In the beginning, dive watches were pure tools: essential swimming buddies that helped keep divers on time and hence, well, alive. Today they’re something else: fashion statements, conversation pieces, rugged companions for a trip to the beach or pool. This is an excerpt from Timeline: “Dive Watches Through the Decades,” which traces the history of the dive watch from its start in the 1920s, with the invention of the first truly water-resistant cases, to 2014. (It includes only mechanical watches.*)
Blancpain adds a trio of new timepieces to its elegant, historically inspired Villeret collection at this year’s Baselworld, including a model that tracks not only the day and date, but the week of the year. Read on for more on the new Villeret watches.
Watches routinely track hours, minutes and seconds; they also tell us the day, date, month, leap year and moon phase, as well as sidereal time, solar time, and even 1000ths of a second. Rarely, however, do watchmakers alert us to the week of the year — until now. Blancpain’s Semainier Grande Date 8 Jours, Ref.6637, gives some face time to this long neglected unit of measurement.
In skeleton watches, the watchmaker strips the watch’s dial and/or movement to their bare essentials, revealing as much of the watch’s interior as possible. For watch aficonados who love the technical “openwork” artistry that goes into skeleton watchmaking, these timepieces give them a detailed look at a watch’s inner workings. Below we take a look at 10 skeleton watches introduced in recent years.
1. Blancpain Squelette 8 Jours
The Blancpain Squelette 8 Jours (Ref. 6633-1500-55B), from the brand’s elegant Villeret collection, offers one of the most intricately executed openworked movements on the market. The manufacture movement on display through the front and back sapphire crystals is the manual-wind Calibre 1333SQ, which is equipped with a titanium balance, a Breguet balance spring, and three series-coupled barrels that provide the timepiece an impressive eight-day (“8 Jours” en Francais) power reserve. Click here for more details on the Blancpain Squelette 8 Jours.
In this article in our series on the basics of divers’ watches, DiveintoWatches.com takes on what is probably the most distinctive element of a dive watch: the rotating bezel.
Its function is actually quite simple: before a diver’s descent, the 12 o’clock bezel marker is aligned with the minute hand, allowing the elapsed time, up to 60 minutes, to be read on the bezel (which is why quite a few dive watches come with a particularly prominent minute hand). A unidirectional, ratcheting construction ensures that – if the bezel is accidentally moved – the time already spent underwater would be indicated as longer than actually spent, providing the diver with a safety reserve for his now more imminent ascent. The bezel/minute hand combination does not, however, directly measure how much air remains in the air tank, as still can be read quite often in press releases.