Into the Deep

Essential Luxury Diving Watches for the Intrepid Timepiece Collector.

Forged in the spirit of exploration and perfected across decades of innovation, the luxury diving watch is nothing short of a benchmark when it comes to matching elegance with technical mastery, and pairing precision with durability, sleekness, and beauty.

While the diving watch may have had its heyday in the 1960s – an era in which deep sea exploration was as manly a pursuit as was imaginable – this particular horological sub-genre commands as much admiration today as ever. Indeed, certain luxury diving watches are considered essential items for any gentleman’s timepiece collection, with many gaining something of a mythic status across the ages.

Imbued with the essence of adventure, and featuring pioneering complications and timeless design features, these are the five luxury diving watches that simply cannot be missed.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms GMT

As the world’s first haute-horlogerie brand, Blancpain has spearheaded innovations in timepiece production ever since its founding in Villeret, Switzerland in 1735. It should, therefore, come as no real surprise to find that it was Blancpain who first launched a diving watch in 1953, with the Fifty Fathoms GMT pioneering a design trend that continues to fascinate and inspire to this day.

Diving Watches

One of the joyful aspects of the Fifty Fathoms GMT is that, despite having gone through a number of iterations over the past sixty-seven years, the design features of even the latest releases have remained steadfastly true to a timeless original. The instantly recognisable oversized bezel, the red leak gauge, the flyback chronograph, and the vintage minimalism (all coupled with an irresistible essence of masculine derring-do) make this iconic timepiece an understated masterclass in diving watch perfection. If you are indeed in the market for this fine timepiece, we recommend seeing what the team at Watchmaster have in stock with a little help from Tripplo.

IWC Aquatimer

Since the launch of the first IWC Aquatimer in 1967, this luxury timepiece brand has consistently impressed with its diving watch releases. 2014 saw the introduction of the latest Aquatimer range, which hinted at a newfound playfulness within the realm of opulent sporting watches. The large rotating bezel, the coloured detail, the additional luminosity on the face, and the dynamic triple-dial complications made the Aquatimer a contemporary must-have timepiece for enthusiasts of this horology house, and proved that revamping the classics needn’t always amount to horological heresy.

IWC-Aquatimer-Ceratanium The Review

Amongst the reimagined dial features of the 2014 release are the lume details, which glow in a highly satisfying manner when in complete darkness, and a new sapphire crystal that protects the watch from both dust damage and water pressure up to three hundred metres. IWC were keen to produce something genuinely unique with this release, and as such, engineered an internal bezel which is controlled not by the crown, but via a separate external bezel. Patented by IWC in 2014, this mechanism is the first of its kind, adding to a slickness and simplicity that’s evident across all aspects of this watch.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor 

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor is a diving watch which promises the best of both worlds: a luxuriant appearance befitting of a high-end dress watch, as well as a mechanism certified to withstand three thousand feet of pressure. The verdict? It delivers in remarkable fashion.

This opulent watchmaking brand is renowned for its insistence on the most impeccable standards, and those standards shine through every facet of the Master Compressor. An appraisal of the exterior will reveal the highly polished lugs, the keenly detailed caseback, and the savvy choice of non-corrosive titanium in place of the more traditional stainless steel. Once one looks beneath the casing, its suitability for underwater exploration is made abundantly clear. The Master Compressor not only features an instant wheel chronograph (an in-house design feature, which operates perpetually without any additional wear on the movement), but also includes a chrono key which, when quarter-turned, compresses the chronograph completely, protecting it from the pressures of the deep sea.

Omega Seamaster 

With its matte grey ceramic bezel, 44mm steel casing, and combination of sporty looks and state-of-the-art movement technology, even the most demanding watch collector cannot help but be impressed by the wrist impact made by the Omega Seamaster.

Omega Seamaster

While it may not be able to boast the same levels of pressure resistance as many of the other timepieces on this rundown, the Omega Seamaster does consist of a truly remarkable movement in the shape of the Omega Calibre 3603, which introduces a dynamic GMT complication to the iconic in-house Calibre 3330. Thanks to a silicon balance spring and a co-axial escapement, the Seamaster movement provides world-beating resistance against magnetic interference, and a level of accuracy yet to be matched. Furthermore, the original Omega chronograph has been reimagined for use in underwater conditions, allowing for absolute reliability and versatility whether dining on deck or diving the reefs.

Rolex Sea-Dweller

Elegantly minimal yet utterly impactful, the Rolex Sea-Dweller is a remarkable work of horological engineering which has led to it becoming, in many senses, the quintessential diving watch for those serious about taking their timepiece beneath the waves. Built in 1967 to surpass the game-changing nature of its predecessor – the Rolex Submariner – the Sea-Dweller is capable of resisting water pressure at a depth of four thousand feet. This is thanks to both a doubly thick sapphire crystal and a unique helium valve, both of which were designed to solve the issue of decompression within the mechanism.

Rolex Sea Dweller The Review

Contemporary iterations of the Sea-Dweller have continued to improve upon the masterful original. The 2017 series introduced the peerless Rolex Calibre 3235 sports movement, which provides the reliability, robustness, and longevity upon which Rolex’s lofty reputation depends, as well as a sleek new ceramic bezel to provide a flawless and scratch-resistant finish. For Rolex collectors and completists, the Sea-Dweller may not have the celebrity status of the Submariner. However, there’s no escaping the fact that, as far as professional, functional, and eye-catching diving watches go, the Sea-Dweller ticks all the right boxes in truly peerless style.

Benjamin Mitrofan-Norris

As The Review’s Lifestyle Editor, Benjamin Norris takes the matter of his lifestyle both immensely seriously and perilously lightly, often in the same afternoon. A seasoned wine writer and specialist in perfumery, luxury hospitality, horology, gastronomy and more, he is an unwavering devotee to life’s finer things. Often found in Baltic capitals, Eastern European vineyards, dive bars and fine dining establishments alike, all while working as a copywriter for several of the world’s leading luxury brands, Norris brings a distinctive global swagger to luxury journalism.

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