Are these the best of the modern dive watches?
Watch & Bullion17 December 2018 | 4 min read
Since the first practical examples of the early 1920s, dive watches have gone through something of a metamorphosis. Initially they were purely functional, an ugly and often ungainly tool designed specifically for use by professional divers but with little appeal beyond that.
However, as scuba diving and other water sports became increasingly popular recreational activities the watch industry kept pace with greater and greater ingenuity, and subsequently, the dive watch has transitioned to become a much more durable and desirable item for everyday wear.
With the technical and manufacturing advances made since those early days the modern timepiece now has to meet a raft of guidelines to be officially certified as a “divers’ watch”. The essential element is, obviously, water-resistance and whilst the minimum standard required is 100m (10ATM) some brands offer resistance to a depth of 1000 meters.
In addition modern diving watches are designed to pass specific levels of magnetic, shock and chemical resistance (particularly corrosion) testing and provide particular levels of visibility and legibility underwater. A top quality dive watch should be ISO-6425 certified, featuring a screw down caseback and crown, unidirectional bezel and luminous indices.
The true artistry however is that whilst many modern diving watches are produced specifically to pass these rigorous tests, they’re also designed with an eye for aesthetics, producing incredibly good-looking and often iconic pieces.
Below, we take a look at a some of the more popular pieces vying to be the best of the bunch.
The current Aquaracer range includes around 150 models so if TAG are your thing then you certainly shouldn’t be short on choice, and if you thought diver’s watches are solely designed for men then consider for a moment the 60+ variants TAG offer in their ladies Aquaracer watch range. Each model features between 200m and 500m water-resistance and has been subjected to a battery of 160 quality checks including immersion, pressure cooker, intense heat, humidity and salt as well as the delightful sounding “14 days of non-stop sweat” test.
Among TAG Heuer’s best sellers, the Aquaracer Chronograph features a high precision quartz movement in a fine-brushed steel case with screw down case back and crown to ensure water resistance to 300m. The bezel is unidirectional, fashioned from polished aluminium and features bold numeric markings for the 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 minute intervals.
Protecting the dial is a scratch resistant and anti-reflective sapphire glass, the face itself features a three dial chronograph, date function and luminescent markings. This is mounted on a brushed steel bracelet with folding clasp which includes a diving extension to allow for wearing over a wetsuit. The Aquaracer Chronograph comes backed by TAG Heuer’s usual 2 year warranty.
Breitling may be best known for their links with aviation, but they also have history on and under the waves. Indeed prior to its recent streamlining, their logo it included an anchor to acknowledge this aspect of their heritage. The Superocean range was first introduced in 1957 and the Heritage variants offer more than 40 models in case sizes of 42mm, 44mm or 46mm with either a blue, black or white dial and a choice of leather, rubber and steel bands.
The most eye-catching of the lot however is probably the Breitling Superocean Heritage II B20 Chronograph 44. Whilst the name doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue the watch itself is an impressive piece; as well as black and blue dial options there is a silver dialed version with contrasting black bezel which looks especially stylish and is powered by Breitling’s own Caliber 01 movement boasting up to 70hrs power reserve.
In the introduction we mentioned that some diver’s watches have become iconic; if ever a watch epitomised such a term then it is surely the Submariner. Another watch which can trace its roots back to the 1950’s the Rolex Submariner has long been the benchmark for many manufacturers to copy or take inspiration from, with a list of design firsts to its name. We compiled A Timeline & History Of The Legendary Dive Watch for the Rolex Submariner with all details.
In fact the Submariner proved so popular that it prompted Rolex themselves to produce a spin-off in the shape of the Sea-Dweller. The oyster case and cyclops eye (on the date version) have become synonymous with the brand and so instantly recognisable that form part of what is surely a design classic.
Originally introduced in 1948 the Seamaster is to Omega what the Submariner is to Rolex. The Seamaster is quintessentially Omega, instantly recognisable and as integral to the brand as the brand-name itself.
The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 18.104.22.168.01.001 is a stunning timepiece that offers a perfect blend of design and function. The black dial with orange accents is both eye-catching and easy to read, featuring luminescent hands and hour markers for optimal visibility. A black ceramic bezel and uni-directional rotating feature ensure precise timekeeping, while the scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and 600 meters (2000 feet) water resistance make this watch suitable for even the most adventurous diver. The case measures 45.5mm in diameter and has an 18.87mm thickness, crafted from brushed and polished stainless steel, complemented by a black rubber strap with nylon outer lining and orange accents for added durability and style.
At the heart of this timepiece is the self-winding automatic Master Chronometer movement, powered by the Omega Caliber 9900. This exceptional movement boasts 54 jewels and operates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour, ensuring impressive precision and reliability. The watch features a 60-hour power reserve, date and chronograph functions, helium escape valve, and an anti-magnetic feature for added versatility. The sapphire crystal exhibition case back allows you to admire the intricate workings of the movement, a testament to Omega’s watchmaking prowess.
The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 22.214.171.124.01.001 comes with a guarantee of authenticity, as well as a certificate of authenticity, manufacturer box, and manual. The screw-down crown ensures a secure fit, while the deployment buckle provides ease of use and added security for the adjustable 7″ strap. This remarkable timepiece is more than just a stylish accessory; it is a testament to Omega’s commitment to quality, performance, and design.
So which would you choose, or do you believe there is a more worthy contender for the crown?
Look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section. If you have enjoyed this article, be sure to check out the rest of our blog right here.