Summer’s here – which is certainly one way of describing the current inferno – so everyone’s stripping down to the essentials. Shorts, T-shirts, sunnies and espadrilles are the go-to garb and as for what to strap on the wrist, surely nothing’s more appropriate to the time of year – or, for that matter, more cool – than that ultimate in tool watches, the diver.
Of course, no one who’s entertaining the notion of diving deep into Davy Jones’ locker would seriously contemplate strapping a watch to their arm, no matter how accurate or rigorously tested it may be: these days, a digital dive computer is pretty much de rigueur. But if you’re aiming to channel the 1960s Mediterranean insouciance of undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau or the hard-man swagger of the early 007, a diver is definitely the way to go – and if your watch can handle 30 bars of water pressure (or, in some cases, a heck of a lot more) at least you’ll know it’ll withstand whatever a summer thunderstorm or even a typhoon is going to throw at it, not to mention garner admiring looks in the cocktail lounge.
Our choice from the current rich selection of dive watches? Read on.
It’s an unbelievable 65 years since the first Fifty Fathoms more or less invented the dive watch and this near-legendary timepiece remains a mainstay of the Blancpain line-up. New versions of this contemporary classic that debuted at this year’s Baselworld include the annual-calendar Bathyscaphe Quantième Annuel, powered by the self-winding Calibre 6054-P, which offers a 120-hour reserve. Water resistant to 30 bar, this 43mm watch features a handsome steel bezel with ceramic insert and Liquidmetal hour markers.
Panerai, of course, was the long-time supplier of timepieces to officers of the Italian navy, so no list of diving watches is complete without its famous Luminor Submersible 1950, which comes in a relatively discreet (for Panerai) yet nonetheless distinctive 42mm case with signature crown protector. At its heart is an in-house P.9010 calibre that, as it says on the label, offers three days of power. Water resistant to 30 bar, it also features an immersion-time calculator.
We’re big fans of Omega here at Prestige, not least because of the brand’s widespread adoption of the co-axial escapement, and we’re especially nuts about this latest version of the classic Seamaster Diver 300M, premiered at Baselworld 2018. In a 42mm steel case, it features the COSC and METAS-certified Master Chronometer Calibre 8800 behind its wave-pattern ceramic dial, a helium escape valve and a unidirectional ceramic bezel. Water resistant to 30 bar and with a 55-hour reserve of power, it’s also massively antimagnetic.
Available in either 40 or 36mm versions, the new Divers Sixty-Five Bronze Bezel is a seriously attractive dive watch at an even more attractive price. Bronze accents on the bezel and rose-gold PVD indices and hands lend this archetypal tool watch real character, and though 10 bar of water resistance and a 38-hour power reserve from its Oris-modified Sellita self-winding movement are hardly ground breaking, no one’s likely to know or care when it looks so good on the wrist.
No we’re not planning to plunge to the Deepsea’s staggering rated depth of 3,900 metres (that’s 39 bar to you), but we are madly in love with the 44mm D-Blue Dial’s blue-black colour gradient, which commemorates filmmaker James Cameron’s solo journey to the bottom of the Marianas Trench. If that sounds frivolous, we’re also totally impressed by the new, state-of-the-art and ultra-efficient calibre 3235, which is made from nickel-phosphorous and offers 70 hours of power.