December 9, 2022

Last week’s article on the most iconic chronographs definitely sparked a lively discussion among our readers. Thus, we decided to continue in the same vein this week with a list of the most iconic dive watches. Lists are always good fun to create because they’re a great way to get an overview of what’s out there. So what are the most iconic dive watches that should be part of your collection one day? We’ve compiled a list of eight pieces that we think fit the bill.

Just like with iconic chronographs, there is a number of essential dive watches that immediately come to mind. But, to be honest, it’s not a large number. In other words, after listing a couple of watches, we could have a lively debate about whether anything else has had a great impact on the world of watches as we know it today. Nevertheless, there are plenty of eligible candidates for this list. The eight that we’ve chosen are ones that we feel have played a significant role in the development of the dive-watch genre. The only rule for this list is that the watches should currently be in production. Other than that, there are no restrictions. So let’s not waste any more time and jump straight into it.

Rolex Submariner

When most of us envision a dive watch, the first one that pops into our heads is the Rolex Submariner. What I love most about the Submariner is that Rolex has always managed to maintain that connection to the first Submariner ref. 6204 from 1953. Additionally, in comparison to other Rolex models, the switch to ceramic bezels impacted the modern Submariners the least in retaining that indisputable connection to the past. The current two Submariners sparked a “revolution” as Rolex changed the 300m water-resistant case from 40mm to 41mm back in 2020. Other than that, the Submariner ref. 124060 and Submariner Date ref. 126610LN saw a return to a more elegant case shape with slimmer lugs and an updated movement. The list price of the no-date version is €8,500, and the date version is €9,600. However, these days, you will have to spend a little less than double that if you can’t get one through an AD.

Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300M

An immediate second choice for this list is the Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300M. But when it comes to Omega, we could have also picked the current Seamaster 300, which clearly traces its roots back to the first Seamaster 300 from 1957. But the Seamaster Professional Diver 300M has been the brand’s most popular dive watch ever since it debuted in 1993. The watch got its big break in 1995 when it graced the wrist of Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in GoldenEye. The current Seamaster Professional Diver 300M collection was introduced in 2018 and celebrated the model’s 25th anniversary. The 42mm Diver 300M comes in a wide selection of color configurations, is water-resistant to 300 meters, and features the much-debated helium escape valve. It is also powered by the automatic Master Chronometer caliber 8800. While the most iconic version will always be the one with the blue dial, my pick is the green-dial version that came out earlier this year. Both can be yours for €6,100, which gets you one of the most iconic divers out there.

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Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms

With the Fifty Fathoms, Blancpain introduced the aesthetic of the dive watch as we have come to know it. As such, the watch that was produced for the French Navy has become a cult favorite among watch collectors. In the current Blancpain collection, you will find different Fifty Fathoms iterations based on the debut model from 1953. The first is the Fifty Fathoms Automatique, and there is the Fifty Fathoms Grande Date that sport the same looks. But both also feature a large 45mm case. If you want a more wearable version of the classic Fifty Fathoms, you will have to focus on one of the limited editions based on the classics from the past. My favorites are the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda and the Fifty Fathoms No Rad you see pictured above. Both are powered by the brand’s modern caliber 1151 and have a far more wearable 40.3mm case that is water-resistant to 300 meters. It’s these limited editions that preserve the true spirit of the legendary Fifty Fathoms.

PAM01226 Panerai Submersible

Panerai Submersible

Another no-brainer for this list is Panerai. But should you go for the Radiomir, the Luminor, or perhaps the Submersible? While the Luminor and the Radiomir are the classics that shaped the brand as we know it, I think the current Submersible is the most relevant line of watches for the brand. On top of that, it still has a very distinct aesthetic that is unmistakably Panerai. The current Submersible collection consists of a wide variety of models, ranging from the smallest at 42mm to the biggest at a whopping 47mm. Our favorite, which hits the sweet spot, is the Submersible QuarantaQuattro. It has the very recognizable 44mm Submersible case that is water-resistant to 300 meters, and it comes with either a black or a white dial. For me, the white-dial PAM01226 that Robert-Jan reviewed looks especially tempting. It is powered by the brand’s caliber P.900 with 72 hours of power reserve. The Submersible QuarantaQuattro can be yours for €9,700.

