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DIVE INTO STYLE
When it comes to diver watches, the Sun Wukong Artist Edition of the Oris Aquis costs ten times as much as other watches in the range, thanks to its hand-painted cloisonné enamel dial depicting an underwater scene inspired by Chinese animated film The Monkey King. And while it boasts water resistance up to 300m below the ocean’s surface, the lack of indices on the dial mean it would not pass the required ISO 6425 standards for a diver’s watch. Still, it is beautiful.
Anything from the Italian brand Panerai which has been aligned with Italian naval pursuits since the 1900s is sure to be an elevated, and curated purchase, and its elegance does not disappoint. At 300m water resistance, you are assured of the Panerai Submersible 42mm’s technical soundness too. Fitted with the OP XXXIV Manufacture calibre, an automatic movement with a power reserve of three days, the basic standard of the House’s movements, the Panerai Submersible’s foundations are solid and strong, synonymous with diving or underwater activities. This Diver Watch is the total encapsulation of Italian elegance, and expresses the power and personality afforded by Panerai. The impressive size and technical capabilities will leave you enthralled.
Now, to the perfect marriage of elegance, luxury, and beauty, a Breguet. The eye will marvel at its chicness, but it is not solely celebrated for its pretty face. The Marine Hora Mundi 557 has taken three years to develop and has been awarded four patents and features a critical asset: an instant-change dual-time display. Marvel at the 100m water resistance capability, and the confluence of superimposed plates and curated materials. The first base is crafted in gold, with hand-guilloché waves which lap against the continents. An additional plate made of sapphires is striking; the Marine Hora Mundi 557 captures the ideal of escapism we all desire. Nothing could seem more elegant, or classic than wearing a Breguet in the Mediterranean sun whilst perusing on a yacht. A match, one might say, made in heaven.
The brand that gave birth to the world’s first modern dive watch is a grand claim, but one that Blancpain can uphold. The Rolex Submariner is often ubiquitous as the grandfather of all submersible timepieces, but this claim is alas, wrong. The story of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is an interesting one and begins after WWII. The French’s answer to the Englishman ‘James Bond’ (in fact, a French spy who worked for Churchill) chastised the fact that he and his compatriots in the Le Royale (French Navy) were without a timepiece which could handle their underwater missions. Cue, Jean-Jacques Fiechter, CEO of Blancpain and a keen diver himself. The pair met, and, by 1953 the first iteration, the Fifty Fathoms was available to the public. It was the first timepiece to be fixed with an external uni-directional rotating bezel, used to measure how time had lapsed since submerging, and thus ensuring the divers did not run out of oxygen, and the first to utilise the automatic movement. Over fifty years on, and the original namesake ‘Fifty Fathoms’ still stands, but various adjustments have been added over the years. Apertures now show the day of the week, date, and month in the new in-house automatic caliber, visible through the open caseback.
For a truly radical diver’s watch, which will certainly make for a talking point in and out of the water, there is the work of François Moreau. His Reservoir brand offers a subversive take on timekeeping and the Hydrosphere, which can be used at depths of up to 250m, is its alternative diver’s watch.
The Hydrosphere’s point of difference is a dial with a single hand, inspired by scuba diving pressure gauges. The jumping hour is displayed beneath a bubble of magnifying glass, while minutes are tracked by the retrograde hand, and an operation indicator, in the form of a searchlight-like fan of lines, ticks round with every second to reassure the diver that the watch is in good working order. The unidirectional bezel measures dive time and can also be used to release helium should the watch need to be decompressed on deep dives.
“We wanted to create a devastatingly charming watch but with no compromise as a diving tool,” says Moreau, perfectly summing up this new school of diving watches that must execute excellence at sea and sartorial savvy on land.