One could argue that Divers watches are the most popular type of wristwatch ever created. They’ve been around for a long time, with models available from the ’50s right up to the present day. Divers will often use these watches as cufflinks, necklace pendants, and even wedding bands due to the variety of designs available.
Our topic today is the development in the design of divers’ watches throughout history.
Blancpain introduced the Fifty Fathoms, a watch made specifically for scuba divers, in 1949. The watch was made so that its wearer could always know the time and their exact depth while diving. But despite their round cases, the first so-called “divers” watches were not actually water-resistant; they just looked like they were.
This style remained popular for dive watches until Omega introduced the revolutionary Seamaster 300 in 1956. The watch had a rotating bezel and a square case, both of which are standard features of modern dive watches. The “pilot’s watch” or “aviator” case shape is currently the most common design for dive watches.
The Swiss government established the ISO 6425 standard in 1970, which certified divers’ watches as being suitable for use at depths of up to 300 meters. In 1971, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 6425-1 standard was developed to assess the precision of watches when submerged in liquid.
Seiko introduced the 7s26, the first 5-jewel chronometer diving watch with a GMT complication, in 1988 to meet the needs of divers and offshore workers. The 6309 version came out the following year, in 1989. As these watches proved to be both affordable and sturdy, they were quickly adopted by the military. For this reason, Seiko is still advertising itself as “The Timepiece That Goes Wrong-Free” (TM).
The Glashütte Diver watch was introduced by Glashütte Original in 1992. The “diver’s bezel” on this particular watch made it possible to track time spent underwater, setting it apart from similar models. A rotating disc sealed the diver’s bezel, making it impenetrable to water.
Omega noticed the rising popularity of these novel dive watches and responded in 1995 with the Seamaster 600m, their own diver’s timepiece.