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The 10 Best Dive Watch Brands You Don’t Know About

To someone who’s not all that interested in dive watches, many of them may look alike. But if you are into collecting dive watches, you’re always looking for another one to buy. In doing so, you have several options: you can go vintage, stick with the classics from established brands, or maybe even consider some of the many alternatives out there from start-up, re-launched, and boutique dive watch brands.

For those interested in the third option, we have put together a list of dive watches from lesser known brands (in alphabetical order) that we feel are worth checking out, covering a wide range of prices and specs.

Aegir Instruments
In 2007, Australian diver Todd Caldwell started to bring his vision of the perfect dive watch to life. The result is 42-mm in case diameter, water-resistant to 701 meters, and can be ordered with a rotating (CD-2) or fixed bezel (CD-1). A nice feature: the watch is powered by a Soprod A10 movement. Prices start at $1,600 http://www.aegirinstruments.com/

Aegir Instruments watch
Aegir Instruments

Aquadive
A legendary dive watch brand from the past returned in 2011, using the same case as the legendary “Bathyscaphe” model from the 1970s (but not its depth-meter functionality). There are 43-mm and 47-mm models available, both with up to 3,000 meters of water resistance, with different functions and movements, and there are even some new old stock (NOS) models available. Prices start at $990. http://www.aquadive.com/

Aquadive Bathyscaphe 300
Aquadive Bathyscaphe 300

Germano & Walter
For the last 10 years, Pietro Germano and Alexander Walter have been offering vintage-inspired watches in small numbers out of Germany. The current model T~500 is available with either an ETA 2892 or a NOS 2472, and the bezel can be locked with a second crown at 4 o’clock. Prices start at 3,700 euros. http://www.germano.de/

Germano Walter T-500
Germano Walter T-500

H2O/Helberg
These two German brands (introduced in 2011 and 2013) from Clemens Helberg offer endless possibilities for personalization, and the Orca model even allows the owner to swap the case after the configuration (remember the Aquatique from Japy?). Prices start at 500 euros and the watches’ maximum water resistance is an impressive 6,000 meters. http://www.h2o-watch.com/

Helberg CH1 SS1
Helberg CH1 SS1

Pita
In 2005, this Spanish AHCI member presented a rather unusual dive watch powered by a base caliber from ETA: The up-to-5,000 meter water-resistant Oceana doesn’t need a crown, since it is operated via its caseback. Prices start at 4,575 euros. http://www.pita.es/

Pita Oceana DLC
Pita Oceana DLC

Suissemecanica
In 2011, this freshly launched Swiss watch brand started with the SM8 collection. All its dive watches are water-resistant to 200 meters and feature an internal bezel that can be operated after the slider is moved up or down. Movements for the single-pusher chrono, GMT, and three-hand models come from Concepto. Prices start at 11,9000 euros. http://www.suissemecanica.ch/

Suisse Mecanica SM8 Dive Watch
Suissemecanica SM8

Squale
Since 2010, the legendary Italian dive watch brand has returned to its former glory and offers not only some of its traditional models (based on ETA movements), but is slowly expanding the collection with more complicated editions and specialties (e.g. using NOS parts). Prices start at 600 euros. http://www.squale.ch/

Squale 500
Squale 500

Tempus Computare
Launched in 2010, the Swiss brand tries to combine a rather unusual 47-mm chronograph model with a strong commitment to the protection of the ocean (as well as discovering new places to apply luminescent material). This resulted in a watch made for the Sea Shepherd organization. Both the Shark Watcher and Sea Shepherd models are based on a Valjoux 7750. Prices start at about 7,000 euros. http://www.tempvscompvtare.ch/

Tempus Computare Shark Watcher
Tempus Computare Shark Watcher

UTS München
Since 1999, this German company has offered some substantial dive watches with the brand’s signature lug design. Some models are equipped with bezel locking mechanisms and some are water resistant to 4,000 meters. Prices start at 2,500 euros. http://www.uts-muenchen.de/ For WatchTime’s profile of the brand and its founder, click here.

