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Typsim 200m Dispatches – Revillagigedo

Dedicated to the Team Lazy Divers

The Archipiélago de Revillagigedo is a group of four volcanic islands sitting 400km-1,000km from the closest port, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. These islands were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2016 and declared a protected Marine National Park by Mexico in 2017. Illegal fishing threatened life here altogether before the protections were placed on the archipiélago. Alongside places like the Galapagos and Cocos Island, Revillagigedo represents one of the most pristine ocean environments in the world. Some of the most significant pelagic life resides here, in waters largely unmarred by humans. In these waters, where the currents of California and the Equator mix, there is a window into what the Ocean should be.

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To scuba dive here is the privilege of my lifetime. I don’t say this lightly; the Ocean is on the verge of collapse. Speak to any diver, and they’ll tell you of the fields of dead coral and waters empty of sea life. My wife and I pinched our pennies and set sites on these islands for five years. We had to get here before the effects of humans reached even the most remote places.

For those five years, we dove as much as our lives allowed, gained certifications, and planned and navigated dives from Hawaii to Puerto Rico. All this was necessary to book a trip to Revillagigedo, and the diving would be the toughest we’d yet ventured, with swift currents and help a long way from the dive sites. The quickest escape is via the Island of Socorro Navy Base, which is hours by boat passage and a helicopter ride.

Taking along a watch to further romanticize what would undoubtedly be the trip of a lifetime was a necessity. Enter the Typsim 200C, a vintage-esque diver that would make me feel like the Cousteou of old, laying eyes on the World’s Aquarium (Baja) for the first time.

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Dive watches have played a role in exploring the oceans, funding scientific research for the greats of old and modern conservationists. It only makes sense for the smaller brands of today to assist in even minor ocean endeavors by individuals like myself. In my case, the Typsim 200 would fill that role. Putting on the vintage-inspired bracelet and a dial veiled with a warmth-bringing acrylic crystal completed that mid-century explorer image in my brain. Alongside a group of 16 other divers, we boarded the vessel Undersea Hunter and said our goodbyes to land, setting to sea for the next 11 days. Our trip would consist of 7 days spent diving, four times per day—a whopping 28+ hours in the water.

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The first dive site was El Cañons. Looking back, this may have been the most fantastic day of diving I have ever experienced. The site featured multiple shark cleaning stations where the likes of the Scallop Hammerhead sharks (pictured above), Galapagos Sharks, Pelagic White Tips, and Silver Tips come to be cleaned by the fish that call these stations home.

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The sharks circled these stations to be cleaned by the fish and looked warily at the bubbles emanating from divers. Sharks may be scary for those who have seen the movie Jaws, but to divers, they are generally skittish. We are formidable animals beneath the water with unnatural bubbles leaking from our 10-foot figures reeking of neoprene.

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But while most sharks wouldn’t approach us, our group of divers had cohered. People became friends and shared intimate moments underwater and on board.

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A group of divers I immediately noticed comprised four older British men with matching shirts: “Team Lazy Divers.” Each one had something different on his wrist. A beat-up SKX from the late 80s, an Aqualand from the 90s, an early Suunto dive computer, and the fourth member bare-wristed save his Shearwater. They had been diving under the moniker Lazy Divers since the mid-90s together all over the globe. They had been to Revillagigedo ten years prior, and this was their comeback tour post-Covid. I couldn’t help but see a future version of myself in them and could only hope to be aboard a ship for more incredible dive adventures well into my 60s.

Another diver from Tasmania had never worn a mechanical watch, much less gone diving with one. He was happy to wear the Typsim so I could grab a few shots. Watching him strap it on and showing him how to use it gave me the joy of a father teaching his kid to ride a bike. He seemed to marvel at the design, the bracelet, how the bezel operated, and the shimmering gilt of the dial printing. One dive later, he grasped the practical and more romantic reasons behind diving with a mechanical timepiece. His understanding of the latter was at least somewhat enabled by the vintage elegance and functional design of the Typsim.

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I felt lousy setting the bar so high because, on this dive, we got Mantas.

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(Black Manta, shimmering in the BLUE)

The hammers were close too.


The Typsim was there for the ride. The watch enjoyed the sites and time traveling me to when these animals could breathe a little easier, not just in a secluded oasis like Revillagigedo.

