There is, perhaps, one exception. In the 1950s, you could buy a piece of diving equipment to be worn on the wrist that was, in fact, advertised as a “Waterproof Watch Case.”
With an inner diameter of 45 mm, the chromed brass case was large enough to accommodate a dress watch, with the idea being that any watch inside the case could then act as a timing device under water as well. Equipped with a 5-mm-thick “shatterproof lens” (or, in other words, a flat Plexiglas crystal), the case retailed for $7.95 (which was about one tenth the price of a basic dive watch at the time).
The increasing size of wristwatches, and most of all the growing popularity of the dedicated dive watch, eventually rendered the invention obsolete — though it was marketed for a while afterward as a solution for storing coins, car keys, et cetera.
And we at diveintowatches.com are quite thankful for that, considering all the great dive watches that have been developed since then — even though this means we still can’t use our Patek Philippe Calatravas for diving…
This article was originally published on August 20, 2014, and has been updated.