By almost any standard, the luxury watch world enjoyed a successful year in 2021 despite the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and its worldwide economic consequences — with high-profile retailers reopening and expanding, new auction records set, some large-scale industry events (like our own WatchTime New York) returning, and of course, a host of notable timepieces launched. As we wrap up 2021 and look ahead enthusiastically to 2022, we take our annual look back at some of the year’s notable timepieces in various popular categories. Today we showcase dive watches.
The so-called “BUND No-Rad” model that Blancpain made for German Navy divers in the 1960s provides the inspiration for this year’s Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No-Rad Limited Edition. Housed in a 40.3-mm-diameter polished steel case, the watch replicates many of its vintage forebear’s recognizable elements — chief among them the colorful disk above 6 o’clock, whose red segments on a yellow background was designed as visual shorthand to assure the watch’s military users that the timepiece was free of the potentially dangerous radium that had been previously used for luminous elements on its predecessors. Other historically inspired details include the geometrical hour markers, the white frame around the date marker, and the beige-colored Super-LumiNova on the hands and markers. Distinctly modern are the sapphire insert in the dive-scale bezel and the movement, Blancpain’s manufacture Caliber 1151. More details can be found here.
Glashütte Original’s Spezialist SeaQ, released this year with an outdoorsy “Reed Green” dial and bezel, takes its inspiration from the Spezimatic Type RP TS 200, a watch developed for sports divers and released in 1969. Its polished and satin-brushed stainless-steel case measures 39.5 mm in diameter and 12.15 mm thick. The case’s 200-meter water resistance and its unidirectional rotating bezel, with a rich green, scratch-resistant ceramic inlay matching the dial, are among the factors that ensure the SeaQ meets international standards for diving watches. Behind its solid engraved caseback ticks Glashütte Original’s in-house, automatic Caliber 39-11, with a 40-hour power reserve, a 28,800-vph frequency, and a stop-seconds function. More details and options here.
For its latest version in 2021, Oris updated the cleverly designed Aquis Depth Gauge model in three key areas that improve both its performance in the water and its versatility on the wrist. The first is an upgrade in the patented process that allows water to enter into a tiny milled hole in the crystal in order to create a more accurate watermark on the depth gauge itself. The second is a resetting of the meters-to-feet conversion chart on the caseback to make it easier for a diver to use it. The third is the addition of Oris’s patented Quick Strap Change system, which allows wearers to easily switch between bracelet and strap. retained from previous models is the 45.8-mm stainless steel case with 500 meters of water resistance and the Sellita-based, automatic Caliber 733 inside. Click here to learn more.
Panerai’s relationship with professional adventurer and explorer Mike Horn spans nearly two decades and encompasses several special-edition watches, the latest dropping this past autumn. The Submersible Chrono Flyback Mike Horn Edition uses lightweight yet highly resistant brushed titanium for its 47-mm case, which incorporates a unidirectional rotating dive-scale bezel made of matte-black ceramic and features Panerai’s patented bridge device to secure the screw-locked crown. The dark blue dial, with its luminous applied hour markers, contrasts splendidly with the bright yellow and white central chronograph hands. (The color combo, avid Paneristi may recall, is reminiscent of a previous Mike Horn model, 2016’s Luminor Submersible 1950 Pole 2 Pole Limited Edition.) Panerai’s in-house Caliber P.9100 beats behind the solid, screwed titanium caseback engraved with Horn’s signature, amassing a 72-hour power reserve in two series-connected spring barrels. Find out more about the watch here.
The Seiko Prospex Seigaiha Edition hails from Seiko’s popular Prospex line of dive watches. The watch takes its name from a style of 6th-century Japanese art called Seigaiha, used prominently in art, fabrics, ceramics, and lacquerware and defined by a layering of concentric circles to create arched waves that symbolize surges of good luck, peace, and good fortune, as well as power and resilience. Fairly large on the wrist at 44.3 mm in diameter by 15.4 mm thick and water-resistant to 300 meters, the steel case uses a black, hard coating to darken its surfaces and features a deeply toothed unidirectional ceramic bezel and distinctive 4 o’clock crown. Powering the Seigaha is the 26-jewel automatic Caliber 8L35, which beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph and maintains a 50-hour power reserve. More details and other versions can be found here.
The most recent version of the Tissot Seastar 2000 Professional features an integrated helium release valve at 9 o’clock, a unidirectional dive-scale bezel with an engraved ceramic insert, and its most visually striking element, a turquoise-blue gradient dial with a nautically inspired wave pattern. The watch’s 46-mm stainless steel case is water-resistant to an impressive 600 meters and is fairly hefty on the wrist at 16.25 meters thicvk to accommodate the large screw-down crown and its guards. The date is displayed in a metallic framed window at 6 o’clock. The movement inside the Powermatic 80, which is based on the standard ETA 2824 but offers an increased power reserve of 80 hours thanks mainly to a reduced operating frequency from 28,800 to 21,600 vph. Read our hands-on review of the Tissot Seastar 2000 Professional here.
Tudor’s Black Bay Ceramic is not only the Rolex-owned brand’s first watch in an all-matte-black ceramic case, but also the first whose movement has been certified by the independent Swiss Institute of Metrology (METAS) as a Master Chronometer — a designation up until now used exclusively by Rolex arch-competitor Omega. Its 41-mm monobloc case is made of micro-blasted black ceramic. Its unidirectional bezel in matching black PVD-treated steel has an engraved dive scale on a ceramic insert, and its black PVD screw-down crown with the Tudor rose emblem helps ensure a water resistance of 200 meters. The monochromatic look continues on the black, domed dial with geometric markers and “snowflake” hands, both hallmarks of the Black Bay series. The movement inside, Caliber MT5602-1U, echoes the all-black theme, with its black tungsten rotor graced with satin-brushed and sand-blasted details, and its bridges and mainplate entirely finished in black. Read our full report on the watch and its movement for more info.