It doesn’t matter whether you find yourself exploring wrecks like a gentleman diver or simply catching a little spray on the deck of a yacht, it’s good to know that your watch can cope with the elements. It’s just as good to know what, when you do emerge like Daniel Craig from the ocean, said watch will serve just as well at the beach bar as it did surviving the waves and rocks.
There are plenty of diving watches out there of course, but here five that any watch collector should long to add to their repertoire. So, without further ado, let’s dive in. Sorry.
Tudor Black Bay Bronze
Rolex might seem like the obvious choice for a diving watch – the submariner is a legend – but in many ways Tudor are just… well, cooler. When they launched the Black Bay a few years back it was an overnight success and continues to be just as covetable. The bronze edition is simply brilliant.
Its toned-down design is less technical looking than many performance watches but is every bit an uncompromising diving watch. The bronze will also patina over time, making each piece unique. If anyone tells you that Tudor is just a cheap Rolex, feel free to put them straight with the Black Bay Bronze.
Ressence Type 5
At first glance this doesn’t look particularly like a diving watch and, to be fair, it’s not designed as one. However it also happens to be one of the most effective out there. The secret is that the entire case is filled with oil, something Ressence is a master of. That oil means that there’s no reflection and the dial can be read in any light; it also makes it impervious to all but serious pressures.
It also happens to look very, very cool. All in all it might not be a classic but the Ressence Type 5 has everything you need from a good diver and then some.
Panerai Mare Nostrum Acciaio
If you manage to find a vintage Mare Nostrum, get it without a second thought. You’ll have one of the holy grails of watch collecting, especially among diving watch aficionados. Failing that however, Panerai’s latest re-issue of the legendary timepiece is a good compromise.
Based off the 1993 version rather than the 40s prototype, it’s performance look is above and beyond the more archetypal Radiomir and Luminor and, with Panerai’s latest in-house movement encompasses everything that makes the modern maison great – diving performance meets pure Italian style.
Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC
The Fifty Fathoms is possibly the single most influential diving watch ever made. It laid down the foundations of what actually makes a watch fit for diving and is a reference point for any designer. Needless to say it’s been a core model for Blancpain since it was launched in 1953.
This version however takes inspiration from the military-inspired version from 1957 which was created for the French navy. From the tactile rounded bezel to the colour of the lume, all the way down to the pressure indicator at 6 o’clock, everything about it screams vintage Blancpain.
OMEGA Planet Ocean Deep Black
A diving watch needs to be durable, something that OMEGA have taken to heart in the Deep Black editions of the already incredibly rugged Planet Ocean. In this instance the entire case is made from a solid block of black ceramic. As well as being strong enough to break a shark’s teeth, the deep black of the ceramic is stunning – though we prefer the gloss to the matt version.
The bezel is set with OMEGA’s proprietary Sedna gold formula for luxurious contrast that doesn’t compromise performance and, as with all Planet Oceans, it has a water resistance of 600m. Not too shabby.
Words by: Sam Kessler