Regulators, when the brand makes the difference
There are regulators we like because they have an attractive design or because we have seen them used by some technical divers we appreciate. Often, more simply, because a friend told us about it or because, browsing the web, we found a convenient offer; they are all reasons that, at the time of purchase, affect our choices. Problems often come later.
A regulator should be chosen carefully, looking more at its performance than aesthetics.
Of course nowadays companies are increasingly influenced by the fashions of the moment, trying to combine technical design with trends. In recent years we can say that research has not proposed astonishing innovations and companies have often only done a restyling of the old models to adapt them to market demands and cope with competitive products.
Some companies have launched new materials years ago advertising them as innovative, to then retrace their steps and brush up on the old ones (which were better and more reliable) without making too much noise. All this is marketing.
Starting from the fundamental principle that a regulator must do – well – his job of administering the respiratory mixture necessary for survival underwater, we can choose from a very wide range of products offered by companies with decades of experience in the sector. However, there are many brands that, born with different products, have decided to offer their own regulator line.
The growth of technical diving has recently led to an enrichment in the offer of products by companies that until now only produced suits or BCDs, launching regulators with their own brand on the market. Often they are beautiful models to be seen (some of the real “clones” of models of other manufacturer), sometimes even performing (not always, many have problems) but which can reserve us surprises with time.
You will surely have seen around models that “looks like” the same as their cousins of emblazoned brands. Taking an object and copying it, perhaps using the same supplier as the reference brand for production (no one builds everything at home anymore), has become common practice.
A regulator of a “well known” brand with a solid tradition behind it will have no problems in the assistance: service kits, spare parts, technical updates, all this will be easily available at an authorized center. But what if we have to bring our semi-new regulator of the “xyz” brand to service for periodic maintenance? Here surprises often arrive.
We, as authorized technicians, continually follow training and updates from companies, we are in contact with the engineers and we have the availability of every type of spare part necessary for assistance interventions. The same cannot be said with regard to the “new entries” in the sector.
Why buy the original when for much less I can have an “equal” regulator, with another brand, at a more advantageous price?
The answers you can imagine for yourself: no guarantee (true), no official technical assistance, no after-sales service.
Finding a maintenance kit or spare part for a regulator of a little-known brand (perhaps famous for the production of other underwater products but not in the regulator sector) can be a real problem or even impossible. Who to contact? If you are wondering, unfortunately we cannot give you an answer either.
An example? A set of regulators recently came to our workshop, marketed by a well-known Spanish distribution brand; by contacting the distributor/retailer directly we were not able to find even the maintenance kits, let alone the spare parts.
My advice then is to rely on well-known brands, you will always have the security of a qualified official technical assistance and an after-sales service all over the world. This is what makes the difference.
© Text Massimo Bidetti/Amphibica. Original text in Italian