Dive Watch Releases / Articles

2017-08-23

ZRC Grands Fonds 300 [Underwater Ops TEST]

The ZRC GF 300 has recently undergone a series of operational tests with the French Navy Mine Clearance Group on June the 20th and 21st 2017 when it was put through its paces.



ZRC was commissioned by the Mine Clearance Group of the Mediterranean Sea to test the ZRC Grands Fonds 300 diver’s watch under real live operational conditions.



The French Navy choose to dive on the famous ship wreck the, ARIANE, a former French Naval submarine sunk in the Saint-Mandrier CAP.



Thanks to the Commander in Chief of the Dive School, ZRC were able to organize a comprehensive test on the wreck of sunken submarine while checking the operational quality of the ZRC GF300 under water.



Accompanied by 2 French Navy Mine Clearance Divers from the GPD, ZRC engineers dove for more than an hour on the wreck running various tests on their ZRC diver’s watches.


Areas such as: bezel control, luminescence capacity, and readability were among those that were scrutinized by the team. As you might expect, the GF 300 sailed through, passing all the tests.



On 21st the watch was officially introduced to the crewmen of the Mine Clearance Group as well as the Combat Divers who commissioned a Limited Edition production series of the GF 300 due for release in May 2018.



Here’s a little about the Arian which was built in Cherbourg in 1955. It was officially launched the 12th Sept 1958 with a hull N° Q240.



It went operational on 27th of March 1959 and remained in service until the 26th of March 1981 and was subsequently disarmed on 1st of April 1961 after sailing 161 000 nautical miles and diving for some 29, 500 hours.



In 1985 after having been cleaned from all pollutants it was sunk close to the Saint-Mandrier Cap at a depth of 33 meters after a depth charge test.



Photographic credit: Emmanuel DONFUT – BALAO.

http://www.zrc.fr/

2017-08-22

KAVENTSMANN Hadal II Bronze 12000M in-DEPTH

INTRO This is the Hadal II Bronze 12000M - it does two things: it tells the time and is water-resistant to an almost incomprehensible depth.

It hasn't been finessed by magical elves from velvety soft pigs ears, rather it has been hewn from a solid block of bronze alloy by a maverick watchmaker whose name, Kaventsmann means, rogue wave.

If you wear your jeans with a neatly ironed crease down the center of the leg, if you test the accuracy of watches with an atomic clock or if you drive an under-powered polar bear friendly car like a Prius - this watch probably isn't for you. ;)



BACKGROUND Based in his workshop in Eastern Germany, Michael Fernández, the man behind the Kaventsmann brand has been hand-machining extreme divers watches for a six short years.  He has now partnered with Immelmann, a dial maker from his home province in Eastern Germany. The Hadal II Bronze 12000M is their latest project, a first in its class as it is the highest water-resistant rated bronze diver ''in the world'' (insert Jeremy Clarkson's voice).



DIAL What better way of complementing the Hadal II’s case which is made from bronze, one of the most ancient engineering materials, than teaming it with carbon fiber, one of the most modern currently being used in watchmaking. For this reason alone my version of the Hadal II Bronze has been fitted with a dark matte black carbon fiber dial with a beautiful lattice work.

The dial has hand-painted luminous orange hour markers with Arabic numerals at 12 and 6 o'clock, inwardly pointing arrow-heads at 3 and 9, and batons everywhere else. The dial has been secured by two large screws at 3 and 9. For reference other dial versions are available.



HANDS A large set of solid Titanium hands also with orange lume and a simple red-needle seconds indicator provide excellent legibility while creating a sense drama befitting such an extreme timepiece. This is a very basic setup, no branding, no text - so pure and simple. Perhaps a 12000M painted in orange would have finished it off perfectly. 



CASE The Hadal II Bronze has an imposing 49mm (excluding lugs) in diameter by 25mm (excluding crystal) thick Bronze Alloy case.

This has been beautifully crafted to include a number of lovely aesthetic features. Firstly at 10 o'clock on the case is a large sculpted crown-guard which has been designed to work in conjunction with the adapted (carved out) top left lug to protect the watch’s massive crown.

Then proudly wrapping itself around the crystal is Kaventsmann’s signature fixed bezel. Finally if you look at the sides of the lugs, you'll notice these have recessed areas which are more for looks than function.



CASE-BACK The Hadal II Bronze 12000M has a solid Stainless steel case-back cover. This man-hole-cover-like caseback has been secured with eight giant hex-screws. Michael kindly engraved the OceanicTime logo across its center for me. At the top is the Kaventsmann logo, at the bottom the Hadal II name just beneath that, a reminder of just how deep this watch is good for, 1200 bar / 12000M.



