When the BC1 was first introduced, it completely redefined what people expect from a BCD. Tough, innovative, sleek and sexy, the BC1 looked and performed better than any comparable product, and the dive industry took notice.
In designing the BC1, we wanted to create a world-class BC that would be a game changer. That’s why it completely flipped the script on traditional BC design.
Our design team applied its Atelier design approach to engineer each component for durability, performance and ease-of-use. Every detail was reexamined. Every material and component was rethought. The result? For its time, the BC1 was the toughest, most innovative BC in the world.
But as tinkerers and inventors, we at Atomic Aquatics are obsessed with building excellence into everything we do and pushing our designs forward toward no less than perfection. So, when it came time to up our own game and redesign the BC2, we had our work cut out for us.
Dean Garrafa, Atomic Aquatics Cofounder and President, was instrumental in the process of developing and refining the design for the BC2.
“BC2 is simply amazing,” Garraffa told DiveNewsWire in a 2019 interview. “When we designed the BC1, it was intended to set a new standard as a world-class BC. It has exceeded our expectations, so the BC2 design team applied the same materials and engineering for the BC2.”
Notorious for its matte-black finish, the BC2 is constructed from a double-laminated polyurethane fabric which shrugs off water within seconds, leaving a diver with a fresh, dry kit mere seconds after exiting the water.
Plus, it’s tough. Legendary for its long runs in dive shops and extensive 1,000+ dive counts, the BC1 exhibited extreme staying power and long term durability—dive after dive. So our Atomic engineers stuck with the same formula.
“BC1 is by far the most durable BC ever made, and we have the testimonials to prove it,” Garraffa said. “Captain’s Corner in Key West, Florida, has been using 30 Atomic BC1s for well over 1,200 dives and they look and perform like new thanks to our superior materials used throughout. So, we used the same materials for the new BC2.”
But just what are the differences between the BC1 and the BC2? Both include the same laminated and coated waterproof fabric, ratcheting Cam-Lok tank band and the patented EZ-Lok weight release system. After all, it isn’t broken, why fix it? When you look a little deeper, however, there are some distinguishing features that set the BC2 apart from the BC1.
To start, the key fundamental difference between the BC1 and BC2 is that the latter is back inflating,” explains Travis Stewart, Atomic Aquatics’ Western Canada Sales Rep. “Being a back-inflation setup changes the BC2’s target audience and how it performs underwater.”
The BC1 was originally designed to be a basic, simple-style BCD. The jacket-style system was the first BCD design, but was largely put into stasis in the 1980s. The jacket style holds you upright while back inflation pushes you forwards, making the former quite popular for divers starting out that are still learning the basics.
But ultimately, Travis says, they’re both elite items. At the end of the day, they’re both feature-based BCs that are most likely to be used in specific environmental conditions. The BC1 is more likely to be used in a tropical setting as an unbreakable jacket-style BCD that’s comfortable and simple to use. The BC2, on the other hand, is for everyone else.
“For me, it comes down to: The material [in the BC2] is going to last infinitely longer,” Stewart continues. “It’s refined, it has great warranties and it has a removable bladder, which extends its potential lifespan even more. … The BC1 is for the diver that just wants something simple. The BC2 is for the more technically mindsetted or more advanced diver.”
The bottom line: The BC1 was the first innovation into an unbreakable BCD designed for every diver. The BC2 is an innovation on top of the original for the more advanced technical diver while still being approachable for anyone that wants to use it.