Hublot, Antikythera, the EXOSUIT, and the EXO4000

October 19, 2014

In 1901, the “Antikythera” treasure was discovered in Greek waters, where the remains of what is probably the oldest “astronomical calculator” in the world were uncovered. Hublot became involved with the Antikythera project in 2011 first by lending support to an exhibition at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris, then by partnering a major project at the Archaeological Museum of Athens which created a special Antikythera room with a giant armoured, earthquake-resistant display case, manufactured in Switzerland to Hublot’s order, to showcase the remains of the mechanism. And of course there is also Hublot’s wrist-sized recreation of the Antikythera mechanism, the Hublot “Tribute to Antikythera.” Whether you like Hublot or not, you gotta admit that they are involved in some rather special projects, the Antikythera here is case in point.

Today, a scientific expedition led by Brendan Foley (diver and archaeologist) is returning to the Antikythera site off the coast of Kythera, Greece to carry out a second historic dig, this time equipped with a latest generation dive suit designed for extremes : The EXOSUIT.

To support and mark this occasion, Mathias Buttet, Hublot R&D Director attended the dives, and presented the OCEANOGRAPHIC EXO4000 dive watch (water resistance rated to 4000 meters), also designed for extremes, and which pays tribute to the scientists involved in this incredible adventure.

The first Hublot Oceanographic 4000, with a titanium case, was unveiled at the Monaco Oceanographic Museum in 2011, and the EXO400 keeps largely with the original design. The Oceanographic EXO4000 has a 6.5mm thick sapphire crystal, with a 48mm carbon fiber case. The dial, flange and hands of the Oceanographic EXO400 are treated with red SuperLuminova. Additional requisite elements for a dive watch are of course part of the specs: helium escape valve, (internal) rotating bezel with dive-time markers, et al.

The EXOSUIT is a cutting-edge dive suit which allows diver-archaeologists to combine the flexibility of a dive suit with the resilience of a submersible. It is made of aluminum alloy, has water thrusters, 18 rotating joints, and can be used to depths of 1000 feet (300 metres). It significantly expands underwater exploration possibilities with a maximum autonomy of 50 hours and an inner atmosphere that is kept at normal pressure (so that the diver does not have to work with complex combinations of gases). Due to its advanced technology, this equipment carries a price tag of $1.3 million. More on the EXOSUIT in this Nature article — including a very illustrative video — here.

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