MWC "Depthmaster" 100atm / 3,280ft / 1000m Water Resistant Military Divers Watch in PVD Stainless Steel Case with Helium Valve (Automatic)
The MWC "Depthmaster" range Military Diver models are MWC's latest heavy-duty range and are both extremely robust with a sapphire crystal and being suitable for diving with mixed gases at extreme depths due to the 100atm water resistance rating, they also have a wider strap at 24 mm (most military divers watches use a 20 mm strap) and a non-scratch ceramic bezel which is easier to grip in extreme cold. These watches are specifically designed for use by professional divers under very challenging conditions.
All MWC 100ATM models have a helium escape valve, people often ask us how helium gets into a dive watch in the first place and the answer is very simple, essentially a helium molecule is among the smallest of all molecules. What this means is because they are so small even though the seals are working fine to keep water out the helium molecules can still get through and enter the watch even though other gases and water cannot.
The main users professionally of watches with helium escape valves are saturation divers who spend lengthy periods of time at great depth with high pressure, the result is that the helium molecules can build up inside the watch creating pressure inside the case which can inflict serious damage on the watch and even blow out the crystal or crown when it’s unscrewed which can be extremely dangerous if you are checking the time and also potentially write off the watch. What the helium escape valve does is automatically allow the helium molecules to escape from the watch during decompression when the watch returns to normal standard sea level pressure. The valve is only one way, so it lets the helium out but prevents anything external getting in.
For anyone who does not know why the helium is an issue, it’s important to understand why helium is employed for deep diving. The answer is that helium is one of very few gasses which does not have a negative effects such as we see with nitrogen which causes nitrogen narcosis, consequently helium is used to replace nitrogen in most deep sea mixed gas diving applications.
In some situations, divers can operate at great depth for extended periods, where they live in dry environments pressurised with an oxygen / helium mix. When the divers surface and decompress after days or even sometimes weeks, this gas must be removed to prevent a problem as mentioned earlier such as the crystal or crown being blown out which can potentially injure or even blind someone.
The reality is that most divers will not be living in a pressurized environment for days or weeks on end, this means they will have no need for a watch equipped with a helium valve, regardless of how deep they dive but with deep diver watches such as our 100ATM range its essential the valve is there just in case it’s needed because the watch would not be fit for purpose without it.
This particular variant has a 12-hour European military pattern dial and is finished in black PVD stainless steel. The special covert matt black non-reflective PVD finish used for this watch is often specified in military contracts for many special forces units as well as by anti-terrorist units and for various covert operations. In the PVD process, the steel is not black all the way through because the color is created by a special chemical PVD plating process which is vastly superior to the painted finish used on some lower quality watches which can easily fade or rub off. This PVD process means that the color of the steel is altered at a molecular level, therefore it will not deteriorate even during heavy usage, although it can be destroyed if the case is badly damaged by a piece of metal being gouged out or if the case is worn down by continuous heavy abrasion against rocks, etc.
The movement is a high quality 24 jewel automatic NH35A with hacking function to enable synchronization. The movement also has a 41-hour power reserve.
Dimensions and Specification:
- Movement: 24 Jewel Automatic NH35A with hacking function
- Water Resistance: 100ATM / 3,280ft / 1000M
- Screwdown crown
- Helium Escape Valve
- Width: Inc Crown 47 mm (Exc Crown 44 mm)
- Bezel Type: Unidirectional Non-Reflective with Ceramic Insert
- Thickness: 18 mm
- Crystal Diameter: 31 mm
- Crystal Type: Sapphire with Anti-Reflective Coating*
- Lug to Lug: 48 mm
- Weight: 140g
- Case: 316L PVD Stainless Steel
- Illumination: Luminova on markers, hands, and bezel
- Strap: 24 mm NATO Webbing Strap
* A lot of people ask us what are the benefits of sapphire crystal over a standard mineral crystal? The answer is that synthetic sapphire is by far the best material for watch crystals because it is very strong and also shatter and scratch-resistant, these characteristics make it very appealing to military and security personnel, police officers and people who lead active outdoor lifestyles, these groups account for over 70% of our customers. To get things into perspective we find that when clients have accidents with watches resulting in a cracked crystal over 90% are usually watches with mineral glass crystals, even factoring in that we use hardened mineral crystals they still do not come close to sapphire for durability under adverse conditions. The reason that sapphire crystals are so strong is that after the sapphire glass is manufactured it is also heat-treated to remove its internal stresses—which can cause weakness—it is then made into the watch crystals and two layers of anti-reflective coating are applied, interestingly sapphire crystal is now used on the latest iPhone. Of course, sapphire crystal comes at a price, hence you find that it's normally only fitted to higher-end watches.