Pablo Calvo, founder of CREPAS watches (Compañìa Relojera Especializada Para Actividades Subacuáticas), contacted me with first shots of his prototype. The reader will keep in mind that this is the first prototype and that production pieces will benefit from further improvements.
Trained in finance and holder of an MBA from a Swiss university, Mr. Calvo started working in banking and collected watches from 2002 onward, trading under the alias papapastorius on eBay. With his wife they gave birth to a baby 16 months ago and on Christmas 2009 they decided to launch a brand of watches focused on his preferred niche: diving watches.
The Le Grand stands out in several aspects:
- The bezel insert is made out of sapphire with anti-reflective coating and luminous filling. The cost alone of this part is relatively high, as it requires precision machining and control to cut a perfect ring out of sapphire.
- The crown screws down to guarantee pressure resistance to 120 bar (equivalent to a static depth of 1200 m), but even when left unlocked it still withstands pressures up to 5 bar (static depth of 50 m).
- The case is built with magnetic shielding, which protects the mechanical movement from fields up to 70,000 A/m.
- The case back is made water-resistant through the use of two gaskets.
- The date disk features white print on a black background.
Measuring 43 mm in diameter and with a total thickness of 17.2 mm, the case made out of 316L stainless steel also features an automatic helium valve for saturation diving. It comes with a mesh bracelet with diving extension, am Italian-made Bonetto rubber strap and a G10 NATO strap.
His attention to detail led Mr. Calvo to make additionnal investments, which certainly did not make sourcing cheap for him. In spite of this, he chose to keep the margins very reasonable by asking a MSRP of USD 1249. This is where one can tell that entrepreneurs like Mr. Calvo build watches more for the passion than for the profits.
The CREPAS Le Grand can be pre-ordered with a discount of USD 400 on the CREPAS Web site.