OceanicTime Archives

2021-09-17

DELMA Shell Star DECOMPRESSION TIMER

Good old fashioned maths and physics meets rugged modernity! 

DELMA gives its longest serving diver’s model, the iconic Shell Star a new decompression feature thanks to some old world maths and physics. 

Yes, the functionality of the new Shell Star Decompression Timer is based on research of Swiss diving, pioneers Hannes Keller and Albert Bühlmann from 1950s and 60s.

Both were former students of the University of Zurich; their combined expertise in mathematics, physics and diving drove them to conduct groundbreaking research in the field of diving. 

Recognizing the impact of altitude on decompression, they co-developed tables with specific gas mixtures for different elevations.

Bühlmann focused on identifying the correct combination of gases while Keller carried out experimental dives in order to test their theories. 

The resulting tables enabled safe decent at sea level as well as in mountainous terrain and were even adopted by the Swiss military in 1972.

Even today, they are considered to be the most intuitive of their kind, uniquely taking into account the need for multiple decompression stops for deeper and longer dives. 

The Delma Shell Star Decompression Timer is optimized for diving with air breathing at 0-700 meters above sea level. The diver uses the unidirectional bezel to time his dive.

The vertical scale on the dial at 12 o‘clock corresponds to their dive depth in meters or feet. 

It enables the diver to clearly see if their dive is within the no-decompression limit (NDL) where no decompression is required or whether decompression stops are necessary.

The NDL time is reflected by the white markings on the rings, while the amount of decompression stops and their duration are shown by the numbers. Unlike other comparable timepieces, DELMA’s Shell Star Decompression Timer utilizes Keller and Bühlmann’s research to clearly display when multiple decompression stops are needed for dives at sea level and beyond.

In keeping with its technical diving functionality, the Decompression Timer features a helium escape valve and a water resistance to 500 m / 1650 ft. 

It is offered with a black, blue or orange unidirectional bezel with either a stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap.

All models are automatic and contain a SW200 movement with date and DELMA customized rotor. Key historical characteristics include a spade central seconds hand, the railway track and orange and white indexes.

The stainless steel case is sealed with a transparent case back revealing the intricate movement. Durability and strength have always been essential to the Shell Star and this new release is faithful to the collection. 

The bold decompression timer functionality completes a unique diving tool worthy of attention.

Thoughts? There are a couple of these decompression diver’s watches with their throwback timing tables; MIDO, CW and now this. But of the three, the new Shell Star Decompression Timer would appear to have the better diving credentials thanks to its rugged build. 

I prefer a more toolish watch, so it would be my choice of the three and I’d take the blue dial with blue rubber, but how about you? CW (which is sold out anyway) MIDO or this new DELMA?

 https://www.delma.ch/

MIDO Ocean Star DECOMPRESSION Timer 1961 Limited Edition [NEW BLUE]

Dive into a world of color! Okay that was a bit of clichéd opener. How ‘bout; life is like a decompression stop; you never know what you’re gonna’ get. Well, hopefully not the bends anyway. Introducing MIDO’s new Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 Limited Edition watch with its new turquoise / teal blue bezel and shimmering silver dial. The Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 is a modern reproduction of the once popular 1960s MIDO model, the Ocean Star Skin Diver Watch that first debuted, exactly 60yrs ago. Remaining one of the Swiss brand’s most sought-after original timepieces to date, the Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 already offered a kaleidoscopic array of color owed to an old school diver’s decompression chart displayed on its dial. Now two further shades have been thrown into the mix; a new silver dial background plus a striking new turquoise / teal blue diver’s bezel – and if you require a further blast of blue, there’s also a new blue strap option available. Back in the early days of diving, watches like this served as vital diving instruments thanks to the multicolored display of decompression stops on their dials. Although modern diver’s use advanced dive computers to assist them with their decompression stops – tables printed on the dials, case-backs and even straps of their watches serve as a handy backup. While the Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 alludes to a bygone era, it makes use of current watchmaking technologies to revive those, sort after vintage design codes. For example its rotating bezel with countdown timer and a colored table sits beneath an old school glass-box-style glass made from modern Sapphire crystal while a Milanese shark mesh bracelet is has been machined from modern steel. In addition the watch is equipped with MIDO’s Caliber 80, which offers a power-reserve of up to 80 hours. Each model comes with three easily interchangeable strap options. A Limited Edition of 1961 pieces, the new MIDO Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961 LE ref. M026.807.11.031.00 will be available from November 1st with an MSRP of 1’250USD. Thoughts? This is such pretty watch with its use of softer tones as seen in the silver of its dial and blue bezel;

especially when compared to the 2020 model with its black bezel and dial, but which do you prefer; new blue or original BLACK?

