Appeared in DIVER March 2008

John John Bantin has been a full-time professional diving writer and underwater photographer since 1990. He makes around 300 dives each year testing diving equipment.


JOHN HARRISONS ORIGINAL MARINE CHRONOMETER made accurate navigation possible. Such timepieces remained a vital part of every navigators kit until radio-controlled navigation arrived in the late 1970s, and eventually GPS.
But with so much computer technology around today, why buy a watch The time of day is readily available to anyone with a mobile phone, a radio, a computer or almost any other electronic device, and when it comes to timing a dive, even the most ardent enthusiast who rejects the common use of a diving computer will use a digital dive-timer.
My wife would argue with this. One of her watches is made of gold, is covered in diamonds and doesnt even tell the time.
Oh, sorry, thats a bracelet - but you get the idea. She sees a watch as an important item of jewellery, not as a timepiece.
If you are one of those people who wear their computers on their wrist at breakfast, you wont need a watch. You may even have a diving computer that doubles as a watch. I do too, but
I dont wear it when I go out to dinner!
If watches have been relegated to items of jewellery, what happens if you accidentally take your jewellery diving You dont want to leave it at the surface while youre under water, so you need it to be sufficiently waterproof.
Watchmakers have always employed a curious system for depth-rating their products. Its relevant only to a static test.
A watch rated to 30m is suitable for use only while washing the car. One rated to 50m may survive a bout of washing-up or a shower.
You need a watch rated to at least 100m for any sort of scuba diving, even if you are the most cautious PADI Open Water diver, and 200m to feel reasonably secure.

THE KINGFISHER PRO WATCH is rated to 30 atmospheres. Thats nearly 300m, enough for most of us. Its massive face is more than 3cm in diameter, and it has big bold hands and markings and a full-length-sweep second hand.
The background to the face comes in a selection of different vibrant colours and sits behind a deeply domed front glass. The super-luminous display belts out in the dark long after you shine your torch at it.
A uni-directional rotating bezel for marking off time periods is easily set with a gloved hand, though the raised zero-marker needs the dexterity of a naked finger to feel in the dark, and it clicks round in a satisfying manner.
The bracelet, in a combination of matte and high-gloss metal, has a very expensive look. It came in a length more than sufficient for my girlie wrist, even when wearing a drysuit. Id have to get a few links removed for day-to-day use.
The whole thing feels weighty enough to serve a modern James Bond as a knuckle-duster. The original Ian Fleming character employed his Rolex Oyster for this purpose. My old Rolex runs on clockwork, and never told the time accurately from the drunken moment I bought it. Am I bothered The Kingfisher uses a Swiss quartz movement, so its boringly right all the time.
The back of the case is engraved with some basic US Navy no-stop times and depths. I found it nigh on impossible to read, so I suggest this gimmick is just to reassure you that youre buying a real divers watch.
My wife tells me it is now cool for women to wear mens watches. She wanted to wear it, but
I insisted on taking it diving first.
Im told that Christopher Ward, whose name adorns this watch, is a keen diver. As a successful businessman, he probably has a jolly nice diving computer. He is investing in watches on the understanding that we buy things simply because we want to own them, and his stated mission is to make luxury watches available to everyone. That is, to make a Bentley Continental at the price of a Volkswagen.
Surely the idea is to wear something known to be expensive However, I bet a lot of you will want to own a Kingfisher Pro.

Beaver Momentum M1 Pro £95
Beaver Momentum Aquamatic II £349
Bell & Ross BRO2 £2600
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms £7000

PRICE £160 with stainless-steel bracelet
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