Of all the sub-categories that fall under the sport watch umbrella — timepieces designed for pilots, race car drivers, yachtsmen, explorers, golfers, etc. — dive watches are far and away the most popular.
One theory as to why holds that these water-resistant timepieces are virtually guaranteed to function reliably under adverse conditions. But we’re partial to another explanation, made clear by the seven dive watches featured below, all new for 2021. Not only are these luxe timekeepers at once elegant and robust, they offer the perfect vicarious thrill, whether you’re an underwater explorer or simply dream of becoming one in your next life.
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Tokyo 2020 Edition
Introduced in April, 100 days out from the start of the Tokyo Olympics, the Seamaster Diver 300M Tokyo 2020 edition from Omega, the official timekeeper of the games, evokes a parallel universe in which the Olympics really did take place last summer (check out the emblem on the caseback). Add the fact that the 42 mm stainless steel timepiece is equipped with a snazzy blue ceramic bezel (not to mention the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8800), and the model’s collectability is all but guaranteed. $5,600, omegawatches.com
Panerai Luminor Marina 44mm − Guillaume Néry Edition
Named for the French free diver Guillaume Néry, a Panerai ambassador, the new Luminor Marina (PAM01122) is a dive watch like no other. Housed in a 44 mm titanium case produced by an advanced 3-D printing process, the model features rubberized coating on the bezel, crown and bridge lever; accentuated convex glass on the dial; and a recycled PET strap, a mark of Panerai’s commitment to sustainability. The limited edition of 70 pieces carries a 70-year warranty. $18,900, panerai.com
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Limited Edition
The pièce de resistance in TAG Heuer’s newly redesigned Aquaracer Professional 300 collection of streamlined dive watches is this 43 mm titanium limited edition, which takes its cues from Ref. 844, the watchmaker’s first dive watch released in 1978. Powered by the automatic Calibre 5, the Tribute to Heuer 844 will be available in September. Naturally, it’s limited to 844 pieces. $4,350, tagheuer.com
Ulysse Nardin Diver X Skeleton
Ulysse Nardin marries elements from two of its defining collections, the Diver and the Executive Skeleton, in the new, aptly named Diver X Skeleton. On one hand, the model is a sporty dive watch: Its 44 mm titanium case comes on a rubber strap in a hue the brand describes as “supercharged orange.” And its UN-372 Manufacture movement, water-resistant to 200 meters, is built to take a beating. On the other, the technical expertise required to create its skeletonized face (the hour markers are “secretly connected to the dial, so they appear to be floating,” according to the brand) is something you might expect from a dress watch. The combo offers the best of both worlds. $22,200, ulysse-nardin.com
Bremont Supermarine Type 300 S302
At 40 mm in size, the S302, like all of the professional dive watches in Bremont’s Supermarine Type 300 range, is slightly smaller than its bulkier cohorts. It’s also more vintage-looking, borrowing an aesthetic from its predecessor, the S301, but with the added bonus of GMT functionality, expressed by the burnt orange GMT hand and the 24-hour markers seen around the model’s dial ring. The new Sahara Vintage leather strap paired with the black dial completes the model’s refined yet retro look. $4,195, bremont.com
Tudor Black Bay Ceramic
Tudor’s new Black Bay Ceramic boasts not one, but two highly regarded certifications: The model’s Manufacture Calibre MT5602-1U is certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) and the watch comes with a Master Chronometer certification from METAS, meaning it’s able to function within a 5-second range of variation each day (0 +5), as opposed to COSC’s slightly less stringent standards (-4 +6). Technical attributes aside, the 41 mm model is a study in stealthy good looks. Encased in sleek matte black ceramic, it bears sand-blasted surfaces with sharp, beveled edges and a striking mirror-polished façade. The piece comes on a hybrid leather and rubber strap (black, natch), as well as a complimentary black fabric strap with a cream band. $4,725, tudorwatches.com
Bell & Ross 03-92 Diver Military
In keeping with its reputation for creating instruments for practical use, Bell & Ross just introduced a super functional, military-grade dive watch, the new BR 03-92 Diver Military, made entirely from lightweight, virtually unscratchable ceramic. The piece meets the requirements defined by international standard ISO 6425—and has all the essential qualities of a dive watch: water resistance, legibility and reliability. Last but not least, the model’s perfectly on-trend olive dial, designed to emulate the camouflaged uniforms of the enlisted men who might use it, boasts a photo-luminescent coating that makes it easy to read the time, day or night. It is available in a limited edition of 999 pieces. $4,500, bellross.com