In today’s Under the Loupe, I’m diving into the TOP 5 Best Luxury Dive Watches currently on the market! From Rolex to Omega, Blancpain, Tudor, Breitling, and everything in between, these are the five of the BEST dive watches available on the market today, and why I think you should buy them.
Back to basics: What is a Dive Watch?
One of the most popular watch genres on the market today is dive watches. These are my top five dive watches you can and should buy right now.
Panerai Radiomir Dive Watch
Now, I’d be remiss if I made a list like this and I didn’t include one of my favorite brands, and that is Panerai. Panerai makes two dive watches that they’re really known for. The first being the Luminor and the second being the Radiomir.
My personal favorite is actually the Radiomir because it’s the original watch that Panerai supplied to the Italian Navy back in 1937. The name Radiomir actually comes from a patented loom substance that they made from radium, which is no longer used because it is highly radioactive and very cancerous.
Although they did stop producing watches with radium lume, they did pay homage to that patent by using the Radiomir name. Now, my personal favorites are the Radiomir watches with the wire lug cases because they are not unlike what Panerai would’ve originally made for the Italian Navy.
Original Radiomir watches would actually have been powered by a Rolex movement, which Rolex got from a third party called Cortebert. But nonetheless, there is an intertwined history between Panerai and Rolex.
Unbeknownst to many people, Panerai only sold watches to the broader general public successfully since 1993. Prior to this Panerai really sold watches out of their small boutique in Italy with very little success. Their increase in popularity in 1993 also coincides with their rerelease of the Luminor which is probably the most well-known and recognizable model line from Panerai.
In terms of collectibility, Panerai watches are divided into two different eras. The first being watches made from 1993 to 1997 and from 1997 and so on. From 1993 to 1997 was when Panerai was independently owned, and so they weren’t actually owned by the Richemont Group. Those watches are actually referred to by collectors as Pre Vendome watches. And they’re, without a doubt, some of the most collectible references from Panerai themselves.
After 1997, these watches are called Post Vendome. So those would be watches after the merger or after the acquisition from Vendome, which was actually part of the Richemont umbrella, but then ended up just becoming part of Richemont.
Now, there are a number of variations of both the Luminor and Radiomir that one could go after, and frankly, there’s not one pick I would say that isn’t correct, except for the ones that have no water resistance, which in my opinion, doesn’t make sense to have a dive watch without any water resistance.
But at the end of the day, any watch you choose from Panerai, you can rest assured that you’re getting a watch that is timeless, that is iconic, and that has donned the wrists of some of the biggest celebrities in the world today, and that has a design that is distinctly Panerai.
Omega Seamaster Professional Dive Watch
The second watch I feel definitely needs to be on this list is the Omega Seamaster Professional. Now, there are a number of different variations, but probably the most famous one is the one that donned the wrist of Pierce Brosnan when he played the role of James Bond.
That is known as the Seamaster Professional 300M and although the style has changed a little bit over time and materials have been upgraded, Omega has really remained faithful to that original design with the twisted lug case, H-link style bracelet, and of course, that wave dial.
There are also a number of other variations, namely the Heritage ones, that I feel are definitely worth your time and attention, specifically the ones that they released very recently with the sandwich-style dials. I think Omega really knocked it out of the park design-wise with these watches, and they’re a really great alternative if you don’t prefer the Seamaster 300M.
Overall, I think the Seamaster is a great watch because there are a ton of different variations similar to the Speedmaster. That also comes with a huge variation in price so you can ultimately get what I feel is one of the most iconic dive watches ever for really a steal of a deal, depending on the reference you ultimately get. Because of that variety, you can choose the one that you feel best suits your taste and personality.
Rolex Submariner Dive Watch
My third entrant to this list really needs no introduction because it’s the Rolex Submariner. Now, of course, if I were to assemble a list of dive watches, maybe the most iconic watch of all time needs to be on that list.
The Submariner’s a watch that’s been made by Rolex for over 50 years now and it’s certainly one of, if not, the most collectible watches on the market today and definitely one of the most recognizable.
There are a ton of variations, both in terms of case metal and colors that you can get. However, given the model’s popularity, the fact is that you simply can’t get them at retail. Authorized dealers have huge waitlists that you just can’t get on unless you buy a bunch of watches and jewelry you don’t really want.
Although this lack of availability is a shame, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all the amazing Neo-Vintage and Vintage references that people tend to overlook as they chase the latest and greatest models from Rolex.
At the end of the day, these watches have tremendous build quality and have a really different aesthetic to the more modern Rolexes that, in my opinion, really have a lot of similarities and all look somewhat alike. I think it’s a great way to get a distinct watch within the Submariner reference but that still has all the hallmarks and the classic iconic design of the Submariner reference.
So no matter what variant of the Submariner you get, be it in gold, be it in two-tone, or be it in steel, or be it in the different variations of color that it comes in, I think you can’t really go wrong because the Submariner is one of the most iconic watches of all time. It’s timeless, it’s classic and frankly, it’s a design that will outlive us all.
How Does The Rolex Waiting List Work? Can it Be Avoided?
TOP Affordable Alternatives to ROLEX WATCHES! (Daytona, Submariner, GMT…)
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Dive Watch
The fourth entrant in this list is the original dive watch, the first one to feature a rotating bezel with diving capabilities, and that is the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. It’s a watch that is extremely iconic because it was the first dive watch. But to a certain extent, I also do blame Blancpain for it not being as collectible as it should be.
Frankly speaking, these watches are a little bit garish, a little bit big and their most collectible ones are in 40 millimeters, namely the Barakuda versions and the MIL-SPEC variations that they did in super limited quantities, that regular collectors just can’t get ahold of without having to pay exorbitant premiums on the secondary market.
Ultimately, I feel it’s a real shame that Blancpain doesn’t serially produce those smaller watches that I feel are more mass appealing because the Fifty Fathoms design and the Fifty Fathoms as a model line is such an important watch to the history of watches.
Frankly, if it wasn’t for that, we wouldn’t have the Rolex Submariner, we wouldn’t have the Omega Seamaster and we wouldn’t have many dive watches that are beloved on the market today.
Now, if it does speak to you, I think what you get in the Fifty Fathoms is an iconic dive watch, one that certainly gets respect from every watch collector who knows what you’re wearing. There’s no question that this watch is one of the best dive watches, and certainly one of the best values because Blancpain as a brand is extremely overlooked and underrated. You get an amazing movement, an amazing design, and great history with this watch.
Breitling Superocean Dive Watch
The last watch to finish this list is the Breitling Superocean.
There are a couple of different variations, the Superocean Heritage, and the Superocean 42. The Superocean in all its variations sells for less than a modern Omega Seamaster Professional and I feel it really shouldn’t because it has all the hallmarks of a great dive watch including a great rotating bezel, a great design, and a great bracelet.
Overall, it’s a design that is very contemporary and because it comes in so many variations, you can buy a Breitling Superocean at a ton of different price points. And so that allows you not only to pick whichever one matches your personality or matches your watch collection best but also matches your budget.
See also: History of Breitling
So that concludes my top five list of luxury dive watches. Now, of course, this isn’t a perfect list and certainly not the end all be all. I think there are a number of great dive watch options, such as the Tudor Pelagos and Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight, among a number of different options. Which dive watch is your favorite?