Splash! A Plunge Into the Colorful World of Watersports Watches

Take the plunge with us into the colorful world of water sports in our latest dip into the WatchTime Archives! Here you can find professional instruments with appealing technologies, styles, and prices.

In this article, we present divers’ watches without complex additional functions (e.g., chronographs) because the watches listed here are designed to focus your undivided attention on the time of day and the dive time. Screwed crowns and unidirectional rotatable divers’ bezels are standard equipment on dive watches and, therefore, are not specifically mentioned in the following descriptions.

IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000

IWC Schaffhausen recently added bright yellow accents to its professional divers’ watch. Its other features are the same as those on the standard model with conventionally colored luminous material: water tightness to 2,000 meters, 46-mm titanium case, rubber strap with an extension piece, manufacture Caliber 80110, and special dive-time system. The dive time is preset by turning the bezel counter-clockwise, which causes the inner scale to come along for the ride; but when the bezel is rotated clockwise, the inner dive-time ring remains motionless. With so much built-in security, no reservations remain – except perhaps the price of $9,500.

Sinn U2 S

Boasting a case made of specially hardened submarine steel with a hard coating, this ticking jack-of-all-trades from Frankfurt am Main resists corrosion by saltwater and stays watertight to 2,000 meters. But that’s not all: Sinn’s own stay-dry technology relies on a sulfate capsule to effectively capture any moisture that might penetrate into the case as the years go by. Furthermore, tests conducted inside a climatic exposure cabinet guarantee that this 44-mm wristwatch functions perfectly at temperatures ranging from -49 to +176 degrees Fahrenheit. The bracelet and case are equally well protected against scratches; the former culminates in a folding clasp with a divers’-extension mechanism. Along with the time of day or night and the date, ETA’s self-winding Caliber 2893 also shows the time in a second time zone. Considering all you get for your money, $3,230 isn’t a bad price to pay.

Seiko Prospex Automatic Diver

This Japanese manufacturer’s Prospex line includes higher-priced dive watches as well as excellent entry-level models. The classic among them is designated as reference SRP777K1. It measures 45 mm in diameter, stays watertight to 200 meters (thanks to a hardened mineral glass rather than a sapphire crystal) and costs only $495. Like every Seiko watch, it’s equipped with one of the brand’s own calibers. In this case (no pun intended), the movement is self-winding Caliber 4R36. The highly elastic, corrugated, urethane strap stretches to slip over the sleeve of a diving suit. Lumibrite luminous material, a Seiko development, glows with uncommon brightness.

Longines HydroConquest

A solidly built Swiss divers’ watch with ETA’s bestselling Caliber 2892, a steel bracelet, a divers’ extension in the bracelet, and a price tag of just $1,000: that’s what we call a favorable price-performance ratio. But those who opt for this 41-mm stainless-steel watch will have to make do with an aluminum bezel. The case stays watertight to 300 meters, which is 50 percent deeper than the required 200 meters, but it’s not in the extreme class of pressure resistance offered by some Breitling, IWC, Rolex or Sinn models.

Rolex Sea-Dweller and Rolex Deepsea

Manufacturers of professional divers’ watches essentially measure their products against these two Rolex models. While the case of its “little sister” (the Submariner) is 12.5-mm slim and can pass as a sporty and elegant dress watch, the approximately 15-mm-thick Sea-Dweller (shown above in the 2017 version) and the whopping 17.7-mm-thick Deepsea are genuine professional instruments. The Sea-Dweller stays watertight to 1,220 meters while the Deepsea keeps its feet dry all the way down to 3,900 meters. Outstanding features of these 43-mm and 44-mm models include Rolex’s special stainless-steel alloy (which is uncommonly resistant to corrosion by seawater), scratch-resistant bezels made from a ceramic developed by Rolex, an automatic manufacture caliber with chronometer certification, helium valves, and folding clasps with intelligently conceived divers’ extensions. The many technical advantages help justify the price: $11,350 for the Sea-Dweller and $12,050 for the Deepsea.

Oris Aquis Depth Gauge

Like the ordinary Aquis, this 46-mm special instrument is robustly constructed, watertight to 500 meters, and scratch resistant on its front side, thanks to a ceramic bezel. But this model also provides a unique technical highlight: no other brand offers a watch with a depth gauge quite like this one. When this watch submerges for a dive, water penetrates into a ring-shaped channel along the rim of the sapphire crystal and compresses the air inside the channel. The diving depth can be read on the dial’s periphery at the point where the dark water meets the bright air. Powered by Sellita’s automatic Caliber SW 200, this stainless-steel watch with a rubber strap and additional steel bracelet is delivered inside a watertight carrying case. Each wristband has its own folding clasp with integrated divers’ extension. For this power package with a unique depth gauge, $3,500 isn’t too high a price to pay.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver

Audemars Piguet ventures into colorful spheres with last year’s update to the Royal Oak Offshore collection. The most eye-catching versions of this 42-mm-diameter, 300-meter-watertight stainless-steel watch come in bright green, yellow or orange; white and blue versions are also available. Technical strong points in manufacture Caliber 3120 include a longer-than-average 60-hour power reserve, a soft iron inner case to protect against magnetic fields, and an inner rotatable ring that can be turned in both directions via an additional screwed crown. A shortcoming for divers: the rubber wristband has no extension mechanism. A shortcoming for the frugal: the price of this version is $19,900.

Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver

Last year, Bell & Ross introduced its first dive watch in the square case shape for which the brand has become renowned: the new BR 03-92 Diver. Its squared ergonomic case, made of satin-polished steel and measuring 42 mm in diameter, is water-resistant to 300 meters and houses the automatic BR-Cal.302, based on the Sellita SW 300. Price is $3,700.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms

Fifty Fathoms are equal to 300 feet or nearly 100 meters – the depth to which the original Fifty Fathoms from 1953 remained watertight. The contemporary version of this iconic divers’ watch is watertight to 300 meters and comes with a sapphire crystal that curves above the rotatable bezel. Caliber 1315 amasses a five-day power reserve and is protected against magnetism by a soft iron inner case. The stainless-steel case is 45 mm in diameter. The canvas wristband is water resistant, but its wearer has to make do without an extension mechanism. Divers who appreciate luxury must part with $14,500 to own this watch.

Certina DS Action Diver Automatic

Certina’s entry-level divers’ watch is attractively priced and equally attractively designed. The 43.2-mm-diameter stainless-steel case comes in black or blue; a version with a gray titanium case is also available. Although the steel versions offer a sapphire crystal and a metal bracelet with built-in divers’ extension, they cost just $895. A useful feature: not only is the zero point luminous, so are all the other indexes on the bezel. The water tightness up to 200 meters satisfies the standard specified for divers’ watches.

Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman Titanium

Hamilton’s new dive watch is available with dials and bezels in various colors. Notwithstanding its burly 46-mm size, the titanium version is comfortable to wear. From a technical point of view, this model offers lightweight and sturdy titanium in tandem with a special safety mechanism for the crown, a helium valve, and a further evolved descendant of ETA’s Caliber 2824 known as the “H-10.” If left unmoved after it has been fully wound, this new caliber will continue to run for 80 hours rather than the previous span of just 38 hours. The water tightness is quite deep (1,000 meters), but the individually designed rubber strap lacks an extension mechanism. This well-equipped watch retails for the surprisingly low price of $1,445.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Master Chronometer

Omega’s Seamaster family offers divers’ watches in a wide range of designs and in an equally wide range of prices. All of these time-pieces boast professional features and Omega’s own self-winding movements with chronometer-accurate coaxial escapement. A good cost-benefit ratio is provided by the 43.5-mm Seamaster Planet Ocean Master Chronometer: in return for its price of $6,550, divers get an attractively styled watertight steel watch that stays watertight to 600 meters and has a metal bracelet, a helium valve, a ceramic bezel and an-timagnetic manufacture Caliber 8900, which relies on two barrels to amass a 60-hour power reserve.

Omega Seamaster Ploprof

The Omega Seamaster Ploprof boasts an even greater number of professional features. The case, which measures 55 mm by 48 mm, is made from lightweight titanium and stays watertight to twice the depth (1,200 meters) of the Planet Ocean. For safety’s sake, the bezel can be rotated only when the diver presses the orange button. When this button is depressed, the bezel can be conveniently reset in both directions. Two easy-to-use divers’ extensions are contained inside the secure folding clasp on the titanium link bracelet. As with the Planet Ocean, innovative protection against magnetic fields is provided by a totally anti-magnetic movement (automatic Caliber 8912), so Omega can equip the case with a sapphire back. This companion for professional divers costs $13,800.

Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 Amagnetic 3 Days Automatic Titanio

With a 47-mm titanium case, ceramic bezel, and protection against magnetic fields, this model is one of the professional dive watches from Panerai. Also worth a mention: inside the watch is the automatic manufacture Caliber P.9010 with temperature-insensitive Glucydur balance and a three-day power reserve. The case stays watertight to 300 meters. The corrugated strap can be stretched to fit over the sleeve of a diving suit. The price is not insignificant: $11,000.

Luminox Deep Dive Automatic Scott Cassell Special Edition

Thanks to hands and indexes that bear tubules filled with tritium gas, this dive-watch leader from the Swiss sports watch brand continues to glow with undiminished intensity for many years, and without having its wearer recharge the luminous indicators at a light source. This watch is also convincing thanks to its water tightness (500 meters), helium valve, and sturdy rubber wristband with an extension piece to facilitate wearing over the sleeve of a thick diving suit. Power is provided by Sellita’s sleekly simple Caliber SW 200, which is fabricated in large series, thus enabling Luminox to offer this watch at the affordable price of $2,200.

