The Patravi Scubatec from Carl F. Bucherer is one of those rare dive watches that manages to enjoy a wholly original set of design language without being kitschy. And yet, it’s likely because of this concerted originality that it’s all too frequently left out of any conversation when it comes to naming the best dive watches in the game from brands that don’t rhyme with “Rolex” or “Omega.” But as we’ve reported time and again, on past versions of the Scubatec, it remains an impressive piece of kit that’s sharply tailored toward those who might be suffering from a little Seamaster or Submariner burnout. New for 2021, CFB continues its longstanding support of the Manta Trust with a bright new wave-dialed Patravi Scubatec that kicks back a little support for the threatened habitats of the majestic giant manta ray in its home waters of the Maldives.
It’s quite a shame that the final installment of the Rambo franchise ended up being a bit of a stinker, as anyone who endured the film would have caught a super-cool blacked-out titanium Scubatec on the wrist of Sylvester Stallone — a watch that Stallone himself was rumored to have helped develop for this particular role. And for a guy who’s worn everything from Panerai to Richard Mille in his many exploits as a larger-than-life action hero, the Scubatec fit right in. Nicknamed “Black Manta,” that particular edition adhered to the same philanthropic theme in what’s turning into quite a neat series of watches all built around helping save the threatened manta ray around the world. We helped launch one of the earlier versions in the series, which you’ll note bears quite a large manta ray motif splashed across the dial – a design choice that, neat as it may be, certainly isn’t for everyone.
When it comes to conservation or collaboration in the watch space, paying tribute to the theme behind the watch is often all about treading a very fine line. I get the sense that CFB, after its first few outings with manta-themed conservation watches, finally opted to err on the side of a more implicit partnership – and this particular reference benefits greatly from this design choice. Gone are those interesting but divisive manta silhouettes on the shutter dial of past editions, replaced by an extremely cool wave pattern dial that communicates the ocean’s rhythmic patterns and color without deploying many of the familiar clichés seen in similarly themed dive watches. Further, the gentle curves of the wave pattern are a nice, organic match to the rounded hour markers that have characterized the Scubatec since its inception.
The case is still a generous 45mm, and it’s still water-resistant to 500 meters — measurements that add up to a very assertive presence on the wrist but one that we’ve reported shouldn’t overwhelm most wearers. Think of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, which strikes a comparable footprint and also ends up being far more wearable than one might expect. There’s an automatic helium release valve in the caseband at 9 o’clock — and regardless of how you feel about the feature (here’s how we feel about this feature), it does signal that all the “serious dive watch” features are present and accounted for here.
Brand: Carl F. Bucherer
Model: Patravi Scubatec Maldives (ref. 00.10632.23.53.02)
Dimensions: 45mm x 13.5mm tall
Water Resistance: 500 meters
Case Material: Stainless steel with ceramic bezel insert
Movement: CFB 1950.1 (hours, minutes, date, seconds, Chronometer certified)
Power Reserve: 38 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Recycled PET nylon with rubber backing and pin buckle
Price & Availability: $6,200 USD, available Summer 2021