Of all the serious, practically minded timepieces out there, dive watches are the most ubiquitous. There’s nary a watchmaker that hasn’t dabbled in the depths at some point in their history; many have built their reputations on them. More than prestige however, more even than the cool, rugged style that’s come to define them, dive watches are built for a purpose. To be considered a true, professional standard diving watch, it has to adhere to ISO 6425, courtesy of the International Organisation for Standardization.
There are a few things that includes, but key among them is a diving bezel; readability at 25cm in total darkness (meaning plenty of lume); running seconds to show that it’s working and resistance to magnetism, corrosion and shocks. What might surprise you though is that ISO standards ask for a water resistance of 100m. That might seem a bit low, especially these days where 300m is the benchmark, but apparently that’s all you really need.
Which means that the following watches, the strongest swimmers in the ever-expanding school of 2021 releases, are more than up to par, even at the lower end of any equipment budget. In fact, from niche microbrands offerings accessible designs to a clutch of serious prestige watchmakers, there’s a diving watch for every budget, style and depth imaginable. Here then is our Ultimate Diving Watch Guide of 2021.
Dipping your toes into the water for the first time? You don’t need to spend big to get yourself a serious diving partner with these entry-level divers.
Marloe Morar Deep Blue, £299
Inspired by Loch Morar, the deepest body of water in the UK, Marloe’s seminal diving watch looks as much like a nod to Jules Verne as it does the green Scottish highlands. While it looks big and chunky, the gunmetal steel case is actually just 40mm across, making it a good deal more wearable than most diving watches. Paired with a beautiful blue dial – no prizes for guessing where the colour comes from – and shell-shaped hour markers, it’s a looker. It would be a shame if the Morar couldn’t reach the bottom of its namesake intact, so the water resistance is marked on the dial as 310m, the depth of the loch. With those kinds of numbers and an ever-reliable Japanese movement, the price makes the Morar a steal.
Case/dial: 40mm diameter, gunmetal plated 316L stainless steel case, blue sand textured dial | Water resistance: 310m | Movement: Miyota 9039 calibre, automatic, 24 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 42h | Functions: Hour, minutes, hacking seconds | Strap: Leather strap and a silicone strap | Price: £299, limited to 250 pieces, available at Marloe.
Reverie Diver, $490 (Approx. £350)
Reverie’s take on the classic diving watch blurs the lines between a practical, utilitarian tool piece and a dress watch. Part of that is it’s slimline feel – despite 200m water resistance, it’s surprisingly svelte – but the greater part is the finishing. It’s not often you find an accessible diving watch with a guilloche dial. The wavey guilloche is lovely, especially in the oceanic blue, making for a solid, versatile summer timepiece. The movement too is engraved with waves, in tribute to the Miyota 9039’s Japanese roots – a nice nod to an important calibre and an illustration of Reverie’s attention to detail.
Case/dial: 40mm diameter, 316L stainless steel case, navy blue guilloché dial | Water resistance: 200m | Movement: Miyota 9039 calibre, automatic, 24 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 42h | Functions: Hours, minutes, hacking seconds | Strap: 316L stainless steel bracelet | Price: $490 (approx. £350), limited to 125 pieces, available at Reverie.
Baltic Aquascaphe Dual Crown, €550 (Approx. £469)
There’s good reason Baltic’s an Instagram darling among dive watch aficionados. The handsome riff on 60s divers that is the Aquascaphe makes no secret of its vintage inspirations and ticks every box established by iconic pieces from the era. The latest takes it one step further, combining the already good-looking base watch with a dual-crown, compressor-style layout that’s impossible not to love. With one crown to wind the watch, the other to operate the inner diving bezel, the Aquascape Dual Crown is lovely to use. With 200m water resistance it has respectable diving credentials and thanks to the Miyota caliber 9039 it’s as affordable as ever. If you somehow find a downside, please let us know.
Case/dial: 39mm diameter, stainless steel case, sunray blue dial | Water resistance: 200m | Movement: Miyota 9039 calibre, automatic, 24 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 42h | Functions: Hours, minutes, hacking seconds | Strap: Blue tropic rubber | Price: €550 (approx. £469) limited to 300 pieces, available at Baltic.
