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Franck Dubarry - Umberto Pelizzari and his Franck Dubarry diver’s watch

Franck Dubarry Umberto Pelizzari and his Franck Dubarry diver’s watch

The Italian freediving legend has teamed up with the Swiss brand for the launch of its new Diver collection.

In order for a watch to be considered as a diver’s watch in accordance with the ISO 6425 standard that governs the appellation, it needs to be water resistant to at least 100 metres (and tested to a pressure that is 125% of this figure). Most diver’s watches offer water resistance of 300 metres, which is sufficient for most uses. There is, however, a form of diving that has been pushing the boundaries for over twenty years, where man is already nearing the limits of such watches’ resistance. Freediving pitches man alone against the depths. The quest is simply to dive the deepest, or hold one’s breath the longest. 

Umberto Pelizzari has established a number of records in various freediving disciplines, including “no limits absolute”, where the diver descends with the aid of a sledge and resurfaces with the help of an inflated balloon, static freedive (or static apnea), where the diver “merely” holds their breath for as long as possible and static freedive with oxygen. The numbers behind these records are almost beyond the comprehension of the average person: 150 metres depth, eight minutes for static apnea and nearly twenty minutes for static apnea with oxygen (the diver breathes pure oxygen before the record attempt). The sport has developed almost exponentially since Pelizzari set his first static apnea record of 5 minutes and 33 seconds back in 1988. 

Umberto Pelizzari and his Franck Dubarry diver’s watch

Umberto Pelizzari

Pelizzari was a close friend and student of Jacques Mayol, one of the pioneers of freediving and star of the French film Le Grand Bleu. Mayol summed up the difference between scuba diving and freediving succinctly to Pelizzari: “The scuba diver dives to look around, the freediver dives to look inside.”

The Italian freediving legend has teamed up with Franck Dubarry to serve as ambassador for the brand’s new collection of diver watches. Like the existing collections by Franck Dubarry, the new watches share the distinctive codes of the brand, with an ergonomic case with integrated strap. The case is available in Damascus steel or black PVD stainless steel. As diver’s watches, they are of course water resistant to 300 metres and have a unidirectional rotating bezel in steel or carbon with luminescent markers to record immersion times. 

Umberto Pelizzari and his Franck Dubarry diver’s watch

The dial uses an innovative new material called Neoralithe, which is developed in Switzerland and made from resin that is thermally treated in a vacuum. A range of pigments can be added to give this material innumerable colours and it can be filled with SuperLuminova to assist visibility in low-light conditions. Much like case metals, Neoralithe can be brushed, polished or sandblasted, allowing for a number of finishing options. The Franck Dubarry Diver is completed with an Elastogator® strap, a combination of rubber and an alligator imprint rubber insert. It is powered by the Dubois-Depraz 14580 calibre self-winding movement, which offers a 44-hour power reserve as well as a rather distinctive double-disc date indication at 12 o’clock with laser-cut date wheels. 

Diver © Franck Dubarry

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