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Our trip continued in search of Giant Mantas and fields of Great Hammers. Mantas exist almost outside of our understanding of time. Cultures that knew of these animals into antiquity regarded them as ethereal or even gods. Modern science tells us that they possess a brain that dwarfs that of any other fish in the Ocean. (Thank you, science, for confirming what indigenous peoples have known for thousands of years.) Spanning up to 30 feet across, these filter feeders glide through the water unbothered. There are no more graceful beings on Earth than these Giant Mantas. Mantas will even approach divers; they like to be scratched by our bubbles. The rarest occurrence was the spotting of a Giant Manta alongside one of the kings of these waters, a Tiger Shark. This was the first indicator that something was wrong. Something this rare can only be too good to be true.

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Relative to the previous two days of spectacular diving, our third day was shaping up to be less eventful. Heading into the fourth dive of the day, over half of the 16 divers opted to skip the final planned dive of the day, except my group and Team Lazy Divers. We splashed in as a condensed group to follow a lava flow. We had scoured the other three dive sites in this location, looking for mammoths of the ocean with little luck. Donning the Typsim 200, I enjoyed the early parts of this dive with child-like glee, reaching a peak for comradery with my dive buddies. Halfway through the dive, Mother Ocean rewarded us with the experience of a lifetime.

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A pair of giant Mantas glided to our group, swooping in and encircling us. The duo would spend a few minutes with our group and then skirt away to Team Lazy Divers on the other side of the lava flow; I was happy they could see the Mantas in the same dive as us. Looking back, though, it feels more meaningful than that. When we finally surfaced, our Italian dive master led us in the singing of Bella Ciao to cap off the best dive of our lives.

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But then the skiff driver, Geronimo, picked us all up, and immediately the mood shifted. He informed us that during the dive, one of the members of Team Lazy Divers had a medical emergency. They had surfaced a few minutes earlier than us and deployed their distress signal, and help would arrive too late.

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The next few hours were a blur that turned into days and weeks to process what followed. The charter raced to the Mexican Navy outpost on Socorro Island. By then, it was too late. The diver had passed. His locker was closed, and his lifelong friends took his personal effects, the vintage Citizen Aqualand carefully reclaimed. We grieved and remained on the boat after returning to the mainland. The moment was more significant than our ambitions to experience the Ocean, and instead, the trip took a life-altering turn. We watched, helpless, as a man with the same passions and on the same life path as us, only a few years ahead, died. The curtailing of our dream dive trip paled in the blinding light of the tragedy that had occurred.

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Here is the final image I captured. Taken at the moment our fellow diver was surfacing and likely taking his last breaths. The symbolism and power of the photo are perhaps only significant to me. The Mantas had gone back and forth between our groups, and looking back, I am hard-pressed to say they weren’t aware of what was happening. Where does this leave me? I sit in a cafe, still reeling from the trauma, as I try to write words about a watch.

Buying a watch is one of the most intensely personal things you can do. These are the rare items that can accompany you for life. That Citizen Aqualand lived with that diver for over 20 years until the end. Whether we wish it or not, our watches are imbued with the emotions of the experiences during which we wear them. While that may include weddings, childbirth, promotions, and graduations, it also means traumas, loss, and pain. This Typsim was with me while I bawled and held my wife in a dimly lit 100-square-foot cabin below deck. The lume kept me company while I couldn’t close my eyes to sleep.

Boxing this watch up and sending it back, after my experience, feels like I’m somehow trying to rid myself of the incident by sending this object away. That makes these objects—our watches—so uniquely powerful: as items that can go anywhere with us for our entire lives, they can carry within them the memories we yearn to recall and the ones we wish we’d never formed. When I put the Typsim back on, it’s not the design or quality that strikes me like it did when I first handled it. Instead, I’m immediately overwhelmed by the highest of highs and lowest of lows, and I suppose that’s something only a watch could do, and for me and this experience, it’s something only this watch could do.

I dedicate this write-up to the Team Lazy Divers. It was the privilege of my lifetime to dive with you all.

Check out Mike’s review of the Typsim 200M-C here

Check out the Typsim website here

Comments 2
  1. There’s something to be said about expressing loss eloquently Frank. Sharing that loss with the world demonstrates humility and compassion. Thank you for writing this piece.

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