Admittedly, I do not dive. In fact – and this has been a secret until now – it took me a lot of effort to even get my swimming diploma when I was a young boy. For my parents, this must have been hell; I hated water and didn’t want to be near it. Things have changed a bit, however. Although I am still not much of a swimmer, I do like to take a plunge in the pool when I am on holiday. And being a watch enthusiast, and a very modest collector, I like to have the right watch on my wrist when I do. Perhaps I’m a bit predictable, but that is most often either a Rolex Sea-Dweller 16600 or an Omega Seamaster Professional.
Today, I take a look at the divers’ watches I would consider buying these days if I needed one. (The word “needed” is relative, of course, since, as I’ve said, I am a lousy diver.) At my blog, Fratellowatches.com, a lot of diving watches pass through, either for review or discussion when a new model debuts. If the number of divers’ watches on the market represented the number of actual divers in the world, it would be very crowded in the water, that’s for sure. Just so we are clear, my choices are based on far different criteria than a professional diver would apply. To me, anything water-resistant to 300 meters or more qualifies.
1.Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT GoodPlanet
Even though James Bond is a fictitious character (hard to believe, I know), he is probably one hell of a diver. And he probably wears an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean simply because it is a true divers’ watch. To me, other factors make the Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT a perfect choice for the holidays. It’s a solid watch with no fear of water and with a practical, useful GMT hand — for those of us who have to travel to other time zones to find comfortably warm sea or ocean water. The water-resistance of 600 meters will easily fit the bill for diving, although you’re more likely to find me wearing one at the bar. On Fratellowatches,.com we did a write-up on this particular GoodPlanet here.
2. Rolex Sea-Dweller
No, I am not talking about the newer DeepSea but the previous Sea-Dweller model that Rolex has made for decades. The Sea-Dweller Reference 16600 is my preferred model, and the one I have owned for more than 10 years now. Although it doesn’t have the fancy clasp, glide-lock bracelet system and whatnot, it represents the ultimate diving watch for me, personally. The Sea-Dweller Reference 16600 is a simple and cleanly designed watch with the charisma of the older “plexi-crystal” models. And while this watch is not as comfortable to wear as a basic Submariner or GMT-Master (due to its thickness), this Sea-Dweller model with a water-resistance of 1,220 meters (4,000 feet) is up to the task of deep diving. Since it is out of production, I wrote an article some time ago urging people to grab one while they can (here). The picture is courtesy of HQMilton.com.
3. Longines Legend Diver
Who said a nice mechanical diving watch needs to be expensive? I simply love this elegantly designed Longines Legend Diver, not only because of its reasonable price, but also because it is similar to one of Longines’s historical diving watches from the 1960s. The super-compressor case, two crowns, and black dial and strap really make it look like it is a vintage watch, even though it is, in fact, a modern watch that can be taken in the water at any time. To be honest, I preferred the model without a date, but Longines ceased production of that particular reference. An in-depth review on this watch can be found here.
4. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Ref.15703
I am no particular fan of the Offshore collection from Audemars Piguet. I am much in favor of AP’s more toned-down Royal Oak models like the Extra-Thin (or “Jumbo”) models as well as some Royal Oak chronographs, preferably in 39-mm cases instead of the more recent 41-mm models. The Royal Oak Offshore models are highly in demand though, so I may be in the minority. One of the Royal Oak Offshore models I could see myself wearing, however, is this Diver watch. Audemars Piguet made a few special divers’ editions in the past (the Scuba and a special edition for Wempe’s 125th anniversary), and a few years ago introduced a similar model into its regular Royal Oak Offshore collection. The Offshore Diver (Reference 15703) is an impressive watch with lots of rubber. Besides the strap, the traditional octagonal bezel and the two crowns (one for winding, one for operating the inner diving bezel) have a clearly visible rubber seal. The caseback does not show the movement of this watch, but I had a Royal Oak in my personal collection with the same movement, and a transparent caseback, so I can tell from my own experience that it is a wonderfully finished movement. A hands-on review on this watch can be found here. To be completely honest, I wouldn’t take this watch near the water, even though it’s obviously suited to be worn there. Again, you could find me at the bar wearing this one.
5. Omega Seamaster PloProf 1200M
Another Omega? Well, yes. I actually love the vintage PloProf from the early 1970s, the one that Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli was wearing so stylishly over his cuffs. But, to be honest, I wouldn’t dare to take a vintage piece into the water. So, a few years ago, I got my hands on Omega’s re-edition of the PloProf and reviewed it for Fratellowatches (here). It is a hyper-modern watch but clearly the offspring of that first PloProf 600M model. I like the fact that Omega used its new in-house Caliber 8500 in this model, and that it used a metal (rather than plastic) button to turn the bezel. One of the things that clearly had changed was the construction of the case and crown. Perhaps for the better, but I love the old monocoque (one-piece) case. I do not believe it is a best-seller from the Omega collection (probably due to the large size and outspoken design), but I wouldn’t mind wearing this one during the holidays near (or even in) the pool.
What do you think? What are your own favorite divers’ watches? Let us know in the comments box below.
This article was originally published in 2013 and has been updated.