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CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet Diver Watch Review

CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet Diver Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Deepest diving mechanical watch ever. That is one way to sum up the Swiss Military Watch 20,000 Feet Diver. Built by CX (Montres Charmex) in Switzerland, this has to be one of the greatest "man" watches of the year. I first wrote about the 20,000 Feet Diver watch here. What is stunning about the watch is that it is an incredibly well made and refined, in addition to it being an extremely successful execution of the concept. What does this mean? Well Swiss Military Watches (not to be confused with Swiss Army Watches) wanted to beat their old record of a watch that would survive 12,000 feet underwater. Upping the goal to 20,000 feet this time, the engineers in Switzerland spent copious amount of time planning, building, and testing on the new 20,000 Feet Watch concept until the vision was realized. The 10mm thick sapphire crystal alone can resist pressure of 750kg per square centimeter.

CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet Diver Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Just getting the watch to accomplish the goal of being able to survive that ridiculous amount of pressure and force on the case is impressive enough. I would have been happy and excited about the Guinness world record that the watch has alone, if that was all the watch has - but there is so much more to this watch than just having an impressive record. CX didn't stop at just incredible pressure resistance - oh no. In fact, aside from the incredible dimensions and capacity of the 20,000 Feet Diver, it is also one of the best functioning and made watches that I've had the pleasure of reviewing. Everything about it is refined and smooth in execution. From the quality of the watch and bracelet, to the operation of the features on the watch. Plus, the watch is a dedicated tool above everything else. This is really what people expect when they invest in a Swiss watch, and I am really proud to share it with you.

CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet Diver Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet Diver Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

At first glance the 20,000 Feet Diver is nothing short of a beast. In a massive 46mm titanium case, the watch sits very tall off your wrist at almost 30mm high! Wearing the watch you smile like a kid at the novelty of it. The whole case is essentially designed to be a miniature diving capsule. Looking at it from the side you can see the round case of the watch when focusing on the intensely curved sapphire crystal that is 10mm thick to the curved screw-down caseback on the watch. If you didn't  know better, looking at the watch from the side it would appear to be some Terminator-grade robotic eyeball. Another positive quality is that the case is totally anti-magnetic to protect the movement. There is also an automatic helium release valve on the left side of the case for deeper dives when gas need to escape from the movement to help equality pressure to prevent damaging the movement.

Although the watch case and bracelet is all titanium (very fine quality metal and finish by the way), it is not a "light watch." The titanium is mostly there for strength, but does help the watch be significantly lighter than it would be if it was done in steel. A lot of the weight comes from the sapphire crystal, movement, and case materials. Like I said, the titanium finishing is very nicely done. The grain is smooth, and the brushed finishing is as nice as good steel (I find that a brushed finish is hard to do right on titanium). Everything about the watch is a bit over the top, but that is necessary for the concept to work. It is the horological equivalent of a big custom 4x4 pickup truck. Rhino bars attached, heavy duty tires and wheels installed while the suspension has been lifted, and light are placed all over it. The design of the 20,000 Feet Diver communicates durability as much as its Guinness world record does. All over the watch you see large exposed screws in the bracelet and link ends. The bracelet clasp is chunky and functional, while the bezel is tall and easy to grip, as well as read. It is the first watch that I've gotten that literally makes me want to run head first into danger. I want to jump into the water or out of a plane with this thing on - with no doubts it will survive the journey (even if I don't).

CX has a lot of video that it make while testing the watch. They actually make for good marketing. Aside from the pressure test, CX shot the watch up with a shotgun, ran over it with an industrial truck, blasted it with a fire hose, among other things. They are actually inviting suggestions on new fun ways to test our its Superman like qualities. Suffice it to say that the watch survived it all. See the video located in the review.

