Thread: Dive Watches
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      12-30-2013, 11:40 AM   #21
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tony20009's Avatar

Drives: BMW 335i - Coupe
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Washington, DC

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Just sharing my thoughts on a hypothetical approach to collecting a dive watches.

The problem with any the non-Rolex divers for me is that having a Sub, there's not much need to buy another top-tier dive watch unless one is just keen to collect top notch dive watches. Even were I going down the "dive watch collecting" route, I'd probably go "off the beaten path" and choose stuff like Clerc, UTS, Kobold, and Aquadive.

Putting on my curator's hat and thinking about building a dive watch collection, I'd first figure out whether I want my collection to tell the story of how dive watches evolved up to the present, or whether I want to tell the story of what dive watches as they exist today. The former takes a lot of research and a lot of money and a lot of patience because it requires buying pre-owned/vintage pieces. The latter is far easier and is more fun in most cases for the modern, casual collector.

Going down the easier route, and already having a Submariner, I'd suggest spending the same sum as one did on a Sub (~$8K is my assumption for the following) and picking up the following:

First round of purchases: ~$8k total budget -- suggestions are just what I'd choose as I write this. There are plenty of others I'd consider.
  • One professional-grade diver (~$2K - $4K) - Aquadive or UTS -- UTS is an interesting choice if one wants to make case design an significant sub-element of the collection's story.
  • One budget diver (~$500 ) - Orient Mako or Deep Blue (depending on how much you spent with the pro-grade diver above, you could probably buy two budget price divers. Squale is another one to consider here. If UTS above, probably just the Orient here.
  • One mid-price diver ~($1K - $3K) - Kobold, Omega, Squale, Tag, Oris, or Longines -- I might consider buying pre-owned here if the right watch came along, say, a Seamaster or Pelagos. If I went with Aquadive (which is what I'd do in this plan) above, I'd do Kobold here because it would be my only Euro-modern styled diver. If UTS abovve, I'd seek the lower end of this watch's budget so I could have money left for the next one.
  • Optional: One budget to mid-range priced dive chronograph -- this is where I"d probably go vintage or pre-owned to make the most of my money though there are lots of new watch options too. Luminox is one that comes to mind. Since a chrono is a complication, I'd want an inexpensive one first to see how I feel about them and to figure out what I like/don't like about them before I spent major coin on one. If I decide I like chronos, I'd want an inexpensive one to serve as a counterpoint to the pricey one I'd buy later. I can, of course, see good reason to start with a pricey one and buy the affordable one later, but that's not the approach I have structured here. I prefer this approach because, as a practical matter, if after buying the pricey one I don't feel it was worth it, I'll return it and be content with the inexpensive one I bought earlier.
Second round purchase: ~$8K total budget
  • - One manufacture diver - Damasko -- yet another visual aesthetic and splashes in German fine craftsmanship and does so at an excellent price point for a manufacture watch. Indeed, the Damasko is priced where the Submariner should be priced. If this approach didn't being with the existing Sub, this would have been the first watch purchase.
  • - One or more as allowed by total budget -- no specific criteria, but I'd probably go for the Charmex CX Swiss Military 20K feet diver ( or pre-owned Seamaster or Pelagos if I didn't get one of those earlier.
  • - Optional: One diver with a colorful/unusual dial and/strap-- yellow, red, green, etc - H2O, Red Sea or Mido. Red Sea or H2O offer nice counterpoints to the Aquadive. Mido has a nice blended counterpoint to the Seamaster and Submariner. Squale has a good option if one wants a budget counterpoint to the Submariner and didn't choose Squale above.
or, instead of the above several watches
  • One "top shelf" dive chrono -- Clerc Hydroscaph Limited Edition Central Chrono (case features include articulating lugs, lateral protectors, special crown-activated rotating bezel, and special chronograph triggers) This is a must have if the case story is going to be part of the collection's sub-elements.
  • One "top shelf" uncomplicated diver that is a direct peer to the Sub -- not many choices if staying manufacture: JLC Master Compressor, Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, Girard Perregaux Sea Hawk or Clerc Hydroscaph H1.
At this point, you just buy whatever "floats your boat" since, curatorially speaking, you have pretty well created a collection that covers the all the bases of what's out there in dive watches today:
  • pricey and affordable
  • super sporty looking to semi-dressy (no dive watch is ever truly a dress watch)
  • colorful, black and white dials
  • traditionally styled, modern styled, and in between styled
  • average, typical and maximum depth ratings
  • various approaches to lume ranging from typical to maximum
  • bracelet and strap options, link, mesh, and rubber
  • Chrono and uncomplicated
  • Swiss, German, Japanese and Chinese movements
  • case design and ergonomics ranging from basic, to well though out to as close as you can get to custom made for your wrist
Indeed, the only thing this collection doesn't have is a purely custom made dive watch.

All the best.

Red Sea

Orient Mako

Oris Pro Diver Date

Girard Perregaux Sea Hawk

Kobold Divers

UTS Dive Watches

Charmex Dive Watches



Longines, Glycine, Squale

Deep Blue


'07, e92 335i, Sparkling Graphite, Coral Leather, Aluminum, 6-speed