January 28, 2022
In the latter half of the 1950s and throughout the 1960s, while much of the world had their eyes glued to the stars in the midst of the space race, a pioneering group of scientists, engineers, and adventurers had their sights set not upwards, but down toward the oceans unexplored, and seemingly unreachable depths. Even today, the ocean’s vast depths are as remote, mysterious, and challenging to reach as outer space — and no spot more so than Challenger Deep, the deepest point on the ocean floor. Located at the southern end of the Mariana Trench, the Challenger Deep is a staggering 10,902-10,929m deep. And that’s exactly where Jaques Piccard and Don Walsh were headed. Piloting the Bathyscaphe Trieste, the team successfully reached the bottom of Challenger Deep on January 23, 1960, setting a benchmark in marine exploration that wasn’t equaled for over 50 years. In honor of this pioneering journey, Spinnaker has created the Piccard Automatic, a 550m water-resistant dive watch that pays homage to both the craft and crew that made this incredible mission a reality.
The most striking element of the Spinnaker Piccard Automatic is its massively domed sapphire crystal, a tribute to the “bubble” lensed divers tested aboard the Bathyscaphe Trieste. A quick view from the side and it’s abundantly clear that this diver is something special. The super domed sapphire crystal extends prominently from the case, yet follow the slope of the crystal down and you’ll see how the lines of the crystal integrate seamlessly into the lines of the case and lugs.
Like the watches tested during deep-sea expeditions in the 1960s, the Spinnaker Piccard Automatic is no lightweight. Measuring in at 45mm in diameter, with a hefty 21mm case height thanks in large part to the massive crystal, the Piccard Automatic is built for those looking for a watch with a story to tell. With full brushing throughout the case and bracelet, the Piccard Automatic is clearly purpose-built. However, Spinnaker hasn’t forgotten the small touches, with a drawing of the Trieste deeply engraved on the caseback.
Though the deepest scuba dive ever recorded is 332m, the Piccard Automatic is rated to 550m. At over half a kilometer deep, the pressures are staggering; emperor penguins and swordfish have been known to descend this far, but our bodies simply aren’t made for it. The Piccard Automatic is. Also equipped with a helium escape valve, the Piccard Automatic is also ready for any saturation diving you have in your future.
In line with the over-built and purposeful 316L stainless steel case, the dial and hands on the Spinnaker Piccard Automatic are extremely legible, with large, applied baton markers and oversized hands, all filled with Swiss Super-LumiNova. The watch is available in three colorways: Hunter Green, Dark Cerulean, or Volcanic Black. Each is equipped with a color-matched unidirectional ceramic bezel with a luminous triangle at 12 o’clock.
The Piccard Automatic comes mounted on a solid three-link stainless steel bracelet that offsets the weight of the case, comfortably balancing the watch head. Finishing things off, the bracelet is equipped with a solid deployant buckle with a fold-over safety lock clasp.
Powering the Piccard Automatic is a Japanese NH35 automatic movement. Featuring 24 jewels, a date function, and a 41-hour power reserve, the NH35 is a reliable and time-tested movement that acts as a perfect complement to the Piccard Automatic.
When John F. Kennedy spoke at Rice University in 1962, he famously said, “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard…” We can’t help but think those “other things” to which Kennedy referred included Piccard and Walsh’s historic descent to the deepest point on earth just two years prior. The Piccard Automatic faithfully captures the spirit of exploration that infused the Trieste’s remarkable expedition and does so at a surprisingly accessible price of $550 USD. If you’re fascinated by the monumental events that define humankind’s history of exploration or simply are drawn the Piccard Automatic’s striking profile and ultra-legible design, you can learn more about the Piccard Automatic at the brand’s website.
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