This real-life sea monster pushes the limits of dive watches.
"Time is the greatest luxury", as the saying goes, perhaps nowhere more true than underwater. The moment you descend from the water, the clock starts ticking. Stay too long at depth and you could experience severe bending. Misjudge your air consumption rate and you risk running out of air. When you have borrowed time, every minute counts. So it seemed only appropriate to try one of the most luxurious dive timepieces underwater - the Richard Mille RM 032. There is probably no better dive site than St. Barthélemy.
A diver's watch is a blunt instrument, built for a single purpose, and even the earliest diver's watches were capable of just that—rotating bezels, highly legible dials and hands, and water resistance to several fathoms. Those that couldn't cut it were gone, eliminated from the evolutionary chain like any other unsuitable sea creature. These days, of course, digital dive computers do all the underwater math for you.replica swiss watches
As a result, the diver's watch has shed its role in which it was first created and has become a symbol of a certain way of life rather than anything to be used as a tool. This freed the company to use the "dive" watch as more of a guiding principle or design inspiration, and gave birth to the "luxury" dive watch. The RM 032 is one of the finest examples of this relatively new breed. This titanium watch is more suited to people with dive boats than divers. But that doesn't mean it can't get wet.
Richard Mille rarely lends his watches to see in person. The small numbers the company produces and the high prices mean that sending a watch for an actual review requires a lot of insurance and precautions, skewing the risk/reward equation heavily toward the former. Borrowing a three day scuba dive seemed impossible. But the stars came together when I was invited to St. Barth for the annual regatta series Les Voiles de St. Barth, for which Richard Mille is the main sponsor. I had the opportunity to wear the RM 032 replica mens watch for a week, not sailing but diving.
St. Barth is a hidden diving gem, rarely mentioned among the islands divers head to by detouring from a well-worn trail in the Caribbean. But the tiny island, known for its lavish lifestyle and famous celebrities, has a whole different set of wealth deep offshore. With the regatta spreading its colorful sails in the distance, I lower my buoyancy wings and descend into a protected marine sanctuary teeming with life. During one dive, eight large stingrays slept side by side with only their eyes protruding from the sandy bottom. Ironically, a school of giant tarpon hovers in the shelter of the cave, while giant lobsters, growing undisturbed, vie for supremacy on the upturned deck of a sunken fishing trawler. This zoo and the spectacular underwater terrain,
Let’s get this out of the way first – there are better pure dive watches than the RM 032. In fact, the 30-year-old Citizen Aqualand I stayed in my hotel room was probably the better choice for a tough day of diving. But the general rules of dive watches do not apply to Richard Mille. You dive with this watch for the sheer thrill and novelty, or maybe because putting it back on board is more disturbing than risking a leak or a broken strap. This is a watch that someone buys for its technical marvel, then appreciates that it doesn't need to come off the wrist, even 100 feet deep. Richard Mille is a company that prides itself on making high-end watches that can withstand a lot of abuse. Witness their creations made for (and used by) tennis legend Rafael Nadal, golfer Bubba Watson, sprinter Yohan Blake and more. But while diving has its own risks, the sport's greatest danger to watches is water pressure.luxury replica watches
The RM 032 is rated to 30 atmospheres. Since you add another atmosphere (14.7 pounds per square inch) for every 10 meters you descend underwater, this watch is considered safe below 300 meters. On my St. Barth dives, I never got anywhere close to that depth. My deepest attempts were at shipwreck at 30m (100ft), which was no problem for the watch. Still, Richard Mille didn't take the risk. The RM 032 features an innovative crown and pusher locking mechanism that prevents accidental operation of the chronograph pushers and crown. Both mechanisms are locked by turning the ring on the crown barrel, the current status being indicated by a red or green arrow. The lock ring is similar to the mechanism Jaeger-LeCoultre found on Master Compressor dive watches a few years ago, but on the RM 032, a twist-lock pusher and crown.
