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10 Desk Diver Watches Perfect for the Office and Ocean

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Complete Calendar Blue

Diving watches are everywhere, from accessible divers to the best luxury diving timepieces around. The perennial question, however, is who actually wears them diving? Aesthetically the classic diver is one of the most prominent designs in the watch world, but we don’t see waters clogged with would-be Cousteaus rocking their Fifty-Fathoms. Instead, it’s more likely that most of just wear them to work – hence the term Desk Diver.

It makes sense then that there are also plenty of diving watches that aren’t even meant to be taken underwater. Whether that’s because gold isn’t the most rugged case material around or because nobody carries the months of air that would make an annual calendar necessary underwater. There are plenty of watches ostensibly built for the water – or based on pieces that are – which are far more suited to a boardroom than the bottom of the ocean. It’s worth noting most of these watches will be fine with the occasional dip at the pool, it’s the more extreme side of swimming in wild waters they’ll want to avoid.

Tudor Black Bay GMT S and G

Tudor Black Bay GMT S&G

The Tudor Black Bay GMT S&G is perhaps the archetypal Desk Diver with a bi-metallic case, classic dive watch aesthetic and an additional complication that isn’t necessary underwater. Specifically, it’s rocking a 41mm stainless steel case with 200m water resistant that features a golden crown and gold 24-hour GMT bezel. A GMT function is designed for keeping track of multiple time zones around the world, which let’s be honest is not terribly useful in the aquatic depths but is very helpful in remembering your important international phone call.

Case/dial: 41mm diameter stainless steel case
Water resistance: 200m (20 bar)
Movement: Tudor MT5652 COSC certified automatic movement with 70-hour power reserve
Strap: Black fabric with beige band
Price: £3,770

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Oris Divers Sixty-Five

Oris Divers Sixty-Five

The Oris Divers Sixty-Five has a painfully cool retro design with a 40mm bronze and stainless steel case. Bronze is often a material associated with dive watches because of its historic relevance to nautical innovations so you might be wondering why it makes the watch a Desk Diver rather than one you actually want to swim with. Well, it comes down to the fact that it only has a 100m water resistance, which in practical terms is barely enough for a dip in the pool, let alone diving. Plus, avoiding the water will slow the patina process if that matters to you. The Divers Sixty-Five is powered by calibre 733 automatic with 38-hour power reserve.

Case/dial: 40mm diameter bronze case
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Oris 733 (base SW200-1) automatic movement with 38-hour power reserve
Strap: Stainless steel and bronze bracelet
Price: £2,100

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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver

Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak may have been around since the seventies but it’s more adventurous and dive watch slanted sibling, the Royal Oak Offshore, is substantially younger – first debuting in 1993. At 42mm with a stainless steel case and featuring a supremely legible display with internal diving bezel, the Royal Oak Offshore Diver seems like a watch you could actually go diving with, at least on paper. It even has a helium escape valve alongside a water resistance of 300m, protecting the case from the risks of the deep. It’s just the £25,900 price tag that makes it firmly a Desk Diver.

Case/dial: 42mm stainless steel case
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: AP 4308 automatic movement with 60-hour power reserve
Strap: Khaki green rubber and additional black rubber
Price: £25,900

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Panerai QuarantaQuattro Goldtech OroCarbon

Panerai QuarantaQuattro Goldtech OroCarbon

Panerai have a long history in producing dedicated professional diving watches, working alongside the Italian military on robust timepieces that can endure the stresses of combat environments. However, the QuarantaQuattro Goldtech OroCarbon takes the style of the Submersible and dresses it in a luxurious gold and carbon colourway. Although, unlike other gold watches this one has a solid shot at not getting scratched due to Panerai’s in-house Goldtech alloy, which is designed to be hardwearing. Plus it has 300m water resistance. It houses the calibre P.900 automatic movement with 72-hour power reserve.

Case/dial: 44mm diameter Goldtech™ case
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Panerai P.900 automatic movement with 72-hour power reserve
Strap: Rubber
Price: £27,400

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Glashütte Original Sea Q Bi-Colour

Glashütte Original Sea Q Bi-Colour

The Sea Q Bi-Colour from Glashütte Original is, at least to my mind, the ultimate Desk Diver. By which I mean that it has really strong dive watch aesthetics but it’s also the one I’d least want to take diving. Between the golden crown and bezel I’d be too worried about scratches, plus the cursive logo and applique numerals give it such a refined air that diving seems like too coarse of an activity for it. It’s also fairly small for a diver at 39.5mm and has 200m water resistance, which is the bare minimum you’d want to consider for a proper dive watch.

