A Profile on One of America's Last Remaining Urchin Divers

Vaer has always been an ocean-based brand, so it's only fitting that our first-ever documentary is, at heart, about a life lived at sea. Our first film, The Urchin Diver explores the life and career of a Conner Rhoads, a 2nd generation Urchin Diver based in Ventura, California. In addition to showcasing the unique challenges of an independent fisherman, the film sheds a spotlight on the region's declining ocean ecosystem, specifically, the disappearance of healthy kelp forests along America's Pacific coast.

A Decades-Old
Family Business

Conner's family has lived off the ocean since the 1970s

A career as a fisherman has always been a tough-trade, demanding both physical and mental fortitude to survive. Few types of fishing are as intense as Urchin and Sea Cucumber diving, where solo divers work for hours in freezing waters at 60 foot depths to harvest a profitable catch. Like his dad before him, Conner works completely alone, running tubes of oxygen from his boat down to his suit on the ocean floor. Isolated underwater, the risk of being injured, attacked by a shark or lost at sea is a real threat, and requires constant management and awareness.

Confronting a Declining
Coastal Ecosystem

The loss of kelp has put the family's future at risk.

Jacques Cousteau once said that California's Channel Islands were one of the most beautiful places he'd ever dove. While it's a carefully protected national park, and all fishing is highly regulated, wider environmental changes have devastated the region's vast kelp forests. Without kelp, the Urchins fail to produce healthy roe or 'uni', bringing an end to a regional economy, and for fisherman like Conner, an entire way of life.

Preserving the Trade for
the Next Generation

Conner is committed to preserving the skill and joy of his craft.

Success as an urchin diver requires an incredible investment of resources, time and effort - and like most forms of hunting and fishing, is typically developed over years of informal training from older generations. Conner's goal is to pass his knowledge and love of the ocean down to his kids, like his dad did for him. While the ocean will always remain a part of the family's life, the challenging economics of the Urchin business, may force Conner and the few other full-time Urchin divers into new land-based careers in the years to come.

The Urchin Diver was directed and produced by our friend and brand advocate Tyler Schiffman. Vaer co-founders Reagan Cook and Ryan Torres served as Executive Producers, and secondary photographers. The full list of credits can be found at the end of the film.

USA Assembled Watches for the Everyday Ocean-Dweller

Producing our first documentary short was an awesome experience, not only because we got to spend time with Conner exploring the Channels Islands, but also because it allowed us to test the durability of our 20ATM Dive Watches. From the slim ergonomic fit, to the interchangeable straps, to the impressive real-world water resistance, we're happy to say that the watches thrived in their natural setting: deep on the ocean-floor.


Water Resistance Rating

All Vaer watches are ocean-ready. Our divers are designed for
the very limits of real-world depth exposure.


Double-Domed Crystal

All Dive watches feature a scratch-resistant double domed crystal to protect the dial from damage and impact.


Assembly and Testing

Our D4 & D5 Divers are assembled and tested in America. Our D7 Divers are Swiss Made.

D4 - Atlantic Solar Diver


D5 - Tropic USA Diver


D4 - Arctic Solar Diver


D5 - Atlantic USA Diver


Starting at $279
Free Shipping & Easy Returns

We believe the best products are those that you can count on for years of everyday wear - from office, to ocean, to overseas travel. While luxury items have their time and place, we've built our Dive Collection for those who want a beautiful, well-built watch that they never have to worry about.

The Perfect Outdoor Watch

Whether you're planning your own diving expedition, or just looking for a timeless and well-built watch you can trust around the water, Vaer has what you're looking for.

Free Shipping

For Purchases in America

Due to batch assembly and demand, most watches ship in 7 days.

Easy Returns

Full Refund within 30 Days

We think you'll love this watch. If not, we make it easy to exchange.

Full Warranty

2 Year Complete Coverage

All Vaer watches are sold with a 24 month guaranteed warranty.