Doxa Sub 1500T MKII

The orange-colored Doxa Sub is considered a classic among dive watch enthusiasts. It’s available in various designs and with water tightness to different depths. The model shown here can descend to far-reaching depths: its stainless-steel case protects Soprod’s self-winding Caliber A10 against incursions by water to a depth of 1,500 meters. The case is 44.7 mm in diameter and is equipped with a helium valve. As on almost all Doxa Sub models, the rotatable bezel is calibrated with a decompression scale. Military frogmen use such scales to read the number of minutes they can stay at a specified depth (measured in feet) without having to pause for a decompression stop during their ascent. An extension piece can be pivoted from the bracelet’s folding clasp. Each of the 1,500 pieces in this limited series sells for an affordable $2,390.

Tag Heuer Aquaracer Caliber 5 Blue Camo

Last year’s Aquaracer update from Tag Heuer came with an “Arctic” blue camouflage pattern and matching NATO strap as well as a water resistance rating of 300 meters. Its 43-mm case is made from Grade 2 titanium with a matte black PVD-treatment. The watch is powered by Tag Heuer’s Caliber 5, which is based on the ETA 2824 or the Sellita SW200. The price for this version is $2,800.

No Responses to “Splash! A Plunge Into the Colorful World of Watersports Watches”

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  1. Russell Dejulio

    What about the Tudor Pelagos w it’s in house movement and titanium case ? I love mine buying it instead of a Sub

  2. Hamilton

    …but the individually designed rubber strap lacks an extension mechanism…..

    It has an pin buckle! The best extension mechanism of all time!

  3. Sylvio Bertoli

    PS One sports watch from Seiko would have made the article even better.

  4. Ian Woollard

    A great selection,the watch I own and the next watch I want are both featured.

  5. I enjoyed your article but have 1 issue with it. Several times you imply that dive watches must have at least 200 meters or 20 atm in order to qualify as divers. As I understand the ISO standard the requirement is 100 meters/10 atm which historically is equal to the great grandad of this genre: the 50 Fathoms featured in your article.
    In this day and age of excess I don’t know of any human exposing himself or his watch to these histrionic pressures on some watches but when you wear it exclusively for meetings or on your desk then more is better for bragging rights I guess. Human behavior is always fun to “watch” but let’s keep the facts straight and stay professional.

  6. Roger Pratt

    In your (excellent) article you mention that the Hamilton watch has a movement that has in increased run time from 38hrs to 80hrs. Tissot has recently released watches with an 80hr power reserve. I have a Victorinox Air Boss Mk4 with a 56 hour power reserve (pretty good, but no longer state of the art). Conversly, I just inherited a Smith pocket watch that can’t make it a day.
    Could you do an article on watches with longer power reserves including how these improvements are being achieved. Enquiring minds want to know. I look foward to your response and (hopefully) article. Thanks,

  7. Let’s be honest, all scuba divers now use computers for decompression calculation. I like dive watches, and usually switch to one on land, but I don’t wear one even as a backup for scuba. I know some divers that do. Personally I’m always shocked to see a friend come up with a Rolex on his wrist!

  8. Debashish

    Great article on diving watches with lots of fine pictures as well as extremely useful information on water-resistance and price.

    Enjoyed it immensely! Thank you Alexander Krupp!

  9. Sylvio F. Bertoli

    WatchTime is one of my favorite sources of information about watches and I frankly cannot understand why you do not make a clear distinction between watches that are waterproof or and those which are merely water resistant. The reader should know that iif a watch has the ISO 6425 is a watch suitable for scuba diving.

    • highnrising

      “Waterproof” is not a term that’s used or has any meaning in the watch industry.
      The term “water resistant” is used, and it’s quantified with a numerical rating expressed in meters and feet.
      One can arbitrarily and colloquially say that any watch with a water resistance rating of 200 meters/660 feet or more is waterproof.

    • Randy Rogers

      “Waterproof” exudes a permanence of stability, that once a Timepiece is opened, Quartz or Mechanical, may not be there when returned to service after any work is done, cleaning, Battery, Gaskets etc.. No Watches in the USA are marked “Waterproof”, ironically in looking at the main 5-6 pieces I wear only the TAG-Heuer Super 2000 has “200 Mtr. Water Tested”, the Tudor Tiger Prince, w/ Screw-down Pushers and Crowns has no markings relative to Water Resistance, neither Ebel, the Lichine nor Le Modular have any reference what-so-ever, and a RW Nabucco Reveluzione with Screwdown-Pushers and Crown “W.R. 200 Mtrs.,. Looking back at other pieces 2 Accutron’s, both 214’s an Astronaut and a Spaceview, despite being the same case, only the Astronaut has any reference as merely “Water Resistant”, of three more TAG-Heuers, the 18K 6000, no reference, the SS 200 Meter’s on the Dial and the 1000, “200 Meters” on the back. Save for the 18K and the Lichine all have been worn in the Ocean with no negative repercussions and , all are now 20-30 years old.

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