While I didn't put the watch through torture tests, I did inspect it carefully with my watch snob eye (often as damaging to the spirit). This includes seeing how comfortable the watch is, operating each of its functions again and again, as well as giving the watch to non watch people and asking them to perform simple tasks. The results left me with a good feeling that CX learned most every lesson it needed to know about good watch making long before it make the 20,000 Feet Diver. The chronograph is a perfect execution of the Valjoux 7750 - meaning the pushers are smooth and precise, while their screw guards are flawless in operation. Winding the watch with the large crown manually was nice, as well as adjusting the time and date. The watch didn't miss a gear. The rotating diver's bezel is one of the best I've ever used. Strict professional grade. A perfect mix of being tight enough, but also being easy to turn. There is no wiggle or give to the bezel, and turning is smooth with 60 satisfying clicks. I do not embellish on any of these points. I've most never seen quality like this - even at this price level.

CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet Diver Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet Diver Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet Diver Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The bezel itself is in black with an inner section without black coating  where there are individual minute markers. Each five minute marker on the bezel is applied with luminant. Going back to the chronograph operation, the pushers have screw down guards for watch resistance. Still, the watch is water resistant to 300 meters even with the guards in the "open" position. When open, there are red bars on the pushers reminding you up this. When the screws are tightened, they move up. and cover the red sections to let you know it is safe to go even deeper than 300 meters. By the way, the grooving around the pushers and screw-down crown are all cut really well, nice and sharp feeling, but not in an uncomfortable way at all. You can see the red colored Swiss Military watch logo engraved into the side of the crown.

CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet Diver Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

As the watch case is so large, the bracelet needs to support it on your wrist and be comfortable. It connects tightly at the curved lugs with a screw bar and gently tapers a bit as you get closer to the fold-over double locking deployment clasp (also in titanium). Literally all bars are screw bars. Only think that it doesn't have is a diver's extension, but I am not sure that it needs one in this case. Swiss Military supplies two natural rubber diving straps with the watch in addition to the titanium bracelet. Why two? Because they come in two sizes. One that is made to go around your wrist, and another that is longer and meant to go around a diving suit. I am pleased that the watch comes with these. Still, this chunky watch is just begging to be paired with its companion metal bracelet when not on serious diving duty.

Speaking of what the watch comes with, the presentation box is extremely impressive. The large case has a lot of paper works. Warranty guide, all sorts of certificates (such as for the depth rating, Guinness world record, and COSC certification). There is also a nicely made instruction manual, tool, and cleaning cloth. I've not seen too many watch presentation or storage boxes this nice. However, it is a big package!

CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet Diver Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

About the Author

Fueled by an unshakable love for horology and a general curiosity for intricate things, Ariel Adams founded aBlogtoWatch in 2007 as a means of sharing his passion. Since then, ABTW has become the highest trafficked blog on luxury timepieces, and Ariel has become a contributor to other online publications such as Forbes, Departures and Tech Crunch, to name just a few. His conversational writing style and inclusive attitude brings a wider appreciation for watches the world over, and that's just the way he likes it.

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Comments

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  • JSP

    These four watches: http://www.watchreport.com/2007/08/extreme-dive-wa.html are actually capable of withstanding water pressure to deeper depths than the Charmex. They are all quartz watches and none of them are chronographs.

  • Ben

    Thorough review as always, Ariel! Not sure if you saw, but we posted an “Unboxing” of the CX 20,000FT watch last week. It allows viewers to see just how many documents, tools, and accessories come with the watch!

    http://www.hodinkee.com/blog/2009/12/18/we-unbox-the-cx-swiss-military-20000ft-watch-a-record-settin.html

  • BIGCHRONO

    If they haven’t, I’d like Watchtime magazine to
    extensively test this watch, especially on the
    timing machine to see how the chronometer specs
    stack up. Other than this, & the fact that other watches surpass its depth rating, this is still
    an outstanding timepiece.

  • CHIRST

    Whilst the 4 watches mentioned on http://www.watchreport.com/2007/08/extreme-dive-wa.html can technically go deeper than the CX20000 they won’t necessarilly work.