Case/dial: 49.5mm diameter stainless steel case
Water resistance: 200m (20 bar)
Movement: Glashütte Original 39-11 automatic movement with 40-hour power reserve
Strap: Blue fabric
Price: £11,500

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Rolex Submariner Date

Rolex Submariner Date

When it comes to legendary wristwatch design, the Rolex Submariner is arguably the single most recognisable dive watch in existence. The hyper legible dial with oversize hour markers, the plentiful lume, the uni-directional rotating bezel with dive timer; these are all individual elements from the Submariner that have become synonymous with diving watches. In the Oystersteel and yellow gold combination, known as yellow Rolesor, it adds an extra layer of luxuriousness that really sells it as a Desk Diver, despite its 300m water resistance.

Case/dial: 41mm diameter stainless steel and yellow gold case
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Rolex 3235 automatic movement with 70-hour power reserve
Strap: Stainless steel and yellow gold bracelet
Price: £13,150

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Tag Heuer Aquaracer

Tag Heuer Aquaracer

Tag Heuer are known for their sporty watches like the Carrera chronograph and the Aquaracer dive watch. For the most part, the Aquaracer is a very practical diver although this edition with bi-colour case is on the more refined, Desk Diver end of the spectrum. The pink, warm tone of the rose gold bezel contrasts with the dark gradient dial in a satisfying way, especially when the light plays off of it. Which is simply another reason it’s nicer on land than in the water. It measures 40mm in diameter and houses the Calibre 5 with 38-hour power reserve.

Case/dial: 40mm diameter stainless steel and gold case
Water resistance: 200m (20 bar)
Movement: Tag Heuer 5 automatic movement with 38-hour power reserve
Strap: Black rubber
Price: £4,400

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Omega Seamaster 300m Bi-Colour

Omega Seamaster 300m Bi-Colour

Another watch that can go five rounds alongside icons like the Submariner and Fifty Fathoms is the Omega Seamaster 300m. The bi-colour edition in steel and yellow gold with a blue dial is a brilliant Desk Diver. The aquatic blue dial with wave pattern combines with the shiny gold to give the impression of a naval officer bedecked in medals in their dress uniform. It houses the master chronometer Calibre 8800, an automatic piece with a co-axial escapement and 55-hour power reserve.

Case/dial: 42mm diameter stainless steel and yellow gold case
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Omega 8800 automatic movement with 55-hour power reserve
Strap: Stainless steel and yellow gold bracelet
Price: £11,400

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Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton Plasma Rose Gold

Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton Plasma Rose Gold

One of the newest watches featured here is the Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton Plasma Rose Gold, a watch that coincidentally also has the longest name. In an interesting twist, it’s a watch that has the aesthetics of a Desk Diver, with its gold-coloured accents and skeleton display, but that would probably survive an adventurous outing. That’s because it has an incredibly lightweight and (crucially) scratch resistant ceramic case with 300m water resistance. It’s powered by the Calibre R808 with 80-hour power reserve. But ultimately, the fact the display is skeletonised means it loses some of that all-important legilibilty and clarity and you’ll want to keep this piece on land.

Case/dial: 43mm diameter high-tech ceramic case
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Rado R808 automatic movement with 80-hour power reserve
Strap: High-Tech Ceramic bracelet
Price: £4,150

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Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Complete Calendar

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Complete Calendar

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, similar to the Rolex Submariner, is one of the quintessential dive watches that many other brands look towards for inspiration. However, very few watchmakers use dive watches as a catalyst from which to explore haute horology while Blancpain are willing to push the boat out with the Fifty Fathoms. This is the Complete Calendar edition in gold, although they’ve also created tourbillon models among others. As mentioned in the introduction to this article, if you find yourself in need of a calendar complication underwater, then chances are something has gone seriously wrong with your dive. Although in a pinch the 300m water resistance means you could get it wet.

Case/dial: 43mm diameter red gold case
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Blancpain 6654.P.4 automatic movement with 72-hour power reserve
Strap: Sail canvas
Price: £29,100

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.