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Diving watches

Sealing the microscope

Watch all inventions of the twentieth century, the resistance of watches is one of the most significant. In addition to significantly improve their strength, it allows their use in any situation. Diving on a small innovation that helped change the course of time ...

The idea of protecting a watch harm water, either in liquid or gaseous form, is a recent invention in the history of time measurement. This quest has become a priority for watchmakers in the early years of the twentieth century, specifically when the watch is moved from the pocket to the wrist. Previously, only the manufacturers of watches, ie watchmakers Navy had the desire to protect their creations from the salt air. If their research on the subject were not very productive, they still managed to provide instruments that, in your pocket or delivered in sealed boxes, properly resisted sea journeys.Watchmakers have the resource are managed for centuries, to offer non-resistant waterproof watches reasonably moisture or alkaline environments. Their parade: perfectly polished steel and brown mercury brasses ...

In both cases, the results were perfect. In short, without plagiarizing Voltaire, himself a watchmaker trading on the end of his life: "Everything was going well in the best of worlds." However, the slow conquest of areas of Central Africa by explorers like Savorgnan de Brazza, the involvement of Europeans in Southeast Asia and is the progression in the Amazonian land for the cultivation of rubber based almost logically question seal watches.

The first to have really focused on the subject of English watchmakers are faced with military problems. Indeed, they had great difficulty in retaining their status timepieces in wet or equatorial tropics ... It was therefore imperative, for purely strategic reasons, to find a quick solution.The story would demonstrate that what seemed simple in appearance proved to be a quest for nearly thirty years. In absolute terms, this problem was not solved immediately, as it did not seem, at first instance, vital. But the First World War - as the Civil War in the United States - would highlight the need for forces to have instruments that can withstand the mud of the trenches, dirt roads, falls, Voluntary or not, the wearer in combat zones. The war years were the death knell of pocket watches have become unsuitable for a job perfectly terrain. It is said that a British watchmaker John Harwood, a soldier in the heart of the storm, would think of ways to seal the first wristwatches. The official history will remember as the decisive actor in this research. He was not the only one, other craftsmen had to look the right way.

Genesis of resistance to flood

Convinced of the vital nature of its mission, the clever designer filed in 1923 a patent for a self-winding watch resistant to water splashes and dust. In this construction, the mechanism allowing the wound by the movement of the wearer should help to limit the actions that can bring water or harmful particles in the box, while designed as a true containment. At the same time, Hans Wilsdorf, founder of Rolex (trademark registration in 1908) manufacture, reflected technical solutions to improve the resistance of watches in hostile environments. Its objective is to meet the demand of customers dissatisfied until military and expatriates based in subtropical and equatorial colonies. In 1926, after much research (especially by the use of Borgel process), he filed a patent for the invention of a screw-down crown on a tube, itself subject to housing formed independent parties, after screwing, while a strictly tight.An extremely simple system that would give Rolex twenty years ahead of the competition. And because she had, even then, some talent in communication, the brand validated its invention by passing the wrist of Mercedes Gleitze who in 1927 won an individual feat by crossing the Channel swim. Visionary Hans Wilsdorf had felt with the invention of the seal, he had invented the sport ... watch remained in widespread employment by example.

The origins of a concept for the future

As might be expected, the invention of the screw-in crown, the simplicity of design that would have prohibited the reinterpretation statement inevitably plagiarism imposed on competing brands explore other avenues. In 1932, Omega presented the Navy, the double case was in 1937, proven to be 135 meters.This piece, whose originality lay in the rectangular shaped case (back on the market, a few years ago, under reference No. 7 in the Museum collection), has led to moult variations, especially in the Seamaster line, born sometime in the fifties.

A strategic aspect of modern war

Thirty years have explored many other ways to seal watches. Thus, the house Mido had in 1934 an automatic watch, antimagnetic and waterproof thanks to the use of a gasket winding crown cork. During the same period, which manufactures various Zenith covered, too, the crown of some models of a military cap maintained at the middle by a chain. The goal: to prevent highly abrasive dust to enter the heart of movements or water sensitive components corrode steel. This graphic element, now obsolete - the Rolex patent has since fallen into the public domain - is still relevant in the Pasha de Cartier collection.It is a distinctive component, worked as a part of jewelry, shape alone aesthetic identifying essential to the collection.

