New Ratio Freediver: Built after a legend, works even better

200MBecoming a legend is not an overnight task. It takes a lot to be bestowed with the legendary status. Just classic looks are not sufficient; neither, a sky-high price. It is one of the key reasons why RATIO watches were introduced, in the first place.

The idea behind RATIO

Even a decade ago, choosing a no-frills diver watch tough as a nail and with diving capabilities more than a professional SCUBA diver will ever need was not difficult; provided, you are willing to pay the price. There were clear choices to make.

However, the present times brought over something we detestably call the knock-offs. It made us to feel like a hard task arguing about whether sub-$200 are value propositions or just a lame representation of something else that was enormous in its efficacy and influence?

The primary watch brand to go after the sub-$200 value proposition was none other than Seiko; with their SKX007 series of watches that could take both Hell and High Waters in a breath. But they are not made anymore, so Ratio Watches followed in their footsteps and brought forth the FreeDiver Stainless Steel Automatics!

RATIO: Build and Specs

Every watch in the RTA and the RTB series is built according to the pro-grade diver specs; the cases; the 4’o clock, screw-down crowns and the bracelets are all made from surgical-grade stainless steel (in technical terms, that’s 316L steel; read more about it here in our blog) for immense strength and complete freedom from corrosion; unidirectional timer bezels with 120 clicks (i.e. half-a-minute increments); bold, easy to read markings, almost the same Seiko automatic caliber (NH36A; primarily a 7S26 with hacking and manual winding capabilities) and NH35A something which most brands lack big time in their budget watches – A domed Sapphire Crystal with ARC; which is a very pertinent addition due to its very high degrees of scratch resistance, which you’ll need more specifically while swimming through the rocky ridges underwater. Every watch is water resistant up to 200m (manufacturer’s specification)

With a variety of dial colors to choose from, the new slew of Ratio Freediver watches will not just accompany you to the wild waters but also on the beaches (play or party, you decide) and in your everyday life.

RATIO: Towards finer classifications

The new slew of Freediver watches have two divisions: RTA and RTB; the differences being that in the movements and in the crystals covering the dials. The RTA uses a Seiko Caliber NH36A movement and a Domed Sapphire crystal while the RTB uses a Seiko Caliber NH35A movement with a Flat Sapphire. Both come with anti-reflective coating, which is a great help towards offering a zero-distortion visibility.

  • NH35A vs. NH36A

An affordable yet reliable movement with decent specs, NH35 and NH35A refer to the same caliber, used interchangeably. It is currently one of the world’s most popular automatic movements, widely available and fully supported by Seiko in matters of repairs and servicing, if any that’s required.  It also opts for a custom rotor (oscillating weight that helps to automatically wind the mainspring). The NH35 is much more accurate than most of the other mechanical movements within the price range and makes for a robust and simple piece open to further modifications. The NH35 holds no difference to the NH36 but one: NH35 has a date complication whereas NH36 shows both day and the date. A simpler way to say that is:

NH35 + Day = NH36

  • Domed vs. Sapphire Crystal

A domed crystal is stronger than a flat crystal of comparable thickness, the shape of the dome working much like an arch does. It spreads the force over a greater area than crystal that’s flat and therefore, is less likely to shatter or crack than a flat crystal of the same thickness.

A flat crystal; however doesn’t distort the view of the dial irrespective of the angle you are looking through a domed crystal alike; however, a proper, high-quality, anti-reflective coating on domed sapphires shall eliminate the distortion completely. But then again, the domed shape of a sapphire crystal naturally does away with the mirroring effect observed in flat crystals, rendering the ARC to be optional and not indispensable.

Ratio: A few, quick fact checks

What are the materials used for Ratio watches?

Stainless steel 316L grade; (case, bracelet, crown, dial, bezel – all other metal parts and components)

Do the domed sapphires come with ARC?

Their degrees of curvature remove the need; however, still they are given ARC to maximize clarity of vision.

Are Ratio watches mod-able?

Not recommended. But you may always try with a different strap.

What movements do these Ratio watches use?

Seiko mechanical automatic movements; calibers NH35A and NH36A. For details, see NH36A; primarily a 7S26 and NH35A.

How are they different?

NH35A and NH36A bear day and day/date complications besides timekeeping, respectively. For details, see NH36A; primarily a 7S26 and NH35A.

What dial colors are available?

Orange, White, Black and two darker shades of blue! The color scheme applies to both RTA and RTB series of Ratio Freedivers.

Why does Ratio use two different kinds of crystals?

The differences between domed and flat crystals are primarily, aesthetic but they also offer you choices in budget. You like flat more, there’s the RTB; else, the RTA, with its impressive, zero-distortion curvature and a slightly bluish tinge. Technically, a domed crystal is stronger than a flat crystal of the same thickness and spreads the force received at the top of the dome is spread over a greater area than a flat crystal does. A domed crystal is less likely to shatter or crack than a flat and is as close to scratch-proof as anything man-made could get!

