To say that Toronto-based watch collector Craig Henshaw is the very definition of an IWC man is an understatement: constantly seeking out adventure might as well be his job description, and on almost all of these endeavors, you can find him sporting a piece from his IWC collection. However, it’s Craig’s Aquatimer Deep Two that holds a special place in his heart.
As an active diver and underwater photographer, Craig has traveled to far-off destinations not known to most. One such place is Taveuni, a remote island off the cost of Fiji, that is the third largest island in the Fijian archipelago. Notably, Taveuni is home to CIVA Pearl Farm (“civa”, pronounced “dheeva” means “pearl” in Fijian), a small, family-run farm that turns out, as Craig describes, some of the most unique and unblemished pearls in the world. This is a result of the black-lipped oysters, native to the area and known for creating the most colorful and unique pearls on Earth.
Craig explains: “Fijian pearls are truly unlike any others as they express a plethora of colors; apple green, cranberry, champagne, blush pinks and sapphire blues. The white spheres that are so revered elsewhere pale into insignificance amongst this universe of hues.”
For all their beauty, finding these pearls is no small feat. Simply getting to Taveuni is an expedition. So, imagine a diver’s anxiety when at the final stages of suiting up, after traveling to this remote location, he learns that his dive computer is on the fritz.
“My heart sunk. It’s the last sound any diver wants to hear. My computer was dead. Totally dead,” said Craig. “I had dragged 20lbs of camera and lighting equipment, all in top-grade underwater housing, half way around the world with my girlfriend, just for this dive.”
Luckily for Craig, during a trip to Hong Kong, he noticed the IWC Aquatimer Deep Two while shopping. With the built-in mechanical depth gauge and rotating bezel, he was able to calculate both the dive time and depth. Along with an old-school pressure gauge (the dive master’s regulator hoses that had grown swollen and large at the base almost exploded pre-dive as well) and the skills he picked up throughout his 28 years of diving, Craig was able to get in the water.
“My Aquatimer purchase is a side effect of my own insatiable need to buy dive gear,” said Craig. “And I’m glad I had it – this dive was too important to miss.”
Along with capturing the beauty of the pearl farm and the pearls themselves, Craig had another mission on this trip: discovering the perfect pearl. And he was in luck: during the dive, his guide discovered a spectacular dark green pearl, very rarely found in nature.
“It was truly the perfect pearl, and it’s exactly what I was looking for.”
At the conclusion of the dive, the boat began the long trip back to shore, but with one stop, unbeknownst to Craig’s girlfriend who was part of the diving expedition. The location? A small spot nicknamed “Honeymoon Island” by the locals.
Pulling out the magnificent green pearl discovered on the dive, Craig went down on one knee to propose.
“I said, ‘Any man can give his girl a diamond ring. I got this pearl from the bottom of the ocean just so I can ask you this: will you be my wife?’” shared Craig.