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CX Swiss Military 20'000 feet (Full Story)

For those of you who don't know this watch, here's the background:

In 2005 CX Swiss Military Watch broke the world record for the mechanical wristwatch with the highest depth rating, with a rating of 12'000 feet or 3657 meters. A record of 10908 meters had been achieved by Rolex's Deep Sea Special prototype, and don't ask me why but, it didn't count, probably because, as I mentioned before it was a prototype and never went into production.

Prior to the CX Swiss Military 12'000 feet, the previous record of 3000m was held jointly by; Girard-Perregaux's Seahawk II Pro, UTS München's 3000m and the Breitling Avenger Seawolf. All three great dive watches, although I am yet to own the UTS, I do have an SHII Pro or two and an Avenger Seawolf in my collection.

In 2008 Rolex's Seadweller DEEPSEA was released with a 3900m rating. Incidentally Rolex consulted with COMEX (who have a long running history with Rolex dating back to the late 1960's) during the DEEPSEA's development and in fact it was pressure tested to well over 4000 meters, but due to the number '4' being an inauspicious number in Asia (Rolex's biggest market), 3900m was put on the dial in place of 4000m. In my opinion the DEEPSEA is an incredible watch and for me is the pinnacle of Rolex's dive watch endeavors and a watch I shall never let go from my collection.

The other contender is the yet to be released PITA Oceana with its 5000m rating, but that’s another story that I shall go into at a later date!

Back to the 20'000 feet, there's no doubt about it, this is an incredible feat of engineering and on that basis alone makes this a dive watch of considerable note. The watch looks very slick and modern considering it's size. The use of titanium came as no surprise to me as it greatly helps to reduce weight, but the carbon fiber dial was a surprise and is a nice sporty touch.

However, I can't help but wonder if the 20'000 feet would have benefited from larger hands. That would, in my humble opinion have kept the watch more in line with it being the tool diver that it is.

And also, if a non-chronograph movement had been used; would this have lead to a considerable reduction in the case thickness making it more wearable. The case of the 20'000 feet is a whopping 28.5mm thick and as a result would sit up quite high on the wrist.

These are just minor considerations. Personally I would happily live the the hands and the case thickness, fully content in the knowledge that I own the world's deepest mechanical diver! Something that appeals to me and something that I would marvel at every time I looked down upon the 46mm X 28.5mm chunk of titanium and 10mm thick sapphire crystal that adorned my wrist. I have issues, no doubt!

Below is the full press release and plenty of hi-res images including some images of the extreme torture testing that the watch went through by means of; shotguns and water cannons amongst others. Enjoy!

From CX Swiss Military Watch:

After winning the world record for water resistance in automatic diving watches in 2005 with their 12'000 FEET by CX Swiss Military Watch™ model Frank M. Bürgin and his team of watchmakers and engineers were contemplating their next move. Only one goal seemed acceptable – not only to beat their own record but also the new world record a competitor had set in 2008 with 3’900 meters of water resistance. The R&D team around Frank M. Bürgin thus decided to annihilate all existing records by constructing the world’s first mechanical timepiece with a water resistance of a staggering 20’000 feet or 6’000 meters – and, again, with a chronograph!

First of all they had to develop a pressure tank capable of producing a pressure of 800bar, the equivalent of a water depth of 8'000 meters. This alone proved to be a sizeable task as worldwide there are only two manufacturers of such manometers!

The team of engineers then started the intricate calculations of the measurements of the new world record holder – there can be no margin for error in a timepiece that has to withstand 750kgs per cm2 of surface area. The absolute reliability of the watch was paramount and no compromise whatsoever allowed – the safety of the diver comes first. After several attempts the virtual prototype finally took shape and prototype production started.

However, technical problems like the connection of the domed, a massive 10mm thick sapphire crystal to the titanium case had to be solved first and it took the dedicated team months to come up with viable solutions. Finally, after several nerve racking setbacks the first prototypes were produced towards the end of 2008 and the series of tests began.

Crown, pushers and safety buckle underwent several static and dynamic pressure tests at
the Dubois laboratory in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland – all tests were passed, the design & the calculations thus confirmed. In a next step the prototypes were sent to the Oceanographic Institute of the University of Southampton, Great Britain. For years this institute has been a reliant R&D partner of CX Swiss Military Watch™; in their pressure tanks they tested the fully functional prototypes for a water resistance of 6’000 meters and certified the positive result as per ISO norm 6425. Several more tests are ongoing at the IFREMER Institute, the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea.

A few weeks’ ago serial production started after all preliminary tests having shown the expected positive results. Montres Charmex SA and their team of engineers and watchmakers thus managed to develop the ULTIMATE DIVING WATCH : the 20‘000 FEET by CX SWISS MILITARY WATCH™, an automatic diving chronograph holding the world record for water resistance, was developed for the serious diver looking for a virtually indestructible timepiece of superb quality, a timepiece the diver can rely on whatever the circumstances may be. A timepiece, made for eternity and the dark abyss of the Deep Sea!

The 20‘000 FEET by CX SWISS MILITARY WATCH™ is manufactured in a limited edition
of 1'000 pieces only.

20'000feet Extreme Torture Testing:

Technical Specifications:

. Chronometer-certified automatic chronograph ETA cal. 7750 Valjoux COSC
. 25 jewels
. 28'800 oscillations/h
. Power reserve 48h
. Etachron regulator system
. Glucydur balance bridge
. Nivaflex mainspring
. Antichoc with Incabloc shock-absorber

. Hour; minute; small second at 9h
. Chronograph with 30 minute counter at 12h, 12 hour counter at 6h, central second counter
. Date at 3h

. Solid titanium case/bracelet, Ø 46.0mm, thickness 28.5mm, weight 265gr total
. X-large crown with side-guards, allowing for diving with thick gloves
. Screw-down crown and pushers
. Red safety marking on pushers (visible when unscrewed)
. Domed, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, thickness 10mm
. Unidirectional rotating bezel, 60 minute graduation, Superluminova™ indices
. Solid titanium bracelet, lug-ends and links screwed
. Solid titanium folding clasp with safety catch and micro-adjustment
. Separate genuine rubber strap & rubber extension strap for dry-suit diving (wrist

circumference up to 35cm)

. Screw-driver
. Screw-down caseback, Limited Edition engraving
. Water-resistant to 7’500 meters (25’000 feet; 6’000 meters or 20’000 FEET &

25% safety
margin as per ISO 6425)
. Helium relief valve
. anti-magnetic ISO 764

. Silver, black carbon, blue or yellow
. Superluminova™ indices
. Counters sunburst decor

. Oversized minute hand
. Superluminova™ coating
. All chronograph hands in red

© CX Swiss Military

As an additional service for its customers Montres Charmex SA signed a contract with the Swiss insurance company HELVETIA to insure the 20’000 FEET by CX Swiss Military Watch™ against theft for the first two years.

● Limited edition of 1'000 watches only
● rrp Switzerland incl. 7.6% VAT CHF 3’995.-
● rrp EU incl. 19% VAT EUR 2‘998.-

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