By TLex It is my pleasure to introduce the 'Altofondale', an ambitious SAT divers watch project put together by a group of fastidious dive watch enthusiasts from the Italian forum 'Professional Divers'. Their goal was to build this dive watch with its beautifully elegant and technical looking aesthetic entirely in Italy and using (except for a Swiss mechanical movement) only Italian parts and suppliers.
All the watch's components: bezel, case, crystal, dial and hands will be
100% Italian made.The case maker is 'Comezzi'. The dials are made by
'Coledan'. The watches will be assembled in Italy with the precision of
the movements adjusted by 'Orologeria Satolli Di Satolli A.
& C. Snc' e la 'Orologeria Fenocchi' . ISO tests for a 'saturation
diver' will be carried out in a laboratory in Rome, the 'Underwater
technology', the straps are provided by a famous Italian rubber strap makers. 'Bonetto Cinturini'.
The engineering of the Altofonadles' case requires that it be suitable for SAT diving, but without having to integrate an HEV (helium escape valve). The team members felt that an HEV wasn't strictly necessary given the slow decompression profiles that are currently adopted in diving bells. However the watch will be adequately sealed making it suitable for Helium rich environment.
One of the ways in which the case will be sealed against Helium, which is a tiny molecule is to use double o-rings on the glass, which will be held in place by the watch's bezel. Every last detail of the watch has been discussed at great length - for example, the original specification of the watch called for a 4mm thick Verlux Sapphire crystal. This has recently been changed to a mineral crystal as it is believed to make a better seal!
The case will be constructed from 316L Stainless steel. It measures 44mm in diameter. The case will be tested to 1000m as per ISO 6425 regulations in their laboratory in Italy, where its Helium integrity will also be put to the test. Only a number of dive watch manufactures such as Citizen, Seiko, Orient or Luminox etc. state ISO 6425, in Italy there are even fewer. It seems that this will be the first or among the first to have this certificate.
One of the Altofondale's unique features is the 'GAS BREAKS COUNT-UP' calculator as indicated by the said text on the bezel insert, ingeniously engineered by the team's divers. This might be a bit of an awkward explanation, but here we go -
when the length of the decompression stop is greater than + or - 20
minutes, breaks using a gas mixture are provided in place of a mixture
with a high concentration of oxygen - generally, by using gas with a
lower oxygen content. These gas-breaks are cycles of pure oxygen
released for a length of 16mins. with a break of 6mins. with the gas
mixture to cover the whole length of the stop. This the insert will
count its usage.
ROV The Altofondale will be strapped to one of the manipulator arms of an ROV and taken down to the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea to a depth of 1600m. The first stage of the ROV dive will be to 1000m for 1/2 an hour, then to 1250m as per the ISO depth rating test stipulations, and then to the bottom. Everything will be filmed and recorded in the ROV's black box.
At the moment the project consists of only 20 pieces, of which all have
been sold to the the forum members, but they are thinking of producing
more pieces if there is enough interest in the project. Interested parties should contact, FABIO.
Follow the Altofondale's progress HERE . . .