As we approach the end of 2018 and prepare for 2019 — surely destined to be another interesting year in the world of watches — we take a look back at some of the most noteworthy timepieces that came out this year, in various popular categories. Today, we look at some of 2018’s significant dive watch releases.
Bell & Ross‘s BR 03-92 Diver, introduced in 2017, expanded into an entire collection in 2018, adding the BR 03-92 Diver Blue, with a satin-polished steel case, blue dial, blue rubber strap and blue aluminum bezel insert, as well as the BR 03-92 Diver Bronze, a limited edition with a black dial, bronze case and bezel, and aged leather strap. To develop the watch, Bell & Ross consulted both watchmakers and experienced divers with the goal of developing a professional-grade instrument that would meet the strict ISO 6425 international diving-watch standards. Its squared ergonomic case, measuring 42 mm in diameter, is water-resistant to 300 meters. It is equipped with a 60-minute unidirectional bezel with a luminescent dot at 12 o’clock for orientation. Inside the case is an inner cage made of soft iron, which protects the movement — the automatic BR-Cal.302, based on the Sellita SW 300.1 — from the effects of magnetic fields. For more on the watch, click here.
Blancpain marked this year’s World Oceans Day with the third in its series of Ocean Commitment limited editions, part of whose proceeds goes to funding projects that preserve and protect the world’s oceans. The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Ocean Commitment III hearkens back in its design to 2017’s Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC model, with a 40-mm-diameter case size and a basic three-hand-date movement, Caliber 1151. The case of the watch, water-resistant to an impressive 300 meters as one would expect from this series, is in satin-brushed stainless steel, with a unidirectional rotating bezel whose dive-scale-printed insert is made of scratch-resistant, ocean blue sapphire. A date window sits at 4:30, while the Blancpain Ocean Commitment logo has been placed at 6 o’clock, replacing the circular water-tightness indicator that appears on the MIL-SPEC model. The in-house, self-winding movement, Blancpain’s Caliber 1151, is notable for its lengthy four-day power reserve, stored in two series-coupled mainspring barrels. For more details, click here.
Longines has released a host of historically inspired pieces from its Heritage Collection over the past few years, but one of the most recent models has a decidedly modern twist: a black-PVD-coated version of the popular Legend Diver. The watch is a contemporary version of a dive watch that Longines first produced in 1960. In this execution, however, the 42-mm stainless steel case, which faithfully reproduces the silhouette of the original, is coated with a black PVD coating for a sleek, contemporary look. The watch has two crowns — one for winding the watch, the other for operating the internal rotating divers’ bezel, a feature that evokes the technical limitations of the original’s era. Under the engraved caseback is Longines’s automatic Caliber L888.2 (a modified ETA A31.L01), with a 64-hour power reserve, a substantial upgrade over its historical predecessor. For more info and photos, click here.
The Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300M, launched in 1993, “signaled Omega’s return to the world of diving watches,” according to the brand, and became the model that sparked Omega’s ongoing partnership with cinematic superspy James Bond. That first Seamaster Diver 300M introduced a robust, blue-gray, corrosion-resistant metal called tantalum to the world of watches — a material still used only sparingly throughout the horological world due to its density and high melting point. Among its new Seamaster models this year, Omega introduced a limited-edition Seamaster Diver 300M that blends tantalum with both titanium and Omega’s proprietary Sedna gold. The watch has a 42-mm titanium case with a rotating bezel combining a tantalum base and a Sedna gold ring; a polished ceramic dial with a new laser-engraved wave motif; the same wave motif on the edge of the caseback and sapphire crystal of the exhibition caseback; a new, patented conical helium-release valve; and an integrated bracelet with tantalum links. The Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300M (more details here on the watch, as well as on the other new anniversary Seamaster models) is limited to 2,500 pieces.
