Now that Baselworld 2018 is over, it’s time for the MONOCHROME team to pick the best watches of the show. One category that is always highly disputed is the dive watch and 2018 has been another productive year. From vintage-inspired pieces to proper instruments, here are 10 of the best dive watches we discovered at Baselworld 2018.
Bell & Ross BR03-92 Diver Blue
Last year, Bell & Ross surprised (and pleased) its community by adding a dive version of its iconic squared instrument watch. On paper, the combination of dive watch elements, such as a round rotating bezel, with the dashboard-like square case could have been difficult. In the metal, the BR03-92 Diver was one of the coolest sports watches of 2017. First launched in black, this year Bell & Ross adds a blue edition of this BR03-92 Diver (dial, bezel and strap) with nice yellow accents. Note: a bronze version is now also part of the collection.
Quick facts: 42mm stainless steel case – water-resistant to 300m – blue rubber strap – automatic calibre BR-CAL.302 with hours, minutes, seconds and date – sapphire crystal – price: EUR 3,300 – more details on bellross.com.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day-Date 70s
While the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe has always been a 1950s-inspired watch with a modern feel, Blancpain gets funkier and adds a 1970s touch to its iconic dive watch for Baselworld 2018. The new Bathyscaphe Day Date 70s, which will be limited to 500 pieces, captures the allure of a past model and shows a gradient dial with a stylised minute track and a day-date complication. The 43mm satin-finished case is combined with a ceramic bezel and a modern, well-finished automatic movement. The result is a cool looking watch with an unusual style for Blancpain.
Quick facts: 43mm stainless case – water-resistant to 300m – choice of NATO, leather or steel for the bracelet – ref. 5052-1110-63A limited to 500 pieces – automatic 1315 “DD” Calibre with hours, minutes, seconds, day-date – price: EUR 12,000 – more details on www.blancpain.com.
Breitling Superocean Heritage II B01 Chronograph 44
While the Navitimer 8 collection was the star of the show for Breilting, the brand also improves some of its past collections and adds several new versions. This includes a new chronograph version of the Superocean Heritage II, this time equipped with in-house calibre B01. According to the new strategy, the three available dials (black, blue, silver) show contrasting sub-registers and the steel case now measures 44mm – quite a presence on the wrist. Even if it is equipped with a chrono, the new Superocean Heritage II B01 Chronograph 44 is still a true diver, with 200m water-resistance and a unidirectional bezel.
Quick facts: 44mm stainless steel case – water-resistant to 200m – choice of rubber strap or Milanese steel bracelet – available in blue, silver or black – calibre Breitling B01, integrated chronograph with hours, minutes, seconds and date – price: EUR 7,200 – more details on breitling.com.
Doxa SUB 300T Divingstar “Poseidon Edition”
In the past years, Doxa has recreated several highly collectable pieces from the 1960s and 1970s, such as the Sub 300 50th Anniversary and the Sub 300 Black Lung. And now there’s another recreation of an old and highly collectable Doxa, again one that collectors will line up for. The Sub 300T Divingstar ‘Poseidon Edition’ uses the vintage-inspired case and combines it with a new bright yellow dial. Limited to 500 pieces, the ‘Poseidon Edition’ is offered on pre-orders and only a few pieces are still available, so better be fast – pre-orders here.
Quick facts: 42.7mm stainless steel case with helium valve – water-resistant to 300 meters – “Beads of Rice” steel bracelet – automatic ETA 2824-2 high-grade version with hours, minutes, seconds and date – limited to 500 pieces – Pre-ordered price: USD 1,990 (Regular price: USD 2,490) – more details on www.doxawatches.com.
Favre-Leuba Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth
A brand with a long history, Favre-Leuba was relaunched in 2017 and since then has introduced several instrument-like watches – for instance, one with a mechanical altimeter or one with a unique diving display. Following the same concept, the brand introduced a watch with mechanical depth gauge at Baselworld 2018, a rare complication on the market. Shaped like a professional tool, it is a powerful watch, yet mechanically refined; the expansion/contraction of the capsule crafted in a special copper alloy and a built-in mechanical limiter ensure that neither the pressure membrane nor the depth gauge are damaged if the wearer dives deeper than the optimal range. An impressive watch.
Quick facts: 48mm grade 5 titanium case – water-resistant to 200m – rubber strap – in-house pressure module with depth gauge up to 120m – base movement: hand-wound Eterna cal 3903.M, with hours, minutes, seconds and date – price: CHF 8,500 – more details on favre-leuba.com.
