Sometimes I get asked the question, “If you could only have one watch, which would it be?” My answer is always that I couldn’t only have one watch. However, if I had to choose between one of my chronographs and a diver, I would likely choose in favor of the diver. Diving watches end up getting the most wrist time since they are suitable for any situation; it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing or where you’re wearing it. With a sporty diver on your wrist, you’ll always look good.
Built to Last
Diving watches are well built and thus can easily take a beating. I’ve smashed my divers against things on multiple occasions. Of course, the sound of your immaculate watch, the one you searched for so long, hitting something always gives you a shiver down your spine and that won’t likely change. However, if it’s a diver, there is never any real damage to be found. You don’t have to worry about water damage either, as they are waterproof up to depths that most of us will never realistically encounter (though it’s always a good idea to have the water resistance checked every one or two years).
Clean and Timeless Design
My first mechanical watch was a diving watch; a vintage model from the mid-sixties. For me, the clean sporty look and timeless design have always been the main reasons to be interested in diving watches as opposed to other models. These are likely the qualities that make this type of watch so popular amongst watch enthusiasts and collectors. Buying a dive watch gets you an all-in-one package with great versatility.
When one thinks of diving watches, they likely think of the Rolex Submariner and Omega Seamaster. Both of these are close to being perfect timepieces and each would make an excellent choice. In fact, these two watches were the most sought-after dive watches on Chrono24 in 2016, but there are also many other great divers out there that shouldn’t be forgotten.
Oris Aquis Diver
Last year, I received an Oris Aquis Date for review. Though I wasn’t enthusiastic at first, after wearing the watch for a few weeks I simply fell in love. Considering its affordability, the quality of this watch is impressive. Although clasps on less expensive watches are often a point of concern, Oris has done a great job creating a decent clasp on their rubber strap.
With a 43-mm stainless steel case and ceramic bezel, the Aquis Date isn’t too big for daily use. It’s powered by a Sellita-based automatic movement, giving you about 38 hours of power reserve when fully wound. Waterproof up to 300 meters, this watch can accompany you for any occasion.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms
Another classic diver to take into consideration is the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. Like the Rolex Submariner, it was first launched in the early 50s and is still available in a design reminiscent of the original. However, Blancpain have made the Fifty Fathoms available in more configurations over the years. I personally prefer divers to be as basic as they come – just a time display and diving bezel.
With its 45-mm stainless steel case, this watch might be a bit too much for some, but you also get an automatic in-house movement that comes with an impressive 120-hour power reserve. Again, this watch is waterproof up to 300 meters, which most of us will never need.
Doxa has been making affordable and functional diving watches since the early 60s. The look of their watches hasn’t changed much over the years and the case design is very recognizable. With its orange dial, which is used in many models, this watch stands out from the usual black or dark blue watch faces out there. A Doxa might be the perfect diver for you, if you fancy the vintage case shape, of course.
IWC Aquatimer Automatic
IWC‘s long history with diving watches lends the Aquatimer both high-quality engineering and a great individual design. The Aquatimer collection contains a large variety of complications, dials, movements, materials, and of course, depth-ratings. The simple Automatic Ref. 3290 is a perfect everyday piece and things only go up from there. When you have the watch on your wrist, you’ll instantly feel the quality of each part, especially the ingenious solution of the internal/external rotating bezel.
There are really too many great diving watches out there. Thankfully, one is easily found at any budget. While I hardly use my watch to check the time nowadays, I do actually use the diving bezel every now and again; they are great for timing things.