Omega has earned a new world record for the deepest dive survived by a wristwatch after specially developed Planet Ocean models made it to the bottom of the Mariana Trench attached to robotic arms of submarines.
The subs, which are part of a global Five Deeps Exhibition that aims to reach the greatest depths of the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern and Arctic oceans, travelled to 10,928 metres below the surface of The Atlantic.
The World Record has been snatched back from Rolex, which designed a Deepsea Challenge watch for a similar mission to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench on a submarine piloted by Hollywood director James Cameron in 2012. That mission reached a depth of 10,898 meters, thought to be the trench floor at the time, but the Five Deeps subs found a pocket of the seabed 30 metres deeper.
Victor Vescovo, an American private equity investor, retired naval officer, and undersea explorer, piloted the deep submergence vehicle (DSV) to the new record depth, and appeared with Omega chief executive Raynauld Aeschlimann in London yesterday to announce the new record.
There were three special Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional watches made for the mission. Two of them were strapped to robotic arms of submersibles, and a third on a data-gathering unit dubbed a Lander.
All three survived unscathed, even though one of them was attached to a sub that lay stranded at the bottom of the trench for almost a day after a systems glitch.
Mr Aeschlimann described the Ultra Deep watches as, “Extraordinary pieces of technology that represent Omega watchmaking at its most inventive.”
Mr Vescovo, praised Omega’s project team for their “ability to create a full ocean timepiece that’s not only super tough, but slim, light and stylish.”
The three watches made for the mission will not be sold, Mr Aeschlimann later said in an interview session with journalists. “Two of them, at least, will be kept in a very secure safe,” he said.
The super-strong Seamasters proved capable of surviving pressures that are equivalent to 22.5 tonnes bearing down on the sapphire glass of the watches, but they are comparatively thin in comparison to other extreme dive watches with a depth of less than 28mm.
Although the three watches will not be sold, Omega says it does intend to adopt some of the techniques involved in the project in future commercial models.