Introducing Martin Green as new contributor at Monochrome and he will kick off with a new topic called Old School. Today the Bertolucci Vir Diver or officially called Vir Maris.
“Latin charm and the inspiration of a pebble polished by the eternal caress of the waves” – with this credo Bertolucci presented its Vir collection in the 1990’s. Not an empty phrase because all of Bertolucci’s watches had cases and bracelets that where rounded and polished to a smooth perfection, much like the forementioned pebble. Especially nowadays their designs are a bit too elegant for most men. Amongst the various models of the older collection was a pretty serious diving watch, the Vir Maris or by collectors simply called Vir Diver.
It was serious because Bertolucci gave the Vir Maris almost all the hallmarks of a true diving watch. It had a screw down back and crown, which protected the chronometer certified ETA 2892-A2 up to 300 meters. Most unusual is the fact that Bertolucci opted for a cyclops on the sahpire crystal and managed to give it an entirely different look than Rolex! Main contributor to this are the original markers on the dial and an unusual shaped hour hand.
Another unusual thing was that the Vir Maris was available in three different steel/gold versions. The first version was equiped with gold hands, markers and the outer ring of the bezel. The two other versions had a full gold bezel. Other variations Bertolucci offered where a steel bracelet or a steel/gold bracelet. This sounds as unusual as it is, but with this Bertolucci it actually worked.
Minor points of the Vir Maris are that the divers bezel doesn’t have all the minute marks, the bracelet lacks a divers extention and that it is simply way too pretty to do any serious diving with. No, despite good credentials, the Vir Maris a more original choice for any pool playboy, other than the next COMEX-standard issue diving watch. The pool playboy wearing this Bertolucci was by no means a poser. With a 1997 price of 9900 DM (around 5,000 Euro) for the steel/gold version with steel/gold bracelet it costed much more than the 7875 DM (around 4,000 Euro) Rolex would charge you for a steel/gold GMT Master II…..