As many a British watchmaker will tell you, we in the UK were always an early adopter in the horological world, at the very forefront of timekeeping. It’s just a shame then that the Greeks were a good few millennia ahead of us.
The Antikythera Mechanism is a mechanical marvel. Discovered in a wreck off the coast of Antikythera back in 1900, the device was found by local sponge divers hunting for dinner. After a bit of trial and error, archaeologists managed to work out precisely what the collection of gears and cogs did: predicting the paths of the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. It could even accurately anticipate eclipses. In short, it was the oldest astronomical clock ever discovered.
Put into that light, it’s easy to see why microbrand Ianos used the Antikythera Mechanism as its starting point for the Avyssos watch. Indeed, the outline of the mechanism and its gradual turning can be seen front and centre on the diving watch in the form of a rotating second counter. It’s less of a numerical indicator, more a sign that the watch is beating and working as normal, a far more useful function than you might think.
Yet it’s not the only allusion to ancient Greece either. Ianos was founded with the specific mandate to pay homage to the pioneers of Greece, be that in forgotten engineering or exploration. They want to highlight some of the untold stories in a modern light – which is why, alongside the Antikythera mechanism, the dial of the Avyssos references the sponge divers that first found it.
The unusually-shaped indexes are the same shape as the Kampanelopetra, a stone used by Greek freedivers to weigh them down into the depths and help them ascend again in good time. It originates from the island of Symi, the home of the divers that first discovered the Antikythera mechanism and makes for a quirky-looking dial. It’s an element hammered home by the sandpaper texture of the dial, inspired by the rough surface of the stone.
The rest of the watch is fit for any amount of freediving you care to undertake, sinking stone or not. The case is rugged in 44mm of stainless steel (54 if we’re talking lug-to-lug) and the oddly smooth unidirectional rotating bezel is of underwater instrument standard. All of it is water resistant to a solid 300m, making it suitable for serious underwater use.
Inside is a Sellita movement – the SW216-1 – with a 42-hour power reserve and the kind of reliability you’d expect from the Swiss mainstay of the microbrand world. The end result is an unusual, inspired diving watch, of Greek origin but with Swiss quality – and a seriously competitive price tag at CHF 1,000 (roundabout £850).
This is only Ianos’ first watch though and with plenty Greek mythology and history to draw from, we’re hotly anticipating what comes next.
More details at Ianos Watches’ website.