If you really do want to dive in that dive watch you won’t just be choosing on looks. With these you’d be safe taking the plunge.
The first thing you’ll notice with IWC Aquatimer Deep Three is an elapsed time system unlike any other; an easy-to-grip outer bezel turns the under-the-glass timing ring, something that’s a joy to operate. Next you’ll notice a fully-operational mechanical depth gauge, with a fly-back hand indicating depths to 50 meters, beyond which pro divers don’t actually need to venture. Hence the watch’s water resistance rating of just 100 meters versus the thousands offered by some watches here. A further sign this might be an instrument designed for dive-ops not vox-pops is the size, a not inconsiderable 46mm.
Muhle Glashutte Kampfschwimmer
This distinctive Combat Diver is the result of collaboration between Muhle-Glashutte and the Special Operations Forces of the German Navy whose “sawfish” emblem is mirrored in the circular saw-like bezel. The 44mm case has a screw-down crown and is water resistant to 300 metres. Large super-luminova coated hands ensure legibility whether diving or in darkness.
Rolex Deep Sea Blue
Designed to “exceed the most exacting demands of professional divers,” the prototype of this watch did just that, accompanying James Cameron during his expedition into the Mariana Trench. It proved to be waterproof to a depth of 12,000 metres affixed to the robotic arm of his submersible.
The version you can buy is waterproof to the still extreme depth of 3,900 metres, thanks to a 44mm Oyster case reinforced with a patented Ringlock System. If you don’t need this much horsepower (or weight) on your wrist, consider Rolex’s new Sea Dweller, a tidy 40mm package rated for 1220 metre depths, more than enough for any human endeavour.
How do you tell it from a Submariner? The absence of a little magnifier over the date.
Seiko Prospex Kinetic GMT
Long a favourite of real-life divers, the name is an abbreviation of “professional specification” and this 47.5mm double-cased Seiko leaves no doubt about its serious intent. Mounted on steel bracelet or silicon strap, it’s water resistant to 200 meters and is powered by a mechanical movement that generates an electrical charge, meaning quartz accuracy but without the need for a battery – the best of both worlds.
Sinn U1000 Limited Edition Mission Timer
Certified as diver’s equipment by Germanische Lloyd, this limited edition chronograph is regarded by some as the ultimate dive tool. It has a 44mm case made from massively strong German submarine steel, and to counter the affects of moisture and humidity features the brand’s Dry Hold technology. This involves copper sulphate capsules and the use of inert gasses sealed within the case. The result: water resistance and reliability to 1000 meters.
Oris Aquis Depth Gauge
Oris’s 46mm dive model features an ingenious depth gauge that works by sluicing water between the 4.5mm thick crystal and the case. It was pre-tested on the Barrier Reef and in Bass Strait, and despite the outstanding engineering involved surfaces at a wave-making price of under $4000. Yes, it’s the serious bargain here.