Dive watches aren’t just about diving – for the most part they’re worn around the clock and the latest crop show just what a fashion item they can be.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Chronograph (pictured above)
Boasts a super history – dating from Jacques Piccard’s bathyscaphe adventures 60 years ago – plus super legibility, and in this model a flyback chronograph function (stop and start with one press of the button) you can even use under water. The in-house movement has a silicon balance spring and anti-magnetic protection, and the case – ceramic or brushed steel – is water resistant to 300 meters. The diver’s bezel is also rendered in unscratchable ceramic.
Tick the boxes: water resistant to 200 meters, glare resistant crystal, your choice of black, blue or silver dial, chronometer-rated self-winding mechanical or super-quartz movement (an incredible 10 times more accurate than your normal quartz number) and 44mm or 33mm case sizes.
From $3000 plus, male or female, your needs are pretty well covered.
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Dive watch
Despite carrying full dive-watch accreditation (ISO certification means it’s suitable for underwater excursions with breathing apparatus at depths of 100 meters or more) Cartier’s big – and handsome –diver is no mere marine tool: it’s as at home in the boardroom as in the brine. The 42mm case is a sleek 11mm thick and available not just in steel but in gold or a happy combination of both. Inside two barrels keep things powered up.
Longines Heritage Diver
This beauty references the seventies in a 43mm cushion-shaped diver that also comes in a chronograph version. For timing things the inner rotating flange is activated by a subsidiary crown at 2 o’clock. A screw-down winding/setting crown and case-back means water resistance to 300 meters, while inside beats a self-winding mechanical movement. And yes, more handsome than hard-edged, but are you really going to be plunging to gloomy depths with your watch on?
Omega Seamaster 300
Omega has delighted fans with a platoon of new Seamaster 300 models cased in steel, titanium and gold. The dial has hints of the 1957 original, but after that it’s a thoroughly modern ceramic bezel (41mm across) and inside a fresh take on Omega’s propriety Co-Axial caliber, now branded Master Co-Axial and offering mighty magnetic resistance and punchier power reserve (now 60 hours). Aficionados have deemed it one of the new must-haves.
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 Left-Handed Titanio
With its trademark crown protection device (on the left this time) and massive 47mm dimensions, this diver couldn’t be anything but a Panerai, a brand that grew out of watches especially created for the Italian navy in the 1930s. The movement has two barrels for three days of power reserve, while that case, in titanium so not too weighty, protects things down to 300 meters.
It comes with a second strap and strap changing tools, handy if you’ve taken a dip and want things dry and ship-shape again.
Tudor Heritage Black Bay.
Referencing Tudor’s iconic Snowflake diver of the 1970s (the name derives from the unusually shaped hour hand) this handsome diver measures 42mm across and comes in two versions, one with warmer tones and a burgundy-hued bezel, and this new offering with a midnight blue bezel and matt-black dial. Good for 200 meters and with a no-nonsense self-winding mechanical movement inside, it’s a crisp all-rounder, and comes in both bracelet and handsome strap versions. Given a $4000 odd price, what’s not to love?
Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000
For many, the Rolex Submariner and Sea-Dweller models are the default divers’ watches, even if the brand’s Deep-Sea can dive deeper, to an almost absurd 3900 metres. All will serve you well, and the Sea-Dweller has just come back after a small absence from Rolex’s catalogue with an upgraded depth rating of 4000 feet or 1220 metres, while retaining the size of the original, which is 40mm. That makes it a wearable proposition wherever you are, while satisfying whatever dive needs you might have. As for the latter, a helium release valve and Glidelock extension bracelet that lets you fit the watch snugly over your wetsuit tells you this is not just a trophy but also a tool.