 

2021-09-14

Ikepod SEAPOD [UFO WATCH]

Here’s a blast from the past, the Ikepod brand is back! 

I must admit I had not noticed the brand’s comings and goings over the decades; mainly because they were only ever known for the one diver’s model, the Seaslug from 1994 (image very bottom courtesy of Antiquorum).

This was a couple of years before I even got into watches, but for some reason I do recall it (the Seaslug that is); perhaps I came across it on my many Google explorations. 

Anyway, skip forward some 27 years and we’re all a **** of lot older and Ikepod is making its second foray into the diver’s watch segment, but have they done any better or worse?

Designed by Fabrice Gonet, the new Seapod adopts the lesser-known flying saucer shape from the 1960s and 70s. Actually; Aquastar, Jenny, Memosail, Philip Watch (Jenny), Richard (Jean Richard), Seiko, Tissot all had models with funky UFO-shaped cases. 

There was an even earlier watch – perhaps the first ever flying saucer-shaped wristwatch, a 1950s Rolex, the ref. 9083, nicked the ‘UFO’ – although it wasn’t a sports / dive watch like those mentioned above.

So there was once a tradition of adopting such an odd shape for a dive watch, an odd shape that would in fact resist pressure a whole lot better than any watch with flat case sides, btw, but that’s another story. 

The new Seapod’s saucer-shaped case has been made from Stainless and measures 46mm in diameter with a water-resistance of 200 meters. 

Diver’s features include: a screw-down crown and case-back, a diver’s bezel with elapsed time scale and a sapphire glass.

There are three Seapod variants each of them has their own distinct look: the S001 Zale has a brushed steel case with a matte black dial and contrasting orange hands and indexes, 

the S002 Jacques is also in brushed steel with a black dial but has vivid blue hands, markers and matching rubber strap, the S003 François has a black PVD case, white hands and markers.

There are no prices for guessing that the ‘Jacques’ model is named after the French naval officer, explorer and underwater filmmaker who co-developed the Aqua-Lung, pioneered marine conservation and was a member of the Académie Française – 

Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the man the legend may he rest in peace.

So, how about the ‘Zale’ variant? I couldn’t find anything on the Ikepod website, but assume it’s a tribute to Zale Parry who is known for her films, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964), Sea Hunt (1958) and Underwater Warrior (1958). 

In the 1950s when recreational diving was first emerging she was a pioneer as well as the beautiful face of the sport. She is alive and well aged 88.

The muse for the François version was a bit of a head scratcher. I first thought it was François Dorado, another underwater photographer from the golden age of scuba diving and a member of Cousteau's team for many years. 

But then I saw this on the François product page “Forever in the world of silence for François de R, a Seapod in his name like a tribute.” 

This led me to François de Roubaix, a French film score composer who tragically died in a diving accident in 1975. This version honors his memory.

Meanwhile, I'm not sure how they arrived at this conclusion but someone from Highsnobity pegged the former Canadian Olympic high diver, François Imbeau-Dulac as the ‘François’ that the black PVD Seapod was named after. C’mon, dude! 

I digress, I have another quote from the Ikepod website taken from the top of their homepage which says;” We are a Swiss design brand.” 

This is perhaps a reminder that while Ikepod boast Swiss designs, it doesn’t mean that they actually make ‘Swiss made’ watches?

So it is no surprise that the new Seapods are Japanese powered via Miyota 9039 automatic movements. 

The 9039 caliber is hacking and was purpose built as a ‘no date’ movement so not stripped of this function; it never had it in the first place. 

The 24 jewels caliber has a beat-rate of 28.800vph (4Hz frequency) as well as a power-reserve of 42hrs and a sweep seconds hand.

All three versions have domed sandwich construction dials with 3D applied dots (blue/orange/white) – luminous back-plate – minute flange – hour and minute hand with luminous insert – non-luminous seconds hand – and Ikepod Seapod printed on them. 

On the reverse of the Seapod is a mineral exhibition case-back so that you can view the 9039 with its IKEPOD custom rotor.

The watches come on silicone divers’ straps but there is an 290 CHF optional Stainless steel link bracket. 

MSRP is 1,450.00 CHF (blue or orange) or 1,550 CHF (black PVD). Deliveries will be made after September 20th.

Thoughts? I like these flying-saucer shaped watches but I am patiently waiting for Aquastar to re-release theirs, please. 

