Ever since Sean Connery donned a Rolex Submariner for the role of James Bond in 1962, diving watches have been one of the foremost influences in contemporary watch design. Something about a watch that can endure the most extreme conditions, including submersion, pressure, and shock, appeals to buyers, and dive-style designs have endured in popularity.
However, although dive-inspired designs still live on in modern watches, the simplicity of diving with just a timepiece to measure elapsed time underwater has fallen out of favor with modern divers, who require more sophisticated equipment. The dive computers now used, though functionally superior to their predecessors, largely lack the rugged good looks of old-school dive watches.
Danish watchmakers Linde Werdelin aim to restore the romance of the classics while retaining the function of the new with the Sea Instrument. The luxury watchmaker’s latest design melds cutting-edge electronics with a high-end case that wouldn’t look out of place back in Dr. No.
Linde Werdelin Sea Instrument Dive Computer
In a rather unique design twist, the Sea Instrument isn’t a watch so much as it’s an add-on for one. Like the Land Instrument before it, it has been designed to clip on top of one of Linde Werdelin’s other watches, the Biformeter, or a separately sold wrist strap.
The case, available in either practical anodized aluminum or eye-catching 18k gold, features a squared-off top profile with sharp 45-degree bevels on each corner, and chamfered edges that give it a chiseled appearance. The watch it operated with only four buttons, three of which run along the bottom edge of the case in a row.
As a functional dive computer, the Sea Instrument provides all the major functions a serious diver would come to expect from a digital diving companion. It will, of course, tell the time, but also how deep a diver is, and more importantly, how much time he needs to safely surface, as computed by Buhlmann’s algorithm. A three-axis compass with tilt sensor prevents divers from becoming disoriented far from the surface, and the computer will automatically log up to 60 hours worth of dive data on its built in 128MB of memory for analysis later.
The 2.2-inch transflective LCD display at the heart of the unit can display a full 260,000 colors, and it will automatically adjust to varying lighting conditions with its integrated light sensor. To keep it safe from both pressure and scratches, it’s seated under sapphire crystal glass, which boasts a hardness rating only a grade below diamond.
As one might expect when luxury designers like Linde Werdelin tackle an expensive hobby like diving, the result is not for the weak of pocketbook. The regular version of the Sea Instrument will sell for £1,550 ($3,069 USD), and the ritzy 18k gold version will sell for £23,000 ($45,542), when they come out in September. While conventional dive computers can easily edge up to and above the $1,000 mark, none really approaches either version of the Sea Instrument in price, and of course, the Sea Instrument still requires the Biformeter or watch band for mounting. The Biformeter alone runs for £2,230 ($4,415), and even a plain Instrument-compatible watchstrap goes for £425 ($841). Of course, if you stumble across a chest of gold doubloons on the sea bottom, you might just be able to recoup the cost of your Sea Instrument. More information can be found at Linde Werdelin’s Web site.