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When plunging into the deep, make sure your watch doesn’t disintegrate under the pressure by choosing one of these hardy, high-performance diver’s watches

Words by Timothy Barber   Photography by Diver & Aguilar
Rolex
Submariner Date
On its introduction 60 years ago, the Submariner represented the front line in scuba-diving technology, being the first watch that could withstand pressures 100 metres down. It would become not just the quintessential tough diving watch – as famously sported by Royal Navy divers and Sean Connery’s James Bond – but arguably the most influential watch design of all, the stylistic elements of which remain unchanged to this day. This white gold version sees the original steel tool evolve into an object of serious luxury, but one that, with its resilient Cerachrom bezel and 300-metre depth capability, retains the functional hallmarks that made the Sub a classic.
Price: £24,700

Oris
Aquis Depth Gauge
It surely doesn’t seem a good idea to design a watch with a hole in the sapphire crystal, particularly one that’s intended to plumb the depths. But in this case, Oris has come up with something rather ingenious. Water flows in through the tiny semi-circular hole at 12 o’clock, compressing a channel of air within. The deeper you go, the more the air is compressed – look up Boyle’s Law to find out why – producing an accurate depth reading. Thus, a technically brilliant and handsome watch that will tell you your depth as well as the time, and is also water resistant to 500 metres.
Price: £2,100

Panerai
Luminor Submersible 1950
3 Days Automatic Titanio

There’s something pleasingly old-fashioned in the sturdy design of Panerai’s Luminor Submersible watches, with the riveted porthole of the oversize bezel evoking the look and feel of old-school diving equipment. But this is a thoroughly modern diving watch in every way. For a start, there’s the case made in titanium – a lightweight metal that’s also corrosion-resistant and as strong as steel. Then there’s the P.9000 movement, Panerai’s in-house automatic beauty that’s visible through the case back, and delivers a three-day power reserve. Water-resistant to 300 metres, this 47mm leviathan is a redoubtable slice of Italian cool.
Price: £6,800

Breitling
‘Total Blue’ SuperOcean 42 Limited Edition

Blue is the colour of the moment in watches. Switzerland has produced a multitude of blue dials, blue bezels and blue straps this year – and in this case, a watch with all three. It’s particularly appropriate for a timepiece made for diving into the Big Blue. Though perhaps better known as an aviation brand, Breitling produced its first SuperOcean diver in 1957, and the modern variants follow the same principles of sturdiness, high-visibility and an ultra-sporty feel. The ‘Total Blue’ version of the SuperOcean 42 has a unidirectional rotating bezel, an automatic, COSC-certified movement and a depth capability of 1,500 metres. Limited to 2,000 pieces.
Price: £2,450
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