Boldr Odyssey Bronze Pine Green, £478
If there’s one diver tapping into the current aesthetic zeitgeist, it’s this. Bronze case? Check. Green dial? Check. If it had a slimline, retro look it would blend into the crowd perfectly. Fortunately for Boldr, it’s bigger, chunkier and altogether, yes, bolder, than most of that aforementioned crowd can handle. The deep green of the dial is made a touch brighter with plenty of lume, which are 3D cast for an incredible level of light. Paired with 500m water resistance, this is a lot of watch for the money. You’d best get one of the 100 pieces available sharpish…
Case/dial: 45.5mm diameter, CuSn8 Bronze case, matte green dial | Water resistance: 500m | Movement: Calibre SII NH35, automatic, 24 jewels | Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz) | Power reserve: 42h | Functions: Hour, minute, seconds, date | Strap: Druber® fluoroelastomer rubber strap | Price: £478, limited to 100 pieces, available at Boldr.
Mido Ocean Star GMT, CHF 1,130 (Approx. £890)
It’s no overstatement to say that Mido is one of the best value brands around. Their watches have plenty of high-end touches – ceramic bezels, their own take on the incredibly solid calibre 80 and double AR-treated sapphire crystal, among other thing – combined with retro style that’s impossible not to admire. While other Mido pieces can be a bit funkier in a retro cool kind of way, the Ocean Star GMT is all business with a classic, chunky dive watch look in an unexciting but always appealing blue. It doesn’t break boundaries but it also doesn’t break the bank and offers more bang for your buck than most of its contemporaries.
Case/dial: 44mm diameter, stainless steel case, black dial | Water resistance: 200m | Movement: Mido Calibre 80 (base ETA C07.661), automatic, 25 jewels | Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz) | Power reserve: 80h | Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, GMT, date | Strap: Brown coloured calfskin leather or woven black rubber | Price: CHF 1,130 (approx. £890), available at Mido.
Christopher Ward C60 Trident Bronze Ombré COSC, £950
Between a COSC-certified movement, 600m water resistance and a hand-distressed dial to make each watch unique, Christopher Ward’s latest should be coasting well above the 3K mark when you compare it to similar models. The fact that it’s still at a sub-£1,000 price point, it’s easy to see why the British brand is dominating the space. The combination of bronze case and ombré dial means that the watch should age like a fine wine with far less regard for how you need to treat it. The Sellita movement inside is lacking much power, but otherwise it’s another impossible value watch from Christopher Ward.
Case/dial: 42mm diameter, bronze case, brown ombré dial | Water resistance: 600m | Movement: Sellita SW200 COSC calibre, automatic, 26 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 38h | Functions: Hour, minutes, seconds, date | Strap: Brown Vintage leather | Price: £950, limited to 500 pieces, available at Christopher Ward.
£1,000 – £ 2,500
You’ve gone for a few dives, gaining confidence and are relatively sure that you won’t leave your watch on the reef. In which case, it’s time for something a touch more serious.
Michel Herbelin Newport Diver Automatic, £1,100
Combining the lovely cushion shape of the Newport Heritage – the throwback model from the French watchmaker’s flagship collection – with a unidirectional diving bezel, Michel Herbelin have created one of the more elegant diving watches out there. Specially designed for regular divers, the unidirectional bezel is made of ceramic in blue or black which, along with the 300m water resistance, makes for a surprisingly solid, professional-standard underwater watch. The fact that it’s one of the best-looking in this price range is just another feather in Michel Herbelin’s increasingly flamboyant cap.
Case/dial: 42mm diameter, stainless steel case, gradient black blue dial | Water resistance: 300m | Movement: Sellita SW220-1, automatic, 26 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 38h | Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date | Strap: FKM elastomer strap | Price: €1,290, available at Michel Herbelin.
Seiko Prospex ‘Captain Willard’ Re-interpretation SPB237J1, £1,220
Named after Martin Sheen’s character in Apocalypse Now, if there’s one watch you want accompanying through the jungles of Vietnam on what boils down to an assassination mission, this is it. It’s also a pretty good everyday diver if you want to avoid PTSD set to The Doors. The asymmetrical case shape that was the progenitor for the modern-day turtle makes for an incredibly distinctive watch and was originally worn in 1970 by Japanese explorer Naomi Uemura, a watch that this model is directly inspired by. It’s equipped with a great movement with a 70-hour power reserve, has the heritage of any major Swiss brand and comes in at an almost worryingly accessible price tag.
Case/dial: 42.65mm diameter, stainless steel case, grey dial | Water resistance: 200m | Movement: Calibre 6R35, automatic, 24 jewels | Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz) | Power reserve: 70h | Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date | Strap: Black polyester | Price: £1,220, available at Seiko.
