Hands On: Favre-Leuba Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth
Favre-Leuba’s Bathy was the first wristwatch with a membrane and a central hand that made it possible to measure depth more accurately. The original Bathy was a milestone in mechanical instrument watches and is a much sought-after collector’s piece today.
The Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth is inspired by the principle of form following function, with a clear and timeless design that perfectly combines the traditional with the contemporary. The case is crafted from titanium and, with its 48 mm diameter, guarantees perfect readability.
The depth gauge combines ideas taken from the 1968 Bathy with the results of constant modernization and technical development. What is truly fascinating about the depth gauge is the way it works, as it turns one of the established rules of watchmaking completely on its head. Never let water get inside of a watch? Quite the opposite. The new Bathy features apertures in the case back that actually invite water inside. It may sound crazy, but it isn’t: these openings are part of the depth gauge, which is hermetically separated from the movement. The concept is based on the compression of a specially designed membrane that is integrated into the case back. Water enters a separate chamber in the case back through the apertures, causing the membrane to compress as the pressure increases. A mechanical contact sensor inside the watch reacts to this compression and conveys the information via the hand of the depth gauge, which shows the dive depth on a nonlinear display via a central hand on the dial. Dive depths up to 120 m can be measured extremely precisely. The scale for the first 30 m is finer, with two red marks at 5 and 10, where decompression stops may be necessary. The Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth also features a mechanical depth memory (MemoDepth), which stores the maximum depth reached during a dive. The depth gauge at 3 o’clock reliably displays the value until it is reset via the screw-in pusher at 4 o’clock – a feature that typically appears on professional dive watches.
The Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth is water-resistant up to 200 m, as is the norm for a dive watch of this type. Its optimal range of measurement is 120 m, more than double that of the original Bathy from 1968 (50 m). A built-in mechanical limiter ensures that neither the pressure membrane nor the depth gauge are damaged if the wearer dives deeper than the optimal range.
This is a dive watch that focuses on the essentials of diving. All of the relevant information is perfectly readable, even on ambitious dives to depths where there is very little light. Unnecessary difficulties should not get between a diver and the thrill of the dive, nor should they impair the diver’s concentration and ability to react. This is the belief that inspired both the watch’s design and features. The Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth helps to facilitate the weightless, unencumbered underwater experience that makes diving so fascinating.
One extremely important safety aspect comes into play on every dive: Every professional dive watch is fitted with either an internal ring or external unidirectional bezel. The diver aligns the triangular marker at 60 with the minute hand right before beginning the dive. The time that has elapsed since the beginning of the dive is then shown on the bezel in minutes. The external dive bezel of the Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth operates in the same way, turning only counterclockwise and allowing the wearer to track their remaining dive time. If a diver were to accidentally bump their watch against a shipwreck, a reef, or a cave, this could change the position of the bezel and alter the diver’s settings. This means that accidentally moving the bezel clockwise could cause the diver to make a perilous miscalculation of the dive time. With the Bathy, it is only possible to accidentally move the bezel counterclockwise, which would only subtract from the planned dive time. This poses no danger to the diver: they can simply surface earlier than intended, thereby potentially preventing a decompression stop.
The Favre-Leuba Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth is powered by the FL321 hand-wound movement. It is based on the EMC 3903M caliber, which has been completely reengineered by Favre-Leuba. It features a 65-hour power reserve and a power-reserve indicator displayed at 12 o’clock.
Challenging dives and safety are not mutually exclusive, but rather interdependent. Without the proper safety measures, a dive can be over before it has even begun. Favre-Leuba has dedicated itself to moving one step closer to the perfect dive – and ensuring that nothing compromises the thrill of diving. The Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth has set new standards when it comes to dive watches. It is an extraordinary instrument, inspired by the original Bathy yet reinterpreted and perfected in every way. The Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth is a stunning achievement in the development of mechanical instrument watches – and is impressively stylish as well.
Favre-Leuba Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth
MOVEMENT: Hand-wound FL321 caliber, specially designed mechanisms for depth gauge and power-reserve indicator, power reserve of 65 hours
FUNCTIONS: Hours, minutes, small seconds, central hand for displaying dive depth up to 120 m, depth gauge subdial for displaying maximum depth, power-reserve indicator, date display
CASE: Titanium, unidirectional rotating bezel with anodized aluminum insert, screw-in crown, sapphire crystal with antireflection coating on both sides, screwed and aligned case back, diameter 48 mm, height 19 mm, water-resistant up to 20 bar/200 m
DIAL: Black dial with blue dive sector marking, red indication for decompression stops, applied indexes, luminous indexes and hour and minute hands, blue hand for displaying depth
STRAP: Rubber with pin buckle
The price for the Favre-Leuba Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth is CHF 8,500.