Presented in a lightweight titanium body, the Technomarine BlackReef Ti Ultimate features a highly reliable automatic movement and is adorned with whole 54 precious stones covering its unidirectionally rotating bezel. In case you wonder, yes: those clear white, jet-black, and shiny yellow crystals are in fact real baguette-cut diamonds that also happen to work as markers on the diving scale. And, yes: with its water resistance rating of 50 ATM, this is an actual diver although using it as such would be utterly crazy. And, yes: so far, this is the most bizarre diver that we have seen among this year’s premieres.
Although Technomarine is mostly known for their relatively inexpensive quartz-powered timekeepers, as well as moderately priced automatic timekeepers, the Swiss-based brand that was initially established in the United States, but soon moved to the blessed land of cheese and chocolate, has a number of less affordable wristwatches that often combine an automatic movement with a number of diamonds or other precious stones.
This BlackReef Ti Ultimate justifies its name not only with an impressive number of stones of different cuts and colors but also with its claimed water-resistance of whole 500 meters. While there are dozens of luxury diving watches that combine diamonds, (often with gold bodies) and extremely high WR ratings (Rolex and Hublot is the first pair of brands that comes to mind), this one looks the least practical and, possibly, the least tasteful.
I mean, I can imagine an R’n’B star wearing this 45 mm monster on a pool party, but on a normal person, it would probably look awkward at best. Its automatic helium escape valve (HEV) is redundant since the watch is too expensive to be worn on a serious diving trip and the pair of gaskets on its screw-lock setting crown is here mostly for marketing reasons like a 40-megapixel sensor on a point-and-shoot digital camera.
Well, at least the watch (it was presented at Baselworld 2013, by the way) is still powered by a robust and reliable movement. The well-known caliber ETA 2836 comes here without any visible modifications and ensures not only 38 hours of power reserve, but also guarantees years of hassle-free service (if you don’t forget to service it properly.)
Also, the dial is very good. While not particularly pleasant to admire, it is contrast in a broad daylight and its oversized luminous hands and hour markers are large enough to be perfectly visible not only underwater, but even in an IMAX theater: a handy feature during an especially boring Ben Stiller comedy.
As far as pricing goes, I would say that the recommended minimum street price of $25,000 USD is ahem a bit over the top in this particular case. I mean, I understand that the sheer amount of diamonds and sapphires makes this watch sort of expensive to manufacture, but, let’s be honest: it is as tasteless as Las Vegas and as pointless as Vladimir Lenin’s mausoleum in Moscow. Who in his right mind would by a thing like that at a price like this?
Technomarine BlackReef Ti Ultimate specification
Price: $25,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, ETA 2836, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 38 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, day of week
Case: Grade 2 titanium
Bezel: Matches case, set with 12 diamonds, 18 baguette-cut black sapphires, 24 baguette-cut yellow sapphires
Crown: Stainless steel
Size: 45.00 mm
Dial: Black, waves motif
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 500 meters
Strap: Milanese mesh strap with folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, beveled, antireflective on both sides