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M
This timepiece, also known as the “Bond Watch” (worn by James Bond in several 007 movies), turns 25 and is back in a modernised, redesigned version with a ceramic dial featuring the well-known wave pattern (something that was absent for years but was an integral part of the DNA of this model). This is not the only novelty here, as the case, bracelet and bezel have been updated with slightly more masculine proportions. Inside is a new movement too, with Master Chronometer certification (calibre 8800). Available in several editions, including the signature blue dial as well as black or grey, the overall quality is pretty impressive, especially considering it is priced below 5K – making it an entry-level offer for Omega.
Quick facts: 42mm stainless steel case with ceramic bezel and ceramic dial – available in blue, black or grey, with steel bracelet or rubber strap – 300m water-resistant – in-house automatic calibre 8800, Chronometer certified, with hours, minutes, seconds and date – price: as of CHF 4,400 – more details on www.omegawatches.com.
Oris Divers Sixty Five Steel and Bronze
Some will say it isn’t a true diver’s watch due to its 100m water-resistance, yet the Oris Divers Sixty Five isn’t made for that. It is one of the nicest vintage-inspired dive watches on the market and a watch that can easily withstand some salty water – and one that is friendly priced. For Baselworld 2018, Oris’ successful piece is back with an even more vintage feel, as the bezel is now made in bronze to match the gilded indices and hands. Nothing revolutionary but once again, a great looking watch by Oris. Also available in a 36mm case.
Quick facts: 42mm stainless steel case with bronze unidirectional bezel – 100m water-resistant – available on rubber, leather or NATO strap or on steel bracelet – automatic Sellita SW 200-1 with hours, minutes, seconds and date – price: as of CHF 1,950 – more details on oris.ch.
Rolex Deepsea Ref. 126660
Just like it did with the Explorer 1 39mm, Rolex listened to collectors’ comments and has updated its professional dive watch, the Deepsea. Still massive, still water-resistant to a staggering 3,900m, still displaying the D-blue gradient dial, the update is about the details: a larger bracelet for better comfort and proportions, slimmer lugs, longer hands and more importantly, a new movement. The Rolex Deepsea Ref. 126660 features the new generation Rolex calibre with a 70h power reserve and a new escapement. Overall, a discreet but welcome mid-career facelift. Also available with a black dial.
Quick facts: 44mm stainless steel case with helium escape valve – 3,900m water-resistant – steel Oyster bracelet – automatic Calibre 3235, in-house, Chronometer certified with hours, minutes, seconds and date – price: EUR 11,200 in black and EUR 11,450 in blue – More details on Rolex.com.
Seiko Prospex Diver 300m Hi-Beat SLA025
In 2017, Seiko stole the show with its vintage re-edition of its first dive watch, the 62Mas. Using the exact same recipe, the brand reissues another impressive and innovative professional dive watch, the Automatic Diver 300m Reference 6159-7001 – the first ever hi-beat diver. With the new reference SLA025, Seiko is directly targetting its hardcore collectors, those who know what the original 1968 is and what it represents. In that perspective, it is visually faithful and several modern features have been added to the package. Inside ticks hi-beat calibre 8L55, which was specially designed to be used by divers. A superb, not-so-accessible vintage-inspired dive watch with great pedigree.
Quick facts: 44.8mm stainless steel case with super hard coating – unidirectional diving bezel – 300m water-resistant – “waffle” silicon strap – hi-beat automatic Caliber 8L55, in-house, with hours, minutes, seconds and date – price: EUR 5,500, limited to 1,500 pieces – More details on www.seiko-prospex.com.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 79030N
Last but not least, Tudor also has a new Black Bay watch in the collection. Certainly, you might think this is just another version of the signature dive watch of the brand, but consider the new Black Bay Fifty-Eight as one of the best iterations so far. With its slimmer and smaller case (39mm instead of 41mm and 11.9mm thick instead of almost 15mm), it goes back to the original proportions of the 1960s Big Crown Submariners and, with its vintage-inspired case and riveted bracelet, it looks simply stunning. Launched with a black dial and bezel, both with a “gilt” details that pay homage to the original, it features a new, slimmer and smaller version of Tudor’s in-house movement – and it is a no-date watch!
Quick facts: 39mm stainless case with unidirectional bezel – water-resistant to 200m – available on a leather strap or steel bracelet – in-house automatic calibre MT5402 (COSC certified) with hours, minutes and seconds – price: as of EUR 3,060 on leather – more details on www.tudorwatch.com.