For a seasoned diver, a mechanical dive watch, however reliable, could never compete with a dive computer but is that a reason to leave it gathering dust in a drawer? We think not. Surely there’s room on your wrist for a reminder of the days when watchmakers harnessed innovation and expertise to produce dive watches worthy of the name, built to last and engineered with security in mind. Today’s dive watches comply with codified standards, meaning they not only promise but guarantee solidity and reliability in all circumstances – offering brands an opportunity to show off their watertight expertise.
Dive watches fit the bill of an instrument built for action, putting robustness and precision ahead of complications and elegance. Many of today’s models were originally released in the 1950s and 60s, rebranded a golden age of watchmaking before quartz flooded the market. Their rugged appearance, vintage style and ability to withstand the bumps and knocks of everyday wear have conquered the watch-buying public. It’s hardly surprising, then, that so many brands have answered the call of the deep. So take your pick from this selection and dive into summer!
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver
The Royal Oak Offshore, which turned 25 this year, already had indestructible written all over it. The Diver version is sheer brute force. Water-resistant to 300 metres and with a date function, it features an internal rotating dive bezel that’s operated by the crown at 10 o’clock. Definitely a watch cut out for the deep.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Grande Date
Debuting in 1953, the Fifty Fathoms was the first modern professional dive watch. Consistently reliable and robust, it became the watch of choice for special forces in numerous countries, and the dive watch by which others were measured. Relaunched in 2007, this year’s version is the first with a large date function.
Breguet Marine 5517
A nod to Abraham-Louis Breguet in his role as watchmaker to the French Royal Navy, the Marine line has always been one of Breguet’s sports styles, breaking with the brand’s classic design codes such as guilloché dials. Not so the Marine 5517. Water-resistant to 100 metres, this three-hander takes up the baton from last year’s Equation Marchante.
Breitling Superocean Heritage II B20 Automatic 44mm
The Breitling Superocean first saw daylight in 1957. Originally intended for professional divers, it quickly gained popularity among the general public. For the 60th anniversary in 2017, Breitling produced a revamped version, water-resistant to 200 metres and now driven by the in-house and COSC-certified B20 calibre.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox
A legend among watches, the Memovox Polaris was the first ever dive watch with an alarm function, originally released in 1965. The brand-new Polaris collection, launched this year, includes this Memovox, a limited-edition remake of the 1968 version.
Longines Legend Diver Watch
This watch is a modernised reissue of a Longines dive watch from the 1960s. Still with the original design codes, including the boxed crystal, internal bidirectional dive bezel and two crowns, it delivers water-resistance to 300 metres. Inside the black PVD steel case is the exclusive L888 automatic movement.
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M
Launched in 1993 and taking Omega back into the dive watch segment, the Seamaster Diver 300M earned instant kudos as the watch Bond wore. It celebrates its 25th anniversary in style with this updated version, complete with a new-generation Master Chronometer 8800 calibre.
Panerai Luminor Marina Logo 3 Days Acciaio 44 MM
Any Paneristi will tell you that the Luminor Marina is the very essence of the brand; the watch that forged Panerai’s success and the entry point for its collections. Water-resistant to 100 metres and driven by the new manual-wind P.6000 calibre, this is the definitive no-frills, all-function watch.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea
This Rolex takes us into grail watch territory. Water-resistant to 3,900 metres, this year’s version introduces subtly redesigned lugs and sides that blend beautifully into the Deepsea’s contours. First released in 2008, this has always been “the watch of the deep” thanks to the Ringlock System case construction that withstands water pressure equivalent to three tonnes.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Lady Automatic
In 1892, Edouard Heuer filed the patent for the first watertight case. Building on this precedent, TAG Heuer unveiled the Aquaracer in 2003, a sports watch that has continued to evolve ever since. This year’s Lady Automatic puts women front and centre. Water-resistant to 300 metres, it is powered by the Calibre 9 movement.
Tudor Black Bay GMT
The first Tudor dive watches appeared in the 1950s and quickly became the go-to watch for military divers. This Black Bay, with its 200-metre water-resistance, unidirectional rotating bezel and snowflake hand, is a worthy successor to the original models. As an added bonus, the new in-house MT5652 calibre introduces a GMT function.
Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive
Titanium crown-guard, helium escape valve, water-resistance to 1,000 metres, rotating bezel with 12 notches for easy grip with diving gloves… make no mistake, this Ulysse Nardin dive watch means business. The strap even features an expandable element that adjusts to fit over a diving suit.