Under Pressure: Hublot King Power Oceanographic 4000

June 16th, 2011

by Christopher Scapelliti

To be a true diver’s watch, a timepiece has to meet a litany of rigid specifications established by the Normes de l’Industrie Horlogere Suisse (NIHS). Among them are the ability to withstand sustained pressure at a minimum depth of 100 meters, legibility of both current and elapsed time at 25cm in total darkness, a unidirectional bezel to prevent a potentially fatal misreading of elapsed time during a dive, and superior resistance to shock, magnetic fields, and corrosive salt water, to name just a few.

Hublot’s King Power Oceanographic 4000 is the Swiss watchmaker’s new 4,000-meter diver, and while it’s safe to say very few of us will be plunging to those depths, it’s obvious that the company has gone to extremes with this bold-looking timepiece.

Consider its seal, which Hublot tested to the equivalent of 5,000 meters. This achievement is the result of combined features that include a synthetic sapphire crystal 6.5mm thick, a screw-down case back, and a case of Grade 2 titanium. Titanium’s extreme strength and light weight allow the Oceanographic 4000 to meet the NIHS’s weight restrictions for a diver’s watch, despite its large, 48mm case and substantial volume. (An all-black, carbon-fiber Oceanographic 4000 will be available as well.)

To meet NIHS legibility requirements, the Oceanographic 4000’s dial, flange, and hands have a larger SuperLuminova-treated surface area. The internal rotating bezel is unidirectional, of course, with a dive-time indicator that’s placed as close as possible to the dial to make it easier to read. Also in accordance with the standard, five-minute periods are clearly highlighted on the bezel.

For superior water resistance, the watch is fitted with two screw-down crowns: as a crown is screwed down it compresses an O-ring seal, which prevents water from entering the case. The flange crown, which sets the dive time, is placed at the two o’clock position; the crown for winding the watch and setting the time and date is located at the four o’clock position. Finally, a stainless-steel helium valve at the 10 o’clock position allows gases that have infiltrated the watch during descent to escape during ascent.

The Oceanographic 4000 has a longer than usual Diver strap of rubber and nylon that can be worn over diving suits up to 8mm thick. And since you’ll undoubtedly be wearing it on land more often than under the waves, the watch also comes with a black rubber Town strap for day-to-day use. Both straps feature a tongue-and-buckle design and attach to the case with two small push buttons that allow you to make a quick switch without any tools.

The King Power Oceanographic 4000 is limited to 1,000 pieces in titanium ($17,900) and 500 in carbon fiber ($23,900).

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