CROWN The Hadal II Bronze 12000M is fitted with a truly massive crown. This has been made from solid Bronze Alloy like the case and has crosshatching around its end to allow for a better grip. The crown is lovely and solid - it's a pleasure to use. It's a pity that it doesn't sink into the side of the case ever so slightly.



However it is well protected between the guard and the top lug. Because the face of the crown is so large - it would have been cool to see some small engraving across it. Perhaps a K for Kaventsmann or the watch's serial number.



CRYSTAL The Hadal II Bronze 12000M has been equipped with a 12 - 15mm thick tempered Plexiglas Acrylic crystal. The crystal understandably protrudes high above the bezel becoming a focal point especially when viewed from the sides.

Considering that the crystal is domed there is next to no dial distortion. Kaventsmann don't use Sapphire crystals, this is just how they do things. God knows this isn't some everyday wearer so the use of Plexiglas doesn't really bother me in the least. I can understand that some guys might think Sapphire would be better.



WATER-RESISTANCE The Hadal II Bronze is the deepest diving bronze mechanical wristwatch. It was tested by the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany to 1200 bars of pressure the equivalent of 12000 meters of water-resistance.



The Hadal II Bronze was subjected to 7 high pressure submersions. It spent more than 30 minutes at 1200 bar. Currently only 2 other watches have an equivalent depth-rating, the experimental Rolex DEEPSEA Challenge watch and VDB’s P1070.



MOVEMENT The Kaventsmann Hadal II Bronze 12000M is powered by a reliable Swiss Made ETA 2824 automatic mechanical movement. The movement has never been the star of a Kaventsmann timepiece - it does a job, plain and simple and the 2824 is arguably the best Swiss movement at its price point.



STRAP & BUCKLE I have my Hadal II Bronze on a handmade Italian sharkskin strap with red contrasting stitching from Ennebi of Italy. I have put this together with a massive Pre-Vendome style buckle from Helberg. The red stitching echoes the red seconds needle while the buckle is a perfect fit for the case. How you configure yours is entirely up to you.



WORN This ain't no everyday beater. It hasn’t been designed to slide under a shirt cuff or even strap over a wet-suit. It’s a bronze diving bell for your wrist. The good news is - that it is actually wearable in so much as you can get on your wrist and go about your daily business.

How long you choose to keep up there is down to your own personal comfort levels or how long it takes you before for you bang it on something. Women gladly suffer uncomfortable shoes in the name of fashion so there's no reason a real man couldn't wear this all day long if he so desired.



BUILD It all started with the Bathyal Bronze which I was lucky enough to own #0 of, Kaventsmann's very first production piece. The watch was a stunning to look at, it was absolutely bullet-proof if not a little crude and unfinished with a wonky crown system and a few rough edges and protruding screws. Let's say, a little more monster garage than I was used to putting on my wrist. 



Over the past 6 years, Michael has honed his watch-crafting skills, upped his game and gained much experience in manufacturing which shines through in the build of the Hadal II Bronze which is in a different league compared to Bathyal Bronze. It has been beautifully sculpted and given a lovely smooth finish. The hands and dial are absolutely stunning, too. They have beautiful artisanal quality to them that is tough to find at its price-point.The watch is bomb-proof!



PRICE The Hadal II Bronze (if you are lucky enough to be able to acquire one, will set you back 7500euro. That isn’t cheap, but it's a lot of watch. When compared to VDB’s 12000euro P 1070, it suddenly looks like the bargain of century.



On the plus side Kaventsmann timepieces are extremely exclusive. Once a design has gone out, it is rarely revisited which means if you are after a Kaventsmann you might have to resort to the secondary market. This particular one isn't for sale, sorry. But you could either contact Kaventsmann directly or their authorized dealer in the USA, Carl of Militare Watch.



FINAL THOUGHTS There are deep divers and there's the Hadal II Bronze 12000M. It does exactly what it says it does on the tin. Although it is going to be an acquired taste for some, and at the very least questionable for others, it is an exciting piece of engineering that can (at a stretch) be worn on your wrist. It is quite simply put, the deepest diving piece of bronze horology, ever.     


©OceanicTime

It would be unfair, perhaps bordering on ridiculous to try and compare the Hadal II Bronze with your average dive watch. It has been created for a niche within a niche within a niche - for a few people who are awestruck by a watch that has the ability to lie on the sandy bed of the ocean floor 12000 meters down and continue to operate despite the enormous pressure. You mightn't understand, you probably won't buy it but you have to admire it.   

http://www.kaventsmann-uhren.de/