As many a hotel pool can attest to, not all watches take like a fish to water. They might look the part; some might even boast how many tens of metres deep they can go, but if they’re not a proven diving watch it’s probably better to keep them off your wrist if said wrist fancies a spot of scuba diving.
There are three things a true diving watch needs: luminescent indexes so you can read it underwater; a unidirectional rotating bezel to keep an eye on your oxygen (if you know how long you’ve been down you can approximate how much oxygen you have left) without fear of knocking it and a rugged case, for obvious reasons.
Probably the archetypal model that most people know is the Rolex Submariner and that’s all well and good, but we prefer pieces a little more off the beaten swimming lane. Pieces like these…
Oris Staghorn Restoration Limited Edition
It’s not often you get to buy yourself something nice in the name of conservation. Still, this limited edition from accessible, professional-standard specialist Oris is just that. Aside from being one of the coolest diving watches around – especially with the inner ring for the day of the week – a portion of the proceeds go towards saving endangered Staghorn coral. It’s 300m of depth resistance is more than enough for shallow reef waters and at £1850 there’s plenty left over for a trip to see what you helped save.
£1,850 from BERRY’S
Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono
Whatever you might think about having David Beckham as an ambassador (my opinion on the matter is less than flattering) Tudor make some damn fine watches. The Chronograph version of Tudor’s breakout Heritage Black Bay updates their signature, minimal style with a sportier look. It still has all the house hallmarks, including the famous snowflake hour hand, but it’s a different animal entirely. One little tip: you might also consider the waterproof blue fabric strap. Your wrist will thank you.
£3,610 from THE WATCH GALLERY
Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC
The Fifty Fathoms is the granddaddy of diving watches. Those three core characteristics of a diving watch? This 1952 French Navy watch laid them down. The Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC reinterprets a military-standard edition of the early watch, complete with the unusual complication of a water-tightness indicator. The vintage lume and tubular bezel, not to mention the minimal dial all point to its 50s origin; the silicon balance spring and platinum alloy-coated rotor however are all new. It’s not the kind of timepiece you’ll see in the military nowadays but it’s still one hell of a diving watch.
£10,310 at BLANCPAIN