Is Ratio ISO-Certified?

No. Ratio RTA and RTB Series of Freediving watches are not ISO6425 certified; however, their diving capabilities have been tested by the manufacturer before labeling them as Divers’ watches.

What is the purpose of a dive watch/free diver watch?

Cost-cutting would be a simple, one-word answer but there’s more to it that might need to be explained a bit!

Free-diving or free diving is the same as breath-hold or skin diving; where you dive underwater relying upon no breathing apparatus but in your ability to hold breath and stay underwater. You do not go down more than a couple hundred of feet while freediving, so investing in a diver watch built to go down great depths is your money getting blocked unnecessarily. The Ratio Freediver gives you a little more than you need and not just for freediving, you may use it for any kind of diving as long as you do not go down beyond 600 feet. It is also a great, inexpensive and highly robust choice for traditional or spear- fishing technique, synchronized swimming and vigorous underwater sports like water polo, football and rugby. Even if you are not into any of these but still love the look of diver watches, the Ratio Freediver doesn’t make you look like a poser.

Can you wear a dive watch with a suit?

No! Always avoid wearing dive watches with suits (any kind except for wet suits), unless the event calls for a more relaxed dress code allowing smart casuals. You may even wear them with your Oxford shirts.

Do divers use dive watches?

Only saturation and recreational divers; guys who weld the oil pipelines at the North Sea or are handling similar responsibilities at similar facilities underwater — or those who spend extensive periods underwater in pressurized habitats. The gas they breathe-in there is high in helium content, which seeps into watches and unless provided with an escape valve, the gas will most certainly damage the watch. Recreational divers love simple diving watches because they are safe equipment with just the essential functions and not a large number of them as found in the dive computers.

Can you swim with a dive watch?

Certainly! You may also play a large number of land and air sports wearing one. They are built tough.

How waterproof is a Ratio Freediver watch?

Up to 600 feet underwater (to maintain a safe limit) and another 50 feet if need be. It must not be taken beyond 660 feet. The screw-down crowns and the screw-down case backs can only resist up to that much.

Can you dive with a 200m watch?

Yes, till the recommended depth or lesser. But it needs to be a proper ‘dive’ watch and not a ‘’diver-styled’ watch.

Can you dive up to 1000m with a Ratio dive watch?

There are specific Ratio watches for the purpose, with Helium-escape valves and 1000m depth rating. Trying to attain that depth with a 200m Ratio Freediver will damage the watch, probably, beyond repair.

What is the best watch for freediving?

Best watches for freediving – just like for any other category – are defined according to the pricings. For the sub-$200 category, Ratio proves to be the best while for millionaires, a $1.45 million Richard Mille would prove the best. But you can’t possibly risk that amount of money to the salt waters even if you are Bill Gates.

What makes a watch a dive watch?

Few specific characteristics make a watch a dive watch though the ones built specifically for saturation/Scuba diving will have a couple of added criteria.

  1. Water Resistance: At least for 100 meters to qualify as a basic dive watch; 200m to 300m for an advanced one and 500m or more to be certified as a pro-grade dive watch. Always check for screw-down crowns, pushers (if any) and case backs; they are more effective in keeping the water out than double gasket systems and snap-on back-lids.
  2. Legibility: Should be highly legible underwater and therefore, a great lume is paramount. Dial colors add to visibility but only at the surface level,up to 10 or 20 meters.
  3. Rotating Bezel: Unidirectional or bi-directional, serving as a timer; though the first type is a better choice since it prevents accidental turns. Plus, markings on the bezel should be bold and highly legible.
  4. Durable Strap: Silicon rubber is more preferred for the purpose. Steel, though tougher, might add to the weight of your diving equipment, though not greatly.
  5. Helium Escape Valve: For professional divers operating at great depths for prolonged hours and surviving on breathing mixtures.
Do people actually dive with a Ratio?

Many have. Many do. Many will.

Why are diving watches so popular?

Sheer aesthetics, brand value and connections to technological marvels aside, diving watches are popular among people due to their sheer level of toughness. Other reasons behind their popularity are:

  1. Accuracy; for All underwater diving needs very precise timing to be safe.
  2. The origins are ‘military’ and military-style watches are popular.
  3. They are more water resistant than every other type of watch around, thus ensuring you don’t need to worry irrespective of you being on the beach or caught amidst a hailstorm.
  4. Readability and visibility are maximized in dive watches. You don’t need to look close to find which odd-minute the hand is denoting.

Dive watches set one of the standards in toughness and that came about much before Casio introduced their G-Shock range. This doesn’t, however; always apply to luxury dive watches like the Richard Mille watches mentioned above, but anyway; in a sane mind, none would go frolicking in either sea or on the land wearing a million dollars. The toughness really don’t count in this case but you could be sure it’s not going to give up even if you drop it or knock against a rock.