INTO THE DEEP, DEEP WATERS
FRENCH FREE DIVER MORGAN BOURC’HIS EXPLAINS WHY TUDOR’S NEW ‘PELAGOS’ IS A WINNER. AND WHY YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE AN ATHLETE TO APPRECIATE GOOD DESIGN.
Two years ago, Morgan Bourc’his plunged to a depth of 87 metres off the coast of Nice in France, and was crowned world free-diving champion. Today, the 37-year-old remains at the top of his feld, in a sport that sees competitors endure extreme pressure and hold their breath for minutes on end. Free diving is nothing new – diving for sponges and pearls was popular in ancient Greek culture – but Bourc’his is part of a generation of ultra-athletes testing the absolute limits of underwater endurance. As the new face of Tudor’s ‘Pelagos’ watch campaign, we caught up with him to discover what it takes to become such a champion, and how the right watch plays its part.
GQ: Is it as dangerous as people imagine? Morgan Bourc’his:
If you’re prepared and all the safety precautions have been taken, free diving to 100m is less dangerous than scuba diving to the same depth. The human body is capable of adapting in an extraordinary way.
GQ: Had any accidents or near misses? MB:
Never a major one, no. I have injured my lungs during training because we are subjected to great pressure variations in our descents. I have passed out in training before, but came round immediately. It wasn’t serious and has happened maybe three or four times in 15 years.
GQ: What kind of training is involved? MB:
I do a lot of physical training because my discipline requires a huge effort to return to the surface with no assistance. I do weights all year round, but without building up too much because muscles use oxygen. I swim, cycle and, of course, free dive both in the pool and the sea.
GQ: Where are your favourite places to dive? MB:
The rich seabed in Marseille means I can train there, but also dive for fun and visit fabulous underwater landscapes like grottoes, wrecks and cliff faces. I have been lucky enough to dive in the Red Sea, The Bahamas, Japan and the Indian Ocean.
GQ: You’re in the new Tudor campaign. What do you like about the ‘Pelagos’ watch? MB:
I love its simple style and the optional blue colour. The luminous indices, the snowfake hands, the helium valve, the self-adjusting buckle and the inhouse movement all highlight the legitimacy of the brand. I appreciate history and tradition, whatever the subject.
GQ: And why is this watch a good fit for a diver? MB:
Reliability is important and it’s also easy to read, making it perfectly suited to underwater divers, whoever they are.
CHAMPION FREE DIVER MORGAN BOURC’HIS.