Although the CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet diving watch is powered by a pretty much standard ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph caliber, it is its die-hard titanium case that paved its way to the Guinness Book of Records.
What is 20,000 feet? It is about 6096 meters or about 609.6 kg of water pressure per square centimeter of its 10mm-thick sapphire crystal. Now, can you imagine that?!
Impressive enough, but to further prove the point, Montres Charmex SA that own the CX Swiss Military brand also produced a series of stunning videos that show how durable the 20,000 Feet actually is.
How about withstanding a series of blows by a 12-gauge shotgun? Or, maybe, surviving a blast from a water cannon? One of the videos even shows the 20,000 Feet put near a standard 450g explosive charge (it is almost as powerful as 10 hand grenades) and successfully keep on ticking after the blast, while the competitor (perhaps, a Rolex diver?) is blown to pieces.
Of course, with its 28.5 mm thick case the watch looks like a steam tank on a hand, but it is not something you would wear with your business suit, is it? Of course, this is one of those rare occasions where form follows the proverbial function: the extra ten millimeters of thickness come courtesy of the aforementioned sapphire crystal. Although I somehow highly doubt that any sane person would ever use this particular function of the watch, the crystal, as the video below shows us, does its job of protecting the dial (and the movement behind it) perfectly. However, it also makes reading the watch a rather non-trivial enterprise. While most timekeepers, even with domed glasses, can easily be read at an angle of more than 45°, this extra-thick crystal acts as a huge magnifying lens that, alas, not only makes the dial look larger when looked straight along the vertical axis, but also distorts the reading to complete illegibility when looked just slightly off the aforementioned axis: just see the picture below (courtesy of an eBay seller.)
Unlike many chronograph-enabled divers that are powered by simple three-hand movements like ETA 2824 or ETA 2892 with third-party add-on modules from Dubois-Depraz (like, for example, the Dubois-Depraz 44560) or some other manufacturer, this particular watch is equipped with the good old ETA Valjoux 7750 ebauche: a natural-born chronograph caliber, which is known for its high reliability and robustness.
Even if the caliber will break down, you will have no problem fixing it, since there bazillions of highly skilled repairmen who will put it back into order in no time.
The CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet will be produced in a limited number of 1000 pieces in four different dial colors — silver, black carbon, blue or yellow — at a recommended price of €2998 including 19 percent VAT.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
UPDATE: Watch this video with a real life test explosion:
Impressive, isn’t it?
Photos: CX Swiss Military
CX Swiss Military 20,000 Feet diving watch specification
Price range: €2998 or CHF 3995 (MSRP)
Movement: Base caliber ETA Valjoux 7750, automatic, COSC-certified, 25 jewels, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Complications: Chronograph, date
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case material: Titanium
Case shape: Round
Case size: 46.00 mm
Case height: 28.50 mm
Dial: Silver, black carbon, blue or yellow
Hands: SuperLuminova indices and hands, red chronograph hands
Water resistance: 6000 meters (20,000 ft)
Strap: Titanium bracelet, lug-ends and links screwed, folding clasp with safety catch and micro-adjustment
Crystal: Sapphire, 10 mm thick
Back: Solid, screw-down