Equally clever is the massive sculpted bezel, which consists of three layers held together with no fewer than 22 tiny spline screws, which are then attached to the case by additional screws. This thing isn't going anywhere if your wrist isn't strapped to it. Instead of a spring-tensioned ratcheting bezel, the RM 032's chronograph ring is only actuated by pressing two opposing buttons (0 and 30) simultaneously, then turning counterclockwise for true strap and harness security. I found this to be easy to do above and below the water, although depending on the placement of the bezel, it did sometimes require some contorted hand angles to press the buttons. Dry salt residue soaked in seawater is the bane of diving bezels, and the RM 032 is no exception. After diving every day, I have to be vigilant when rinsing the cheap replica watches with fresh water,
As an underwater chronograph, the RM 032 works in much the same way as other dive watches, although it is less recognizable due to its open dial and earpiece. Still, I had no issues reading my elapsed time up close underwater. This watch happens to be a flyback chronograph with a central minute hand, a feature I've always loved. Reading elapsed minutes with a sweeping needle instead of subdials is so intuitive, especially on a dive watch. However, given that I lock the button for diving, I will have to start the timer at the surface and remember the lock button. I can then use the bezel to time underwater swims, safety stops, etc. But I've never used the watch this way, simply because it's so much easier to turn the bezel when I'm down.
In addition to the flyback chronograph complication, the watch also features a large date display right at the top of the dial that welcomes my aging eyes. But it wasn't until the day after I got the watch that I realized there was another not-so-clear hole in the dial. It's the month. It's an annual calendar, a feature that's all but overlooked amidst all the other impressive tech on this watch. Set it once and you only need to adjust it once a year (end of February), assuming you wind it all the time. The month display is intentionally small. It's for setup purposes, but you don't need it every day. If you can't remember the current month, you have more problems than poor eyesight.
Instead of a running seconds sub-dial, the RM 032 has a running indicator or Indicteur de Marche at 3:00. This feature lets the wearer know that his watch is running and is a feature required by the international diver's watch standard ISO 6425 (this watch complies with that standard). It consists of a segmented aperture in the dial, beneath which a rotating black and white disc rotates. While some might argue that this is a gimmick, even without being subjected to nitrogen anesthesia ("Ecstasy of the Abyss"), it's mesmerizing to watch, especially at night, when the glowing discs seem to "pulse" in the dark .JACOB & CO ASTRONOMIA GAMBLER
On the back, the movement has all the visual cues that Richard Mille is known for. The bridges and plates are made of titanium, alternating black and silver, with a matte finish, and held together with more spline screws for a thoroughly industrial tech aesthetic. The oscillating weight that winds the two barrels is actually adjustable to provide enough torque depending on how the watch is worn. The 18-carat white gold ribs can be set in or out to optimize winding, depending on how active your lifestyle is. Needless to say, this is best left to watchmakers.
Dive watches are traditionally larger than land watches, but the RM 032 is an absolute behemoth. At 50mm in diameter and nearly 18mm in height, this isn't a watch that pretends to fit under a shirt sleeve. The titanium case I wear lightens the weight of this sea monster, but the rose gold version will definitely allow me to shave a few pounds of lead off my weight belt. Wearing it on my left wrist, the large crown digs into the back of my hand a bit, and when I transferred it to my right arm, that problem went away, making the watch comfortable to wear. As one would expect, the strap is an extremely high quality rubber, consistent with those found on Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver's watches, and mounts to the case with, you guessed it, more spline screws . This is reassuring because if I had snapped the spring bar and dropped the watch into the abyss, I'm not sure I would have surfaced to write this.
I've seen a lot of dive watches, from Seikos to APs, but the Richard Mille RM 032 is a completely unique experience. Considering a watch like this requires a different mindset, not really criticizing it or judging its value from a purely practical standpoint, but almost seeing it as a supercar or a work of art or architecture. This is a watch that invites close scrutiny, and its details reveal more each time you examine it. While it's easy (and lazy) to fall back on the cliché about rich people wearing it on their yachts, the RM 032 is an extreme example of why I think we love mechanical watches (and luxury dive watches!) place.
In a way, since the RM 032 is not a watch I can own remotely, it also frees me to see it as a window into a world different from the one I inhabit - unlike scuba diving, really of. Just as my time with sharks, turtles and rays had to come to an end, so did my days of wearing the Richard Mille RM 032 in St. Barthélemy.replica Greubel Forsey Watches