SDW Hyperbar: Water Resistant to a Depth of 39,600 Feet
I like weird watches. A watch that has some sort of extreme feature or function that sets it apart from the rest is fun. But, in the ever proliferating interest manufacturers have in giving their timepieces unique complications, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find a watch that is truly one-of-a-kind. Thankfully, a company in Zürich, Switzerland called Chronotime AG makes the SDW Hyperbar.
The Hyperbar isn’t an extraordinarily precise mechanical watch like the Tag Heuer Mikrogirder. It doesn’t have a multi-axis tourbillon like the Jaeger LeCoultre Duometre Spherotourbillon. Hell, it has no extraordinary timekeeping features at all.
|SDW Hyperbar Blue Orada by Chronotime AG|
What makes the SDW Hyperbar special is it’s waterproofing. Your average Casio G-Shock and basic dive watches are water resistant to a depth of about 200 meters. That’s the bare minimum for a dive watch. The Omega Seamaster 300 M is good down to 300 meters. Breitling makes the Superocean Chronograph M2000 which will see you to a depth of 2000 meters. At that point, the pressure would crush your head to about the size of a sugar cube.
Chronotime AG decided that none of that was sufficient. Yes, those watches would get you down to pretty much any depth to which you would want to dive. But, what if you wanted to strap a watch to the side of James Cameron’s Challenger Deep and take it to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s oceans at 35,800 feet, and dig a hole another 3,800 feet down? What watch would you use then, huh?
Well, there is only one watch up for the task, and that is the Chronotime AG SDW Hyperbar. Thanks to testing by the Swiss Association for Technical Inspections, the Hyperbar owns the world records for pressure testing to a depth of 39,600 feet or 12,000 meters (Test Report #114’937/1). That’s just under 1,200 times the mean atmospheric pressure at sea level, kids. Watches don’t get more extreme than that.
If you look at the watch, you might notice a small bubble under the crystal at the 10 o’clock position. That’s the key to achieving such a depth rating. The movement, dial, hands and everything inside the watch’s case is filled with an inert oil based fluid. Like water, that fluid cannot be compressed, giving the watch perfect protection under extreme pressures. While the movement and hands are free to move within the fluid, from a pressure standpoint, the entire watch might as well be as solid as a diamond. It’s nearly crush-proof.
Ah, but what about the bubble, you might ask. Wouldn’t that offer a crush point? The answer is no. The bubble is there intentionally to offer an expansion point. While it can’t be compressed, the fluid is subject expansion and contraction due to temperature changes. Cool, huh?
Anyway, this is by far to most unique and extreme dive watch out there. Unfortunately, while the various Hyperbar models are fairly affordable (about $200 to $500), it’s rather hard to find. Chronotime AG has no retailers or service centers in North America. I had to have one of my Hyperbars serviced, and I needed to go through the main office in Zürich (Chronotime.info). Hard to find or not, it’s still a great addition to any watch collection.
SDW Hyperbar Technical Specifications
For the true watch geeks out there, below are the tech specs of the SDW Hyperbar Blue Orada pictured.
- Model: SDW Hyperbar Blue Orada
- Movement: Swiss ETA 955.114
- Functions: Hours, Minutes, Sweep Seconds & Date
- Depth Rating: 39,600 feet / 12,000 meters
- Glass: 1.8 mm Mineral
- Case: Stainless Steel
- Bracelet: Stainless Steel
- Bezel: Unidirectional
- Illumination: SuperLuminova
- Crown: 2 O-Ring Screwdown
- Size: 40 mm
- World Record Test Report Number: SATI 114’937/1
- Patent: CH686989B5