Alpina Seastrong Diver Gyre, £1,350
Recycled fishing nets are fast becoming the go-to diving watch case material for the eco conscious and while Ulysse Nardin’s is only a concept, Alpina’s is here to stay. The 44mm beast of a diver that is the Seastrong Gyre however is more than just eco-friendly; it’s a downright lovely looking watch. The biggest part of that look is the smoked blue dial, not the kind of finish you often see on a utilitarian tool watch. Paired with the blacked-out case, matching two-tone strap and solid diving specs, it’s hard not to love, especially coasting just above the 1K mark.
Case/dial: 44mm diameter, Recycled PA 6 (70%) and glass-fiber (30%) case, black dial | Water resistance: 300m | Movement: Calibre AL-525, automatic, 26 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 38h | Functions: Hour, minute, seconds, date | Strap: RPET (recycled plastic bottles) blue and black nato strap with additional black apple leather strap | Price: £1,359, limited to 288 pieces, available at Alpina.
Ralf Tech WRV Electric Tundra, €1,900 (Approx. £1,631)
Originally released in 2012 as a 70s-inpired diver paying homage to some of the iconic underwater watches in the golden age of diving, the latest edition combines that utilitarian look with a classic sandwich dial and a new electric micro hybrid movement. Of the three versions I’m a sucker for this kind of khaki green. Between the colour and the sandwich construction, the WRV Electric Tundra has some serious militaristic vibes, complemented by impressive specs and a serious weight of metal.
Case/dial: 47.5mm diameter, satin finish surgical steel case, tundra green matt dial | Water resistance: 500m | Movement: Electric Micro Hybrid | Power reserve: Up to 100,000h | Functions: Hour, minutes, seconds | Strap: Black silicone | Price: €1,900, limited to 100 pieces per year, available at Ralf Tech.
Longines Legend Heritage Diver, £1,750
The HydroConquest is, by far, the more extreme of Longines’ divers in a modern, masculine kind of way. For me though – and anyone that knows my tastes won’t be surprised – it’s all about their heritage collection and, specifically, the Legend Heritage Diver. The 1960s-inspired compressor-style case is elegant while the gradiated blue dial on this particular reference is gorgeous. Behind it all is the L888 which isn’t at the silicon-equipped top end of Longines watchmaking but suits the more restrained character of this particular facet of the Swiss watchmaker’s diving heritage.
Case/dial: 42mm diameter, stainless steel case, black lacquered polished dial | Water resistance: 300m | Movement: In-house calibre L888, automatic, 21 jewels | Frequency: 25,200 vph (3.5 Hz) | Power reserve: 72h | Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date | Strap: Black leather strap | Price: £1,750, available at Longines.
Blanchet Deep Dive, $2,650 (Approx. £1,915)
Hoping to follow in the footsteps of the host of recently revived dive watch brands that sadly died out in the 70s, Blanchet potentially has the staying power to be one of the best. Provided of course you’re after something big, chunky and at the extreme end of the affordable diving spectrum. The ‘deep’ in Deep Dive isn’t kidding. This thing can function at depths of 1,000m which is impressive for any timepiece. For a COSC-certified automatic priced at just under 2K that’s unbelievable. Throw in an eye-catching asymmetrical case and it’s obvious Blanchet has more than a name going for it.
Case/dial: 44mm diameter, 316L stainless steel case, black dial | Water resistance: 100m | Movement: ETA 2824 calibre, automatic, 25 jewels, COSC certified | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 38h | Functions: Hours, minutes, sweeping seconds, date | Strap: Black rubber | Price: $2,950, (Approx. £2,134), limited to 125 pieces, available at Blanchet.
Delma Blue Shark III Azores, £2,000
If you manage to push this epic dive watch to its limit, you probably won’t be coming back. That’s because Delma’s insanely high-spec Blue Shark III Azores is water resistance to 4,000m. It looks the part too with it’s oversized 47mm case and macho styling, crown guard included. What really sets this version off however is its colouring, a combination of unusual green gradient dial and bright orange across numerals, hands and bezel diving scale. The Azores also comes in a blue and black variant, but for us this more pared-back version (and I use the phrase loosely) is the cooler of the two.