Back in 2016, Oris released the Carl Brashear Limited Edition as a bronze addition to its popular, vintage-inspired Diver Sixty-Five line. This year, the Holstein-based brand introduced a new edition equipped with a chronograph. Oris originally chose to use bronze in the case, crown, pushers, and bezel as a way to call back to the vintage dive helmets that the watch’s namesake and inspiration — Carl Brashear, the first African-American to become a certified U.S. Navy Diver — would have used at the time. Inside the 43-mm, 100-meter water-resistant bronze case, is the Oris Caliber 771, a modified Sellita SW 510 with a two-counter chronograph and a 48-hour power reserve — a caliber used here for the first time by Oris. For more detail, click here.
Fans of Rolex‘s extreme-depth divers’ watch, the Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Sea-Dweller, were treated to a revamped model with new lugs and bracelet and a new “Superlative Chronometer” movement. For the 2018 version, Rolex redesigned the lugs of the 44-mm Oystersteel case for greater comfort and better integration with the new, wider bracelet, while retaining many of its predecessor’s attributes. Among these are the patented Ringlock case construction that enables its exceptional 3,900-meter water resistance, which combines a 5.5-mm-thick sapphire crystal, a nitrogen-alloyed stainless steel ring positioned in the case middle, and a steel and grade-5 titanium caseback; the screw-down Triplock winding crown; and a helium-release valve of the type that Rolex introduced (and patented) for its first Sea-Dweller watch in 1967. Rolex’s manufacture Caliber 3235 is used here for the first time in a Deepsea watch. Like all of the company’s in-house movements since 2015, this self-winding movement incorporates the patented Chronergy Escapement, made of magnetism-resistant nickel phosphorus that renders the movement both highly energy efficient and extremely durable. Click here for more on the new Deepsea.
The new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Carbon draws the eye with its 41-mm-diameter, black PVD-coated titanium case and imitation carbon-printed dials, which are highlighted with hints of blue, yellow, or rose gold depending on the model. The carbon material used for the watch’s unidirectional divers’ bezel is created by a random injection of carbon fibers into a resin pressed at high temperatures to achieve the black-and-gray marbled motif that differs slightly on each finished component, essentially making each watch in this collection a unique piece. The combination of case materials makes the timepieces as durable and scratch-resistant as they are lightweight, in addition to being water-resistant to 300 meters. The watches are equipped with TAG Heuer’s automatic Caliber 5, based on the ETA 2824-2 and possessing a 42-hour power reserve, and mounted on black nylon straps with contrast topstitching that matches the colored highlights of each model’s dial. More info and photos can be found here.
The limited-edition Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive features a Hammerhead shark design motif throughout its dial and case — the latter of which boasts an extreme water resistance of 1,000 meters. The 46-mm angular-shaped case is made of titanium. In addition to its rotating, 12-notched unidirectional bezel, also made of titanium and covered on much of its top surface with wave-patterned blue rubber, the case offers several new features useful for professional divers. These include a removable crown protector at 2 o’clock and an automatic, screw-on helium release valve at 9 o’clock for prolonged deep dives or saturation dives inside a diving bell. There are, in total, 15 tiny silhouetted sharks swimming across the marine-blue expanse of the dial, a bright red one etched into the side of crown guard, and another one stamped in straight-on view on the screwed caseback, Click here for more details.
The Zodiac Sea Wolf was one of the very first modern dive watches, debuting in the same year, 1953, as its more famous contemporaries, the Rolex Submariner and Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. The “Super” version, with a higher water resistance than the original, launched in 1968, which of course means that 2018 marked the model’s half-century. The dial is dark gray with a sunburst finish and details — such as the outlines of the luminous indices and minute hand and the frame around the date window — in Zodiac’s signature “blaze orange” color. The caseback features an image of the “Sea Wolf Dude,” a cartoon character used in advertisements for the model’s original launch in 1968. The 45-mm, cushion-shaped, steel case is water resistant to 1,000 meters and equipped with a cleverly designed, lockable rotating bezel with a graduated steel insert to set dive times. The movement inside is a self-winding, Swiss Made, chronometer-certified STP 3-13 caliber, made by Fossil (the Zodiac brand’s current owner) in Switzerland. More information can be found here.