THE ATOMIC BRAND HAD BEEN VIRTUALLY UNKNOWN this side of the Atlantic until recently. In fact it was DIVER that brought the Atomic regulator to the attention of British customers. Now things are set to change for the brand in the UK.
     The story behind Atomic is one of two designers from Scubapro who went their own way to make products up to a standard they wanted. As a consequence, Atomic products have been anything but cheap, but the falling dollar and rising pound have now made them more attainable.
     The Atomic T2 is part of a range of similarly designed regulators, made from varying metals. The T of T2 denotes titanium. Titanium is light, strong, expensive and, ironically, does not make a good bedfellow with the elevated levels of oxygen found in nitrox. Until now, that is.
     The Atomic T2 is supplied, fresh from the manufacturer-supplied box, already oxygen-clean for use with nitrox up to 40% at 230 bar, even though the T2 features an all-titanium construction on both its first and second stages.
     If you want to use richer mixes, buy the M1. The M denotes an alternative metal, Monel.
     On the outside, the T2 looks superficially old Scubapro. I bet the guys from Atomic are as fed up with reading this as I am writing it. Its the engineering that makes the difference, and I suppose the fine way in which the A-clamp and the tall turret first stage are machined gives a clue.
     The T2 uses a balanced flow-through piston design with a unique self-lubricating piston seal system that gives the manufacturer the confidence to offer in the USA a limited-lifetime guarantee. Two-year service intervals are recommended.
     There are two high-pressure and five mp ports on the revolving turret. The balanced second stage is finished like a piece of jewellery. Its compact, with a soft front that gives easy access to its purge control. This is retained by a titanium ring that also acts as a heat-sink.
     Undoing the front and taking a peep inside reveals a high standard of craftsmanship. Some manufacturers dont like consumers doing this, and I can understand why.
     Some regulators have mechanisms bordering on the crude, but no fears here.
     Theres a titanium lever with a Kevlar-reinforced polymer insert at its pivot point. The valve-seats life is dramatically extended by inclusion of a unique adjustable orifice that contacts the rubber seat only when the regulator is pressurised.
     Titanium is used for the valve spring and the valve body, so performance is never affected by corrosion. Atomic regulators perform well when new but they are also designed to continue to perform well throughout their lives.
     Another unique design feature is the depth-sensitive automatic flow control, which adjusts the venturi-effect disruption vane without the diver having to do a thing.
     A rapid adjustment knob also allows quick and temporary detuning of the regulator for either surf or coldwater entries, or if you wish to use an Atomic second stage as an octopus.
     An over-sized exhaust valve reduces the work of breathing, and a reasonably wide exhaust-T directs exhaled bubbles away from the divers face. You can opt for an extended exhaust-T if required.
     Frontal current effects are taken care of by a specially designed front cover.
     A big robust universal joint at the point where the hose meets the second stage takes care of comfortable hose routeing, and the most comfortable mouthpiece I have ever used completes the effect.
     The Atomic T2 is the same as the Atomic B2, another regulator that has many titanium parts, but only in the second stage. I have been using one extensively since an early version was sent to me to try about a year ago. At last I feel that I can send the B2 back!
     I was content to experiment to see if the different metal of the Atomic T2 made any difference to the performance of the regulator in use. My findings were that it seemed to breathe like a dream.
     The breathing-gas supply was always just as I would like it - never too much, never too little. It diffused into my mouth without gushing or causing concern at even the greatest depth at which one should breathe air.
However, its not really suitable for the hardy cold/ freshwater diver, because it has a piston design first stage without concession to much in the way of a heat-sink, and its not cheap. Launched in November, the Atomic T2 regulator will cost£799.
  • Typhoon International 01642 486104, www.atomicaquatics.com

  • Divernet Divernet
    + Engineered to the highest standards

    - Not really suitable for cold fresh water
    - Not cheap