It’s an old story: boy meets dive watch, boy gets dive watch, boy gets a lot of snarky flak from people who ask him why he wears a dive watch when the deepest body of water he ever gets into comes in a porcelain tub, with spigots marked “Hot” and “Cold”. Oh, ye of little imagination, we say at REVOLUTION — the dive watch, it is true, is nominally a tool for those brave few who dare to tempt Poseidon’s wrath on his home turf, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t enjoy wearing a watch that’s extra tough, extra bold, and that makes us feel we can take whatever the topside world can dish out.
Case in point: the Big Apple, home of this issue’s “Smart Money” spread. I like New York in June (how about you?), but let’s face it, there’s a reason New Yorkers, by tradition, flee the city by the time the Dog Days settle in. Those of us who spend August on these mean streets know that everything from the spray of a fire hydrant to a sudden cloudburst, to one’s own slickly damp integument is evidence of a fact of New York summer life: if it’s hot, you’re gonna get wet. Add to that the bashing a watch takes flagging cabs, holding elevator doors and knocking back a cold after-work double Vesper martini (maybe in the company of some lissome thing who can stand in for Marilyn’s turn in Some Like It Hot), and you’ve got hydrological, physical and, in the case of your hypothesized femme fatale at the bar, possibly ethical challenges that could test the mettle (and metal) of any dive watch.
And, lest we forget, as always in our Smart Money pages, these watches are as guaranteed not to break the bank — despite their tough build, rugged good looks and roguish charm — as they are to not collapse under pressure. Though we set our customary US$10,000 ceiling for inclusion, most of the watches you’ll see here are well under that (in fact, every watch shown is under US$7,000, amazingly enough). Just our way of remembering that, for the Smart Money watch fan, there is, as always, unexpected bang for the buck to be found.
LONGINES LEGEND DIVER
It’s 180 years old this year, but Longines has always been up to date — even when reimagining its past. The original version of the Longines Legend Diver watch hails from the 1960s, and like it, the Legend sports a two-crown design reflecting one of the era’s alternatives to a conventional external bezel: an internal rotating bezel, controlled by a second crown, to avoid accidental shifting during critical timing events. The vintage version’s Plexiglas crystal is updated with scratch-resistant synthetic sapphire, but in virtually all other respects, it’s a faithful and exciting reprise of the original.
42mm stainless-steel case with internal rotating timing bezel; water resistant to 300m; caliber L633 self-winding movement; black synthetic waterproof strap
Turquoise cocktail dress and red heels, both
Oscar de la Renta
CUERVO Y SOBRINOS ROBUSTO BUCEADOR
Latin style, Swiss precision: Cuervo y Sobrinos shakes up the sober world of watchmaking with dare-to-be-different designs that give watchmaking’s classics a new twist without losing touch with rock-solid precision. Case in point: the Robusto Buceador dive watch, seen here doing what it does best — stopping traffic. The dual-crown, inner-rotating-bezel design is a shout-out to classic dive-watch design, but the bold styling’s thoroughly contemporary.
43mm stainless-steel case with internal rotating timing bezel; water resistant to 200m; ETA 2824-2 self-winding movement; proprietary strap, guaranteed not to stain, fade or scratch
Diamond bracelet is custom-made
TUTIMA DI 300
If you’re a dive-watch fan, you’ll appreciate the irony of our showing a dive watch to wear while cracking an oyster. No offense intended to the maker of those honorable timepieces, but there are other fish in the sea — Tutima’s utterly pragmatic, unflinchingly instrumental DI 300 hews so uncompromisingly to pure functionality as to transcend it and achieve its own inimitable style.
43.8mm titanium case with unidirectional titanium timing
bezel; water resistant to 300m; ETA 2836-2 self-winding movement; adjustable titanium bracelet with diver’s extension
Black velvet tuxedo and white shirt, both Gucci
ALPINA EXTREME DIVER
Our hard-shelled friend never had a chance, because the briny deep’s no refuge from the Alpina Diver. Like many of our favorites (and yours) there’s a retro anchor holding down the design, with its cushion case and clean, white-on-black instrument dial; on its black rubber strap (shown) it’s dive ready but dashing — just the thing if you’re likelier to be fishing prey from a restaurant holding tank than under a rock.
44mm stainless-steel cushion case with display back; water resistant to 300m; caliber AL-525 self-winding movement; black rubber strap (also available on steel or steel-mesh bracelet)
BALL ENGINEER MASTER II DIVER FREEFALL AND BALL ENGINEER HYDROCARBON DEEPQUEST
If you know watches, you’ve heard of Ball — the company’s history taps into the roots of American railroading; they started as a high-precision maker of “railroad-grade” chronometers. In its current incarnation, Ball rules the night, with its tritium-gas-filled tubes that need no outside source to charge them (they’re so bright, Ball customers report being asked to “turn that watch off”).
The Engineer Hydrocarbon DeepQUEST (on her) is simply
one of the most pressure-resistant watches in the world
(and from the way her escort’s flourishing that martini garnish, she’ll need it), rated to an astounding 3,000m (9,843 ft).
The massive 5.3mm-thick sapphire crystal says “look, but
Hope springs eternal, though, and he’s ready to go the distance in his Engineer Master II Diver FreeFall, engineered in partnership with record-breaking free-diver Guillaume Néry. Free-divers compete to reach ever-greater depths without scuba gear, and the most basic rule is that for your dive to count, you have to not die performing it. The Engineer Master II Diver FreeFall testifies to the life-or-death importance of split-second timing during this most dangerous sport, and like the DeepQUEST, rocks Ball’s gas-filled light-tube technology.
Under crushing fathoms of water, or over a pair of perfectly chilled martinis, we think you’ll be shaken and stirred.
(Ball Engineer Master II Diver FreeFall)
43.8mm stainless-steel case; water resistant to 300m; shock resistant to 5,000Gs; antimagnetic to 4,800A/m; one-way inner rotating bezel; ETA 7750 self-winding movement; rubber strap (also available on a stainless-steel bracelet)
(Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon DeepQUEST)
43mm titanium case; water resistant to 3,000m (which exceeds the crush depth of most submarines); shock resistant to 7,500Gs (he’s in trouble); antimagnetic to 4,800A/m; ETA 2892 self-winding movement; automatic helium release valve (when she’s not in Gucci, she’s saturation diving); titanium and stainless-steel bracelet with diver’s extension (also available on rubber strap)
Pink shirt, Yves Saint Laurent
Black cocktail dress with gold bar, Gucci