Into the deep: 5 brilliant dive watches

These timepieces are works of both science and art, but would you risk taking them underwater?

February 22, 2015

At EDGAR we make no apologies for our love of dive watches. These engineering masterpieces are built to withstand the harshest conditions on earth, even if the closest most of them come to getting wet is a rare urban downpour.

However a serious dive watch needs to meet certain criteria. Being able to withstand 20 atm of pressure - which equals 200 metres in layman's terms - is a good start. If it looks stylish, classy and cool at the same time, then that's a bonus.

The ISO 6425 is a regulatory standard for dive watches. Not only does it require a watch to withstand the pressure at 200 metres under the sea, but also that it is suitable for underwater breathing apparatus. Timepieces meeting the ISO 6425 are marked with the word DIVER'S, distinguishing it from other watches that are more splash proof than scuba suitable.

Here is our pick of five top dive watches, and just incase you don't plan to go diving anytime soon, they are luxurious enough to wear on dry land too.

Cartier - Calibre De Cartier Diver Cartier diving watch. This dive watch was required to meet quite a challenge - to be both a performance-level sports watch and a dressy, elegant timepiece. It also features Cartier’s first in-house automatic movement, the 1904 MC and housed in a 11mm-deep case, it is one of the slimmest diver’s watches on the market.

The case itself is 42mm and available in steel or rose gold and is engraved with the words “Diver’s watch 300m”. There is a power reserve of 48 hours.

Jaeger-LeCoultre - Deep Sea Chronograph Cermet Jaeger-LeCoultre diving watch.

The look of the casing for this timepiece is directly inspired by the famous Memovox Deep Sea 1959, which was the first diving watch equipped with an alarm. It was intended to indicate the end of the diver's immersion time as set to the amount of oxygen left in the tank, which was useful at a time when dive equipment was very rudimentary.

This latest reiteration of the iconic model takes technology a step further with a 44mm reinforced cermet case, which is a mix of ceramic and metal that is lighter than titanium. It features an automatic mechanical movement, caliber JLC 758, with a power reserve of 65-hours and is water resistant to 100m.

Blancpain - X Fathoms Blancpain X Fathoms dive watch. The X Fathoms is the undisputed king of Blancpain dive watches and is inspired by the iconic Fifty Fathoms. Combining the pedigree of old with the technology of today, including a mechanical depth gauge, it is a high-performance mechanical diving watch, waterproof to 300m.

It features all of the following: a mechanical depth gauge, amorphous metal membrane, depth indication on two scales, maximum depth memory with secured reset pusher, retrograde five-minute counter, seconds, matte black dial, one-way rotating bezel, decompression valve, articulated rubber strap and a self-winding movement. Phew.

Girard-Perregaux - Sea Hawk Girard-Perregaux - Sea Hawk dive watch. A timepiece born in the 1940s, the latest edition of this iconic watch is embued with all the technology of the 21st century and the legacy of the maison established in 1791. It has an avant-garde, athletic and sophisticated design that leaves no room for compromise.

It is water resistant to 1,000m, much greater than the depths a human can safely dive to, and has a helium valve for decompression and a unidirectional anti-clockwise bezel for calculating dive time.

IWC - Aquatimer Chronograph Edition (main image) IWC diving watch. Last year the Swiss watch house completely overhauled its Aquatimer collection, with the most striking technical development of the new timepieces being the inclusion of internal and external rotating bezels with the SafeDive IWC system.

The 44mm stainless steel case is rubber coated and engraved with a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos. It features a mechanical chronograph movement caliber 89365 and is waterproof to 300m. Released in a limited edition of 300.