If you missed last weekend’s WatchTime New York event, you missed an opportunity to get up close and hands-on with hundreds of new watches of various styles and types. Today, we take a look at the ever-popular divers’ watch category. Here are five that stood out at the show — all available at retail now.
Bell & Ross’s BR 03-92 Diver — designed with the consultation of experienced divers to be a professional-grade diving instrument meeting the strict ISO 6425 international standards — is the “ampersand brand’s” first dive watch in the square case shape for which it has become renowned. Its squared ergonomic case, made of satin-polished steel and 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. Its crown is protected by an impact-resistant guard and is fitted with a rubber insert for easy handling. Inside the case is an inner cage made of soft iron, which protects the movement from the effects of magnetic fields. The indices on the deep black dial are filled with white Super-LumiNova, which is also used on the minutes and seconds hands, and the hour hand is easily distinguished by its bright orange color. The insert on the unidirectional rotating bezel, upon whose scale the minute hand indicates the time spent underwater, is made of black anodized aluminum. The watch is packaged in a water-resistant box along with two changeable straps: one made of woven black rubber with a satin-polished steel pin buckle, the other in a resilient black synthetic fabric that can be adjusted to wear over a dive suit with a Velcro closure system.
In the late 1950s, Jean-Jacques Fiechter, longtime Blancpain CEO and originator of the brand’s now-iconic Fifty Fathoms divers’ watch, introduced a new innovation that enabled that timepiece to meet the strict standards for U.S. military use. That feature — a circular water-tightness indicator on the dial, a large disk at 6 o’clock that changed its color from white to red if liquid leaked into the case — has been resurrected in the new Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC, the latest vintage-inspired take on the Fifty Fathoms. This watch’s historical predecessor made its debut in 1957-58, and was designed specifically to pass a battery of tests conducted on a variety of watches by the United States Navy, which was seeking a timepiece for use on underwater missions. The modern re-interpretation of the MIL-SPEC is powered by a Blancpain in-house, automatic movement, Caliber 1151, which stores a lengthy four-day power reserve in its two series-coupled mainspring barrels. The black dial has large, luminous indices for legibility deep underwater, and a unidirectional rotating bezel covered in scratch-resistant sapphire — a Blancpain innovation that made its debut on the 50th Anniversary Fifty Fathoms models in 2003. Of course, the case boasts a level of water-resistance suitable for professional and military diving: 300 meters, an upgrade from the 91.45 meters (AKA 50 fathoms) of the original model.
The Bremont Supermarine Type 300 is a new addition to the British brand’s range of vintage-aircraft inspired divers’ watches. The Type 300 derives its name from the historic “Type 300” prototype Spitfire aircraft developed by the Supermarine aircraft company in the 1930s. Its 40-mm stainless steel case is scaled down from those of its predecessors, the S500 and S2000, and also slimmer, at just 13 mm thick from crystal to caseback. Nevertheless, the new Supermarine case is professional-grade for diving, remaining water-resistant to 300 meters. Two dial variations are available, black and blue, with laser-engraved ceramic inserts for the unidirectional diving bezel in a matching color. The case is in stainless steel; like Bremont’s other three-part “Trip-Tick” cases, it has a scratch-resistant DLC-treated case barrel. The crown screws down securely, and the sapphire crystal is domed. The solid caseback is graced with an engraved illustration of the famous Spitfire plane.The watch is powered by the automatic, chronometer-certified Bremont Caliber BE-92AE. (For divers who want both a smaller case and a more vintage look, Bremont also offers the Type 301, which has Super-LumiNova-filled hour indices instead of Arabic numerals on its matte black dial.)
Lucerne-based Carl F. Bucherer launched the latest version of its Patravi ScubaTec, with an 18k rose gold case and a new dial in what the brand calls “Lucerne blue,” an exclusive shade inspired by the color of Lake Lucerne on a bright summer day. Like previous models in the collection, the watch has a 44.6-mm diameter case boasting a water-resistance of 500 meters, with a notched, unidirectional rotating bezel highlighted with a blue ceramic insert that indicates the first 15 minutes of dive time. The watch’s crown is decorated with the brand’s emblem, screws down securely and the sapphire crystal is nearly 4 mm thick. There is also an automatic helium valve in the side of the case, made of blackened titanium, which protects the watch from damage from pressure changes when it is worn by a diver ascending and descending in a diving bell. The dial has a wave-like pattern, a date window at 3 o’clock, and large hands and prominent hour markers coated with Super-LumiNova. The movement is Bucherer’s in-house Caliber CFB 1950.1, a self-winder that has been certified by COSC as a chronometer and holds a power reserve of 38 hours.
Grand Seiko — which this year became independent of the larger Seiko brand – showcased the new Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 Professional 600m Diver’s — the first-ever mechanical Grand Seiko dive watch. The watch’s case, made of high-intensity titanium, measures 46.9 mm in diameter and 17 mm thick. Designed with saturation diving in mind, it features the valve-free helium-resistance technology pioneered by Seiko in some of its earliest divers’ watches, which uses an exceptionally heavy-duty case construction and an L-shaped gasket. Both the case and the titanium bracelet boast clean, mirrored edges thanks to Seiko’s Zaratsu polishing technique. The dial is made of a type of iron that Seiko says protects the movement, Seiko’s Hi-Beat Caliber 9585, from the effects of magnetism, imparting to the watch a stout 16,000 A/m of magnetic resistance. The self-winding movement boasts a frequency of 36,000 vph (10 beats per second), which contributes to the watch’s outstanding precision of -3 to +5 seconds per day, the necessary benchmark for all Grand Seiko movements.The movement has 37 jewels and a power reserve of 55 hours.
The latest piece from Longines’s vintage-inspired Heritage collection, the new version of the Longines Legend Diver, sports a steel Milanese mesh bracelet. A modern re-issue of a divers’ watch Longines produced in 1960, its 42-mm stainless steel case replicates the lines of the original and features a pair of crowns — one for winding the watch, the other for operating the internal rotating divers’ bezel, another feature of the original model. Both the crowns and the caseback are screwed, helping to ensure a professional-grade water resistance level of 300 meters. The inner rotating bezel, which serves as the flange of the watch, can also be locked in place by its dedicated crown, thus ensuring that a diver wearing it knows exactly how long he has been underwater. The black lacquered dial is punctuated by indices, numerals, and hands coated with Super-LumiNova. Under a solid caseback, engraved with the image of a diver, ticks the movement, Longines’s automatic Caliber L633, with a power reserve of 38 hours. In addition to the Milanese bracelet, the Legend Diver is also available on a matte black, textured, cowhide leather strap with a buckle or black rubber strap with a double security clasp with divers’ extension.
The new Wempe Zeitmeister Sport Diver’s Chronograph Bronze is distinguished from previous models in the collection by its bronze case, measuring 45 mm in diameter and featuring a rotating divers’ bezel also made of bronze, a material long associated with seafaring and the maritime industry. The brown dial is accentuated by gold-plated hour markers and hands, and complemented by a color-coordinated brown alligator leather strap. The dial’s tricompax design features a 30-minute chronograph subdial at 12 o’clock, a 12-hour chrono subdial at 6 o’clock, and a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock. The case, which is water-resistant to 300 meters, has a screwed-in titanium caseback with a high-relief engraving of the Glashütte observatory, where all Wempe watches undergoes official chronometer testing.