Aware of the strategic aspect of the resistance of watches in the conduct of modern warfare, armies all over the world have sought to maintain reliable and robust timepieces in the late thirties. II they had to meet the needs of their elite troops and equipment could have run in all fields of operation. It was the coordination of operations, the element of surprise and, in many cases, victory. At the height of World War II, the American brand Hamilton - now part of the Swatch Group - proposed for US troops, moisture resistant references. At the same time, the Italian army, rather than to rely on export timepiece commanded the Florentine company Officine Panerai and special housings for its combat swimmers watches.Classified "secret", this brand, discovered by the general public in the mid 90s and acquired by the Richemont Group in 1997, would receive a so-called "snap" to ensure the parts up to 100 meters through the compression crown on its seal with an integrated lever protection jumper.

Embody the sport and adventure

In the late 40s, watches resistant to water and dust-proof projections are naturally imposed because they represented the first step in a comprehensive reflection to improve the functionality of timepieces. This principle democratized simultaneously became widespread bumpers on the pivots axes and balances mechanisms with automatic winding.To meet the expectations of a generation in flux, living the economic boom of the fifties and probably to hunt yet pervasively present fears of a devastating conflict and those related to the first tremors of decolonization, many brands have launched in the design of robust and waterproof watches, which will soon take adventurers of modern times. Moreover, Eterna was surfing late on the success in 1947 by anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl during shipping KonTiki in the Pacific Ocean.

Waterproof watches really should be imposed on the public at the dawn of the fifties, with the spread of sea bathing - rather in the south of France or Italy - and the concomitant of a new type of material obviating bulky and expensive equipment for explorers one day. The regulator and the air cylinder opened the show with a new sport that will require the possession of a waterproof watch, readable and equipped with a rotating bezel allowing time counts.

As might be expected, the need and their key role in the practice of risk sports - also in vogue in the fifties - gave the advantage to these timepieces defying the depths, while protecting the diver reminding him of the time of immersion. Very quickly, the instruments have won acclaim in their neighborhoods being carried by heroes of the modern world. These devices preferred by youth have enabled brands to demonstrate the extent of their technical expertise and their ability to produce products of high reliability. Naturally, tightness and strength have emerged as powerful marketing arguments. Manufactures, such as Blancpain Fifty Fathoms developed for the military and also distributed by Spirotechnique or Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner with, knew, in 1953, reap the benefits of the image of strength and sportiness these specimens.

Today, the revamped and adapted to the modern world, even if they are exceeded by dive computers in the professional achievements are essential references. So nothing can replace these two creations. That said, Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days 47 mm (model 2012) or the Omega Seamaster range by 007 and published this year in a special series on the occasion of 50 years of James Bond movies, should be the case for fans of essential parts.

These are not the only ones available and likely to be followers of products for everyday wear dream models. The very graphic versions of the proposed Seiko diver or special series of Oris, as recent Kittiwake Limited Edition or Tubbataha Ananta collection "diver", are also recipe with savvy consumers looking for gear with high potential and good quality / price ratio. In this game, the Victorinox Dive Master 500, available in quartz or automatic, should be a hit with a slightly sour look and an affordable price.

But in the universe of reasonable instruments, both new Tudor home stand out as free electrons. The Heritage Black Bay model, very vintage with its red bezel is impressive and attractive as a reference inspired by the past. Adherents of modernism to live daily prefer the Pelagos model. Inspired and effective gear, driven by his sister as a mechanical self-winding caliber generic renowned for its robustness and accuracy plays brilliantly in the court of the most successful of the new year retro-futuristic, with Deep Sea Vintage Chronograph from at Jaeger-LeCoultre. Another fine specimen in the category of time reinterpreted products. The large house, driven by the success and popularity of vintage timepieces, has therefore not resisted the temptation to offer a product that could exist in the collections of the past ...

Obviously, among the available instruments, nautical enthusiasts universe retain the TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500 Defender which, because of its resistance equal to 50 atmospheres pressure, can be used in diving or wrist of an onboard crew on a float of AC45, the catamaran World Series, playoff races preparing the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup.

