Exclusive: Squale's World Record Diving Challenge
We’re sure by now you understand that there are no depths into which we won’t delve to research, test and uncover hidden secrets from the Wonderful World of Watches. So when Squale watches invited us to become part of their team attempting to break the world scuba diving record, we just had to go.
To remind you, Squale have always championed and supported professional divers. The great Charles von Buren and his family attended and, indeed, took part in Championship events all over the world to test and develop Squale and to further improve the brand’s technical excellence.
And so it was that we found ourselves in the charming Centro Sub ‘Riviera die Fiori’, a well-respected professional diving club in the town of Bordighera on the Italian Riviera. Diving Champion Michele Geraci was to be ‘our man’ and the world record target in his sights was a depth of 340m.
On the night before the world record attempt we received an excellent briefing from Michele himself about his challenge. He outlined not only the difficulties but also his methodology to reach 340m on a mixture of gases taken at various points during his descent. Explaining the minutiae of this event could actually fill several books on deep scuba diving, some of which Michele has authored himself, but if we tell you that the descent to 340m will take in the region of 12 minutes whilst the subsequent ascent will take nearly 12 hours, you get some idea of the enormity of the endeavour!
Michele has owned his Squale watch for some years and as our evening unfolds it becomes apparent that many people in the room are also divers as well as fond Squale owners. Throughout the night we speak at length to Andrea Maggi, Squale’s MD, and it’s clear to see that his sponsorship is a philanthropic gesture opposed to a commercial one, as distributors of these practical and beautiful watches we are happy to lend our support. After a very pleasant evening we retire for a relaxing drink by the Bordighera Marina to discuss all things diving and tomorrow’s forthcoming world record attempt.
The next morning a flotilla of small boats surround the dive boat carrying Michele and his team of around 40 medical professionals, gas mix specialists and dive equipment experts – all of which are suitably sporting Squale t-shirts! Among the many electronic aids, we noticed that Michele is wearing his trusty yellow dial Squale 101 ATM. We share our boat with the team from the decompression chamber, Andrea Maggi, and his great friend Franco, an Italian freestyle swimming champion in the 1970’s.
As you can appreciate, preparation was time consuming but absolutely essential. Two hours after commencement Michele was ready. The team prepare the way and the medical team are on standby to descend to circa 100m. After this, Michele is… alone.
With the dive in-progress we monitor movement from the surface. As mentioned previously, the descent will be quick, but it soon becomes apparent that there’s a technical problem. Due to this issue Michele is unable to complete the world record attempt but he does still break the Italian Scuba diving record at 253m. Even at this depth it takes Michele more than 10 hours to return. So we wait patiently. Despite the fact that we know very little Italian it soon becomes apparent that the conversation has turned to food and wine, with true Italian panache a fast motor launch approaches captained by the charming Diego Fioravanti, President of the Centro Scuba Club, containing an abundance of tasty Italian treats!
As the evening draws in Squale Apnea diver Michele Fucarino, a friend of Michele Geraci, dives to 60m to support his friend. Sporting my trusty Squale 2002 and with Andrea wearing the prototype of the Squale Bronze Master (now available to clients), we join them at a more ‘reasonable’ 10m. This IS what you call customer support; I don’t see many manufacturers and retailers joining their divers underwater.
At last, Michele surfaced to great fanfare and applause. With an Italian record in his pocket he is now more determined than ever to continue his challenge to break the world record… and of course, both Page and Cooper and Squale will be there to support him!