THE DIVING WATCH
(In the city or at sea)
Whether you like to dive right in or prefer to stay on the surface.
In 1970, Omega officially launched a watch designed to withstand the extreme pressures faced by deep-sea divers. The Seamaster 600M was dubbed the Ploprof, short for “plongeur professionnel” (professional diver). Forty-one years later, it is an iconic model. The famed Italian businessman Gianni Agnelli used to wear his on the outside of his shirt cuff – not necessarily something to be copied.
Seamaster 600 Ploprof, OMEGA from WATCHFID.
1. This model was born of a collaboration between watchmakers Auricoste and Spirotechnique, a company originally set up by Jacques Cousteau and Émile Gagnan that specializes in scuba-diving gear. The two brands were entrusted with kitting out the French Navy’s combat swimmers for over 20 years.
2. A firm favorite among explorers, the Seamaster 300, first introduced in 1957, has undergone some significant alterations over the years. The Professional Diver 300M, released in 1993, was worn not only by divers and athletes, but also by Pierce Brosnan as 007 in GoldenEye. The white dial on this version shows it off to best effect.
Seamaster 300 Co-Axial, OMEGA.
3. In 1953, Rolex pioneered the concept of the watch as a real tool for professionals rather than just a decorative accessory. The “Sub” would soon accompany Professor Auguste Piccard and his son on a dive in their bathyscaphe Trieste to a depth of nearly 3,000 meters (10,000 feet). The green-bezeled model shown here belongs to the brand’s latest collection.
Submariner Date, ROLEX.
4. Nivada launched its Depthomatic, equipped with a depth indicator, in the 1960s, followed by the Depthmaster, which could withstand pressure at a depth of 1,000 meters. Next came the multifunctional Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver, proudly sported by actor Bryan Kelly in the TV series Flipper. The model is now attracting increasing interest from collectors.
Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver, NIVADA from COLLECTION PERSONNELLE.
5. Launched in 2012, the Pelagos is one of the most complete traditional mechanical diving watches on the market. It stands out for its titanium bracelet, developed and patented by Tudor, and the Snowflake hands, which have been a hallmark of the brand’s dive watches since 1969.
6. Yema started selling the first 300M water-resistant watch to the public in 1963. The aptly named Superman was sturdy and had an exclusive bezel-lock for added security, which, unfortunately, is missing on the model shown here – no one knows why.
7. In the 1960s, after filing a patent for its internal rotating bezel, watch company JeanRichard founded the Aquastar brand and turned it into a key player on the dive watch market. This rare Airstar model dating from then is especially sought-after by collectors.
Sub 300T Professional, DOXA.
8. Bell & Ross watch designs are inspired by military and aeronautical instruments. Since this one plays on the different shades of luminescence offered by Super-LumiNova, it easily fulfills one essential criterion of the ISO 6425 standard: the dial can be read at a distance of 25 centimeters (around 10 inches) in total darkness.
Diver Full Lum, BELL & ROSS.
9. In the 1960s, after filing a patent for its internal rotating bezel, watch company JeanRichard founded the Aquastar brand and turned it into a key player on the dive watch market. This rare Airstar model dating from then is especially sought-after by collectors.
Aquastar Airstar, JEANRICHARD from COLLECTION PERSONNELLE.
10. Blancpain designed this legendary watch in 1952 to the specifications of Robert Maloubier, head of the elite French Combat Swimmers. This 1953 model is in exceptional condition.
Fifty Fathoms 1953, BLANCPAIN.
11. The first version of the Seamaster 300 was launched in 1957. Thanks to its technical evolutions, it became in 1964 one of the favorite watches of divers, both civil and military.
Seamaster 300, OMEGA from WATCHFID.
12. In 1936, Finnish inventor Tuomas Vohlonen developed a portable liquid-filled compass for individual use for his brand Suunto, which is now the world’s leading manufacturer of diving computers. As you can see from this model, it’s not necessarily a look you’d want to wear on the street, but you could tuck it under your shirt cuff – if it fits.
Zoop Novo Blue, SUUNTO from AU VIEUX CAMPEUR.