In absolute terms, the choice of diving watches is huge and most homes have in their catalog this tool widely acclaimed. Breitling, for example, is known primarily motivated by aerospace, offers in its collection of timepieces dedicated to the underwater world and the same for men as for women. And the brand with the winged B has unveiled the Colt 33, a fun and colorful reference for those who dive in deep water and want a picture to show their passion.Beautiful, proposed on leather in a matching color to the dial, is powered by a quartz caliber thermo-compensated and certified by the Cosc and resistant to a depth of 500 meters, a unique feat for a female watch.

For men, Breitling has a mechanical self-winding chronograph with him too, water resistance to 500 meters. Produced in a limited 2000 copies with a unidirectional rotating bezel red series, it should appeal to fans of this type of product.

In search of depth

In the world of diving, the "arms race" is also needed. For many fans, plus a watch is water resistant, has more chance of being strong ... And all companies seek, in one way or another, to have a record to their credit, with the aim to attract the attention of consumers. In terms of records, Rolex holds, with the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller DeepSea, the record shows the most pressure-resistant (3900 meters) series.For its part, the house Hublot, which is not a challenge closely with the Oceanographic offers a timepiece dedicated able to withstand a pressure of 400 atmospheres ...

We do not polémiquera the usefulness of such competitions as no human diver in combination can not, to this day, venturing to such depths. It is in the area of "growing" that is of interest only the media that is actually. Stung probably mark the crown (Rolex) recently attempted to beat his previous record by securing a watch specially designed for the occasion, the hinged bathyscaphe led by James Cameron, the famous American filmmaker arm. The goal: to test in real conditions a watch and not subject it to laboratory tests in pressure vessels. The adventure is certainly bigger and it is impressive to see a watch run 10,898 meters deep in sediments of the Mariana Trench, to see some pictures of a stainless steel box with an indignant digit the 11,000 meters with theoretical ...In the case of Bell & Ross, this feat has probably helped to position the segment diving with Hydrochallenger and later BR02 in its very successful design. In the case of Rolex, hold the record as part of its DNA - it's all the same thanks to the invention of the founder of the brand sports watches have a real future ...

Define a clear standard

Since the release into the public domain patented by Rolex on the screw-down crown, all brands are allowed to equip their creations this protection considered the safest in terms of tightness. However, some who are not endowed can also be water-resistant, ie "water resistant." For clarity, we note that this indication, with no mention of pressure (atmospheres or bars) or depth in meters or feet, ensures that the play range in normal use, resists only projections of water.

Contrary to widespread belief, those displaying "resistant to 3 atmospheres or bars 3", even if they meet the ISO 2281 standard guaranteeing theoretically be water resistant, driveways should not be in the shower or pool. We better understand the reason when we know that the water flowing from a standard shower apple out under a pressure of at least 3 bars. As for the pool, the problem is the same: a dip edge sufficient to create a pressure greater than 3 bar where the housing contacts the surface of the water.

To use a broader spectrum as waterskiing, will turn to the amateur models crown and pushers for the times whose seal is at least guaranteed to 100 meters. In this vein, some will appreciate the option to Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor collection to approach a natural gesture such as opening or closing a valve to secure the manipulation of the crown and pushers.

Regarding scuba diving, fans travel with the necessary computer as a dedicated Aladin, coupled with a Tissot Sea-Touch. Fanatics pure mechanics can examine, in turn, on the new XFathoms Blancpain, the Master Compressor Diving Pro Geographic Jaeger-LeCoultre or IWC Aquatimer Deep Two with a mechanical depth gauge. All, of course, meet the ISO 6425 standard dating from 1996. Namely, have a seal less than 100 meters, a control system of the time in minutes and graduated protected against operator error. In addition, the housing and magnetically necessarily resistant to corrosion must display a legible dial in the dark and an indicator of operating as a second hand, or an indication of the end of life of the battery system for the quartz models .

It should be noted in conclusion that the seal represents the best security for a watch, but the foresight and attention remain essential to its preservation.As such, before the implementation of the ISO 22810 future require the manufacturer to ensure the tightness of the piece sold during the warranty period, fans will be encouraged to make an annual check by a watchmaker.


Watch diving to greater quality, water resistance so it is extremely tight.
The watch is Swiss dive watch luxury automatic winding ready to withstand extreme conditions, including pressure underwater. The reliability of the dive watch should be more that proven and provides accurate and reliable information in order to preserve the safety of a diver wearing this exceptional watch on the wrist.

Diving watches

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