With well over a 100 new dive watches shown at SIHH and BASEL this year, there is no doubt that popularity in dive watches is on the increase, which is a good thing, creating greater choice and variety, but also potentially putting a huge strain on the wallets and bank accounts of collectors. Thank god I'm not a serious collector! I'd be broke just after last years releases alone.
It seems that the opportunity to cash in on this ever growing market has been too good to pass up by many. Amazing considering the current economical climate. If I was a dive watch manufacture I'd be looking at ways offering more affordable divers.
So with such glut of new models, did anything really stand out from the crowd this year, and what new divers are going to be making a big splash when they hit your local ADs?
For me the highlights of the two shows were: OMEGA's Ploprof 1200m, the launch of IWC’s new Aquatimer collection (including the Deep Two) and the release of the world's deepest mechanical dive watch the CX Swiss Military 20'000feet.
OMEGA Seamaster Ploprof 1200m: Re-release of 1970's classic.
New IWC Aquatimer collection: With a return to external bezels and a new mechanical depth gauge the Deep Two.
JLC MC Extreme W-Alarm Tides of Time: Actually even though this one doesn’t have an internal bezel as such, its compressor case qualifies it as a diver, well at least it does in my book anyway!
The Prototype #1 was auctioned online and sold for 19500USD. 100% of the proceeds went to the World Heritage project identified by UNESCO and the protected marine site of Tubbataha, in the Philippines, was chosen for the donation.
PAM00305: Panerai’s first diver to house its in-house caliber P9000.
CX Swiss Military 20’000feet: The current record holder for the mechanical wristwatch with highest depth rating.
© CX Swiss Military Watch
JLC MC Diving Chrono GMT Navy SEALs: With black bezel insert.
Linde Werdelin Oktopus 1,111m:
© Linde Werdelin
Tudor HYDRO 1200:
BREGUET Marine Royale 5847:
Pierre Kunz G021 Sport: An interesting piece shown at WPHH, with its detachable 80m depth gauge. Unfortunately, for me another one suffering from its dial choice.
© Pierre Kunz
As if most dive watches aren’t large enough already. Here are three giants from the shows:
PAM00341 Radiomir Egiziano: 60mm
Oris ProDiver: 51mm
Richard Mille RM025: 50.70mm
© Richard Mille
For me the disappointments were:
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Cal.5 500m:
© TAG Heuer
In my opinion, suffering from numerous design flaws; poor date wheel positioning, unattractive dial, unnecessary Cyclops. We can only hope that 2010 sees TAG returning to its former glory days when the Super Professional 1000m was one of the greatest 'tool' dive watches of its time.
Blancpain 500 Fathoms:
This one had all the makings of being a great dive watch; the 50 fathoms pedigree, an oversized 48mm titanium case, scorching lume and a 1000m depth rating. All let down by its dial.
Two divers that I’m still waiting for more info on are: Seiko SBDX011 AKA Darth Tuna (Auto) and the new Panerai Luminor Submersible 2500m (PAM00285).