The best dive watches for deep sea adventures and stylish desk diving

Watch expert Kristian Haagen takes a closer look at some of today's most sought-after dive watches from Cartier, Rolex, Patek Philippe, IWC and Tudor.

IWC's new Aquatimer 2000 can be used 2,000m beneath the sea - a watch that appeals to not only professional divers but also ambitious amateur ocean explorers.

By Kristian Haagen in Copenhagen, Denmark

Even if you only see the ocean beds from your TV screen, a dive watch is probably high on your horological wish list nonetheless. Here's a look at a handful of timepieces that could swim with dolphins but are equally well suited to stylish desk-diving.

Cartier Calibre Diver watch

You know Cartier. Very well, I'm sure. You probably bought a Love Bracelet for your special one and lost the key moons ago (not because you don't think this love will last forever but merely because…well, you lost it). 

Due to this cuffed proof of love, you might consider Cartier a somewhat feminine brand. But stop that. Right now! Instead look at this very cool Calibre De Cartier Diver, which is certainly a dive watch that deserves to sit on your hairy wrist. It may say Cartier on the dial, but this watch will still make you feel as manly as you do when downing a plethora of pints at The Lions Head and arm wrestling with your mates while honouring your local football team in a particular loud manner. 

And what's not to like? This 42mm ISO-certified dive watch can fight sharks at 300m below the surface and ticks with the highly acclaimed automatic in-house 1904 MC calibre, housed in a case of steel.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut watch

Ok, nobody has probably been testing the Patek Philippe Aquanaut as a hardcore dive watch, and I doubt Jacques Cousteau would wear it, if he were still alive and exploring The Silent World, one of his best underwater documentaries.

Cousteau aside, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut is one of the most luxurious sports watches on the market. And, on top of that, it is water resistant to 120m, which means that it can do its fair share of scuba diving if the owner wishes to see what life looks like beneath the gleaming hull of his mega-yacht. 

If the steel version is not luxurious enough for you, go for the stunning rose gold model, with its mouth-watering embossed chocolate-brown dial with applied gold indices and matching composite strap. 

IWC Aquatimer 2000 dive watch

IWC has a long tradition of supplying dive watches that work well on the deepest of submersions. One of the coolest ever created by the Swiss watchmaker was the titanium Ocean 2000, which was actually designed by Ferdinand Porsche in 1982 and produced by IWC. A match made in heaven - or rather on the bottom of the ocean. 

Today, IWC still produces a watch that can be used 2,000m beneath the sea, the Aquatimer 2000 - a watch that appeals to not only professional divers but also ambitious amateur ocean explorers. 

The new 46mm Aquatimer 2000 is made of titanium like its predecessor and ticks with an automatic in-house movement, calibre 80110. It also offers not only a new and innovative internal rotating bezel with SafeDive system but also a rather brilliant quick-change strap system, which makes it possible to change the look of your watch. That way you can, in a matter of seconds, switch from a rugged rubber strap to an elegant leather strap if the mermaids invite you over for dinner.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Marine Nationale dive watch

The past is important to Tudor, the sister brand to Rolex. And as Tudor has a history of military issue dive watches, it only seems fair that history is repeated in the shape of the newly launched Heritage Black Bay Marine Nationale watch.

Named after the French military divers who used Tudor's dive watch in the 1970s, this rather handsome watch offers an appealing blue bezel and not one but three strap alternatives: steel bracelet, leather strap and a black/blue textile strap.

Another good reason to buy this relaunched dive watch is because of the high prices the Tudor diver's watches from the 70s are sold for today. These original, military-issue Tudor watches are thin on the ground and increasing in value by every tick of the seconds' hand. If you come across a genuine Tudor MN (short for Marina Nationale), with impeccable provenance, then you are looking at paying at least £6,000, whereas the modern Black Bay will only set you back £2,200.

Vintage Rolex Submariner dive watch

Anybody can walk into a retailer and buy a new watch. You see it on the wrist of a Hollywood actor-slash model-slash sports personality in your favourite magazine, walk into one of many watch retailers on New Bond Street, point at the advert and return home with a brand new watch on your wrist a few minutes later. But how about spending a little time on the internet, surfing for that perfect vintage Rolex Submariner from your birth year, instead? Or the year your first child was born or you got married - or divorced for that matter?

Admittedly it will take you a lot longer than flipping through a magazine in your dentist's waiting room. But once you find that perfect watch, your heart will beat and your hands will tremble. And that is what buying a vintage watch should feel like. 

But is also quite a challenge to buy a vintage watch. It is of great importance that you make sure to "buy the seller and not the watch" (as collectors like to put it). There are many fake watches and faked-up aka Franken-watches on the market. But if you visit a reputable dealer, for example the Watch Club in The Royal Arcade on Bond Street, you will be certain that the Red Submariner, Double Red Sea-Dweller or Paul Newman Daytona you are looking at is 100 per cent kosher. 

Support our Work with a Contribution of any Amount

We need your help to keep The Jewellery Editor’s independence so that we can continue to offer quality writing that’s open to everyone around the world.

It means we can give a full and varied picture of the big, wide world of jewellery and watches whether it is on our website or social media channels.

Every contribution is hugely appreciated and key to ensuring our future.

Terms and conditions

Shop this article

Our shopping list