The Red Bulletin September 2019 (UK)

online.magazines

Equipment

Building the

ultimate diver‘s

watch

Omega’s Ultra Deep:

an innovative design

that borrows from the

durability of a ship’s hull

and the biology of one

of the ocean’s most

graceful creatures

Sea level

0m

1,000m

2,000m

3,000m

Blue whale

500m

RMS Titanic

(final resting

place) 3,800m

Omega has a long history of

building precision diver’s watches,

starting in 1932 with the world’s

first ever, the Omega Marine,

which used a leather disc as a

hermetic seal and was dropped

73m to the bed of Lake Geneva.

Today’s regular Seamaster Planet

Ocean watches are capable of

withstanding depths of up to

600m, but at 100m deeper than

even a blue whale can endure,

only a diver wearing a US Navy

atmospheric ‘hardsuit’ would

push that limit. However, to build

a watch capable of withstanding

a staggering 11,000m, Omega

had to throw out everything that

had gone before, and create a

new concept inspired by none

other than Vescovo’s own vessel.

The connection between the

crystal glass and the case is

copied from Limiting Factor’s

viewport, which uses a conical

design to spread and minimise

the stress on its surface. The

case is cut from a block of the

Grade 5 titanium used to make

the ship’s hull, and the strap lugs

– an area of potential weakness

on any watch – are modelled on

the cephalic lobes of a manta ray,

creating an open design that can

endure huge degrees of traction.

Incredibly, the watch is only

28mm thick – perfectly wearable

on a human wrist. The wrist the

watch was designed for, however,

is a robotic one, so the strap is

made from tough polyamide with

Velcro fastenings, similar to

those on the Apollo astronauts’

space suits.

To comply with diver’s watch

standards, a safety margin of 25

per cent had to be added to the

Ultra Deep’s depth capabilities,

so at Triton Submarine’s HQ in

Barcelona it was tested to – and

withstood – depths of 15,000m.

When Vescovo emerged from

his first Challenger Deep dive, he

discovered one of the detachable

landers – the one with the watch

attached – had failed to return

to the vessel; it was still on the

bottom of the Mariana Trench.

Vescovo had to decide whether

to leave the watch and the lander

in the abyss for ever. He chose

to rescue it.

Almost three days passed

before conditions were suitable

for a second dive. When the Ultra

Deep was finally retrieved and

checked on the surface, it was

working perfectly, having lost

only a second of accuracy, making

it eligible for Master Chronometer

certification – the highest

standard any mechanical watch

can achieve at any pressure.

omegawatches.com

4,000m

5,000m

Clockwise from top

left: Vescovo; his

submersible, DSV

Limiting Factor,

during an earlier Five

Deeps dive in the

Southern Ocean; the

Omega Seamaster

Planet Ocean Ultra

Deep Professional; a

maquette of the watch

on the robot arm

6,000m

7,000m

8,000m

9,000m

Ceramic rim

with

60-minute

scale

One-directional

rotating bezel

Sapphire

crystal glass

Grade 5

titanium case,

with gripped

crown

10,000m

Challenger

Deep

10,994m

11,000m

‘Manta ray’ lugs

THE RED BULLETIN 77

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