial is dished and has applied indexes, with the day at 6 o’clock and the date at 12 o’clock. The hands are short arrow head in style with painted tips, and the second hand is a white lollipop.
The bezel is bidirectional with a chapter ring broken into alternating 15 minute sections.
Sherpa Star Divers in Stainless Steel case
Images by: watcholdtimes.de (Star Diver in orange dial) and uhrforum user helmet (black dial Star Diver)
The Sherpa GMT was another single crown model produced at this time. This featured Dauphine hands and fluted lumes similar to the early Divette model above.
The rotating bezel on the Sherpa dive models was easily adapted to become the Sherpa GMT. The bezel initially was marked 1 to 24 hours, but later models featured cities instead. The 24 hour pointer was a red arrow. The movement was the AR1126 caliber.
The advertisement has ENICAR embedded in Saturn, similar to the ricegrain strap model on the left below.
The Enicar Sherpa GMT in various dial colours (images from marga-watches.blogspot.com)
A close up of the dial showing the Dauphine hands and the red arrow GMT pointer.
This model below is later and has Saturn above ENICAR, also a 30 jewel Rubyrotor calibre.
Image courtesy of www.cjbalm.com
Another dial variation, with 30 (jewels) below ENICAR, and ROTOR AUTOMATIC above Sherpa.
Image courtesy Uhrforum user : Street party
A later GMT model is shown below at the top of the advertisement, but this two crown model emerged as the Sherpa Guide, with an internal rotating 24 hour ring and the crescent moon 24 hour pointer as shown.
The forerunner of the Sherpa World Time was the Sherpa Time, and the model shown below is dated May 1959. This is the only known version of the watch in the advertisement, and has the caliber AR1034, and a supercompressor case. There is no date complication as for the World Time model, which followed.
The Dauphine hands and cream dial are complemented by a silver rotating bezel, engraved with world cities. There is a 24 hour chapter ring outside the index markers. The dial has Enicar embedded in Saturn with ultrasonic and automatic beneath. The red pointer ring was added to later models as in the advertisement which does not have ultrasonic and automatic beneath the Enicar logo.
Sherpa Time, May 1959
Below is a model with a black cities bezel.
Image courtesy : watchuseek forum user Itamaraty
Sherpa World Time
Using a world cities bezel rather than just hours as in the GMT above, the World Time model was produced. This was model number 100/216.
Following on from the Time model, below is a September 1959 World Time model, with the AR1035 caliber. This used the supercompressor case, and featured a 24 hour chapter ring, as well as a rotating cities bezel, and a red pointer ring.
1959 model, AR1035 calibre (images from uhrforum user: Uptool)
A Sherpa GMT Worldtime 30 jewels in white dial
An early 1960’s model with Enicar embedded in saturn, and Dauphine hands. Image from uhrfrom user: EnabranTain
Rubyrotor 30 jewel model with gold dial (Image credit : Istvan Zitas)
Post 1960's model with Enicar below Saturn and different indices. (Image by uhrforum user: Paracanthurus)
Enicar Sherpa Date models were produced from early 1958. These watches featured a date complication, and although this was found in other models, Enicar chose to focus on this feature in 1958.
The Sherpa Date was created as a date complication of the Sherpa
Ken Rosewall, the Australian tennis player featured in the advertising, continuing the theme of Enicar using famous sportsmen in their advertising material.
Australian tennis player Ken Rosewall endorses the Sherpa Date
A Sherpa Date similar to that the advertisement above, with folded indexes, Dauphine hands and the date complication. The Word Ultrasonic does not feature below the Enicar in Saturn logo. (Image from klocksnack forum user: Ariste)
A no date version of the watch above, with the same index markers, is shown below, dated January 1958. This has Dauphine hands and is one of the earliest Sherpa (not Sherpas) light faced sports style watches known. It has a supercompressor case.
A 1958 Sherpa Date 17 jewels
The date complication version from March 1958 is shown below. Again with Dauphine hands and a supercompressor case, but with slightly different index markers than those in the Rosewall advertisement. This may be the earliest Sherpa Date model known.
The Sherpa Date March 1958 version AR1009 movement
Below is a February 1960 model, which is very similar to the Seapearl of the same era.
Image by uhrforum user: feuerzeuger
The model below has the Dauphine hands seen in other Sherpa models of this era and features Sherpas on the case back. Model number 100/116
Images by watchuseek forum user: HammyFan
Below is an unusual later model Sherpa Date with baton hands and a thin red triangular second hand similar to the same era Divette with a supercompressor 600 back.
Images by watchuseek forum user: DaBaeker
More modern Sherpa Date models came in a variety styles including 33 jewel models and a rectangular case with the date at 6 o’clock below.
Modern Sherpa Date models (image credits from watchuseek forum users Merl [first image] and o.v.e [second image])
A Sherpa Date with rectangular case and date window on 6 o'clock (Image by uhrforum user: Käfer)
Enicar ceased offering the Date model and commenced offering the Sherpa D (Date) and Sherpa DD (Day/Date) models, and these more modern Sherpa models will not be covered in this article.
The Steward and Stewardess models were introduced in 1960, again with a rotating bezel, but in this case the bezel is reversed and counts down in hours after setting. The supercompressor case was utilised.
This model had caliber AR 1125 Rubyrotor installed (Supertest, pink gilt, 30 stones) and was released in 1962. The 'Rubyrotor' name was introduced by Enicar on the same year.
Some information on the Enicar Steward watch
Finally, Enicar produced a supercompressor case with a battery compartment. The 1961 Electric featured a Landeron 4750 movement and cost about the same as Sherpa Valjoux 72 Graph models at the time. Some models have no numerals on the dial, only symbols, while others feature the numerals 6 and 12. Model number 100/167.
The Enicar Sherpa Electric's case was an EPSA bayonet with a “coin” slot to assist in opening the battery compartment. (Image by uhrforum user: EnabranTain)
The advertisements show ENICAR below saturn, but the models in the pictures above have ENICAR in Saturn.
Landeron 4750 calibre used for the Sherpa Electric
There is a broad range of versions for the Enicar Sherpa single crown watch that a collector may choose to purchase. You may choose to go for the pieces that were included in its serial production, which are relatively easy to acquire. You can also go for the versions with limited production, but bear in mind that these are seldom found and would have a heftier price tag. Here are some recommendations to help you get started with your search.
Place to Start
A place to start is where the Sherpa series started before eventually evolving into some 100 models. Perhaps you can help answer the question, which Enicar ?Seapearl? model was carried to the summit of Everest? Which model led to the Sherpa name? We know the calibre was automatic, but what was the movement? We know the crucial waterproof back was the EPSA STOP introduced in late 1955. Did the case have turtle backed lugs? Was the dial white, or black?
The single crown Diver and Divette models are hard to find. Many more two crown Super Divette models exist than the single crown Divette. For a few hundred dollars, this can be a good place to start.
The High end
Image by uhrforum user: EnabranTain
Very rare single crown Sherpas are those which are similar to the two crown models in the Graph series. These include the GMT, the World Time, the Pilote, the Steward and the Stewardess which are particularly difficult to find.
US Navy Diver 600: the grail of Single Crown Sherpas. Watch is with its original Tropic band. (Image by watchuseek forum user: Dogen)
US Navy Diver 600 models were limited to about 1000 units of production. Testing in 1958 carried out by the US Navy indicated better performance than the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and Rolex competitors at the time . Their possible use during the Vietnam war has made these very hard to find.
From The Spring Bar Store:
- watchwiki, Enicar
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