The French Job is the name of the Maurice Lacroix-sponsored world record attempt by Swiss-born Australian freediver, Sébastien Murat, to dive beyond 703 feet on a single breath. The record attempt is scheduled to take place later on this month, in a discipline known as No Limits - where, according to the World governing body AIDA "the freediver descends with the help of a ballast weight and ascends via a method of his choice. No limit is the absolute depth discipline. Going down with a sled, and going back up with a balloon, a diving suit or a vest with inflatable compartments, or whatever other means."
Sébastien, like the current record-holder (and Breitling wearer) Herbert Nitsch, appears to be practising a method of freediving called "empty lung", where the contents of the lungs are more or less expelled prior to (or during the early part of) the dive. Rather than blast through the record like Herbert (who's currently recovering in a recompression chamber after his 800ft dive three days ago), Séb (the "sub") appears to be taking it a bit easier and attempting to better the current record (by an undisclosed degree). I've sent some questions over to Séb's team in France to get more info on this technique and also to find out more about his approach to diving (thank you Dénea!).
In the meantime, let's focus on the watch he'll be wearing: the Maurice Lacroix Pontos S. It's a good-looking 200m dive chrono, with an ML movement based on the Valjoux 7750. Available on a rather natty NATO-style strap or bracelet, the 43mm watch records elapsed time up to 12 hours (using a 30 minute chrono), has constant seconds and a date window at six o'clock. The pushers are well-designed, with an integrated internal bezel for timing dives, and nicely colour-coordinated accents.
I like the bold markers and easy-to-read dials, while the internal bezel is a nice touch. I still don't understand why so many dive watches continue to highlight the first fifteen minutes of the dive (rather than the latter part of a dive, for example) but I do like the splash of colour it adds to the watch. The contrasting use of polished / matte finishes is eye-catching and reminds me of the Seiko Sumo / Ananta / Grand Seiko watches.
Available in a variety of colours, this watch is a very stylish addition to the ML range, which has launched a number of interesting pieces over the past few years (remember the Roue Carré?). In fact, ML has quietly established itself as a decent choice in the luxury market, with prices to suit most wallets.
The Pontos S is c.£2995 and available online through Jura.
Many thanks to Dénea and all at The French Job - and best of luck to Séb for his dive.