Before going to Dubai to cover the Air Show, Addy and I went diving last month in the Indian Ocean, where dive computers are obligatory. I got myself a $350 Suunto Mosquito. It's a cool little dive computer, rock-solid, with a computer connection to download diving profiles and a great design. But when you compare it to this Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Pro Geographic, the Mosquito is also a piece of c-r-a-p, CRAP. The Jaeger-LeCoultre is not a computer, but it's a wonder of mechanical engineering that can measure depths down to 262 feet with a unique membrane-based gauge system.
The titanium model is capable of going down to 3,281 feet (1,000 meters), as tested by their submarine robot in waters all across the world. Its mechanical automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 979 innards are handcrafted, with 247 parts, 29 jewels and ticks at 28,800 vibrations per hour. While it's not the most complicated watch in the world, which is one of the benchmarks of such a machine, it's pretty much up there.
On its face you can find six levels of information, showing things like the dual time zone support, a 24-city selection disk for automatic time-zone adjustment, a split-level date display, and the operating indicator (which is crucial for diving). There's also a depth scale situated in the outer ring, color coded to highlight the typical depths of diving, from the 0 to 20 meters for a typical beginner (like me) to the 20 to 40 meters (which is the usual no-decompression-required depth for advanced recreational divers). The depth scale is connected with pinions to the membrane mechanism that measures the pressure, which is a Jaeger-LeCoultre patented system. The system doesn't only react to water pressure: if you press your finger against it you will see it moving.
The watch is visually stunning, with the color blue really giving it a beautiful accent. The blue is not a matter of design: it's used because, at 30 meters below the surface, blue is the only color you can distinguish thanks to water's light filtering properties. However, the final effect is perfect.
The Master Compressor Diving Pro Geographic is available with articulated rubber bracelet (my favorite), as well as with titanium (if you really want it to last) and leather (if you just want to go around showing everyone this amazing beast). I know some people would say "so what, my Timex can do all this too." So can the $365 Suunto. But to me, however, a perfect machine like this is worth every one of the $22,000 of its price tag.
And yes, with that price I will be stuck with the Mosquito for a very long time. [Jaeger-LeCoultre]