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.
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.
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.
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.
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.