We see a lot of diving watches here at Oracle Time; some might say too many to be honest, given that most of them are pretty much the same. They tend to be some variation of the whole Submariner/Fifty Fathoms genus without all that much variation. Thank God for the Favre-Leuba Raider Bathy 120 Memodepth.
It shares the same oversized gunmetal-coloured, titanium Raider case as last year’s Bivouac – but that’s about it. Where the previous model was equipped with an altimeter for climbing, the newest Raider instead dives below sea level. That’s 120m below sea level.
Now 120m might not sound like the most extreme diving watch in the world. It’s not. But there’s a huge difference between simply surviving at depth and actually being useful there. It’s easy to indicate the time, near-impossible to tell the depth and one of those is decidedly more important than the other.
And so, we have the Bathy, able to indicate the exact depth to 120m through some strange and miraculous membrane system at the back of the watch. It’s indicated as clearly as possible, with a blue central hand reeling it off the chapter ring. Said ring even has red marks for the decompression zones so you can avoid the bends. I’ve heard they’re not very good.
It’s a mechanism that must take up some space, given how titanic the case is. However, I can just about get away with wearing the 48mm block of titanium. Only just mind you, but I don’t look so ridiculous wearing it. That’s partly thanks to the integrated rubber strap, which comes off the lugs downwards, rather than out of the sides. The Bathy is fully aware of how big it is.
The case size also goes someway to making the dial that little bit more readable. Only a bit though; the faceted bezel between the unidirectional diving bezel and the dial kind of spoils the effect there, even if it’s a cool little touch. The rotating bezel itself has a nice snap to it. It makes it sound a little like a toy but it’s damn satisfying to use.
In fact, there’s something slightly toy-like – in a good way – with the rest of the dial. Something in the colours – the white, black and gradients of blue, their brightness perhaps, makes it seem less serious than other divers. It makes the dial pleasant to read, even the unmarked seconds and power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock. It also makes the whole watch a little less… well, intimidating.
Really the only downside is that the hand-wound FL321 movement only has a reserve of 65 hours. That’s not the end of the world, but it’s just enough that offhandedly winding it now and then might not be enough. Still, I’m willing to forgive a lot here.
As I said, it’s not often a diving watch comes along that can genuinely be considered new, and that alone is worth sitting up and paying attention to. It’s not going to convince me to dive 120m down to really try it out in its element – I’ll leave that to the more adventurous folk – but the Favre-Leuba Raider Bathy 120 Memodepth is one hell of a watch.
Price & Specs:
- Model name: Favre-Leuba Raider Bathy 120 Memodepth Phoenix
- Dial/Case: Diameter 48mm
- Movement: Hand-wound FL321 movement, based on the EMC 3903M caliber; specially designed mechanisms for depth gauge and power-reserve indicator
Power reserve: 65 hours
Water resistance: 20 bar/200m
- Price: £7,800
More at: favre-leuba.com