I also appreciate the subtle references to those great names from the past although by today’s standards these watches aren’t even ISO-certified so I’m not if J-YC (if he were alive today) would even consider a new Seapod for diving.

I mean that bezel could do with a bit of grip on it and that seconds hand needs some lume on it, too. Imo I think the Seaslug looked better plus it had grip on its bezel. 

And now for the big fat elephant in the room – the pricing on these is bordering on daylight robbery; I mean 1’450 Swiss francs for a Japanese movement and mineral back seems a bit askew to me, no? 

But what do you think? Let me know in the comments.

2021-09-13

TAG HEUER Aquaracer Professional 300 NIGHT DIVER [80s kid]

How do you catch a polar bear? Cut a hole in the ice and put peas around it. When the bear goes to take a pea; you kick him straight in the ice-hole!

Yeah, I know don’t give up the day job but I couldn’t help myself; anyway whilst we’re on the subject of ice-holes; 

they can get quite dark inside which is why it isn’t the worst idea to equip yourself with a watch that has a full-lume dial; like say, this new Night Diver from TAG!

And speaking of the 1980s (yeah we were, remember, a few days back?) are you guys ready for yet another 80s revival watch?

The TAG Heuer enthusiast’s among may or may not remember the Night Diver, name which was first introduced in the mid-1980s – well its back! 

Actually I don’t remember it, as I was still in short trousers, but as an 80s kid, this watch still has my attention.

Today TAG Heuer has resurrected the Night Diver name and bestowed it upon a new variant of their latest Aquaracer Professional 300 series of which the TRIBUTE TO REF. 844 watch also belongs.

In full, this is the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Night Diver Caliber 5 Automatic, recently released along with a couple of other new models from the same series. This was the coolest of the three, so here it is.

The Stainless-steel case, bezel, crown, case-back and clasp of this standout model have all been coated in matt black diamond-like carbon AKA DLC, while its bezel insert is in black ceramic. 

The Night Diver’s other signature feature is its fully luminescent dial, which has been coated with green Super-LumiNova for that full glow-in-the-dark effect.

And to ensure ultimate legibility in extreme low-light conditions, the watch’s minute and central seconds hands have been filled with blue glowing lume to contrast with the green of the dial. 

Meanwhile the hour hand and octagonal hours at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock are also filled with green lume while the remaining octagonal hour markers are all framed with black lacquer.

The triangle on the unidirectional rotating bezel at 12, a crucial feature used to accurately and safely measure dive-time, has also been filled with striking blue lume to match the blue of the minute and central seconds hands. Each of the three new Aquaracer Professional 300 references also come equipped with a beautifully engineered integrated rubber strap equipped with TAG Heuer’s newly developed adjustable clasp system. These straps will be cut to length as part of a fitting process at a TAG Heuer boutique or by an authorized dealer. The wearer will then have the freedom to adjust their strap to accommodate a wetsuit. The fine-tuning system developed by TAG Heuer’s engineers means this adjustment can be made to extremely small tolerances. This is done by pinching and sliding the button on the side of the clasp. The clasp also features double safety push-buttons that prevent it from being unlocked by accident. As the watch full name implies, the Night Diver is powered by TAG’s Cal. 5 automatic movement. Thoughts? I must admit I have been more enamored of TAG Heuer’s recent diver’s watch forays than I have been in a good decade or two.

Both the Aquarcer BAMFORD and the aforementioned TRIBUTE TO REF. 844 watches were well received - even by me (who is no Aquaracer fanboy) as I am sure this will be. 

Btw those were LEs, whereas this is a regular production model, so you’ll actually be able to get one. Now, where was I?

Going back almost a decade there was the Aquagraph which first dropped in 2003? 

It was flawed to say the least. So not exactly one of TAG’s most celebrated of divers but it did have toolish appeal. 

I am not at all hopeful of a 2023 reissue for its 20th b’day but worse things could happen.

However, just one year on from then; 2024 will see the 40th birthday of TAG’s most celebrated diver, the Super Professional 1000m which was produced between 1984 and 2000ish. 

I am literally praying for a re-issue and if done right i.e. 1000m, massive dial markers, same hands and that vault-like bezel; I’ll be all over it like a cheap wet-suit.

Meanwhile we still have the new Night Diver; another good looking 80s baby that is a worthy stand in until (with any luck) the SP 1000m gets a reissue. 

But what do you think; this or the Bell & Ross BR03-92 Diver FULL LUM? I love the B&R but the Night Diver as the edge just because it’s a TAG.

 http://www.tagheuer.com/int-en/home