    I have a Sinn UX which in which the case is filled with oil to help it resist the pressure. As such whilst it is much smaller than the CX20000 it can go to 40,000+ feet without leaking water. However the quartz crystal in the movement will be destroyed by the internal pressure by about 7,000 feet and so it will be nothing but a paperweight if your actually did this :-(.

    • Thanks a lot for the information. I suspected as such. The 20,000 Feet Diver is still the king! lol.

  • Watch Mark

    Facts are facts, unless you are a lawyer, right?

    The Hydromax was the first watch to make it as deep as the Mariana Trench http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariana_Trenchs. That is about 36,000 feet, so yes it will work at much much deeper depths than the watch here, that is referred to as the “deepest diver ever”.

    The CX is the deepest mechanical diver, the deepest chronograph and the deepest watch that is shaped like a golf ball. LOL

  • Great review, good comments! Allow me to clarify some points: it does not take a lot of R&D to fill a case with oil and does come up with a very high water resistance – but this only works with quartz watches and quartz watches do not qualify as professional divers watches. Why? Because they do not offer the redundancy mechanical watches offer: a) the battery can run flat b) the battery’s performance suffers from very cold temperatures (try diving in Antarctica with the Hydromax or a Sinn and you will see what I mean). Furthermore, while both Hydromax and Sinn offer a very high water resistance the case and especially the crystal will not withstand heavy blows with sharp objects – and working under water your watch will sustain such blows. This is why you do not see professional divers wearing quartz watches. It is a bit like comparing a Land Rover Defender to a Lexus SUV Hybrid…

    • nathan chisholm

      Well too think you would be diving without a dive computer is mad! any pro diver does not go with just a watch, so that put the quartz theory out, even if a quartz watch did stop he would have multiple back ups. (and working under water your watch will sustain such blows. This is why you do not see professional divers wearing quartz watches) i have know idea what this means? this watch has a massive sapphire display thats stronger then any mechanical watch out there! another thing this watch is not quartz its a mechanical watch!

  • Watch Mark

    Well according to my research the deepest a human has ever gone under water, saturation diving, is 2300 feet. In this case, I am sure many watches will work. But considering we are talking about the deepest, not assuming cold and other conditions. Just the deepest, then the CX is not it. You and anyone can say it is the deepest diver in the world, but it is not true and that is a fact.

    Deepest Mechanical YES, Deepest diver NO, facts are facts, you can add in details and qualifications – like it must be able to withstand cold temperatures etc…. But just outright calling it the deepest diver, is outright inaccurate no matter how you look at it.

  • Watch Mark

    The watches you mention may not withstand shotgun blasts, but then again how practical is that. Will your hand withstand a shotgun blast? No, but your watch will be laying there intact, next to your dead body.

    Nice Land Rover analogy too, GTFOH.

  • Here is something many have not picked up on. I know I did not either until now.

    These come with an insurance policy good for 2 years protecting you against the theft of this watch.

    http://watchandclockforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=160&t=5694&p=26011#p26011

    So if you win this and someone were to steal it. Your already insured!

  • hello ariel adams.NICE REVIEW OF CX 20000 FEET WATCH.THE WATCH MANUFACTURER SEEMS TO BE A NO NON-SENSE GUY.REALLY HAPPY THAT SOME MANUFACTURER IS GIVING A GOOD QUALITY PRODUCT TO CUSTOMERS.
    THE WATCH MANUFACTURER ALSO “CHALLENGES” TO ANYONE IF THEY ARE ABLE TO BREAK THIS WATCH HE WILL REWARD THEM A FREE WATCH.

    • Hi Arjun,
      That is a good additional fact about the watches! Thanks.

