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Inspiration

Land, Air and Sea – Watches for Divers, Pilots and Explorers

By Amanda Evans | 6 minute read

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The relationship between the craft of watchmaking and the pursuits of aviation, diving, and the quest to explore our world and beyond have existed since the 1920’s. Being that they all have precision, performance and strength at their core, this should come as no surprise that the industries became so entwined.

Rolex was the first to launch a waterproof watch to the global market in 1926. The Rolex Oyster came under much scrutinization as the world looked on and marvelled at the victory of the waterproof watch. OMEGA followed suit in the 1930’s with the launch of the OMEGA Marine and this cemented the start of the quest for further luxury watch houses to pursue the manufacture of the best of the best in diver’s watches.

The history of aviation is also decorated with timepieces as engineering excellence inspired the need for instruments that measured time with precision and performance an absolute prerequisite. Pocket watches first took to the skies in the early twentieth century and the wristwatch for pilots was pioneered after pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont recognised the impracticality of the pocket watch, inspiring Cartier to create the first pilot watch, the Cartier-Santos in 1904. When computers in the cockpits were unheard of, the pilot’s watch was the essential tool for measuring flight distance and fuel consumption and was the co-pilot for safety in the skies. IWC was an early pioneer of the pilot’s watch in the 1930s and 1940s, with its clearly structured, and luminescent dials resembling cockpit instruments that would meet the strict requirements of aviators. The birth of the Breitling Navitimer in the 1950s also provided pilots with a wrist-worn instrument that would perform all necessary flight calculations, including average speed, distance travelled and fuel consumption and was an instant success. The pilot’s watch has continued to evolve, and its stylish aesthetic and vintage charm has harnessed advances in technology to become one of the most sought-after genres of watch

Designed predominantly to support the military in World Wars, luxury watch brands have branched out to support all kinds of intrepid explorers who seek a robust and precise instrument to support their journey. Whether it be to the moon, across continents or in extreme weather conditions, there is a robust and fastidious timepiece to assist the fearless pursuits of explorers on land, sea, and air. Discover some of our buyer’s highlights below to support you on your next adventure.

Ulysse Nardin Diver X 44 Limited Edition

A timepiece for conquering the Everest of the seas

Instantly recognizable with the “X” on the face, the Diver X Nemo Point is limited to just 300 pieces. Equipped with the UN-118 movement which guarantees accuracy in any hemisphere, day or night, and named after the location, Nemo Point, the location in the ocean furthest from land. The 44mm titanium case is individually numbered and features the geographical coordinates of Nemo Point and the route of the Vendée Globe race on the case back. Presented on a blue fabric strap, this innovative timepiece is water resistant to an incredible 300 metres.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe

An icon of the underworld

Originally launched back in the 1950s and widely recognised as the first modern diver's watch, the Fifty Fathoms collection is renowned for its practical features, designed with the professional diver in mind. With broad luminescent hour-markers and hands which present a striking contrast against the ebony-black dial, it is housed within a co-ordinating ceramic case and unidirectional rotating bezel. A date window features between 4 and 5 o’clock and a black sail-canvas strap adds to the nautical features of this sophisticated divers watch that exudes timeless elegance.

IWC Pilot’s Chronograph

Precision technology for every adventure

IWC are celebrated for their collection of Pilot’s Watches which have included chronographs since 1994. They have a distinctive appearance emphasised by a dial layout inspired by cockpit instruments within aircraft, with their simplistic displays designed for ultimate clarity and striking luminescent hands and numerals for enhanced visibility. The 41mm stainless steel case features a stunning blue dial and houses a robust chronograph movement which can be viewed through the transparent caseback. Available on either a calfskin, stainless steel, or rubber strap in a variety of colours, and with the integrated EasX-CHANGE system that allows the strap to be changed in no time at all, this highly versatile chronograph is the perfect companion for every adventure.

OMEGA Seamaster 300 Co-Axial Master Chronometer

Extraordinary precision and performance

60 years after the first Seamaster 300 was introduced in 1957, this infamous collection has evolved and updated to embrace new materials and technology whilst retaining its original DNA. This 41mm stainless steel model features a black dial and black oxalic anodized aluminium bezel with a diving scale filled with vintage Super-LumiNova. The sandwich style dial is one of the main differences between the new and previous Seamaster 300. Comprised of two plates, the first is applied with Super-LumiNova and the top plate has intricate cut-outs for the numerals and indexes. The rhodium-plated hands, hour markers and open numerals also feature Super-LumiNova, and the seconds hand sees a return of the “Lollipop” style hand, a signature Seamaster style used as far back as 1959. Presented on a new and improved stainless-steel bracelet with polished outer links and brushed inner links, and featuring a transparent caseback which reveals the OMEGA Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8912.

Montblanc 1858 Geosphere

A tribute to the heroes of mountain climbing

Crafted for those with a quest for exploration who require a professional-grade, innovative timepiece. The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere has a distinct dial that highlights the seven summits of the world with blue dots on the 2 turning globes that represent the north and south hemispheres. The globes turn in opposite directions and complete a full rotation in 24 hours. Surrounded by the 24 time zones with day and night display, aided by SuperLumiNova®. Housed within a stunning 42mm Titanium case with scratch-resistant Sapphire crystal glass, this superb timepiece presents a firm appreciation of the time zones in a detailed and robust creation.

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300

The ultimate everyday diving watch

The TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 sets high standards in performance and is the ultimate everyday diving watch. The 43mm steel case with black sunray brushed dial and octagonal indexes is complemented by a striking black octagonal, unidirectional ceramic bezel. Beautifully crafted with both ergonomics and attention to detail, the sleek profile of this timepiece ensures maximum comfort when diving, and the large hands with Super-LumiNova® enhance visibility in depths of up to 300 metres. With both performance and style as core features, this timepiece is the perfect dive companion.

Longines Spirit

Harnessing history and innovation

With a heritage in accompanying legendary pioneers on their land, air and sea pursuits, the Longines Spirit collection is a tribute to the great men and women who have displayed great courage and a pioneering spirit in their voyages of exploration, ultimately making their mark in history. This model has a 42mm stainless steel case with elegant Sunray blue dial. It features applied Arabic numerals and silver sandblasted hands with Super-LumiNova® and screw in crown, with a water-resistance to 100 metres. Presented on a blue leather strap with buckle, this stunning chronometer, certified by the COSC, combines references to the glory days of aviation combined with technology and modern-day aesthetics to create a beautifully contemporary timepiece that elevates the brand’s winged hourglass into an emblem of sophisticated expertise.

ORIS Aquis Depth Gauge

Excelling in performance when it really matters

A distinctive high-performance divers watch known affectionally as ‘the watch with a hole’. Using the scientific principles of the Boyle-Mariotte Law, this patented system allows water through a hole cut into the sapphire crystal at 12 o’clock and into a channel milled around the outer edge of the crystal. The watermark that this creates corresponds to the yellow gauge clearly indicated on the dial, enabling divers to clearly measure depth. Accuracy and legibility are second to none, and the metres-to-feet conversion chart on the case back further enhances the reliability during the diver experience. Water resistant to an incredible 500 metres and presented on Oris’s Quick Strap Change system, the wearer can choose between the stainless-steel bracelet or rubber strap according to preference.

Explore more watches for land, air, and sea pursuits here at Watches of Switzerland.

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