Presented earlier this month at the Inside Basel.Geneva 2013 tour, the new Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec automatic diver is the first professional-grade diving watch from the Swiss watchmaking specialist. While not terribly original in its styling, this is still a very nice option for those tired of Rolex/Omega dominance on the “luxury tool watch” market and not afraid of its retail price, which is set dangerously close to $7000 mark.
Rated for whole 50 bars (500 meters) of water pressure, the watch sports the usual set of features, those including a screw-down crown, a pretty thick 4 mm sapphire crystal with antireflective treatment and, of course, an automatic HEV valve. Located at 8 o’clock, the contraption is supposed to protect the gadget during fast decompression: you don’t want the crystal to pop out at the most wrong moment possible, do you?
Another must have that people expect from a modern diving companion is, of course, a scratch-resistant ceramic bezel insert with steel Arabic numerals polished flush in its surface, as well as an electric blue sector rated for first 15 minutes of diving time. Although I would probably prefer the bezel to have more luminous elements for the legibility sake, otherwise the part looks absolutely beautiful with its oversized Arabic numerals on the minute scale nicely matching the overall “heavyweight” exterior styling of the timekeeper.
As you can clearly see on the photos, the Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec features traditional for the Swiss brand heavy-(a bit too heavy for my taste)-looking hands and massive hour markers with bright luminous compound inside them.
Although the huge elements allow easier reading at great depths (or just in an IMAX theater), they don’t really fit with styling of the Arabic numerals on the bezel (while definitely bold, the numerals still look more refined and graphic than the hour markers and hands with their all their rounded corners). Well, at least the watch has its own face: you will never mistake it for a Rolex or Omega.
The watch is animated by a COSC-certified Carl F. Bucherer caliber CFB 1950.1 automatic movement, which is, as far as I understand, based on the well-known Sellita SW200 ebauche. The choice of caliber not only means that the watch will be as accurate as a mass-produced mechanical timekeeper gets, but will also be quite reliable: something that you really expect from a professional-grade diver.
There is still no info regarding the timekeeper’s price and I have a strong suspicion that it won’t be released before the upcoming Baselworld 2014 trade show.
Photos: Carl F. Bucherer
WWR preliminary verdict:
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec 500M specification
Price: $6800 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber CFB 1950.1, COSC-certified chronometer, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 26
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 38 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Stainless steel, with polished ceramic insert
Crown material: Matches case
Case size: 44.50 mm
Case height: 13.50 mm
Dial: Black, stamped
Numerals: Arabic (on the bezel)
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 500 meters
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet or a black rubber strap with blue accents
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective, approx. 4 mm thick