Case/dial: 42mm diameter, bronze case, brown ombré dial | Water resistance: 600m | Movement: Sellita SW200 COSC calibre, automatic, 26 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 38h | Functions: Hour, minutes, seconds, date | Strap: Brown Vintage leather | Price: £950, limited to 500 pieces, available at Delma.
Ball Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer, £2,040
When you’re hundreds of metres underwater you want to have a watch you can rely on – and there’s not much that’ll stop Ball’s latest-generation diver in its tracks. The rugged, 42mm case with 300m water resistance are just the start; the movement itself is protected by an antimagnetic mu-metal shield and Ball’s own Amortiser shock absorption system, keeping it ticking in the most adverse conditions. Looks-wise it’s a classic compressor layout, giving Ball’s distincitly modern, H3 gas tube-laden take on tool watchmaking a charming retro twist. Just be sure to keep it in a drawer at night; those signature luminescent tubes are incredibly bright.
Case/dial: 42mm diameter, stainless steel case, blue dial | Water resistance: 300m | Movement: BALL RR1101-C calibre, automatic, 21 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 42h | Functions: Hours, minutes, sweep seconds, magnified date | Strap: Stainless steel | Price: £2,040, available at Ball Watch.
William Wood Triumph Oxygen Edition, £2,150
Fire and water don’t often mix but in the Triumph, courtesy of British independent William Wood, is the exception. Like the previous Valiant, the Triumph expresses the brand’s firefighting identity through the finer details, from the chequered chapter ring taken from the side of a fire truck to the upcycled fire hose strap.
What sets the Triumph apart however is its chronograph function complete with bold, muscular pushers made from antique brass. Available in a trio of colours and water resistant to 100m, we’ve opted for the more oceanic blue of the Oxygen edition. And trust us, when it arrives you’ll want to keep the fire alarm box; it’s one of the coolest around.
Case/dial: 41mm diameter x 15.5mm, stainless steel case, blue dial | Water resistance: 100m | Movement: Swiss-made Sellita SW510, automatic chronograph, 27 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 48h | Functions: Hours, minutes, date, 60 second sub dial (9pm), 30 minute sub dial (3pm) | Strap: Choice of upcycled fire hose straps in red, blue, yellow or green with quick-release functionality | Price: £2,150, available at William Wood.
£2,500 – £5,000
You’re on your way to professional diver status and it’s time to branch out into more extreme, performance-oriented pieces in new materials and flashier colours.
Doxa SUB 300 Carbon Professional, $3,890 (Approx. £2,835)
If you’re fed up of dive watches playing it safe with an avant garde choice of black or blue, Doxa should be catching your eye in more ways than one. The Swiss brand dominated the golden age of diving with a little help from Jacques Cousteau and has only gotten brighter with age. This carbon-clad edition of their famous SUB 300 is a lot more modern than their usual retro-slanted pieces, combining the super light-weight material with Doxa’s ubiquitous bright orange. The material choice is probably a good thing given the impressive dimensions of the watch, which are matched by its equally impressive diving specs.
Case/dial: 42.50mm diameter, forged carbon case, orange ombré dial | Water resistance: 300m | Movement: ETA 2824-2 calibre, automatic, 35 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 38h | Functions: Hour, minutes, seconds, date | Strap: FKM rubber strap | Price: $3,890, available at Doxa.
Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic, £3,530
The culmination of Rado’s twin disciplines of cool, retro divers and cutting-edge ceramic, this skeletonised version of the lauded Captain Cook is the best of both worlds. It was our cover star last issue so believe me when I say that it’s a serious piece of watch that relies on more than nostalgia for the original vintage model. The blue and grey version is the most toned-down of them all, which isn’t saying much given the openworked dial, and for me is the coolest of the lot. It’s hardwearing, lightweight and supported by an antimagnetic movement for survivability above and below the water – 300m below, to be precise. If this is the new face of Rado, it’s a handsome one.
Case/dial: 43mm diameter, plasma high-tech ceramic case, blue dial | Water resistance: 300m | Movement: In-house Rado calibre R734, automatic, 25 jewels | Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz) | Power reserve: 80h | Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds | Strap: Matt ceramic bracelet | Price: £3,530, available at Rado.
Tudor Black Bay Ceramic, £3,550
The Black Bay ceramic has all the streamlined good looks that made the range a collectors’ darling, with all the trappings of a seriously high-end timepiece, including a complete ceramic case and a painfully cool blacked-out movement. Perhaps more importantly, it’s also the only other watch than Omega on this list to be awarded Master Chronometer status. Needless to say it’s a momentous achievement. It’s also a bit of a middle finger up to Omega as Tudor’s opus comes in a good couple of thousand pounds cheaper. There’s a good reason Tudor’s one of the most in-demand watchmakers this side of Rolex.