  • Jim

    Mark,

    You fail to recognize and admit that the 20,0000 feet is the deepest chronograph, PERIOD. Also I find this watch a lot more practical than the watches you mention. I have owned several high end watches that claimed to be “tough” but failed, including my Rolex Submariner which broke in Iraq. In your apparent limited life experience you fail to recognize that the appealing part of the 20,000 feet is the punishment it is capable of withstanding, not so much the depth. In my opinion, the depth is just another measure of the toughness. As a fomer Green Beret in the U.S. Army Special Forces, while I may not have planned to get shot in the wrist, it is nice to know that on parachute jumps, shooting, and operating in extremely harsh enviroments, I know that this watch can take some extremley sharp and hard blows and continue to work. I would not even wear my Submariner on parachute jumps or helocasts due to the clasp always popping open. Also you would be suprised of what the human body can take in regards to gunshot wounds and continue to “drive on”, not just curl up and die next to their watch.

    What kind of jobs do you do Mark to evaulute these watches?

    GTFOH!

    • Jim,
      Thanks for the energized comment. Very good points. Thanks for the comments!

  • Rainal Rais

    I am interested in military swiss watch in Jakarta 20000th … where I can buy it …?

  • Kevin mitchell

    I would just like to say a big thanks,i have just become a distributor for the Charmex & Swiss Military range in Scotland and find your Blogs/videos most helpfull in introducing the brand to some of my corporate customers so keep the great work up and speak soon kevin The Mitchell Watch Company Scotland.:¬)

    • Hi Kevin! My pleasure. Anytime.

  • This post inspired me to buy one Swiss Military Watch. Has been looking for one for quite some time. Thanks! =D

  • Allen

    Excellent review. Wanted this watch for years and finally got the exact one I wanted: Yellow face. Have had 3 Cx’s, 2 argonauts and the 20,000. If you don’t want an expensive hulk of a watch then the Argonaut is excellent and very, very similar. However, exclusivity belongs to the 20K and it does not disappoint. It’s large but extremely wearable and proportionately unobtrusive. It’s my daily wear watch. Nobody here is going even 3,000 ft so the depth of water resistance is a novelty. The look, material and craftsmanship are where this watch excels. You can pay for branding with other watches and still not get a fraction of your money’s worth. The CX 20,000 is another story. You can tell you have purchased a superior watch when you put it on. My watch winder doesn’t keep this wound so I would caution others that you will probably have to make a daily watch or have to manually wind often.

  • asdlkjfasd

    Montres Charmex watches used to be good.  I’ve had several over the years.  But the last two that I’ve bought have had problems.  I don’t know what is up, but their quality is not good as of late.

  • Marrin

    I always say everyone is entitled to like and wear what they want, but this watch makes me laugh 🙂

    Seriously, it looked OK until I saw the side profile 🙂

    Oh my God!!

    It reminded me of a photo I did for WRUW thread at watchuseek

    No offense to anyone as it is just my humble opinion..

  • Wolfgang P

    asdlkjfasd
    Dieses Produkt ist nicht gut, ich hatte sehr viele Probleme
    damit. Auch habe ich gehoert, dass es in Indien produziert wird. Ich rate Ihnen
    dieses Produkt von dieser Firma nicht zu erwerben.

  • notech47

    As a novice in the watch world, it is fascinating to me to read about all of the technology and engineering that goes into watches. It would be nice to have a detailed online file available with the ability to compare complete specifications on every watch reviewed. This particular watch is one that makes an outstanding review so interesting.

  • tommasomoncini

    Welche besonderen Probleme hatten Sie? Haben Sie verkauft Dank?tommasomoncini@gmail.com watsap 00393297431990

  • tommasomoncini

    Hi if you decide to sale or trade it contact me please tommasomoncini@gmail.com watsap 00393297431990 thanks

  • deng

    Just had the opportunity to watch it in discovery channel,being shot by a .22 lr caliber pistol and it survived!
    What an awesome watch,and it is also rated 5 Gs,the most extreme rating of any gadget in the planet!