This is not a list of ten watches that you should take scuba diving. No. This is a list of our top “diving style” watches. These are watches that are inspired by the needs of real underwater divers and are amazing to wear. For me, a “diving watch” is a great weekend watch. It can still be worn to the office, but it comes into its element at the cocktail following a golf tournament A diving watch is your best choice for that summer BBQ or a dinner out wearing short sleeves. For me, a “diving watch” is INSPIRED by the requirements of an underwater tool, and is really about expressing a sporty style. I guess a diving watch is a bit like a sports car!
Panerai Luminor 1950
Now, this isn’t fair. There are so many variations of the Panerai Luminor that it deserves to be a genre of watches all by itself. Panerai, of course, is credited with producing the very first diving watches. It makes sense to have a PAM on this list. For argument’s sake, let’s narrow it down and choose a 44mm Luminor 1950…say, a PAM00351. This watch has its roots in underwater diving, but this is so much more. This is a statement piece with a serious in-house movement. This watch can set off a business suit or rock a bathing suit. Once you have a 351, a titanium Panerai with tobacco dial, you are pretty much the alpha male. And yes, you can take it into the pool at the resort…
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean
Once again, there are different variations of this watch. Check out Michael’s review. I mean, can you top that? Or try the model with orange accents on textile strap. That’s incredible. You’re getting a world-renowned in-house movement, supreme quality, and gorgeous sporty style. This watch will rule the pool parties and office parties. Something like this would also wear well at a motor racing event or cigar night. These newer models really caught my fancy when they were introduced. If you’re in the market for a serious diver, you owe it to yourself to check out Omega’s Planet Ocean lineup.
Longines Heritage Diver Chronograph
This is one piece with an awesome wrist presence. At under $4,000 CAD, it’s far more affordable than some other watches on this list. But it’s wicked. It uses a strap similar to the old Longines Legend Diver, but thicker and more “solid.” I’ve tried it on- it’s superb on the wrist. The Heritage Diver chrono offers retro cool styling with functional diver capability. This is a conversation piece- more affordable than some and cooler than most. You can really make a statement with this watch. The shape of the case and the way it sits on the wrist guarantees an enjoyable experience.
Oris Aquis Depth Gauge
It would be hard to ignore this timepiece. Allowing water to enter the case in order to measure depth was a world’s first for Oris. This is one imposing and badass piece on the wrist, which is what you want to let your buddies know who’s boss. At 46mm, I don’t think this is a diver for office use, but it sure would look amazing for weekend drink sessions. The Aquis Depth Gauge is a real sports watch and, as usual, Oris sells it at an attractive price point. I think this is a contender for your super casual piece.
This new Seiko is only about a thousand bucks in Canada, which makes it way more affordable than anything else in this list. Regardless, it is a gorgeous watch. It is sporty and modern. I don’t suppose it is at JLC levels of quality, but you could be surprised by Seiko, who make some world-class watches. A great timepiece doesn’t necessarily have to cost as much as a small car and the Seiko Prospex is a serious candidate for the diving position in your watch lineup.
Linde Werdelin Oktopus Carbon Double Date
Limited to only 88 pieces, this watch doesn’t really belong on this list. But I see that you can still buy one online, so I slipped it in. It’s awfully expensive (about $17,800 CAD). And it’s awfully awesome. To me, no brand is cooler than Linde Werdelin. The rarity and “fringe” nature of Linde Werdelin only adds to the coolness. This watch will just blow you away when you see it in real life. It has a cool complication and was designed for real underwater use. If you want the diver that none of your affluent buddies, then get this Linde Werdelin. When you show up wearing it at the next backyard BBQ party, they (literally) won’t know what hit them.
IWC Aquatimer Chronograph
Diving watches are macho, just like IWC. So why not consider their Aquatimer chrono? These are quite imposing timepieces on the wrist and their details and quality and stunning. These IWC watches are a bit big to double as office watches, but who cares? When you show up to watch MondayNight Football with your co-workers, you can dazzle them with your Aquatimer. And when you go to a Caribbean resort for a beach vacation, your Aquatimer can accompany you in the pool and ocean.
Oris Diver 65
Here is another relatively affordable diving watch. Like the Longines, this is a retro model. I put it on the list because I have 3 watch friends (or friends!), who are dying for their own Diver 65 right now. It is a hot watch. It has style and substance in spades. THIS is the diving watch that can go all week with business suits and do shorts and t-shirts at the weekend. It comes in different versions and different straps, so you can find one to fit different tastes. I prefer the original model with a rubber strap.
Breitling Superocean Chronograph
What a great watch! I would choose this one on a stainless steel bracelet. This is a gorgeous, sporty and rugged timepiece. I had the non-chrono version and often miss it. These watches feel as tough as a tank and feature some beautiful finishing on the dial and case. This is a versatile diver and is one of those watches that could easily be the only watch in your collection (if you could really limit yourself). You cannot go wrong with a Breitling Superocean Chronograph.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer
I am into value these days and you get loads of value with the Aquaracer watches. These are well-priced watches with different colours and straps available. I like the rugged feel of the Aquaracer and I love what JC Biver has done with the brand in general. I wear an older model Aquaracer on a regular basis and it never gets old. My pal bought one last year while I was buying my dressy Montblanc and he wears it to the office every day with a suit. This is just a great watch.
So there you have it. Now that I have narrowed down your list, you can choose among these ten divers for your next purchase! As always, the fun is in the search…
Update: Why the Submariner does not make my Top 10
In case you are wondering how come the Rolex Submariner was not included in this list, here is TimeCaptain’s answer.