Throwback Sundays: Six Recommendations for a Diver’s Watch Beyond Rolex Submariner and Omega Seamaster, from Our Archives

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A couple of weeks ago, one of our articles written by Chester had incited a number of polarising views. The article in question compares the Rolex Submariner and Omega Seamaster – two widely popular diver’s watch that is popular within the community.

In our opinion, these two watches are excellent in their own ways. The Omega Seamaster – which is admittedly more accessible in terms of supply and price-point – seems to have edged out against the evergreen Rolex Submariner. The latter, on the other hand, is a solid timepiece that ticks all the right boxes for consumers (and hence its short supply in certain jurisdictions).

However, beyond that, we reckon there are still quite a number of diver’s watch that deserves some recognition as well. What have we selected? Let’s take a look!

Rado Captain Cook

We begin the article with a timepiece that had attracted some attention recently. Cue the Rado Captain Cook.

Launched in Baselworld 2017, the Captain Cook is a reminiscence of the vintage divers’ watches that Rado had produced in the 1960s. Responses were a little lukewarm, possibly with the smaller case profile at 37.5mm when it was first introduced.

More recently in 2019, Rado had expanded the collection with the introduction of three different dial variants in 42mm cases. One of them is in green, which we thought was the best amongst the novelties. We particularly like the shade of green that Rado had chosen for the watch. Its sunburst dial provides a different appearance under different lighting conditions, which adds a rather nice touch to it. It also works brilliantly with the classic design of the Captain Cook.

The watch is fitted with a modest ETA C07. It is a self-winding movement, which comes with a date indicator and features a decent power reserve of around 80 hours. It is well-priced at S$2,800, and we reckon this is a great alternative to the other diver’s watch especially since green dials are highly in demand right now (and it is around a quarter of the price tag of the Rolex equivalent – the Submariner “Hulk”).

Seiko Prospex Diver 300M Hi-Beat SLA025

Continuing with the theme of green dials, we have a special edition of the legendary Seiko Marinemaster MM300 – known as the “Deep Forest”.

Launched in Baselworld 2018, the “Deep Forest” is one of the most hihgly anticipated watches from Seiko last year. As its nomenclature suggests, the watch features an alluring green theme. The shade of the colour, interesting, was inspired by the forests of the sub-tropical Yakushima Island. It was also produce to commemorate the brand’s first ever hi-beat diver’s watch, which was incidentally launched in 1968.

The 44mm diver’s watch is powered by Seiko’s in-house Calibre 8L35, in which it is often touted as the “undecorated” version of Grand Seiko’s Calibre 9S55. This is also the same movement that is used in the previous MM300. The self-winding movement has a date display at the 3 o’clock position, as well as a decent power reserve of around 50 hours.

The “Deep Forest” is only limited to a production of 1,968 pieces, and it is priced at S$5,100. While its price point might be slightly steep, but we believe that this is definitely a robust and beautiful piece that is worth considering. Besides, who can resist that green dial and bezel?

Sinn U1

When it comes to diver’s watches, the Sinn U1 is, in our opinion, one of the most affordable and robust tool watches that money can buy. Cased in steel that was used to construct submarines, and reinforced by TEGIMENT technology, the watch is said to be six times stronger than a typical stainless steel timepiece. It is also waterproof to depth of 1000m, and blessed with anti-magnetic properties as well.

The 44mm watch is powered by Sellita’s SW200 self-winding movement – with a date indicator and a decent power reserve of approximately 40 hours. It is a solid workhorse that certainly gets its job done.

The U1 is available in multiple variants, such as the Camouflage or the Desert Edition. The watch is priced at US$2,160 (approximately S$2,933), and it is available in both rubber and metal bracelet option. This is certainly a solid piece to add into one’s collection, especially if one is planning to use it for diving or any other extreme sports. Talk about German engineering at its finest.

Bell & Ross BR03-92 Diver Matte Black

Following that, we have something that combines two unlikely genres together. Introducing the Bell & Ross BR03-92 Diver Matte Black, which incidentally comes from a watch manufacturer that is known to draw its design inspiration from flight instruments.

Fitted with an unmistakable square case, the 42mm BR03-92 Diver sets itself apart from its bretheren with a uni-directional rotating ceramic bezel. The watch is also an ideal candidate for a diver’s watch, with a well-contrasted colour scheme and an exceptionally generous application of luminiscence (on both the indices on the dial and markings on the bezel itself). In addition, the matte black ceramic case further reinforces the watch’s hardiness as well with its scratch-resistant qualities.

The watch is powered by the BR-CAL.302, an automatic movement that is based on the utilitarian Sellita SW300-1. The movement features an additional date function (placed at the 4:30 position on the dial-side), as well as a power reserve of around 38 hours. Priced at S$6,200, the BR03-92 offers a stylish alternative to the usual diver’s watch.

