For most watch collectors, a collection is not complete without at least one diving watch. And in the luxury watch space, there are a handful of brands known for making some of the best dive models out there. All born in the 1950s, these iconic dive watches continue the legacy with ultra-modern versions.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms
Blancpain launched the world’s first purpose-built dive watch in 1953 at the request of Captain Robert “Bob” Maloubier, who was in need of a watch for the French frogmen under his command. It was named Fifty Fathoms due to its water resistance to 50 fathoms (91.45 meters). Over the last 65 years, there have been countless versions of Blancpain’s flagship dive watch and at Baselworld 2018 the new Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique Grande Date 5050 joined the lineup. Sporting a new 45 mm case in titanium, the 5050 retains the familiar glossy black domed sapphire crystal bezel insert but features a new dial layout with the oversized date window at 6 o’clock.
A watch that doesn’t require an introduction, the Rolex Submariner is by far the world’s most popular luxury dive watch today. Also introduced in 1953, just a few months after the Fifty Fathoms, the Rolex Submariner began its life as a utilitarian diver’s watch waterproof to a depth of 100 meters. The current iteration that comes closest to that first reference is the Rolex Submariner 114060 in stainless steel and without a date window on the dial. Launched in 2012, the 114060 includes all the modern Rolex details we’ve become accustomed to such as the ceramic unidirectional bezel on top of the 40 mm Oyster case and the Glidelock diver’s extension system on the Oyster bracelet.
To rival the Fifty Fathoms and the Submariner, Omega presented the Seamaster 300 in 1957 rated to a depth of 200 meters. The Seamaster line went on to house a variety of different models over the years ranging from extreme dive watches to dressier timepieces with a nautical flair. In 1993, Omega presented the Seamaster Diver 300M collection, which has become the brand’s signature everyday dive watch suited for desk divers and scuba divers alike. At Baselworld 2018, Omega released a slew of new Seamaster Diver 300M models equipped with a new 42 mm case size, updated ceramic bezels with enamel or gold filled markings, revamped dials, and a new Master Chronometer movement.
Last, but certainly not least, Breitling also partook in the dive watch boom of the 1950s despite their strong connection to aviation watches. The Breitling Superocean made its debut in 1957, offering both a time-only and a chronograph version. On the 60th anniversary of the collection last year, Breitling issued the Superocean Heritage II collection as a tribute to the brand’s maiden dive watches. The vintage-inspired collection preserves design elements of the first Superoceans like the oversized hands and cone-shaped indexes but updated the watches with modern touches such as color choices, ceramic bezels, redesigned dials, and in-house movements.