Dive watches. These watches have been etched into history, popularized by movies, and is now an important part of the watch industry. But what makes a watch a dive watch? Well, many things factor in for a watch to be certified as a dive watch. One of the most important is the certification for water resistance, also known as ISO 6425. A dive watch, as per the ISO standard, should at least have a 100m water resistance.
While most dive watches have stainless steel for the case, a rotating bezel with lots of numbers for measuring a dive, and a strap that will survive underwater pressure, one defining feature of a dive watch is its illuminated lumens. With serious dive watches, a helium escape valve is outfitted as well, usually in the 10 o’clock position. This valve keeps a watch from bursting after a deep dive while maintaining the delicate movement intact inside.
If there is a dive watch that’s been underrated for decades, it’s the Aquatimer from IWC, International Watch Company. For years, the company has had the upper hand on making some of the best dress watches through the Portofino and Ingenieur, but the IWC Aquatimer has the history of both and the attention to detail that only top of the line dive watches possess.
The IWC bracelet quick-change system is one mover for changing bracelets on the fly on wristwatches. The sealing on the Aquatimer is also a cut above the rest. The watch is exquisitely designed as well, and you’ll find no better-executed dive watch that can easily transition from deep-sea diving to a red carpet glam. Plus, you can even use it as an everyday driver!
The Seamaster is possibly one of the most iconic dive watches in memory. Popularized by the James Bond movies, the Seamaster is special in its own way because it does not hold the record for the deepest dive at 1500m on the Marianas trench; it’s also an excellent all-arounder. Omega is a brand that’s known for going beyond the mark to make great watches, and Seamaster is a testament to that.
The line has quite a long list of models, but the Planet Ocean is a surefire way to get the best from the Seamasters. The Aqua Terra is also a great pick, but if you have to choose just one (because Omega watches aren’t cheap), the Planet Ocean 600m in 43.5mm steel on the rubber strap is a deal as any.
Rolex’s entry to the best dive watches are the product line that started it all for the brand. The Submariner is legendary in its own right, with a long line of historical usage by notable athletes, leaders, and celebrities. The Submariner, in its latest iteration, is a beauty to behold. Coupled with the company’s proprietary Oyster Steel, it’s a dive watch that’s been around for ages.
What’s great about getting a Rolex watch and not just a dive watch, is that even if it’s not the most expensive, the brand’s notoriety will help you in disposing of it rather quickly if, down the line, you want an upgrade or change of heart. A Rolex watch will retail on second-hand retailers for at least 50% more when compared to its contemporaries.
Oris Divers Sixty Five
The first three entries on this list are top-tier Swiss brands that will break the bank, even if you’re a millionaire. And only 20% of the population lives that way, so most, if not the majority, will have to settle on brands that don’t charge exorbitant prices for their custom watches. And for fans of dive watches that want a deal without sacrificing quality, the Oris Divers Sixty-Five is as good as any.
The new Holstein 2020 is outfitted with the original 1965’s classic styling, with an automatic self-winding movement and a chronograph complication. The golden dial and bronze strap take the watch’s look to a whole new level, and with a significantly lesser price tag, it’s a shoo-in for most people. It’s water-resistant for up to 100m, which is a splendid companion for a light dive or even just a swim.
Another great Swiss watch brand that doesn’t have its cousins’ exclusivity, Tissot has been making quality timepieces for centuries. The Seastar 1000 in quartz EOL, with rose gold case, makes a great case for a non-automatic chronograph dive watch. It’s sleek, powerful, and sturdy enough for up to 100m dives. It’s a great dive watch to have, even just for the weekends!
Always remember that when looking for a quality dive watch, remember you can get the most out of your watch by taking it into a spin on the water every other month. If you don’t see yourself diving anytime soon, then dive watches won’t be as useful to you. If you want to get them just because, then that’s great for the industry as well!