Monochrome Watches
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Buying Guide

Get The Best Of Both Worlds With 5 Cool & Robust Diving Chronographs

Aquatic watches with added complexity to time your underwater adventures.

| By Robin Nooy | 6 min read |
Glashutte Original SeaQ Chronograph

A diving watch is generally considered to be very robust, has some form of rotating inner or outer bezel, is water-resistant to at least 200 meters and provides excellent legibility. But what if you’re looking for a bit more than just the time and possibly the date? What if you want to time the boiling of an egg, or maybe go a bit nuts, and time your underwater adventure from start to finish? Well, you’re in luck today as we take a closer look at some of last year’s newly presented diving chronographs! And we go from affordable to expensive and from stainless steel to titanium and bronze. Let’s dive straight in!

Glashütte Original SeaQ Chronograph

The SeaQ was Glashütte Original’s first crack at a modernly constructed dive watch, modelled after the Spezimatic RP TS 200 from 1969 (back then, GO was known as Glashütter Uhrenbetried GmbH or GUB). Despite the modern build, the SeaQ range has a rather tasty vintage look to it, unsurprising considering its inspiration. The SeaQ Chronograph is the most complex model in the range to date, which grants the SeaQ a bicompax chronograph layout and signature Panoramadate. The result is a powerful two-in-one tool watch equipped with the sophisticated calibre 37-32, the in-house anti-magnetic flyback chronograph movement. On the textile strap, it retails for EUR 14,100, which jumps to EUR 15,300 on a steel bracelet.

Glashutte Original SeaQ Chronograph

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Quick Facts – 43.2mm diameter – stainless steel case – unidirectional rotating bezel with ceramic insert – box-shaped sapphire crystal – sapphire crystal caseback – 300m water-resistant – dark blue sunray-brushed dial – applied numerals and markers with Super-LumiNova – recessed snailed sub-dials – Panorama Date display – calibre 37-32, in-house – automatic integrated flyback chronograph – 70h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, date – fabric strap or stainless steel bracelet – EUR 14,100 (strap) or EUR 15,300 (bracelet)

Certina DS Chronograph 1968

Certina has shown a revived sense of creativity and has turned that into several very cool and successful retro-inspired collections. Think of watches like the DS-2, the DS Super PH500M or the more recent DS Chronograph 1968. This chunky cushion-shaped watch just oozes 1970s funky vibes, and at 43.5mm by 43.5mm, it packs quite a punch. The rotating bezel is set with a sapphire insert and has groovy orange and white applied markers on the black dial. The bicompax layout looks very good and keeps it very legible. The ETA A05.H31 provides it with 60 hours of running time, and it is worn on a black-and-silver striped NATO strap made from recycled #tide ocean plastic. The Certina DS Chronograph 1968 retails for CHF 1,930.

Certina DS Chronograph Automatic 1968

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Quick Facts – 43.5mm x 43.5mm – stainless steel cushion-shaped case – unidirectional rotating bezel with sapphire insert – sapphire crystal front and back – 200m water-resistant – black dial with applied orange indices – white hands – Super-LumiNova – ETA A05.H31 (based on ETA/Valjoux 7753) – automatic winding – 60h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph – black and silver striped NATO strap made from recycled #tide ocean plastic – CHF 1,930

Aquastar Deepstar 39

Being almost a one-to-one recreation of the original Aquastar, the present-day Aquastar Deepstar 39 looks like it has stepped straight out of a time machine. The very robust diving chronograph has been a great success since its revival in 2020. Now also presented in a smaller 39mm size, it has lost nothing of its retro charm. The single contrasting sub-dial makes it stand out from the masses and comes with a double scale on the rotatable bezel. Power comes from a high-end La Joux-Perret chronograph movement based on the Valjoux 7750. Even though it comes on a Tropic rubber strap, we think the beads-of-rice bracelet is the way to go. It’s priced between USD 3,590 and USD 3,790.

2022 Aquastar Deepstar 39mm Diving Chronograph Blue Dial

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Quick Facts – 39mm x 14.8mm – stainless steel case – bidirectional bezel – domed sapphire crystal – 200m water-resistant – sunray brushed blue dial – polished markers and hands with Super-LumiNova – column-wheel chronograph made with La Joux-Perret – 55h power reserve – hours, minutes, running indicator, chronograph central seconds and 30-minute counter – tropic rubber strap or beads-of-rice bracelet – 300 pieces per year – USD 3,590 (rubber) or USD 3,790 (bracelet)

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Chronograph Flyback

Blancpain has a long and storied history when it comes to dive watches, mainly because of the legendary Fifty Fathoms (turning 70 this year). The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe, however, has a sleeker, more modern look and often more complex movements compared to the Fifty Fathoms. This grade 23 titanium version of the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe measures a sturdy 43.6mm across and has an almost monochromatic look thanks to the grey bezel insert and dial. The large central hour and minute hands make it very legible and are paired with trapezoid and round hour indices. Inside, we find Blancpain’s high-end calibre F385, an integrated flyback chronograph. It can be purchased on a grey textile strap for EUR 16,400 or a matching grade 23 titanium bracelet for EUR 19,060.

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Quick Facts – 43.6mm x 14.90mm – grade 23 titanium case – unidirectional rotating titanium bezel with ceramic insert – sapphire crystal front and back – 300m water-resistant – anthracite dial with recessed sub-dials – applied markers and hands with Super-LumiNova – calibre F385 – automatic integrated flyback chronograph with column wheel and vertical clutch – 50h power reserve – textile strap or titanium bracelet with folding buckle – EUR 16,400 (strap) or EUR 19,060 (bracelet)

Rado Captain Cook Chronograph bronze

The final entry in today’s Buying Guide is the handsome Rado Captain Cook Chronograph, and we selected the one in bronze. The sizable 43mm case is topped with an inward-sloping rotating bezel with a blue ceramic insert (it’s Rado, after all). Over time, the case will develop a nice patina, which only adds more character. The sunray-brushed blue dial has bronze-coloured applied indices and recessed sub-dials. The hour hand is an oversized arrow, paired with a sword-shaped minute hand and a red-tipped chronograph seconds hand. It relies on the Rado calibre R801 (ETA A31.211), which can be seen through the titanium and sapphire crystal caseback. Worn on either a NATO strap or a leather strap in blue, the bronze Rado Captain Cook Chronograph will set you back CHF 4,400.

Rado Captain Cook Chronograph

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Quick Facts – 43mm x 14.8mm – bronze case – unidirectional rotating bezel with ceramic insert – box-shaped sapphire crystal – titanium caseback with sapphire crystal – 300m water-resistant – sunray-brushed blue dial – applied markers and hands with Super-LumiNova – Rado calibre R801 (ETA A31.211 base) – automatic modular chronograph – 59h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds, date and chronograph – blue textile NATO straps or blue leather strap with bronze hardware – CHF 4,400

3 responses

  1. The Swiss Champ penknife of watches! Always cool, always big… But I think actually quite useful for diving (deco stops etc) and water sports or training. But only if you can operate the chronograph pushers under water… Which unsurprisingly worries people. But with Blancpain, you can. Perhaps the ultimate faith in a watchmaker!

  2. Which of these watches allow the chrono pushers to be used under water safely?

  3. @TheK33 None of these can do that but there is one chrono from Sinn, I think, that actually allows you to use pushers while diving. Over-engineered to the core and that is exactly how we like ’em.


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