Diving watches have contributed a lot to the development of watchmaking technology. These watches have shown that mechanical technology can evolve rapidly in search of new solutions, adapted to extreme environments, such as the deep sea.
Today, diving watches are a category in themselves, many collectors focus on this type of device, either for its characteristics under water or for its style, that is why, from online shop, we want to review the history of dive watches and analyze the most iconic models.
Origin and history of diving watches
Underwater watches are completely tied to the development of self-contained underwater breathing devices. These air cylinders allowed reaching depths never seen before, and what began as a military training activity, became part of the leisure of many people.
However, this underwater activity had a dramatic consequence for the watches of the time, and that is that they not only leaked water into the interior due to their null sealing capabilities, but also the mechanisms were damaged due to the high pressures reached at the bottom. Marine.
The consequence was the development of diving watches. During the central decades of the last century, all kinds of improvements were developed that prevented water from reaching the interior of the case, in addition to protecting the mechanism from high pressure.
The rotating bezel, something completely normal today to measure time, was born with the underwater watch. This bezel allowed divers, beginning in the early 1950s, to accurately measure their dive times. Blancpain, Rolex and Zodiac were the three brands that launched luxury watches especially designed for diving, with a rotating bezel.
Another advance was adding materials with luminosity to facilitate legibility under water, Panerai was the first to add this type of detail.
Over time, new sealing techniques have been developed, which prevent the watch from being damaged during immersion.
The most iconic models for diving
Below we review the 5 watches that changed the history of underwater time measurement, and that you can still buy at the best price in our custom luxury watch store.
We have already talked about how Panerai changed the history of diving watches by adding luminescent materials, and it did so with this model that it initially developed for the Italian Army.
At that time, the Panerai headquarters was still in Italy, specifically in Florence, currently operating from Switzerland. The Panerai Radiomir was the first watch specifically made to measure time underwater, which is why it introduced high observation dials.
Today it is an icon, along with the Luminor model, the brand's best-seller and one of the most appreciated by classic watch collectors.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms
During the 1950s, the French navy needed a watch that could withstand deep dives. It was Blancpain who was in charge of developing a watch capable of withstanding high pressures and also tracking times without incorporating a chronograph, a mechanism that was put at risk when reaching special depths. , Blancpain's solution was to develop a rotating bezel, the first to be launched on the market.
This bezel made it possible to measure exact times, without the need to implement a complex chronograph movement, with a simple mechanical movement the immersion time could be checked, but this watch also incorporated a luminous dial like the Panerai model and a screw-down crown to protect the mechanism.
Rolex Sea Dweller
One of the most mythical Rolex models. It is a watch specially designed for diving, but with the typical image of Rolex.
In the 1960s, helium began to be used for long-term dives. The problem was that the helium penetrated the case, and when they returned to the surface, these atoms expanded and broke the glass of the watch. Rolex's solution was just great, it was a pressure relief valve on one side of the watch, as the pressure increased, the valve opened, releasing the helium.
Today it is not very useful, but at the time it was a revolution to protect its structure.
Omega revolutionized the diving watch market with the Seamaster. Rolex invented a helium escapement, Omega just made an impenetrable watch.
The first Ploprof, as it was popularly baptized, was designed specifically for diving, making any other use difficult, since it was very large and heavy. Initially it was designed to descend to 600 meters, however, it managed to withstand pressures of more than a kilometer.
Encouraged by the fashion for diving watches, Breitling launched the Superocean model in 1957. One of Breitling's main successes was to design a watch that, unlike the previous model, could be used as a daily watch, the result was the Superocean, a very stylish watch that has been overcoming changes in fashion.
Another of the milestones of this model was that it became functional at a depth of 2,000 meters, a record for the time.
The Superocean is constantly reinventing itself, in fact, it is currently available in various colors, but without losing the essence of the original model from 1957.
Luxury Dive Watches at Montres8
As we said, there are many collectors who are looking for the most mythical diving watches, both in contemporary models and in old models, at Watches Manufactory we know that these pieces are highly coveted, that is why we have an extensive catalog of diving watches of all sizes. If you want to know our complete collection come and visit us.
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