Glashutte Original SeaQ

The launch of the SeaQ is certainly a landmark occasion for Glashütte Original. This is not just the launch of a new timepiece, but more importantly, it signals the inception of a new collection: the “Spezialist”.

The SeaQ is based on one of the many high-precision instrument watches that the brand (which, notably, is a collection of multiple brands before they come together in the 1990s as G.O.) had produced in the past. This piece is a faithful recreation of the Spezimatic Diver, in which little details such as the “25 Rubis” and “Shockproof” are included in the modern version as well. Also noteworthy is the use of faux patina for the luminescence of the watch.

It is hard to find fault with the 39.5mm watch. It is produced to the highest standard (it is both DIN and ISO tested), with finishing that is typical of the fine German watchmaker. The watch is available either as a normal production model, or the SeaQ 1969 which is limited to a production run of 69 pieces. Both are priced at €8,500 (approximately S$12,888), and it is comes with three different strap options each (rubber, metal bracelet, and nylon mesh strap).

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC

We end the article with the grand-daddy of the modern diver’s watch: Blancpain Fifty Fathom. While they were definitely not the first to make a timepiece that is capable of going underwater, but Blancpain can pride itself for several important innovations. This includes the now widely-used unidirectional bezel, which is the hallmark of almost all diver’s watch.

The Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC is the modern interpretation of the original timepiece. There are several nice touches for this timepiece, such as the domed sapphire crystal, water-tightness humidity indicator, and the luminescence-filled unidirectional bezel. While the watch is only 40mm in diameter, but its bulky looks make it appear larger than it is. It is certainly an appealing watch.

Priced at S$19,500, the Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathom MIL-SPEC is a tad pricier than the watches that we have highlighted today. However, the watch – which is fitted with an in-house automatic movement with a 4 day power reserve – is definitely a notch above the rest. This watch is also limited to a production of 500 pieces. If one is looking for an exclusive and interesting diver’s watch, the Blancpain might just be the answer to that.

Concluding Thoughts

The idea of owning diver’s watch is pretty intriguing. The irony is that the kind of diving these watches are going to do is desk diving (majority of the time), and yet these watches are manufactured to meet the arduous demands of the water pressure sustained during diving. In addition, they are widly popular for the rugged good looks, more so than its function. Well, to put things into perspective: How many of you actually even wore the Sinn U1 and dived up to 1,000m under water?

Now, we look at diver’s watch more for its form (and prestige) rather than its functionality. But that’s fine. However, this just means that we would need to take a different set of rubrics to grade these watches. These rubrics are certainly more qualitative, and henceforth it might just be a tad too subjective between individuals. Maybe that is why people ranked perceived value and branding higher – which explains the popularity of mainstream pieces like the Rolex Submariner and Omega Seamaster.

So, what are your thoughts on our selection today? Does the watches match up against the likes of the Submariner or the Seamaster, or even surpass them? Or, do you still prefer the “safer” options? Let us know in the comments section below.


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  1. The Marinemaster 300 in your article is the SLA019/SBDX021, not the SLA025. And it does not have the Hi-Beat 8L55 movement but rather the 28,800 bph/4Hz 8L35. The SLA025/SBEX007 6159-7000 reissue does not come with a bracelet and has completely different dimensions, not to mention dial design.

  2. Patrick Gillot on

    The Rolex Submariner is impossible to find not.because of demand but because Rolex cut the supply to organize a fake rarity.

    • Wrong. Demand is insane. I’ve been to Rolex ADs in several countries. What do you always see? At least one Asian employee, Chinese, in fact. Chinese buy Subs like mad, and there are loads of Chinese with money. Production did not decrease, if anything it increased.

  3. You have missed the Elliot Brown Holton Professional. Special forces divers watch, made to NATO specs.

  4. Paul Stevenson on

    You need an editor.

    This piece is so badly written that the content becomes secondary.

    • Unfortunately, I agree with this sentiment. I’m appalled that a writer of a published article such as this would not check grammar and syntax. It’s not written very well at all. And I find more and more of this type of writing being put out there. If you guys don’t have editors to review your articles, then you must make sure you review what you’ve written. It’s embarrassing to read otherwise.

  5. What about Scurfa? No…it’s not an automatic, but it’s a cool watch, designed by a life-long scuba diver and sold at a price-point where if it gets banged up, you’re not out thousands of dollars.

  6. The recent Yema Superman Heritage should be added to this list, which has a respectable provenance. Back when the original Superman competed with the Sub/Seamaster/Fifty Fathoms in the early ’60s, it was the first to 300m water resistance, and the new Heritage version is nearly a 1:1 copy.