Society has a way of distinguishing the average Joe from the A-listers; for instance, you cannot attend certain social gatherings unless you have been personally invited. In marketing, this distinction has been observed in the world of watches through Watches & Wonders, formerly known as Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH). Watches & Wonders is an annual invite-only trade show hosted by Richemont Group and several luxurious brands. As the name implies, it wows its invitees every year, and in 2014, one of the surprises was the debut of Cartier Diver's watches. Let's tell you more about the Calibre de Cartier Diver, the watch that went down in history as the first true dive watch that Cartier ever made.
Made to Conform to ISO Standard for Dive Watches
Cartier unveiled the first true dive watch before the SIHH in 2013. The watch was made based on the Calibre de Cartier version, with the main difference being the unidirectional form, an essential criterion in meeting the ISO 6425 standard. The bezel qualifies the timepiece to be a dive watch because it can turn in one direction and is self-lubricating. These features are facilitated by the ADLC (amorphous diamond-like coating) on both the inside and outside. Like the Calibre de Cartier, the diver's watch has an in-house movement, the calibre 1904 MC. It was the first true in-house Cartier movement and paid tribute to the year Cartier first introduced the wristwatch to the market. It has a 48-hour reserve, uses a bi-directional winding system, has hacking seconds, beats at 4Hz, and uses two barrels that enhance consistent power delivery. Reliability is further enhanced by the screw-down crown connected to a tube whose threads are in the tube. Such a system is also ideal for a time-setting mechanism. According to Hodinkee, although unveiled in 2013, the watch was made available in 2014. It came in three color options: stainless steel, two-tone, and pink gold. When announced, the pricing information was not clear, but it was disclosed that they would be priced competitively with similar watches. The steel watch later went on the market for $9,450, while the pink rose was priced at $11,900.
Understanding the ISO 6425 Standards Tests
For the Calibre de Cartier diver's watch to be a dive watch, it had to pass rigorous testing that mostly includes the ISO 6425 standards. Some of the tests are the thermal shock test, water-resistance test, chemical resistance, salty water test and magnetic resistance. Here are a few of them, detailing how each is carried out to make sure a watch has qualified to be a dive watch.
According to Palisade Jewelers, the shock test involves placing the watch on support while a plastic club is released from a height of one meter to hit the timepiece on its side. It is then hit on its face with force equivalent to that of a golf swing. The watch has to keep the time with an allowance of +/- 60 seconds per day after testing.
Water Resistance at Overpressure Test
This test has to be done on each watch that wants to be ISO 6425 certified, not on a particular batch sample. It guarantees any diver that the watch can perform normally after being subjected to 25% more than the rated depth pressure. For instance, if your watch is rated 250 m, it should work smoothly after being exposed to 275 m.
Salty Water Test
The Calibre de Cartier Diver's watch also undergoes the salty water test. The watch is submerged for 24 hours in a saline solution made up of 30 grams of salt for every liter of water at room temperature. Usually, salty water is deadly to a watch's movement; therefore, after the immersion, the watch is tested for oxidation or other harmful changes. If there are none and the watch functions properly, it has passed the test.
What Qualifies a Watch to be A Dive Watch?
According to Watch Time, the Illustrated Professional Dictionary of Horology describes a dive watch as one that has satisfied all requirements of the ISO 6425 standard and can withstand an immersion of 100 m. The article describes in detail the different tests that the watch has to satisfy for the ISO 6425 standard. However, with such a description of a dive watch, it would imply that there were no dive watches manufactured before the ISO standard came into effect, which is not the case. Dive watches have existed for decades with the very first modern dive watch being unveiled in 1953. The waterproof depth has changed over the years, but 100 m has remained ideal for determining a good dive watch. Most of the properties, including testing for waterproofness and legibility underwater, remained the same. Therefore, it made sense to have standards that dive watches would have to meet to qualify. Therefore, if you buy a pre-owned dive watch manufactured before 1996, it will lack the ISO standard certification, but it still fits the bill. However, you should note that it is still important for a watch to undergo ISO testing for it to be allowed to include "Diver" on its dials. It is up to the brand to ensure this happens, and ISO is not responsible for this; hence any brand that boasts ISO has tested the watch is lying. Usually, the brand should perform the necessary tests in-house or engage a third party, which would be more credible since in-house testing seems to be biased. Even if a watch passes the diver watch test, it does not have to include "diver" on its dial. However, you can easily recognize a dive watch from one physical trait; the rotating timing bezel that shows a diver how long they have been underwater, without which accidents would occur.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker