The Franck Muller Skafander represents the epitome of a dive watch evolved
As the saying goes, the only thing that remains constant is change. And this is a fitting quote to describe the latest Franck Muller Skafander. Just as the early diving suits of the past evolved into the spacesuits of today, this collection takes all notions of the classic dive watch and propels it into realms yet unknown in terms of design.
It was only in 1942 that Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Émile Gagnan invented the underwater breathing apparatus known as the Aqua-Lung, a device still widely used today. This allowed individual divers to carry their supply of breathable air in high-pressure scuba tanks, giving them the freedom of movement underwater. Before this, diving suits were just a combination of a protective suit and a hard-shelled, watertight helmet with a tube to supply air from the surface.
Looking at these early protective full-pressure suits it’s easy to see how the function could be evolved and adapted to space use. The Skafander had the same purpose, to keep the human being inside it protected from the harsh outside environment. Even though the diving suits of the 1930s are highly inefficient by today’s modern standards, they did offer one massive advantage over the modern dive setup and that is the absence of a cumbersome mouthpiece. This mirrors, in some way, the design principles Franck Muller put into their new Skafander watch, protecting the all-important timing bezel under the protection of the crystal.
With the timing bezel now out of reach, the watch craftsmen at Franck Muller had to come up with an innovative way to set the bezel. For this, they added two pushers at the 8 and 10 o’clock position for this purpose. One pusher advances the inner bezel by one minute while the other advances it by five. So for example, if you wanted to align the bezel with the minute hand at the 17-minute mark, you would have to press the 10 o’clock 3 times, and the pusher at 8 o’clock twice. And to prevent any accidental adjustments, which can be fatal in deep-sea dives, there is a safety lock in place at the 9 o’clock position.
The Franck Muller Skafander offers an automatic winding calibre MVT.0800SK movement with 42 hours of power reserve and a frequency of 28’800 vibrations per hour. The case measures 46 mm wide and comes in a choice of 18k rose gold, stainless steel or titanium. (Explore technical specifications of the watch here.)
Franck Muller is now available at Cortina Watch in Singapore and Taiwan.