Depth gauge watches are quite a rarity on the market and represent a niche industry segment, offering technical solutions to provide a diver with their current diving depth. Some rely on mechanical systems with an aneroid capsule, some use a Bourdon tube, and some use a cut-out that lets water enter a channel; and some are simply over-engineered. The latest watch with this feature is very different in many respects. First, it’s made by a brand that isn’t usually linked to the world of dive watches. Second, and most importantly, the solution used to display the current depth is one of the simplest possible. Using the science of colour, or chromatics, and the way colours disappear underwater, Artya has created a fascinatingly simple Depth Gauge.
Let’s talk about the basics first. The Artya Depth Gauge is a classic dive watch, visually speaking and in terms of specifications. The case, with its pointy lugs and angular crown guards, is 43mm in diameter and is made of brushed stainless steel. It comes equipped with a sapphire crystal on the front, a solid steel back (screwed and embossed with the brand’s logo) and a screw-down crown. The watch is water-resistant to 300m – a classic yet comfortable rating. Note that the watch can be ordered with a black coating.
Framing the dial is an originally shaped bezel with an exclusive wave-shaped border, combining grip and design. It includes a brushed ceramic insert, available in black or blue, with the indispensable 60-minute diving scale. The Artya Depth Gauge is worn on a black or blue textured rubber strap, closed by a drop-shaped pin buckle in steel. Inside is a time-and-date COSC-certified movement made by Aion. A higher-end alternative to the off-the-shelf engines, it runs at 4Hz and stores 42h of power reserve. It’s finished with NAC-coated bridges, Geneva stripes and an openworked rose gold-plated rotor.
So, what is the Artya Depth Gauge all about? Well, you’ll have to look at the dial, not at the classic black background or the applied markers and hands filled with BGW9 Super-LumiNova. No, what matters are the semi-circular coloured arches on the upper half. And no, these aren’t standard scales like the one on a Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer; these coloured arches act as a depth gauge. But how, since there is no mechanical device to measure the depth? Well, you have to understand the science of chromatics and how colours act underwater.
And this is where the Artya Depth Gauge is both very simple and very clever at the same time. Above the surface, on land, the dial features five arched segments in red, orange, yellow, green and blue. Now, each colour reacts differently as you start diving. The deeper you go, the less the colours will be visible – but not at the same pace. The first colour to disappear underwater is red, at a depth of about 5 metres. Then comes orange (a colour that has often been wrongly advertised as the most visible underwater), which disappears at about 15 metres. Yellow comes next at 30 metres, followed by green at 50 metres and blue at 100 metres. And there you have a reliable (no mechanics), simple yet scientifically based depth gauge.
Naturally, the precision of the indication isn’t the most advanced. Some of the solutions used by IWC or Blancpain will be far more precise when it comes to reading the current depth since these watches use mechanical solutions and a continuous indication with a dedicated scale. Yet, I must say that I like the Artya Depth Gauge for its uniqueness and simplicity but also because it looks rather cool.
The Artya Depth Gauge is a limited edition of nine pieces per colourway and is priced at CHF 7,900. For more details, please visit www.artya.com.