As 2019 is coming to an end, this is the perfect moment of the year to look back at what were the best models introduced. After a look at our 5 favourite chronograph watches (well, 6 in fact…), it is now time to look at what certainly is the most prolific category these days, with hundreds of new models/editions launched. And with more than 80 new dive watches covered here, on MONOCHROME, for 2019 alone, the selection wasn’t that simple… But here it is, our “best of 2019” guide for dive watches.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Barakuda Re-Edition
One of the comments in our review stated “the strawberries-and-cream Fifty Fathoms” which is both kind of cool and true… So why this special edition of the Fifty Fathoms? Well, first of all, the FF is one of the most iconic dive watches ever: this model is the reinterpretation of a rare 1960s watch delivered to the German Bundesmarine via Barakuda – a company specialising in the production and marketing of technical diving equipment. Second, its new dial is cool and, the main reason, it is housed in the smaller FF case, at just 40.30mm. And altogether, that makes the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Barakuda Re-Edition one of the most desirable (but not the most accessible…) dive watches of the year.
Quick facts: 40.30mm diameter x 13.23mm height – stainless steel case – 300m water-resistant – calibre 1151, in-house – automatic – black tropical-style rubber strap – 5008B-1130-B52A, limited to 500 pieces – CHF 14,500
Doxa SUB300 Sharkhunter Black Lung
While the Submariner, the Seamaster and the Fifty Fathoms are mainstream icons, there’s one watch that is often overlooked, yet historically it is as important as its counterparts; the Doxa SUB300. After several years of hesitations and modern takes on the original concept, Doxa is going back to its roots with multiple heritage editions. It all started with the 50th-anniversary models followed by watches paying tribute to the collaboration with “Aqua Lung”… And yes, the combination of an old-school Doxa design with one of the most respected diving-gear suppliers makes the thing bloody desirable… That’s why the Doxa SUB300 Sharkhunter Black Lung made it here!
Quick facts: 42mm diameter – stainless steel case – 300m water-resistance – ETA 2824-2 – automatic, COSC-certified – “bead of rice” stainless steel bracelet – limited edition – USD 2,490
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M White Dial
What a difference a dial can make… We had no doubts that the new iteration of the Seamaster Diver 300M was a success, largely because of its technical superiority with high-end or modern materials, laser-engraved dial and an innovative Master Chronometer movement inside. And, what’s more, a price that really is fair considering the package. But this year, Omega adds a true beauty to its collection with the white dial version of the “Bond Watch”. It gains in elegance, in contrast, and has a small je ne sais quoi with the combination of black-and-white that makes it the most handsome version in the entire collection.
Quick facts: 42mm diameter x 13.5mm height – stainless steel case – 300m water-resistance – Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8800, in-house – black rubber strap or steel bracelet – 126.96.36.199.04.001 – EUR 4,600
“Dive Watch” isn’t only a name stamped on a commercial presentation… It is an official nomenclature, defined by the DIN 8306 and ISO 6425 standards. Being clearly defined, it leaves almost no room for improvisation or creativity – explaining why most classic dive watches all look the same. So, when a company comes out with something dramatically different from the rest of the crowd, it sparks our interest. So did the Reservoir Hydrosphere, a watch that is not just a true diver but features a unique gauge-inspired display, with jumping hours, retrograde minutes and a super-clever bezel to match. Design-wise, even the case stands out. So we wanted to reward such creativity in this highly normed category!
Quick facts: 45mm diameter – 45mm lug-to-lug – stainless steel case – water-resistant to 250m – patented proprietary 124-piece module on top of an ETA 2824 – steel bracelet and additional rubber strap included – EUR 4,250
Seiko Prospex Diver 200m SPB103J1 “Sumo”
Last but not least, what would our best of 2019 be without a Seiko… The brand has so much influence on the dive watch category that it is only fair to include one of its models here. Among the dozens of new models introduced in 2019, we went for a relatively accessible one, a refreshed icon: the Sumo. Robust, rather simple, reliable, with one of the best quality-price ratios you can imagine, the Sumo is one of the best-loved and respected dive watches produced by the Japanese brand. This year, the brand introduces several updates on the design, a new green dial/bezel combo, a new movement (calibre 6R35) and a sapphire crystal. So a small visual update but great additions on the technical side.
Quick facts: 45mm diameter x approx. 13.5mm height – stainless steel case – water-resistant to 200m – Seiko Calibre 6R35, in-house – stainless steel, 3-link diver bracelet – SPB103J1 (green) or SPB101J1 (black) – EUR 850