Diver’s watches are typically known to have a round case, or at least a round crystal. They are designed this way so as to incorporate a rotating dive timing bezel – allowing divers to calculate elapsed time spent underwater. Also, it is a huge engineering challenge to produce diver watches in other case shapes due to inferior gasket layouts leading to reduced water-resistance. Despite this, Frank Muller unveiled their first ever diver’s watch in their signature tonneau-shaped case last year.
It was certainly not an easy challenge but Franck Muller has gone and done it yet again. This time, raising the bar, through the addition of a chronograph, which not only complicates things further, literally, but also makes the water-resistance game tougher. The Skafander, which translates to “diving suit” in Romanian – Is undoubtedly a dive-ready watch, equipped with an ample water resistance of 100m. It is powered by a self-winding movement which has a 42-hour power reserve.
One of the key new features of the Skafander Chronograph is its unconventional chronograph and dive timer. No, I’m not referring to the rattrapante/split-second chronograph function. The new watch literally has two elapsed time trackers, along with four pushers! This unexpected novelty allows the user to activate two independent systems that can be used to record two separate events simultaneously.
Armed with four pushers, it is extremely vital that each pusher be held securely in place to avoid unintentional activation. To achieve this, a unique pusher-and-lock system was specially devised for absolute underwater safety as well as precision. Another challenge was the inclusion of a dive timer as it is an essential element for a watch to be officially dive-certified under ISO-6425. As it is obviously impossible to place an outer rotating dive bezel on the case due to its shape, Franck Muller has cleverly placed a rotating disk on the dial instead (like those found in the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver & IWC Aquatimer models). It can be set/adjusted by pushers at 8 and 10 o’clock, in what feels like a totally new execution (except for the standard time-only version of this watch) to deliver the exact same result that a standard external rotating bezel would.
The dial is meticulously crafted with the use of multiple planes and textures, as well as strikingly contrasting colours to highlight the essential elements of the dive measurements/readings. Being partially skeletonised, some of the wonderful components of its movement are exposed, bringing a little mechanical life to the dial. Like most diving watches, the Skafander features large and highly legible lume filled indices and hands, allowing visibility underwater or in dark environments.
Every single detail of the Skafander has been diligently designed and crafted, resulting in a unique and functional dive watch worthy of Davy Jones’ Locker. The Skafander is available is several case materials, namely stainless steel, titanium, and 18k rose gold.
Movement Self-winding; 42 hour power reserve
Case 57mm x 46mm in stainless steel, Titanium and Rose gold; water resistant to 100m