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Doxa Sub 300 Aquamarine dive watches

Doxa SUB 300

The Doxa SUB 300 has become a legend among watch fans since its introduction in 1967. With its remarkable looks and the name of the legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau connected to it, the watch is truly an icon in the industry. More than five decades after its introduction, the SUB 300 is still a standout timepiece amongst other dive watches. The case shape, the small dial, and the color options are all features that make the SUB 300 the special watch that it is. It comes with a 42.5mm stainless steel case, a no-decompression bezel, and a 28mm dial. The case is water resistant to 300 meters. Inside that case, Doxa uses the COSC-certified version of the Sellita SW200-1, which has 26 jewels and 38 hours of power reserve. The version with the rubber strap is CHF 2,450, and on the bracelet, it comes in at CHF 2,490.

dive watches

Seiko Prospex Marinemaster 300

What is the right dive watch from Seiko for this list? The answer to that is personal for everybody. But looking back at the brand’s most significant divers, the 62MAS as the first and the duo of the 6159-7000/1 and the 6215-7000 as the brand’s professional divers come to mind. While the current Seiko Prospex SPB143 is a great, modern version of the 62MAS, I personally favor the Prospex Marinemaster 300 as a modern version of Seiko’s first professional dive watches. Seiko currently offers the SLA021J1 in black and the SLA023J1 in blue. The Marinemaster 300 features a substantial 44.3mm case that is 15.4mm thick, 50mm from lug to lug, and water-resistant to 300 meters. The watch comes equipped with Seiko’s caliber 8L35, which offers a power reserve of approximately 50 hours. In my book, the Marinemaster 300 is still the best of the premium Seiko divers and one worthy of its €3,200 price tag.

Breitling SuperOcean 46 1 dive watches

Breitling Superocean

Another watch that has to be part of this list is the Breitling Superocean. The question is, should you go for the Superocean Heritage ’57 that links back to the original model from the 1950s? Or should you pick one from the recently introduced Superocean collection? While I definitely prefer the Superocean Heritage ’57, the new Superocean probably has a larger overall appeal. As Mike explained, the new Superocean collection is based on a classic Superocean from the past that stays away from the archetypical looks of the Submariner. The new collection features 36, 42, 44, and 46mm options. The 42mm option will hit the sweet spot for many fans. It is water-resistant to 300 meters and comes in comes with a black dial and black bezel, a dark blue dial and dark blue bezel, or a silver dial and dark blue bezel. Inside you will find the COSC-certified Breitling Caliber 17 based on a Sellita SW200. The Superocean Automatic 42 is available for €4,400 on rubber and €4,600 on steel.

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Longines Legend Diver Bronze dive watches

Longines Legend Diver

The last pick for this list of iconic dive watches is the Longines Legend Diver. This iconic Longines model came out in 2007 with looks dating back to the 1959 Longines Super Compressor. It features two screw-down crowns on the right side of the case, one for setting the time and the other one for turning the internal dive bezel. Other distinct features are the dial design and the instantly recognizable handset that give the watch its standout looks. Longines offers the Legend Diver in 36mm and 42mm cases with the latter offering a great variety of fantastic dial colors. The gradient dial finish offers a great touch of class to what is essentially a tool watch. Inside the 300m water-resistant case, Longines uses the L888(.5) movement. It is based on the ETA caliber A31.L11 and provides 42 hours of power reserve. For €2,420, the watch comes with either a leather or fabric strap or a mesh bracelet. It makes the Longines Legend Diver the most affordable of all the dive watches on this list, but a charming one at that.

Final thoughts

There you have it — a list of the eight most iconic dive watches that we feel should be part of your collection at some point. But I say this with a smile, of course, because there are plenty of classics out there that could have been part of this list. I certainly realize that this list is by no means complete. Should the Omega Ploprof be on here? Or maybe the Tudor Pelagos? Depending on your preferences as an enthusiast/collector, there are several watches that could have made the cut. That’s why I pass the question to you…

What is your favorite dive watch ever? Let us know in the comments section, and tell us the reasons why!