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Ultimate Microbrand Diving Watches

Baltic Aquascaphe Titanium

There are few things in horology that go together quite so well as microbrands and dive watches.As the quality of accessible movements and cases improves, more and more small watch brands are able to create stylish, practical and affordable timepieces that are capable of exploring the deeps.

So without further ado, here’s the ultimate microbrand guide to dive watches. You don’t need to risk diving into the blackest depths of the abyssal ocean to wear a diving watch, but at least with these you know you could. If you wanted to.

Lorier Neptune IV

Lorier Neptune IV

A more elegant take on the black and gold look of the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight, the Neptune IV uses pointed indexes and hands a world away from the usual blocky connotations of retro. In keeping with the retro aspect, the IV introduces an updated bezel in acrylic, emulating the Bakelite style of vintage dive watches. It’s about as clean as the practicality of a diver allows and sits perfectly in the sweet spot for size, 39mm. It’s a little lower on the specs scale with a Mioyta 90S5 automatic movement, but it still has 200m water resistance and the sharp looks more than make up for it. The original Neptune was Lorier’s first dedicated diving watch and the Neptune IV is the best version of it yet.

Case/dial: 39mm diameter x 10.3mm thickness stainless steel case with black dial
Water resistance: 200m (20 bar)
Movement: Miyota calibre 90S5 automatic movement with 42h power reserve
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Price: $499 (approx. £380)

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Zelos Hammerhead V3 300m TI Electric Blue

Zelos Hammerhead V3 300m TI ‘Electric Blue’

Zelos are known for their use of high end movements from manufactures like La Joux Perret, however that can often make them more expensive. Zelos are equally committed to being accessible through collections like the Hammerhead V3. It’s a large 44mm diver with 300m water resistance available in titanium or steel. This electric blue edition is titanium, making it impressively lightweight despite its size, plus with its additional hard coating it’s incredibly scratch resistant. It has a chunky, facetted design that houses the Seiko NH35 automatic calibre. Between the accessible price and robust case, this is a diver well suited to the water and great value to boot.

Case/dial: 44mm diameter x 13mm thickness titanium case with electric blue dial
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Seiko NH35 automatic movement with 41h power reserve
Strap: Titanium bracelet
Price: $529 (approx. £410)

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Scurfa Treasure SeekerOrange

Scurfa Treasure Seeker

The focal point of the Treasure Seeker is the dial, which is a fantastic honeycomb of embossed hexagons. It’s subtler on the wrist than you might expect, even in the professionally bright orange and yellow variants. Complete with large, applied indexes, it’s sleek, incredibly readable and equally cool. Beyond that, the 41mm stainless steel bumper bar case is solid enough to survive the rigours of the ocean – with a few sharp rocks thrown in – while the five-link bracelet sits comfortable on the wrist with Rolex undertones. It’s also water resistant to 300m, so well suited to professional diving.

Case/dial: 41mm diameter stainless steel case with black/blue/white/orange/yellow dial
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Miyota 9015 automatic movement with 42h power reserve
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Price: £445

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Spinnaker Hull Commander Lapis Lazuli

Spinnaker Hull Commander ‘Lapis Lazuli’

Spinnaker’s Hull Commander looks like an absolute tank of a diver at 42mm in diameter and 14mm in thickness. But for all that, it sits well on the wrist and looks good with its Panerai style cushion case and 300m water resistance. What’s more, the Lapis Lazuli dial makes each piece unique due to the individual markings of the stone. Beneath the surface is the Seiko NH35 automatic with 41-hour power reserve. A true work horse movement that helps keep it accessible at less than £500.

Case/dial: 42mm diameter x 14mm thickness stainless steel case with Lapis Lazuli dial
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Seiko NH35 automatic movement with 41h power reserve
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet with additional blue rubber strap
Price: £494, limited to 250 pieces

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Farr + Swit Special Edition Seaplane Automatic

Farr + Swit Special Edition Seaplane Automatic

It might house a Swiss movement (namely a ETA 2824-2), but this special edition version of Farr + Swit’s flagship Seaplane is entirely assembled in the USA, making it a rarity in and of itself. If you prefer substance over provenance though, this diving watch for pilots also offers a huge amount for the money. A chunky, 42mm piece of stainless steel and sapphire crystal, its under-the-radar style is alleviated by flashes of bright blue for a brilliant, contemporary air-to-ocean piece with the specs sheet to survive a crash landing in style.

Case/dial: 42mm diameter x 12.5mm thickness brushed stainless steel, grey/black gradient dial
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: ETA 2824-2 movement with 38h power reserve
Strap: Black FKM and additional red FKM strap
Price: $749 (approx. £570), limited to 100 pieces

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Magrette Moana Pacific Waterman GMT Titanium

Magrette Moana Pacific Waterman GMT Titanium

The Pacific Ocean is pretty big and also the local playground for New Zealand microbrand Magrette. Magrette is a unique watchmaker in that they combine classic retro styles of the 70s with the traditions of Māori and pacific island cultures. The Moana Pacific Waterman GMT Titanium is the latest in the popular Waterman line. It looks fantastic with a cushion shaped case and a thick circular bezel, reminiscent of a vintage Panerai. Although mix that in with a Pepsi style day/night bezel.

