Top 16 Dive Watches In 2016: An Opinion – Part 2 Blancpain Fifty Fathoms + Ulysse Nardin Maxi Marine Diver + Omega Seamaster PloProf 1200m
Previously, in [Part 1] of this series was discussed what a dive watch is, why people buy them, what to look out for when buying one for actually diving, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver [15703st.oo.a002ca.01] and Rolex Deepsea .
‘The dive watch is a type of watch that really encapsulates what it is to be a luxury watch. It’s simultaneously a functional piece of specialist equipment, needing to survive the punishing environment of being dragged down deep underwater, while still telling the time: but, they are typically built to extravagant specifications, being water resistant to 10 or even 100 times deeper than people will actually dive down to in reality. Few people will ever test these dive watches to their full capabilities!’
– Part 1 Audemars Piguet + Rolex: Top 16 Dive Watches In 2016: An Opinion
3 – Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Automatic 43mm [5000-1110-b52a] RRP: £7,290 – £19,730
If for whatever reason you don’t want a Rolex then take a look at the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe. It’s water resistant to the usual 300m, is a more comfortable 43mm wide (and 13.40mm deep) and even includes a transparent case back, which is a feature less often found on dive watches; though, this may be due to the increased thickness they give a watches case, the perceived weakness that they give and the additional cost involved.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms holds its own style with its monochrome aesthetics that playfully toys with light – largely thanks to the brushed radial sunburst dial. Its black ceramic bezel borrows from Blancpain’s sister brand Omega for the use of Liquidmetal® graduating markings. This exotic alloy is three times harder than stainless steel and is one of the few things that can be bonded to the ceramic material used for bezels.
It doesn’t include a helium escape valve or a diving extension. The supplied rubberised canvas strap may be too small to wear over a diving suit, something to consider if you intend to go diving with one on – and have large wrists.
A luminous dot is located at the 12 o’clock on the bezel, and a combination of rectangular and circular markings are used for the hour markers and the watch’s hands.
Inside is the Blancpain Caliber 1315 beating at 28,800 v/h, being composed out of 227 parts, contains 35 Jewels and has an approximate power reserve of an excellent 120 hours. Wedged in between the 4 and 5 o’clock hour markers is sat a fairly nonobstructive date window.
This watch is certainly a capable diver watch, but perhaps targets the non-diving ‘desk divers’ who don’t go diving anyway. It doesn’t fall into the trap of extreme water resistance that will never get utilised but ends up creating an impractically large watch that’s uncomfortable to wear. The same could be said to watches with bulky diving-clasps that will never get used – they get in the way and make a watch less comfortable.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is everything a dive watch should be and nothing it shouldn’t. Its vintage-inspired aesthetics holds a design that should endure additional time well. It’s personally one of my favourite dive watches on this list.
You can buy the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Automatic 43mm [5000-1110-b52a] from our [Shop Here] at a discounted price.
Variations: Case material: Stainless Steel, Titanium, Ceramic or 18kt Rose Gold.
Strap: Stainless Steel Bracelet, Ruberised Fabric or NATO (in black or green).
All variations of this watch can be brought [Here].
A chronograph eddition is also available: ‘Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph 43mm’ RRP: £10,270 – £12,080 [Buy Here].
Blancpain also offer a Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Days [Buy Here] solely available in 18kt rose or white gold. This insanely luxurious and exubrant watch is available from a RRP of only just £92,600 – and with the white gold option with 32 baguette diamonds and 4 trillion (triangle) shaped additoinal diamonds weighing in at 6.68 carats, costing an eye poping £149,200. Making the Blacpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Days the most expensive dive watch that money can currently buy.
4 – Ulysse Nardin Maxi Marine Diver 44mm [263-10-3r/93] RRP: £6,300 – £23,480
From the company who historically built incredibly well-engineered marine chronometers and provided them to over 50 of the world’s navies in the 1800’s, and whose logo includes a ships anchor as a nod to their naval interwind past is the ‘Ulysse Nardin Maxi Marine Diver 44mm’. It’s water resistant to 300m, comes in either stainless steel or 18kt Rose Gold and is only available with a rubber strap or metal bracelet.
The dial of the Maxi Marine Diver is graced with a wave like a pattern and includes a power reserve indicator underneath the 12-marker, and small seconds sub-dial and date function above the 6-marker.
The uni-directional bezel includes the usual luminescent marker at the 12, and both the hands and hour markers included luminescent fill. This in combination with its red striped hour markers gives good legibility and time reading accuracy – regardless of the environment, the watch finds itself in.
Under the solid case back is a UN Caliber UN-26 which beats at 28,800 v/h and has a rough power reserve of 42 hours.
Ulysse Nardin’s Maxi Marine Diver does not include a helium escape valve, but in reality, the only people who will end up needing one will be commercial divers during saturation diving. In this case, if they wanted a watch to take diving with them they would perhaps desire a more robust functional option.
Its charismatic aesthetics makes the Ulysse Nardin’s dive watch one of the more unique looking dive watches on this list and even has a power reserve indicator which is a rather rare complication to see – particularly on a mechanical dive watch.
You can buy the Ulysse Nardin Maxi Marine Diver 44mm [263-10-3r/93] from our [Shop Here] at a discounted price.
Variations: Case Material: Stainless Steel or 18kt Rose Gold
Dial and Bezel Colour: Black or Blue
Strap Type: Rubber Strap or Stainless Steel Bracelt
All variations of this watch can be brought [Here].
5 – Omega Seamaster PloProf 1200m [220.127.116.11.01.001] RRP: £6,000 – £6,150
One of the first brands to capture the professional diver’s tool watch market in the 1970’s was Omega with their Ploprof 600 with its incredibly distinctive design. This new PloProf is water resistant to a staggering 1200 meters and refines what was already a very liked and capable watch into an even more capable professional divers watch.
The crown on Omega’s ProProf has always been on the left side of the watch to minimise the chance of any impacts to the crown, and it’s surrounded by an iconic chunky crown guard that’s a result of a functional design. This design feature also means that when the crown guard is opened it measures a callosal 55mm wide – otherwise only a 50mm by 48mm casing size.
Unusually for a dive watch, the bezel has been overlaid with a sapphire crystal that allows it to match the dial more thoroughly. Underneath this sapphire cover, a generous amount of Super-LumiNova has been applied to all of the bezel’s graduations – this is a proper tool watch. And what is perhaps even more unusual is that the bezel turns in both directions; but, in order to make changes to the bezels position the button on the right side of the case must first be pressed down.
At the base of the button extrusion, is an automatic helium escape valve which will allow the tiny helium molecules inside of the watch to escape during decompression in saturation diving.
Luckily for divers, the clasp that Omega uses includes a push-button micro-extension system and a 26mm divers extension to comfortably wear the watch over a diving suit. The clasp is well engineered and is relatively compact for what it accomplishes.
Omega has used their own exclusive in-house calibre 8500 movements. Luckily, it utilises a double barrel to give a power reserve of 60 hours. It beats at 25,200 v/h, contains 39 jewels and is composed of 202 parts. Also included is a date function that presents itself in between the 4 and 5-hour markers.
You can buy this Omega Seamaster PloProf 1200m [18.104.22.168.01.001] from our shop [Here] at a discounted price.
Variations: Strap type: Shark-Proof metal bracelt (RRP £6150) or rubber strap (RRP £6000).
Rubber strap colours: Orange, Black or White.
Dial colour: White or Black.
All variations of this watch can be brought [Here] from our shop at a discounted price.
Continue: Part 3 Cartier + Rolex + IWC (coming soon)!