For serious divers, a quality dive watch is a must. They’re also a beautiful accessory for those who want a watch that’s functional in the water and looks sleek out of the water. These intricate and luxurious timepieces have developed quite a following over the years, with certain ones rising to almost mythical status. When shopping for a dive watch, it’s fascinating to know the history behind some of the most legendary brands. Here are three of the most iconic dive watches of all time.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms
More than simply iconic, Blancpain gets the bragging rights of being the creators of the first modern diver’s watch. After World War II, Captain Robert Maloubier, the leader of the French frogman unit, decided that none of the current dive watches available were sufficiently sturdy or reliable to accompany the men on missions. In 1953, the French Ministry of Defense commissioned Blancpain to build a dive watch for the unit. These elite commando combat swimmers needed a specially-designed watch to time dives and provide navigation assistance on dangerous missions.
Because of an existing patent on the screw-down crown design, the Fifty Fathoms was created with double O-ring gaskets. The design surpassed the maximum safe diving depth of 50 fathoms, or around 91 meters. In the years since the Fifty Fathoms was introduced, Blancpain has kept the signature design elements that has made this one of the most famous timepieces in history.
The Omega Seamaster is so iconic that James Bond himself wears one. In fact, Omega began its association with the James Bond films in 1995, when Pierce Brosnan played the role of the slick spy. The Seamaster was first introduced in 1948. Its co-axial movement, developed by watchmaker George Daniels in 1970, is exclusive to the Omega brand.
Today, Omega continues its tradition with the Seamaster Planet Ocean. It’s a sturdy watch with a titanium case and a face encased in sapphire crystal. For the deepest dives, the Seamaster has a Helium Escape valve located at the 10 o’clock position. It’s water-resistant up to 60 ATM and with its rubber strap, is a comfortable and stylish option, whether your adventures have you dining with a mysterious lady or sneaking up on an enemy submarine in the dead of night.
One of the best-known dive watches of all time, Rolex introduced the Submariner in 1954 to join its other water-resistant timepieces. In 1960, they touted their diving watch design by affixing it to the exterior of Auguste Piccard’s submarine Trieste. After the vessel descended 10,916 meters to the floor of the Mariana Trench, it returned to the surface with the watch still functioning. Takes a licking and keeps on ticking, indeed!
Modern James Bonds may opt for Omega Seamasters, but the earliest Bonds (including Roger Moore and Sean Connery) opted for a Rolex. The Submariner, part of Rolex’s Oyster Perpetual line, still enjoys a loyal following today.
Which dive watch do you think belongs among the ranks of the world’s most iconic? No matter what brand suits your lifestyle and fashion, you’re sure to find it on Chronoexpert. Check out our huge selection of luxury watches today.