If you started with a blank page to create the ultimate diving watch, what would you shortlist as your key features? This was the question that Richard Habring, who was an IWC engineer at that point in time, asked himself while sitting on the deck of a dive boat during his holiday.
Then, after consulting with dive masters as to what would comprise the ultimate submersible wrist instrument, an idea coalesced in his mind: it would have to be made from titanium because it is totally anti-corrosive with a strength-to-weight ratio that is off the charts.
The watch would have an internal rotating bezel for the ultimate security in recording elapsed dive time. It would also feature a depth gauge, so that if your dive computer failed, you could use that as a vital backup tool. In short, in an emergency situation, it would be perfectly equipped to save your life.
The next thing he established was that the watch would have to be 100-percent mechanical, in deference to IWC’s history in mechanical timepieces. A purely mechanical watch means that it would be dependable in a way that an electric watch simply can’t.
If well maintained, it would function in perpetuity, while an electronic watch would need to have its battery changed regularly. But beyond this, a purely mechanical watch would never be a slave to the almost engineered obsolescence present in all electronic devices. Such is the nature of the binary beast that in a few years’ time, as with mobile phones, computers and now digital cameras, it is guaranteed that superior technology will replace it. A mechanical watch, even one with a depth gauge, could always be repaired by a skilled watchmaker.
With these features in mind, IWC set out to go where none had dared. How did it create a mechanical depth gauge for this ultimate dive machine? It looked to one of the most proven techniques of measuring pressure.