Case/dial: 41mm diameter, matt black ceramic, domed black dial | Water resistance: 200m | Movement: In-house calibre MT5602-1U, automatic, 25 jewels, Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) certified and Master Chronometer Certification from METAS | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 70h | Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds | Strap: Hybrid leather and rubber with additional black fabric strap with cream band | Price: £3,550, available at Tudor.
Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Red Bronze, £3,800
While the latest Bell & Ross diver has all the usual necessities of a deep-dweller, such as the rotating bezel, lume-filled indexes and a solid 300m water resistance, this is nothing like your traditional diving watch. For one, it uses the cockpit instrument inspired square shape that put the Swiss watchmaker on the map. For another, the mix of golden bronze and bright red is eye-catching to say the least. While we get hands-on with the military-style utilitarian tool watch version on page 133, there’s a lot to be said about this striking number. Aviation may be their DNA, but Bell & Ross seem well at home with a sea landing, too.
Case/dial: 42mm diameter, satin-finished and polished CuSn8 bronze case, red dial | Water resistance: 300m | Movement: In-house calibre BR-CAL.302, automatic, 25 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 38h | Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date | Strap: Brown coloured calfskin leather or woven black rubber | Price: £3,800, limited to 999 pieces, available at Bell & Ross.
Carl F. Bucherer Patravi Scubatec Maldives, £4,550
You don’t need the clue in the name to gather that this edition of Carl F. Bucherer’s flagship diver is inspired by the warm waters and atolls of the Indian Ocean; all you need is that beautiful wave of bright blue across bezel and, more literally, the dial. The looks are backed by all the prerequisite diving watch touches, including more extreme ones like a helium escape valve and 500m water resistance. At 45mm it’s also extreme in dimensions. Between the size and colour, this isn’t the kind of watch you can miss.
Case/dial: 45mm diameter, stainless steel case, blue dial with wave pattern | Water resistance: 500m | Movement: In-house calibre CFB 1950.1, automatic, 25 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 38h | Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date | Strap: Rubber strap with recycled PET textile layer | Price: £4,550, available at Carl F. Bucherer.
You’ve done your fair share of dives and now you’re edging into prestige territory where the watch on your wrist isn’t just for plumbing the depths but will have heads turning back on dry land, too.
Omega Seamaster 300, £5,280
Before there was the 300m, there was the 300, and for 2021 Omega has brought back the retro reference as its own collection. Perhaps more importantly, it’s now one of my favourite Omega models. Modelled from the 1957 original, Omega are tapping into the zeitgeist for archival divers frustratingly perfectly. Paired with throwback good looks – particularly in the classic black dial and bezel with vintage beige indexes – is the 8400 master chronometer-certified co-axial calibre, which means it can survive both 300m down and an MRI machine. Or both, however that would happen.
Case/dial: 41mm diameter, stainless steel case, black dial | Water resistance: 300m | Movement: Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8912, automatic, 38 jewels, Master Chronometer Certification from METAS | Frequency: 25,800 2ph (3.5 Hz) | Power reserve: 60h | Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds | Strap: Brown leather | Price: £5,280, available at Omega.
Ulysse Nardin Diver Lemon Shark, £6,070
The shark is Ulysse Nardin’s spirit animal, so it’s not too big a surprise to see the makers of the Freak launch a toothy limited edition specifically for World Ocean Day. The bigger surprise is that it’s one of their coolest-looking divers to date. The 42mm blacked-out steel case highlighted with bright, lemon yellow in honour of the eponymous predator makes for an eye-catching, professional-level underwater watch. It’s not just the looks either. The Diver Lemon Shark’s 300m water resistance and a solid 42-hour power reserve are respectable and rugged doesn’t even come into it. It’s a bit pricier than some similarly specced watches on this list, but it makes up for it in swagger – and a cool recycled strap.
Case/dial: 42mm diameter, stainless steel case, black dial | Water resistance: 300m | Movement: Calibre UN-816 (base SW300), automatic, 25 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 42h | Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date | Strap: Black fabric | Price: £6,070, limited to 300 pieces, available at Ulysse Nardin.
