My Bell & Ross BR02 says 1000m on it, yet I have never been more than 3m under the water. So what would inspire me to spend a hefty amount of money on a watch that can dive nearly 1km underwater? Do I need this deep-diving ability to perform my daily tasks? Did I think that such water resistance would be useful when taking a shower or washing the dishes?
The first high end watch the I ever really fell for was the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, non-chronograph. While we were engaged, my wife had a bridal magazine that had a full-page ad for the Planet Ocean and I would just stare at it endlessly. Blue strap, orange stitching…just awesome. A year later, my wife gave me the TAG Heuer I had been drooling over at the store – an Aquaracer Automatic chronograph – another diving watch. So why the fascination with diving watches?
In previous post, I have mentioned that I like tool watches, sporty watches – watches that look like instruments needed for professional tasks such as flying, driving, racing or…diving. I don’t like jewelry watches – I don’t like gold, diamonds or dainty little hands that look all delicate. I like watches that look like mechanical instruments designed for a purpose- something an astronaut might wear, a race engineer, a navigator or a pilot. After all, mechanical watches used to be essential equipment for professionals in the old days.
Well, dive watches embody the idea of a tool watch better than anything else. And this is probably why I like so many divers even though I’ll never dive myself. First of all, divers (at least modern divers) tend to be larger and chunkier than dressy watches and I really like oversize watches. Divers also have many cool gadgets such as rotating bezels, helium valves, large screw-down crowns etc. And many are chronograph. Modern divers often come on cool rubber straps, or even cool waterproof material straps. Some divers have bright, bold colours that add to the sporty effect. Dive watches look rugged – just look at 007 in his Planet Ocean.
Let’s face it- dive watch is just a style. Nobody buys a Blancpain 50 Fathoms to go digging up shipwrecks – you’d probably need a digital instrument for that. Rather, dive watch refers to a style of mechanical watch. It’s more of a statement and this brings me to my next point. Today, you can wear any type of watch for any occasion. My BR02 is a huge piece on a rubber strap and I typically wear it with a suit and tie. It looks awesome with a grey suit, so why not? Even on the rubber strap. I didn’t buy the BR02 to wear with shorts and t-shirts. Wearing a dive watch just reflects a style.
A Rolex Submariner is a diver. And you’d definitely wear that with a suit. 007 wears a Planet Ocean and he’s always wearing a suit. Did you know that the Panerai Radiomir was originally a dive watch for the Italian Navy? And so was the Luminor. How cool are those watches? One of my favorite new watches is the Tudor Pelagos. The Pelagos might be earth’s ultimate tool watch – it’s even made out of titanium. I love titanium, carbon fibre, ceramic, etc. for watches. I mentioned the Blancpain 50 Fathoms – that’s a stunning watch and it is a diver. The list could on.
And this does not even include my favorite retro divers. I have a Longines Legend Diver, for example. But I think I will post another time more about retro pieces, including retro divers. There are some cool ones.
You can’t deny it – dive watches are cool. How many of your favorite watches did I mention above?
So if you’re in the market for a new piece, take a good look at the divers out there. You might very well find your ultimate all-purpose piece that can dress up a suit and also play cargo shorts and flip-flops. Of course, the fun is always in the search…