RALF TECH The Steel Bracelet That Was Never Supposed To Exist (Has Finally Arrived)
RALF TECH unveils its very first steel bracelet – a significant leap for a fully independent watchmaker that had always resisted the idea
At RALF TECH, there’s something that applies to both diving and watches: it’s all about levels. The most extreme are The Beast and the historic WRCX models, two monsters of the deep, measuring over 47 mm in diameter. For the less adventurous the brand offers less intimidating levels, like the WRV series and, in particular, the WRB series with its modest 39 mm case size. Stealthy in operational terms, this versatile piece suits any occasion, and can even be considered unisex.
A growing family
The WRB range is currently expanding, and it’s not for the first time. Introduced in 2019, this highly adaptable piece debuted with a military-focused version, primarily targeting French army divers. RALF TECH has established numerous high-level partnerships, including with the French Navy, Special Forces, elite units of the Gendarmerie Nationale and the Police Nationale, and their equivalents in Switzerland, Great Britain and Italy.
WRB Ocean Metal © RALF TECH
Two years later, in 2021, a new edition emerged, this time less military and more civilian in nature. Seven different versions were available, in Tundra Green, Volcano Red and Ocean Blue. The watch remains a genuine diver’s timepiece, water-resistant to 200m and surpassing the ISO 6425 standard for dive watches. Although you can still find them for sale, there are not too many left.
Fast forward to 2023, and the third-generation WRB makes its debut. Its movement, a modified Seiko NH35 base, remains unchanged and provides an optimal 40-hour power reserve. The case retains its 39 mm size; it’s crafted from 316L steel and features a unidirectional rotating bezel with 120 clicks. It is in full compliance with the ISO 6425 standard and, with its 200-metre water resistance certification, stays true to its diver’s watch roots. However, for the first time, it comes with a steel bracelet – a rarity at RALF TECH and the brand’s first-ever steel bracelet design across all collections and models.
WRB First Edition Metal © RALF TECH
Why does that matter? Frank Huyghe, a former professional diver and founder of the brand, explains: “A steel bracelet? I’d always said: Never! I found them heavy and not always visually appealing. But over the years I received numerous requests. So, we took the time to develop one that truly suits my taste and, more importantly, aligns with the professional nature of all our watches.”
So RALF TECH created a custom bracelet for its dive watches. As with its cases, Frank Huyghe chose 316L steel, popular in watchmaking for its technical properties: stainless, durable, with a beautiful lustre. It is already used in all the brand’s steel cases, and now in their steel bracelets as well.
For its dive watches, RALF TECH also designed an additional extension system. When needed, the bracelet’s useful length can be extended by up to nearly 3 cm, enabling the watch to fit over a diving suit. It can also be adjusted by a few millimetres for greater comfort in the summer.
WRB Original Metal © RALF TECH
The deployant clasp features a two-blade design. For operational safety reasons, the bracelet can’t be changed without a tool, but the traditional and straightforward pin pusher allows for swift disengagement. As a bonus, it’s adaptable to any other WRB watch, even those from previous generations. RALF TECH will also sell the bracelet as a separate accessory for existing collectors.
As a final tribute to their predecessors, the three new WRBs have adopted the names of the original series, appended with the new bracelet’s suffix: the WRB First Edition Metal, the WRB Original Metal, and the WRB Ocean Metal. These three sea sisters share the same appealing price of 1800 euros.
In 1996, professional diver Frank Huyghe created the RALF TECH brand: diving suits, buoyancy compensators, regulators, masks, etc. In 2003, on the strength of his personal experience, he designed a watch that could withstand the enormous pressures of the ocean depths and beat the World Record of deep diving. This was the RALF TECH WR1.Find out more >
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