UTS 4000M Professional Diver
UTS 4000M Professional Diver

Vintage VDB
As its name indicates, this brand, also from Germany, specializes in vintage-inspired dive watches that are also powered by vintage movements. Recently, the team behind VDB started to offer annual editions to meet the growing demand and considers a run of 80 watches a complete series. Prices start at 1,190 euros. http://www.vintage-vdb.com/

Vintage VDB Series watch

As with every list, chances are that your own favorite “alternative” dive watch brand is not on it. So please use the comments section to let us know which lesser-known brand ticks all of your boxes.

This article was originally published in 2014 and has been updated.

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22 Responses to “The 10 Best Dive Watch Brands You Don’t Know About”
  1. Scott S.

    Hi Roger–good list. Have you come across any dive watches that also have a GMT function? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Stephen Brown

      Hi Scott, UTS 4000 Professional Divers have Dual Timezone (GMT) or single timezone versions.

      Reply
  2. I’m amazed most of the watches you list immediately fail ISO for divers’ watches, let alone be ISO’d.

    Reply
  3. Resco, made in Coronado, Ca. Surprised they’re never on these lists.

    Reply
  4. Ummm….. I would actually like to see a complete long list of all dive watches, that are of good manufacture. It would make my shopping sooooo much easier.

    Reply
  5. Richie Half

    Hi
    In 2005 Swiss Military broke all the rules and launched it’s limited edition Cx12000.It put the eta 7750 Valjoux chronometer movement inside. It was then super engineered to break the record for deep diving. It did just that and gained entry to the Guiness World Record Book for the deepest diving watch which also amazingly enough included a Cosc chronograph function. It’s 365 pieces immediately sold out and today this watch is virtually impossible to find. It’s a beast weighing in at 360 Grams and the build quality is astonishing. A true legendary achievement.
    Thx
    Richie

    Reply
  6. manorborn

    Noticed Dino Zei is not mentioned. Perhaps not that unknown?

    Reply
  7. Harry Jordan

    Roger,
    I know there are lots of niche dive watch companies, too many to list. What do you think of SAS? I got one of their first and love it. Graeme is very customer focused and has extended the line well. I find them distinctive, well made, and a good value.
    Best,
    H

    Reply
    • Hi Harry,
      I did have the chance to shortly meet Graeme two or three years ago during Baselworld and saw the No. 1 of his first watch model in person. I especially like the bezel and am looking forward to see where he’s taking the brand next.
      And you are of course right: as soon as you attempt doing a list, you start to wonder why the other 90 names are not on it. :-)
      Thanks for your remark!
      Best regards
      Roger

      Reply
  8. Anthony

    Azimuth Sea-Hum GMT 1500mts should surely see a place in this review, very understated watch!
    Long time reader, keep up the great work.

    Reply
    • Murat, you are of course right, but a List of 122 great Dive Watch Brands would probably have been a bit excessive… :-) In case of Sinn we (couldn’t agree more btw) simply thought that the Brand has had a high profile for quite some time and did not need further introduction.

      Reply
  9. Thank you for a great list.

    Any thoughts on Sea-God? The design looks stylish.

    Reply
  10. tony duroni

    Nice to see VDB on the list. I own a couple. Benarus/Raven watches has quite a cult following also

    Reply
  11. Your right Roger, most have never heard about the Aegir brand, though I am hoping to change that a little though 2015. New model released in the first quarter, and another added later in the year.
    Planning on a higher spec movement model also. But most of all, planning to retail it, in a few small select boutiques, then actually advertise.
    Glad you like it enough to add it to your list.

    Regards,

    Todd Caldwell
    Aegir Watches

    Reply
  12. Rafael Fernandez

    Dear Roger, great article and excellent list of top quality watches with names not very often familiar to us. I would only add to your list the Davosa Argonaut watch which was voted recently in Germany as the best diver watch under 1,000 euros.

    Regards from Caracas.

    Reply
    • Hi Rafael, thanks a lot for the feedback. The main reason why I did not include the Argonaut is that it is a third-party modell that is/was also available from Guinand (G-330), Mercure (Poseidon) or Brandtaucher (Navigator) for example. Nothing wrong with that, but by putting together a list of only ten, you do start to look for reasons for not to include brand x… :-) otherwise I’d still be working on the list of “163 great dive watch brands” :-) Best regards from Switzerland

      Reply
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