Though most of the world's significant military watches are by now well documented by the collector community, there remain several lurking in the wings that rarely get the attention they deserve. One could argue that the Jacques Bianchi JB 200 is one such timepiece.
Developed in the south of France by craftsman Jacques Bianchi in the mid-1980s under his own name, the original JB 200 features a 42mm steel case in "destro" configuration (left-hand crown), 200m of water resistance and a French quartz movement. Uniquely, a silhouette of a diver graced the black dial. Limited at first to 100 pieces, the watch was eventually purchased by the French National Marine Department for use by clearance divers and personnel from the local naval air base.
Rather than rest upon his laurels, Jacques Bianchi (at over 80 years old) has decided to resurrect his one-time naval dive watch for a civilian audience. The new diver, while largely a recreation of the original JB200, features several upgrades: it's now powered by a Seiko NH35 automatic movement in place of the original's quartz movement; the old tritium lume has been replaced by Super-LumiNova; and the watch's indices have been upsized slightly for better legibility. It will still ship on a Tropic-style rubber strap, much as the original did.
Should this military diver pique your interest, head on over to the Jaques Bianchi website for more information. A Kickstarter campaign will launch June 15th, when you'll be able to put a deposit down for the JB 200 and grab a piece of (reimagined) French diving history. (For international buyers, Kickstarter pricing will be 495 EUR — or ~$600 — without taxes or shipping. The post-Kickstarter retail price will be 825 EUR, or ~$1,000.)