December 28, 2009
by Ariel Adams
After all this I’d like to discuss the two most important areas of the watch, the movement and the dial. Swiss Military places a perfectly executed COSC Chronometer certified (for accuracy) Swiss ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph movement in the 20,000 Feet Diver. What I mean by perfect execution for the movement is that it works and is displayed with the epitome of legibility and easy of operation that the movement was designed for. I already discussed how well the chronograph pushers are to use, and on the dial you will notice that Swiss Military separated out the chronograph hands (in red) with the time hands (in white) by color for easy of reading. The Chronograph subdials are framed by a metallic red ring with black colored interiors complete with a concentric circular texture. The are easy to read and attractive, but harder to see in lower light.
Alternatively, the white hands and hour markers for the time are easy to read in all lighting conditions. I like the use of the large arrow shaped minute hand that works perfectly as intended – to be the easiest and more prominent aspect of the dial. Each hour marker is applied and framed in polished steel and filled with C3 SuperLumiNova. Swiss Military correctly gave the 12 o’clock indicator a different shape for dial orientation, and even supplied smaller lume covered indicators at the positions where they are intruded upon by subdials. The watch dial itself is black carbon fiber. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t always like carbon fiber dials, but here it works. This is because the inherent shininess of carbon fiber dials does not interfere with reading the hands and markers on the dial. The applied Swiss Military Watch shield logo is a nice touch.
To be honest, when I first saw images of the 20,000 Feet Diver watch, I was concerned that the depth of the dial and the curvature of the thick sapphire crystal would make it difficult to see or read the dial. This because such curved crystal can act like a lens and heavily distort the dial. This is thankfully not an issue with the watch. While there is some visual distortion while looking at the watch dial from extreme angles, it is much less than you’d think. Plus, the high contrast of the dial and the large hands and hour indicators make it surprisingly easy to read. Many of you are very concerned with having high quality levels of luminant in their watches, while diving or otherwise. The 20,000 Feet Diver is very visible in the dark. This does not really extend to the chronograph (aside from the lume tip on the chronograph seconds hand), but the hands for the time and the numerals on the bezel are all coated with thick, wide amounts of SuperLumiNova. The darkness viewing on a watch like this is on par with what you would expect from a professional instrument.
No watch is perfect and if I had to find any quips with the watch I would mention two things. First is with the sapphire crystal, and it is merely a side effect of the intense curvature of the crystal done for its pressure resistance. While curved crystals are stronger, they also reflect more light. This crystal reflect a lot of light which give means that despite a lot of anti-reflective coating on the dial, there is still a healthy amount of glare. The upside is that this does not really interfere with viewing the dial as the hands and markers are most always visible despite the light reflecting on the crystal. Next is an issue with the tools provided with the watch. The bracelet requires special tools because each screw in the bracelet that holds the links together is double sided. This means that you need to hold one end of the screw bar to unscrew it from the other. CX throws in a high quality Swiss Bergeon 2mm screw driver with the watch, but that alone isn’t enough to adjust the bracelet. Meaning that you need an extra tool to complete the job. Given that you have metal bracelet or rubber strap option, it would have been helpful for CX to supply a full strap changing kit. Having said that, this watch is nothing less than a professional instrument. It is a worthy investment to get the parts needed to change the strap if you have the skill to do so. I have the tools and was able to do it just fine. Otherwise, if you aren’t skilled with screw bar strap changes or bracelet adjustments, I do recommend taking the watch to someone who can do it. As a tangent, I want to remind you always to remind people working on your watch to be extra careful and NOT scratch your precious timepiece. Don’t take for granted that people working on your watch care as much about it as you do. Once, again, both the crystal and bracelet adjustment issues are minor and do not prevent this watch from being a standout winner as well as being a standout watch.
20,000 Feet Diver specs direct from CX Swiss Military Watches:
* Chronometer-certified automatic chronograph ETA cal. 7750 Valjoux COSC
* 25 jewels
* 28’800 oscillations/h
* Power reserve 48h
* Etachron regulator system
* Glucydur balance bridge
* Nivaflex mainspring
* Anti-shock with Incabloc shock-absorber
* Hour; minute; small second at 9h
* Chronograph with 30 minute counter at 12h, 12 hour counter at 6h, central second counter
* Date at 3h
* Solid titanium case/bracelet, Ã˜ 46.0mm, thickness 28.5mm, weight 265gr total
* Water-resistant to 7’500 meters (25’000 feet; 6’000 meters or 20’000 FEET & 25% safety margin according to ISO norm 6425)
* X-large crown with side-guards, allowing for diving with thick gloves
* Screw-down crown and pushers
* Red safety marking on pushers (visible when unscrewed)
* Domed, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, thickness 10mm
* Unidirectional rotating bezel, 60 minute graduation, Superluminovaâ„¢ indices
* Solid titanium bracelet, lug-ends and links screwed
* Solid titanium folding clasp with safety catch and micro-adjustment
* Separate genuine rubber strap & rubber extension strap for dry-suit diving (wrist circumference up to 35cm)
* Screw-down caseback, Limited Edition engraving
* Helium relief valve
* anti-magnetic ISO 764
* Silver, black carbon, blue or yellow
* Superluminovaâ„¢ indices
* Counters sunburst decorated
* Oversized minute hand
* Superluminovaâ„¢ coated
* All chronograph hands in red
There are four versions of the Swiss Military 20,000 Feet Diver watch, each is available as a limited edition of 1000 pieces. In addition to the pictured black carbon fiber face, there is a white, metallic blue, and yellow dial available. You choose which one is right for you. Price for the watch is 2,998 euros, which is about $4,100. Given the quality, functionality, and limited manufacture of these watch, I proclaim that this is a good value for a watch that no person will regret having. Sure, the watch is capable of doing things that no one will really never need, but that only strengthens our desire to get one. The best things in life do what we want them to do, and then some. That is why we like fast cars, big TVs, powerful computers, and ultra durable deep diving watches. All this awards the CX Swiss Military 20,00 Feet Diver watch an aBlogtoRead.com Seal of Approval award. Learn more or get one at Swiss Military Watches here.Thanks to CX for the review unit. Editorial is 100% independent.