Case/dial: 49mm diameter titanium case with black dial
Water resistance: 200m (20 bar)
Movement: Miyota 9075 automatic movement with 42h power reserve
Strap: Titanium bracelet
Price: Pre-order for $786 (approx. £600)

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Baltic Aquascaphe Titanium Blue

Baltic Aquascaphe Titanium

A timepiece that encapsulates all the ideals of Baltic is the Aquascaphe Titanium. As its name suggests, it has a titanium case with a 41mm diameter that compliments the black, grained dial and ceramic bezel. The large, lume-filled, circular indices follow the vintage design principles of classic divers. It’s also the most serious diver that Baltic have produced to date with 300m water resistance and extreme scratch and corrosion resistance. It looks great and, having been hands-on with it, it feels great too.

Case/dial: 41mm diameter x 13.3mm thickness brushed stainless steel, glossy blue or black dial
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Miyota 9039 automatic movement with 42h power reserve
Strap: Rubber
Price: €710 (approx. £610)

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Charlie Paris Concordia

Charlie Paris Concordia

The Charlie Paris Concordia is a true exemplar of microbrand diving watches. It’s robust in stainless steel with a 40mm diameter case and 300m water resistance but is also classy and stylish. What that means is it’s well suited to most environments and activities from the office to the seaside or anything you care to name really. The dial is super clean too with oversize indexes and plenty of lume making it nice and legible in all conditions. Beneath the surface is the Soprod P024 automatic calibre with 40-hour power reserve.

Case/dial: 40mm diameter x 12.5mm thickness stainless steel case with blue dial
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Soprod P024 automatic movement with 40h power reserve
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Price: €845 (approx. £730)

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Serica 5303 COSC

Serica 5303 COSC

Serica are a brand based in France who produce tool watches with a monochrome flair that captures a simplicity of design while also having a faintly whimsical quality to them. The California dial 4512 is a standout, as is the 5303-1, a diving watch that feels like a more eccentric version of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. The 5303 has a two-tone bezel split between hours and minutes and a dial that has your classic, large lumed hour markers in addition to some extra decoration that isn’t too overwhelming for its dive watch status. Also, unlike many microbrands which only exist in the digital sphere, Serica has a store in Paris which you can visit.

Case/dial: 39mm diameter x 12.2mm thickness stainless steel case with white/blue/black dial
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Swiss automatic COSC-certified movement with 42h power reserve
Strap: Integrated mesh bracelet
Price: Pre-order for €1,240 (approx. £1,060)

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Isotope Hydrium Pro Nordblad

Isotope Hydrium Pro Nordblad

In a micro-blasted stainless steel case with 300m water resistance, the Isotope Hydrium Pro Nordblad is one of the most serious watches Isotope have ever produced. Serious in that there aren’t the typical visual jokes or fun elements of design that the British brand are known for. Instead, it commits to its role as the brand’s first professional dive watch meant for use in dangerous conditions such as ice diving, where there is little room for levity over pure function. It’s named Nordblad after Johanna Nordblad, a world renowned ice diver.

Case/dial: 40mm diameter x 12.9mm thickness stainless steel case with black dial
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Landerson automatic movement with 40h power reserve
Strap: Black FKM
Price: £1,080, limited to 100 pieces

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ZRC Grand Fonds 300 1964 Reissue

ZRC Grand Fonds 300 1964 Reissue

The ZRC Grand Fonds 300 1964 Reissue stands out for a number of reasons but the most obvious is that the crown is located at 6 o’clock, not the traditional position at 3. This came about because in 1960 ZRC had a partnership with the French Navy, who asked for the crown not to be placed at 3 since it impeded wrist movement and the watch was designed for use by the Mine Clearance Divers’ Group – I imagine wrist dexterity is important for such a job. As a result, ZRC developed the 6 o’clock position in addition to a monobloc design and use of anti-magnetic steel. The modern reissue still bears many of these elements.

Case/dial: 41.5mm diameter stainless steel case with black dial
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement with 38h power reserve
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Price: CHF 3,290 (approx. £2,900)

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Sacred Crafts Treasure Hunter Diver Down

Sacred Crafts Treasure Hunter Diver Down

The Treasure Hunter is a combination of the sustainable watchmaking of The Sacred Crafts and Captain Martin Daly’s penchant for retro stylings. It has a 44mm diameter case made from reclaimed bronze and titanium, with a large bezel and a dial layout inspired by the iconic diving watches of the past. The influences of the Rolex Submariner and Omega Seamaster Diver 300m are clear to see. The Sacred Crafts aim to improve the quality of beaches and oceans due to their first-hand experience of the rubbish and discarded materials filling some of Earth’s most beautiful places.

Case/dial: 44mm diameter titanium and bronze case with black lacquer dial
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: ETA 2824 automatic movement with 38h power reserve
Strap: Titanium and bronze bracelet
Price: $4,500 (approx. £3,450), limited to 15 pieces

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About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.