Dive watches are some of the most beloved and popular timepieces. In the 1960s, the military and professional diving requirements, together with the growing popularity of scuba diving, made the importance of trustworthy subaquatic instruments paramount. The first modern dive watches were born to monitor dive times in the briny depths. The hardiest of them can withstand the pressure at the bottom of the Marianas Trench (even though we are talking concept watches here). Their depth rating by far exceeds your most extreme needs, but there is something fascinating about their extreme engineering. And a rugged dive watch has always been a symbol of the adventurer in us all. Here are six dive watches that can fathom depths of 1000m and beyond released in the past few years.
Note: Naturally, this is a non-exhaustive list so do not hesitate to mention your favourite members in this category!
Rolex Deepsea ref. 126660
The extreme-depth Rolex received a facelift at Baselworld 2018. The essence of this professional diver has been kept but, the new Ref. 126660 brings discreet but worthy updates to make it better on the wrist and up-to-date mechanically. The case is still capable of withstanding pressure up to 3,900m but the lugs are thinner and the bracelet 1mm larger. Inside is the latest generation calibre 3235 with a new escapement and a 70h power reserve. It is COSC certified as well as being internally certified, as a superlative chronometer – with -2 to +2 seconds a day.
Quick facts: 44mm diameter – stainless steel case with unidirectional bezel and helium relief valve (HRV) – water-resistant to 3,900m – automatic movement calibre 3235 with hours, minutes, seconds and date. Steel Oyster bracelet with Glidelock adjustment and Fliplock dive extension link – EUR 11,200 with black dial, EUR 11,400 with blue dial – For more information, visit www.rolex.com.
Omega Seamaster Ploprof 1200m
The latest version of the mythical 1970 Omega professional dive watch was presented in 2015. Its 55mm x 48mm steel case (also available in titanium – easier on the wrist due to a lightweight case) stands out with its signature security pusher at 2 o’clock allowing to lock and release the bidirectional rotating bezel. Water-resistant to 1,200 meters, it incorporates a helium-relief valve at 4 o’clock. Unusually for a watch with such an extreme depth rating, it features an exhibition case back allowing a view of the fully magnetic resistant OMEGA Master Chronometer calibre 8912.
Quick facts: 55mm x 48mm – steel or titanium case with bidirectional bezel and HRV – water-resistant to 1,200m – automatic movement calibre 8912 with hours, minutes and seconds– steel or titanium bracelet with folding buckle or rubber strap – Starting at EUR 7,900 in steel on rubber – For more information, visit www.omegawatches.com.
Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive ‘Hammer-Head Shark’
A rugged, technical and angular professional dive watch, the Ulysse Nardin Deep Dive is not for the faint-hearted. Its massive 46mm case is crafted from lightweight titanium and it is water-resistant to 1,000m. Its protuberant Helium Relief Valve (HRV) is at 9 o’clock, the screw-down crown is protected in a shield. The unidirectional rotating bezel features 12 notches for a better grip. This beast of a watch is powered by the automatic calibre UN-320 with a silicon escapement.
Quick facts: 46mm diameter – titanium case with unidirectional bezel and HRV – water-resistant to 1,000m – automatic in-house movement calibre UN-320 with hours, minutes, small seconds and date- rubber strap with folding buckle and extension – CHF 12,000 – limited edition of 300 pieces – For more information, visit www.ulysse-nardin.com.
Seiko Prospex Marinemaster 1000m ‘Emperor Tuna’ SBDX014
A tool watch in its purest form, the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster 1000m is a whopping 48.2 mm in diameter. An internal titanium container is housed in a protective ceramic outer shell. The bezel, crown and screws are gold plated. Its automatic movement is the in-house calibre 8L35 with 50 hours of power reserve. The Marinemaster 1000m is worn on an accordion-style silicone strap secured with a pin buckle. It is a true collector’s instrument, made with no concessions to aesthetics or elegance – a diving tool in its purest form.
Quick facts: 48.2mm diameter – titanium-ceramic case with bidirectional bezel – water-resistant to 1,000m – in-house automatic movement calibre 8L35 with hours, minutes, seconds and date- silicone strap with pin buckle – EUR 3,450 – For more information, visit www.seikowatches.com.
Oris Prodiver GMT
Oris’ most technical dive watch is presented in a gargantuan 49mm diameter. Fashioned out of lightweight titanium, it is water-resistant to 1,000 m. It features the brand’s patented RSS bezel lock safety system. As its name indicates, the model also features a GMT indication – a novelty for 2018. Its automatic movement is based on the Sellita SW-220-1 with a large date indication developed by Oris. Again, a watch that makes no concessions to sportiveness.
Quick facts: 49mm diameter – titanium case with unidirectional bezel and HRV – water-resistant to 1,000m – automatic movement calibre Oris 748 (base Sellita SW220-1) with hours, minutes, seconds, GMT and big date. Rubber strap with safety folding buckle – CHF 3,300 – For more information, visit www.oris.ch.
Delma Blue Shark II
Delma is an independent family-owned brand with a long tradition of crafting dive watches. A bold, quirky design with striking orange accents, the Blue Shark II is their most rugged and extreme model. Water-resistant to 3,000 m, this 47mm steel watch features all the attributes for saturation diving and an HRV. It is powered by the tried-and-tested automatic calibre ETA 2824. Its price, below CHF 2,000, is quite competitive and the overall quality is really pleasant.
Quick facts: 47mm diameter – stainless steel case with unidirectional bezel and HRV – water-resistant to 3,000m – automatic movement (base ETA 2824) with hours, minutes, seconds and date – rubber strap with pin buckle and steel bracelet with folding buckle – CHF 1,800 in steel, CHF 2,100 in black DLC-steel (99 pieces limited edition) – For more information, visit www.delma.ch.