Panerai Luminor Marina eSteel Verde Smeraldo, £7,600
New materials are kind of Panerai’s thing; so is the ocean. So, it makes sense that among high-end watchmakers they’re leading the charge when it comes to eco-friendly metallurgy. The Luminor Marine E-Steel’s famous cushion case is made from a recycled steel alloy, while the matching strap is made from recycled PET, the plastic used in fishing nets. That’s all great and nice to know but doesn’t mean too much if the watch underneath is nothing worth wearing. Fortunately, the smoked green dial here is very much worth wearing over and over again. I’m not sure I’d take it off.
Case/dial: 44mm diameter, brushed steel case, polished Green gradient eSteel dial | Water resistance: 300m | Movement: Calibre P.9010, automatic, 31 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 72h | Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date | Strap: Recycled PET green strap | Price: £7,600, available at Panerai.
Rolex Submariner Date, £7,650
Sure, this was released last year but given Rolex’s 2021 releases didn’t exactly get us overexcited, we’re including it anyway. Plus, there’s good reason the Submariner is the luxury diving watch and it’s not all about the crown on the dial. The latest revamp brought a lot of necessary updates to the iconic Submariner Date, including a shiny new movement – the most advanced Rolex calibre around, the 3235 – and enhanced wearability, ensuring that it remains the ultimate diving watch for many. This uber-collectable green bezelled version doubly so. If you can get one on your wrist, do it.
Case/dial: 41mm diameter, oystersteel case, black dial | Water resistance: 300m | Movement: Rolex Calibre 3235, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 31 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 70h | Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date | Strap: Oystersteel bracelet | Price: £7,650, available at Rolex.
Glashütte Original SeaQ Bi-Colour, £10,900
There’s always a bit of a debate over whether gold – and more specifically bi-colour – has a place in a diving watch. It’s neither one nor the other, practical nor flashy. But honestly, this is the kind of watch that puts the argument to bed. The SeaQ Bi-Colour in blue is one of the best-looking divers around. Granted, it comes with a serious premium – this is the kind of dive watch you’ll risk a shark bite rather than abandon – but you get not only a classic combo of steel, blue and yellow gold but the backing of a movement in the finest three-quarter plate traditions of German watchmaking. The only issue is the 200m water resistance which, while respectable, is perhaps lower than you’d like at this price point. But if you’re after style over substance, this is the one for you.
Case/dial: 39.50mm diameter, stainless steel/yellow gold case, galvanized blue dial | Water resistance: 200m | Movement: Glashütte Original manufacture calibre 39-11, automatic, 25 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 40h | Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date | Strap: Synthetic blue textile strap | Price: £10,900 available at Glashütte Original.
Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad, £11,800
One of the coolest Fifty Fathoms ever to surface – which is really saying something – was the very specialised edition created for German Bundeswehr. It was built at a time where radition was a serious concern and not just from a Cold War standpoint. Thus, the Swiss watchmaker created a version with no radioactive lume on the dial and a clear, now iconic logo to denote the fact. Now Blancpain have finally re-released a nod in the Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad. While it has the vintage touch of the crossed-out nuclear logo in warning yellow and red, inside it’s pure modern Blancpain, meaning typically exceptional calibre with 100h power reserve. The only downside is that this might be a hard one to get your hands on.
Case/dial: 40.3mm diameter, steel case, black dial | Water resistance: 300m | Movement: Calibre 1151, automatic, 28 jewels | Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz) | Power reserve: 100h | Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date | Strap: Rubber strap | Price: £11,800, available at Blancpain.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver, £23,100
For many collectors the Offshore Diver is a grail diving watch, all the genre-defining rebelliousness of the classic Royal Oak but in an over-the-top, performance-slanted style that moves the diving scale inside to preserve the iconic octagonal bezel that’s come to define the collection. The latest trio comes in cool grey, blue and, our favourite, the khaki green. The new piece is equipped with the Calibre 4308 automatic movement with its solid 60-hour power reserve and finished with all the stylish aplomb you’d expect from AP – including their famous Méga Tapisserie gridwork dial. It is of course a serious investment piece; dive with it at your peril.
Case/dial: 42mm diameter, stainless steel, khaki green “Méga Tapisserie” gridwork dial | Water resistance: 300m | Movement: In-house Calibre 4308, automatic, 32 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 60h | Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, dive time measurement | Strap: Interchangeable rubber strap additional black rubber strap is included | Price: £23,100, available at Audemars Piguet.