Depths of Complexity: 5 Ultra-Complicated Dive Watches

If your plan was to spend less money this year on watches, you might want to skip this article. Most mechanical dive watches are priced under $10,000 (even though the iconic Rolex Deepsea, Sea-Dweller, and Submariner watches, as well as many Blancpain Fifty Fathoms models, might go for a bit more nowadays), but there are several types of fascinating dive watches that go way beyond that.

Most of these are ultra-complicated watches, for collectors who either have the financial means to pay someone to go diving for them, or — on a more serious note — those who simply do not want to go for a swim while wearing a perpetual calendar from Patek or Lange (which is as understandable as it is recommended). Others are simply aimed at enthusiasts who appreciate high-end, robust watches (with more than a date for a complication) with the looks of a classical diver. Here are five that made my list.

IWC Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month (IW3794): This boutique-only perpetual calendar features a rubber-coated titanium case and a rose-gold bezel; it is not only the most complicated IWC Aquatimer, but also the largest IWC watch ever made, with a diameter of 49 mm.

IWC Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital

Richard Mille RM 032: This flyback chronograph offers a big date and power-reserve display and a locking crown that locks and unlocks the chrono pushers. The case is made of titanium and measures 50 mm in diameter.

Richard Mille RM032


Breguet Marine Royale (5847BR/Z2/5ZV): This alarmingly beautiful 45-mm watch comes in (among other materials) an 18k gold case and is water-resistant to 300 meters. The crown at 4 o’clock sets the mechanical alarm, and there’s also a power-reserve indicator and a bezel-locking mechanism. And if you don’t like the rubber strap, you can order it on a gold bracelet as well.

Breguet Marine Royale

Blancpain X Fathoms (5018-1230-64A): When it comes to complicated dive watches, Blancpain offers you by far the most professional option with this large, 55-mm mechanical watch that could actually compete with a dive computer. The X Fathoms combines depth measurement (up to 90 meters) with maximum-depth-reached memory, a separate indication on the 0-15-meter scale with an exceptional +/- 30 cm precision, and a retrograde five-minute counter for decompression stops. Oh, and it tells time, too.

Blancpain X-Fathoms

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Pro Geographic Navy SEALs (1852470): For all those dangerous missions far away, the Diving Pro Geographic is fitted with a mechanical depth gauge and allows you to select a city simply by rotating the crown to display its time on a large disk at 9 o’clock. The 46-mm-diameter case is made of 18k rose gold and water-resistant to 300 meters.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Diving Geographic



6 Responses to “Depths of Complexity: 5 Ultra-Complicated Dive Watches”

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  1. Great choices Roger and a nice article focus. Most of us would pick a favourite out of the 5 but which one would the wealthy and also passionate diver choose for his (or her) aquatic adventures?

    obvious logic based -/- comment:
    1. IWC – don’t need to know when we’re due for a leap year.
    2. Richard Mille – It’s so much fun to figure out where the markers are…but not when we’re checking for oxygen time.
    3. Breguet – Just beautiful but a diver needs to read real numbers at a glance.
    4. Blancpain – it’s not gold.
    5. JLC – crossing a time zone underwater isn’t impossible but unlikely use for GMT.

    obvious logic based +/+ comments:
    1. IWC – Easy to read dial at a glance.
    2. Richard Mille – It’s so fun looking.
    3. Breguet – it has an alarm.
    4. Blancpain – highly legible and practical with colour indicator for function. A child can dive with this.
    5. JLC – very legible and depth gauge.

    The winning watch for a well heeled (or finned) diver imo is 4. Blancpain.
    It’s simplicity is deceiving and the colours are both captivating and practical.

  2. MrTissot

    I agree these models will definitely have a very limited market niche!
    It doesn\’t mean they will hold value though. In all honesty I\’m not too sure a true diver would wear one of these under water. The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean and Rolex Submariner are a much better option for diving and you\’ll be able to pocket the change!

  3. Maya Patel

    Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Automatic Navy SEALs Watch are a perfect timepiece! I think that you will agree the high contrast dial looks highly legible and the hands stick out nicely. And especially on this watch, there are no subdials or other functions to take away from pure ease of use. Plus, special care was taken to make sure the lume was highly viewable in the dark and underwater. So in all, it succeeds in its intended purposes.

  4. Bert Kanne

    Definitely unique high end watches with idiosyncrasies that will help ensure their limited market niche!

  5. Debashish

    All 5 are very fine timepieces, but I think, IWC, Breguet and JLC watches are simply awesome!

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