You might think that the director of the Lausanne branch of Bucherer, Claude Jutzi, who is a keen diver, would have no trouble sharing his passion with his customers and introducing the Carl F. Bucherer ScubaTec diver’s watch as the perfect horological companion on a dive. After all, Lausanne is on the shores of Lake Geneva, so organizing an introduction to diving should surely be child’s play?
Not so. Diving in Switzerland’s lakes is not as easy as it might seem, especially for the absolute beginner. Experienced divers in Switzerland’s lakes often have to descend the first 10 metres or so holding hands because they are in total darkness. In the sub-aqua equivalent of an aeroplane ascending above the clouds, it is only once the divers descend beneath the thick soup of algae that they can actually see anything.
The original solution from Bucherer was to set up its own miniature diving pool on Place St. François in the heart of Lausanne and allow its customers to try out scuba diving a mere stone’s throw from their store on Rue du Bourg. Specialist instructors from a local diving school were on hand to instruct absolute beginners in the basic hand signals and techniques for diving, before encouraging them to submerge and dive in search of some sunken treasure.
As divers nowadays use computers to control everything from their air supply to their decompression times, there is always an argument about the obsolescence of diver’s watches. But a mechanical watch that is water resistant, has a rotating bezel and a helium escape valve, can still be a lifesaver if the electronics pack up. Furthermore, things have not always been this way. One of the highlights of the Carl F. Bucherer event was the intermittent appearance of a diver decked out in the equipment of the 1950s, complete with sealed helmet, lead boots and his own personal pump man to feed air into his helmet as he dived (see our video).
This seemingly ancient technology was actually still used by professional divers as late as the mid 1960s, whereas the first diver’s watches emerged in the early 1950s. It is surprising, therefore, that the Carl F. Bucherer Scubatec model dates back only to 2014, when it was launched as a new collection in the Patravi line, complete with a helium valve, rotating bezel and luminous hands and hour markers. As of this year it is available in stainless steel, red-gold and two-tone red gold/steel versions and with a black dial or (new for this year) a dial in a distinctive shade of blue that recalls the colour of the flag of Lucerne, Switzerland, where the company has its headquarters.