You have probably never heard of Charmex nor of Ahmed Gabr, but there are at least two reasons why both are worth knowing. In 2005, the Swiss watch company Charmex launched a massive dive watch capable of withstanding water pressures down to 12,000 feet. It was not only the most water-resistant (serially produced) mechanical dive watch at that time, but also the only (7750-based) chronograph amongst similar “extreme” dive watches.
In 2009, that watch was replaced by a slightly smaller (but, at 28.5 mm, still very thick) titanium model called the CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet. And you guessed it, with a 6,000-meter water resistance (excluding a 10% to 20% safety margin), it was once again the first, and up until today one of the very few, watches offering that kind of depth rating. Furthermore, since it retains its predecessor’s chronograph functions, it is still the most water-resistant mechanical diving chronograph watch ever produced.
The watch was, of course, tested underwater when it was introduced, but no human being can reach those kind of depths without a hull around him. That’s were Ahmed Gabr comes into play. The Egyptian diver (and former Special Forces member) recently broke a scuba diving world record in Dahab: as of September 18, 2014, Gabr holds the record for the deepest saltwater scuba dive, at 332.35 meters. As you might have expected, he was wearing a CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet watch during this dive. The record-setting descent demonstrates the difference between what’s possible to engineer in a watch and what the actual human limits of scuba diving are. Gabr’s dive lasted 13 hours and 15 minutes and required 92 pressure air tanks.
This article was originally published on October 8, 2014
5, and has been updated.