Think of summer, think of the ocean. And when thinking about the ocean, one needs to plan beachwear, sunnies, sunscreen, and most importantly, the right watches. Watches suited for the depths of water are probably the toughest to make as water is the biggest enemy of any mechanical gadget. What makes a good dive watch? Needless to say, it has to be waterproof and can withstand pressures under water at great depths. So, what are the best dive watches of the year? Let’s find out.
1. Tudor Black Bay Bronze
If there is one brand in the entry luxe range that is making the right noise in 2022, it has to be Tudor. No longer, just a cousin of the famous Rolex, Tudor is today an award-winning brand, worthy of standing tall for its naval heritage. The Black Bay Bronze model, which won the prestigious ‘Petite Aiguille’ award at the 2016 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG), is now available in a new slate-grey model with a shaded dial. The Black Bay Bronze also impresses with high technical performance thanks to its Calibre MT5601—a signature three-hand in-house calibre. Thanks to these qualities of robustness, longevity and reliability—together with its non-magnetic silicon balance spring—the special calibre is certified as a chronometer by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). The watch also comes with a 70-hour power reserve.
The central feature of the Black Bay Bronze model is its 43 mm bronze case, an aesthetic reference to the brass used in old ships and other diving equipment. This ‘living’ metal—a high-performance aluminium-copper alloy used particularly in naval engineering for submerged parts that need to be highly resistant to corrosion—will produce a subtle, unique patina on every watch case, based on the wearer's habits and location.
The Black Bay Bronze models feature a dial inspired by the Tudor divers’ watches from the 1950s. It also adopts the characteristic angular hands known to collectors as ‘snowflake’ that can be found in the brand’s 1969 catalogue. Finally, the unprotected winding crown, like the holes drilled across the horns, are typical features of the first generations of Tudor divers' watches.
2. Rolex Yacht-Master II
Fair warning: If you want to own a Rolex, you may have to wait for months for your chosen model, owing to the huge demand-supply imbalance that exists for Rolex watches across board. And the ever-popular jewel of the sea, the Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42, which now for the first time is available in yellow gold—a refined version of the emblematic sailing timepiece—follows suit.
The new version, like the original, includes a bi-directional rotatable bezel and a Cerachrom insert with a raised graduation as well as the innovative Oysterflex bracelet. The hour markers and hands are filled or coated with a new exclusive luminescent material, that guarantees a longer-lasting intense glow.
The new version of the Yacht-Master 42 is equipped with Calibre 3235, a tried and tested movement at the forefront of watchmaking technology, enabling it to display the hours, minutes, seconds, and date. Like all Rolex watches, this watch also carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellence performance, reliability, and resistance to shocks and magnetic fields.
Launched in 1992, the Yacht-Master was designed specifically for navigators and skippers. Embodying the rich heritage that has bound Rolex and the world of sailing since the 1950s, this professional-category watch provides a perfect blend of functionality and nautical style, making it equally at home on and off the water.
Rolex played a pioneering role in the development of special ceramics for creating monobloc bezels and bezel inserts. Not only are these materials virtually scratch-proof, their colours are also of a rare intensity and are resistant to environmental effects.Thanks to its chemical composition, the high-tech ceramic is inert and cannot corrode.
The new Yacht-Master 42 is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet). The Triplock winding crown, fitted with a triple waterproof system and protected by an integral crown guard, screws down securely against the case. The crystal, which is fitted with a Cyclops lens at 3o’clock for easy reading of the date, is made of scratch-proof sapphire and benefits from an anti-reflective coating.
3. Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Carbotech™
In the past few years Panerai has made giant strides in metallurgy for most of its products—using smarter, lighter, robust, anti-corrosive, and above all eco-friendly materials. With the new Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro, the 44mm case will become a cornerstone of the iconic collection of Submersible dive watches. The Panerai Submersible Quaranta Quattro Carbotech™ Blu Abisso features a uni-directional rotating bezel to measure submersion time and metallic appliques filled with white Super-LumiNova™, making the watch an indispensable diving instrument. The P.900 caliber features a second’s sub-dial at 9 o’clock and supplies a three-day power reserve. An improved date window that provides heightened legibility is a distinguishing feature of the Submersible.
The QuarantaQuattro’s case is composed of carbotech, a composite based on carbon fibre, that is lighter than titanium, which offers high resistance to corrosion and scratching. It is water-resistant up to 300 meters, with the patented crown-protecting device that is inextricably linked to Panerai’s marine legacy.
4. TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 1000 Superdiver
TAG Heuer unveils its new Aquaracer Professional 1000 Superdiver, a timepiece with exceptional performance. The new model represents an essential milestone for TAG Heuer, as it is the first timepiece from the brand utilising calibre TH30-00 produced by Kenissi Manufacture SA. Featuring high technicality, the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 1000 Superdiver was conceived to work in saturation diving and to resist the most extreme pressures, with a helium valve. On top of the classic accreditations, the timepiece has received ISO 6425 certification for saturation divers' watches. The TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 1000 Superdiver comes with a custom protective case, which is as resistant as the watch and includes a rescue dive torch.
5. OMEGA Planet Ocean Ultra Deep
The Seamaster, a collection born in 1948, is the most enduring range produced by Omega. Tested for military precision, the diving collection has since been the perfect vehicle for experimentation and innovation, constantly pushing the limits of water resistance, metallurgy, and technology. In the summer of 2019, Omega presented the Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional, an innovation-packed prototype that happened to be a record-breaking watch, with 15,000metre water resistance that was field-tested at a whopping depth of 10,928metre to the Mariana Trench, when it reached the deepest point in the ocean along with Victor Vescovo’s piloted DSV (Deep Submergence Vehicle)during the Five Dives Expedition.
Today, the brand presents the commercial version of this watch—the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Titanium, with an impressive 6,000metre water resistance. While the original concept version that toured to the bottom of the ocean on Limiting Factor(that's the name of Vescovo's submarine) was a massive chunk of titanium measuring 55mm on the diameter and 28mm in thickness, the new Ultra Deep, which is available in titanium or a brand-new steel alloy called "O-MEGASTEEL", measures 45.5mm wide and just 18.12mm thick.
The Ultra Deep (in either material) comes with ISO 6425 certification via METAS and a design that allows for saturation diving without the need for a helium escape valve. These deep-diving specs introduced by Omega now have four pending patents concerning the crystal, crystal gasket, crown, and two-piece caseback.
Mitrajit Bhattacharya is India's foremost luxury watch expert & Founder, The Horologists.