AE. 20 | Jason Heaton

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Jason Heaton has carved out a distinctive niche for himself in the #watchfam. He and his wife, Gishani, are an adventuresome traveling duo. Diving around the world to photograph and write about some of the most horologically heavy-hitting dive watches that the world, and the deep, have ever seen.

Jason’s writing has been featured in print and online in Outside magazine, Gear Patrol, Men’s Journal, and Hodinkee just to name a few. His passion for diving and dive watches was recognized by the New York Times in 2017, bestowing upon him the title as the world’s “test pilot for undersea timepieces.”

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Jason Heaton | Author photo from SWIMPRUF Substack

In his writing, Jason’s experience comes through as an avid outdoor enthusiast. His newsletter on Substack, Swimpruf, is an ongoing ‘dispatch’ of his adventures, his Land Rover, and stories around his watches. He also co-hosts the popular podcast, The Grey NATO, with James Stacey, where they share about “adventure, diving, driving, gear…and most certainly, watches.“

On the Analog Explorer, we dive into (pun very much intended) watches, diving, and how adventure found Jason and formed his writing career. As a world traveler who has taken over 200 timepieces down with him on over 500 dives, we touch on diving trends and where gear might go in the future.

Since the pandemic, Jason has expanded his writing into fiction. First, with his novel “Depth Charge” (2021), and now his new novel, “Sweetwater” (2023). As a fan of his two novels, our chat turned to the watches that showed up in the adventure series and why he paired them to their characters. We also explore what some of the real life inspirations were for his characters and locations.

Support for this episode, and the Analog Explorer, comes from Substack.

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Jason Heaton

An author, diver, co-host of the Grey Nato podcast, and a friend of ours in the #watchfam.

Member of the Explorers Club since 2015

New York Times (2017) article “Does Anyone Actually Go Diving With a Dive Watch?

Jason Heaton, who has dive-tested the world’s most illustrious timepieces, tells you what you really need in a dive watch.

  • “…is known to watch geeks as a test pilot for the world’s most illustrious undersea timepieces. As a contributor to magazines like Men’s Journal and Outside, and sites like Hodinkee and Gear Patrol, Mr. Heaton, 47, has scuba-tested many dive watches, ranging in price from a few hundred dollars for a Scurfa to a $145,000 Richard Mille over the course of more than 400 dives around the world.” 

Gear Patrol (2008) | Jason Heaton contributor

Watches | Diving

Jason’s Substack- SwimPruf

Dispatches from Jason, his travels, and his dives

Jason’s “major life events” Rolex submariner

HMS Hermes wreck

Talking Watches With Jason Heaton, “Denizen Of The Deep” | Jack Forester, Hodinkee

@JasonHeaton– Instagram

Novel Series | Depth Charge & Sweetwater

Julian Tusk (Tusker) adventure series

Tusker Character Wrist-Check

Depth Charge

The Grey NATO Episode 143: Depth Charge

  • Julian Tusk “Tusker” – Aquastar Benthos (from Tusker’s Father- Tektite program).
    • Lost on the wreck in Depth Charge 
  • Sam – Seiko dive watch (more on that in Sweetwater)  
  • Scholz – Casio Dive watch
  • Malcolm Rausing  – “A big Rolex”
    • Character inspired by real life (explorer and a nice guy in real live, and not and evil villan) Victor Vescovo
  • Ian- Omega watch
    • We hear from Jason on the episode, older Bond era Seamaster

Sweetwater

  • “Tusker” (beginning in Sweetwater) – Sam’s Seiko from Depth Charge that brings a whole new meaning to “tool watch” for Tusker later in the book.
  • Jonathan Tusk (Tusker’s Father) – (loop back to Depth Charge)
  • Yuri – “Cheap Casio Watch”
  • Carl – Citizen Aqualand 
  • Chester “Basher” – Tudor dive watch ( sub / snowflake )
    • Jason had a few watches for the charicter when he was drafting this part of the book. But landed on the Tudor and really plays in well with the plot point mechanics for the book
  • Hockenheimer – a big Breitling
    • Big. Bold. And the more mochismo the better for this nefarious political antagonist.

Other mentions

CCR – Closed Circuit Rebreather diving

Avelo diving

AJ’s summit of Mount Saint Helens (2021)

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Baltic Aquascaphe Bronze: three years of patina and adventure

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