Dive In: Dazzling timepieces that thrive underwater

Since the dawn of the 20th century, burgeoning interest in oceanic exploration saw the rise of diving as both a science and a sport. And long before the advent of computers and other technologically-driven equipment, dive watches were right there to help these intrepid explorers in their aquatic endeavours, primarily to precisely measure time spent by a diver underwater. 

 “Oceanic explorations  have inspired the creation of a wide selection of luxuriously elegant dive watches”

These days, though, their popularity has spilled over into the general leisure domain, sparking a slew of quasi-counterfeit ‘dive watches’. To combat this, the International Organisation of Standardisation (ISO) has set guidelines and testing parameters that comprise a real dive watch. The true haute horology titans, though, have consistently produced technologically advanced wrist adornments that can not only withstand the oceanic depths, but that look good doing so. Below are seven of the latest standouts. 

Dive In Dazzling timepieces that thrive underwater gafencu magazine Ulysee Nardin's Diver Net

First up is Ulysse Nardin’s all-new Diver Net. A novel approach sparked the creation of this innovative design, with the brand looking to the sea for materials with which to enhance the watch in a truly sustainable fashion. This sees everything from its R-Straps and bezel to case and caseback crafted from recycled fishing nets, with even the crystal manufactured from recycled oceanic plastic. Under the hood beats an UN-118 movement that sees the black-on-green watch function to depths of up to 300m. 

Dive In Dazzling timepieces that thrive underwater gafencu magazine Blancpain's fifty fathoms bathysaphe chronograph flyback

Another brand utilising a similar colour motif is Blancpain in the form of its Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Chronograph Flyback. The first green version of this particular model, its dial and bezel boasts an almost military camouflage aesthetic. With an eye to ensuring safety, its 43.6mm case is crafted from satin-brushed ceramic, a highly scratch-resistant, anti-reflective material that bequeaths a sturdy robustness. Water resistant to 30 bar, its F385 calibre flyback chronograph movement is precise to 1/10 per second when timing events. A 50-hour power reserve completes its chrono diver appeal. 

Dive In Dazzling timepieces that thrive underwater gafencu magazine bell & ross' br 03-92 diver orange

Next, watchmaker Bell & Ross has expanded its DIVER collection with the BR 03-92 DIVER ORANGE. If the PR materials are to be believed, this 250-piece limited release’s eye-catching colour was chosen to reflect ‘the visual codes associated with maritime safety’ and to guarantee ‘optimal reading time’. Burnished with the brand’s iconic square-shaped face, its 60-minute calibrated uni-directional rotating bezel affords divers the ability to precisely monitor their dive times. In all, it’s an intelligent design that unsurprisingly meets the ISO’s latest standards. 

Dive In Dazzling timepieces that thrive underwater gafencu magazine panerai submersible azzuro - 42mm

Equally placing durability at its core is the Panerai Submersible Azzuro – 42mm, Panerai’s most robust dive watch to date. Here, its movement is safely tucked away behind a screwed caseback, while a bridge device similarly protects the crown from any encroaching water. Water resistant to 1,000ft, its matte black dial is further punctuated with a date aperture and a small-seconds subdial. Available solely through the brand’s e-commerce channel, just 500 pieces will be released. 

Dive In Dazzling timepieces that thrive underwater gafencu magazine omega's seamaster diver 300m chronograph

Embracing a more outré aesthetic is OMEGA in the form of its Seamaster Diver 300M Chronograph. Combining titanium, tantalum and the brand’s proprietary rose gold alloy, Sedna gold, the result is a pink and blue feast for the eyes. Water resistant to 300m, the side of each Numbered Edition’s 44mm case comes emblazoned with its unique number. To highlight its aquatic nature, the timepiece even comes with a special presentation box styled like a water-resistant chamber. 

Dive In Dazzling timepieces that thrive underwater gafencu magazine tudpr n;acl bay fifty-eight navy blue

Returning to a more traditional blue-hued dial is Tudor’s Black Bay Fifty-Eight “Navy Blue”. The ‘Fifty-Eight’ here is a reference to the year it released its first-ever divers’ watch waterproof to 200m. This new 39mm model comes with a blue domed dial ringed with a matte blue 60-minute uni-directional rotating bezel. Powered by a Calibre MT5402 movement that affords a generous 70-hour power reserve, it can be fitted with three different types of straps. 

Oyster Perpetual Submariner 2020

Sister brand Rolex – who created the world’s first hermetically-sealed watch back in 1927 – has also unveiled a new avatar of its iconic dive watch, the Rolex Submariner. First introduced in 1953, it has now been updated to a slightly larger 41mm case, replete with the cutting-edge calibre 3230 movement also introduced earlier this year. Fully waterproof to depths of 300m, its black dial is ringed with a black rotatable bezel with a Cerachrom insert – a virtually scratchproof and corrosion-resistant material – deft touches that highlights the watchmaker’s continually keen understanding of divers’ needs. 


Bell & Ross unveils limited-edition watch at Search for Extremes event

Bell & Ross celebrated the launch its new Watch Beyond campaign in Hong Kong with an exciting, multifaceted exhibition dubbed Search for Extremes. Attendees were among the first to lay eyes on the new limited-edition Burning Skull Bronze watch. We sat with Bell & Ross General Manager Mr. Fabien de Nonancourt to find out more.

What is the inspiration behind the “Search for Extremes” exhibition?

From the beginning, Bell & Ross created watches especially for military use. We were dedicated to manufacturing high-performance watches that could withstand intense pressures.

Drawing from that, we have launched the Search for Extremes exhibition. The exhibition is divided into three distinct categories: air, earth and sea. For air, we drew inspiration from fighter pilots. For earth we looked to extreme car racing such as Formula 1. For our newest category, sea, we were inspired by deep sea divers.

Tell us about the new watch model you are unveiling at the exhibition.

The new watch that we are unveiling is very special for two reasons. Firstly, we’ve taken two of our iconic Concept Skull pieces and merged them into one spectacular creation: the BR01 Burning Skull Bronze. Secondly and more importantly, this limited-edition timepiece will only be available in Hong Kong and China, nowhere else.

What are Bell & Ross’ plans for the future?

Firstly, we are looking to grow our footprint in Asia, which began with the launch of Bell & Ross subsidiaries across the continent.

We are also planning to expand into the luxury segment. Bell & Ross already has an impeccable record of Swiss watch making craftsmanship, so it’s a very logical next step.

What is your favourite Bell & Ross watch?

My favourite watch is the BRV2-94 Bellytanker, which I’m wearing right now. It’s part of a 500-piece limited edition model inspired by fighter planes from WWII. It perfectly represents Bell & Ross’ ability to blend its military heritage with cutting-edge modern design.

Thank you. 

Text: Tenzing Thondup
Images: Gigi Ip, Bell & Ross