Great story and great design Rick, thank you for sharing. All the best for your launch!How a Star Was Re-Born, a Letter from Rick Marei on Aquastar
It's good to be back, even though I was never actually gone...
For those who don't know me, my name is Rick Marei, and for almost 20 years, WatchuSeek was my 2nd home, as it was from these very pages that I brought the DOXA brand to life. I particularly enjoyed the early days of online watch collecting here, and even since social media has appeared, WatchUseek has always been home for me and hundreds of thousands of fellow watch enthusiasts. I'd like to offer a special thanks to everyone here, the old veterans, and the new Watchuseekers, and thanks to WatchUseek for the trip down memory lane some 20 years ago when I created the first official watch brand forum on WatchuSeek and therein made my first post about the release of the first DOXA SUB re-edition.
This is my story.
In 1999, I searched the phone book for the makers of Aquastar, dialed the number and spoke to a gentleman by the name of Gaston Seinet. I enquired about spare parts for my Benthos collection and one thing led to another, and soon we were talking about how the Internet will change the world and whether he would be interested in a collaboration, where I would help create an ecommerce business model for Aquastar. A few conversations later, I was extremely disappointed when Mr. Seinet said something that I won't forget: "I am a sailor and a boat with two captains is destined to sink." Mr. Seinet added, "we are based in Geneva and you are based in Vienna, a collaboration on such a distance won't work." Mr. Seinet finished, "we will build our website and e-commerce offering and if we need your help, we will contact you." My disappointment in that moment was devastating, not knowing how this would end up 20 years later...
A few months later, I was speaking to the sales manager at DOXA about a similar e-commerce concept, and suddenly, ten years had passed, and although I never forgot my Benthos, I didn't have any time or resources to accommodate another brand. My professional life during those years was consumed with the re-birth and development of the DOXA SUB, which would soon go on to achieve the global notoriety it deserved.
Fast forward to 2019, where, in addition to DOXA, I'd revived a collection of other interesting watch brands once lost to the annuls of history - brands like Aquadive, ISOfrane, and most recently, the legendary TROPIC Strap. It was at this time that I made the choice to return DOXA to its owners so they could continue the journey that we started together in 2001. And it was here, where my thoughts returned to the Benthos, and to Aquastar from the beginning of my journey, some 20 years previous.
Aquastar has actually maintained a small e-commerce presence since 2001, where they focused primarily on Regatta sailing watches, which continued one facet of Aquastar's original catalog. Under the helm of Marc and Gaston Seinet since 1983, the Seinets created and developed several generations of Regatta watches. Marc, being a sailor and extremely knowledgeable in both fields, helped Aquastar become "the regatta watch company" until 2018.
I reconnected with Mr. Seinet in late 2019 and our conversation brought us to a point where we decided to rebuild the brand's historical presence and use the experience that we both have in the fields of watchmaking, as well as a shared love for sailing and diving.
Unfortunately, Mr. Seinet ultimately realized that he would not have enough time or resources to dedicate to this project. So, I needed resources to replace Mr. Seinet's share. That's where the Synchron Group stepped in and together in 2020, we made it our goal to resurrect Aquastar and bring it back to its former glory. We signed an agreement to acquire the brand, which included all the old stock, vintage tooling, along with reams of Aquastar's historical patents and blueprints. For all of this, I owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Seinet, who I found to be one of the most intelligent and eloquent watch personalities I have met in 25 years in the watch business. In addition to being pleasant to deal with, he possesses a great sense of humor and fairness, and deep knowledge of the watch market.
So it is here, where we now begin to tell the last great untold story of the Swiss watch world. And I'm honored you've chosen to join me on this new journey.
Visit https://aqaustar.ch for more information about the 2020 Deepstar
- Rick Marei, Synchron
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