Modern timepieces have many advanced characteristics, and water resistance is one of those. Modern day water resistant watches range from 3 ATM to 20 ATM on the rating scale. A 3 ATM or 30 m water-resistant watch is for everyday use, providing resistance from rain and water splash. However, a 20 ATM water-resistant timepiece can be easily flaunted during marine activity and surface water diving.

Diver’s watches in the making

The history of water-resistant watches began in the year 1920, and dive timepieces are the most sought-after amongst different water-resistant watch models. High on durability and utility value, dive watches are the first preference of not just professional divers but also of fashion enthusiasts who want style with functionality.

It’s the curiosity of the explorers of the depth of oceans that diving watches came into existence. The special category of watches for water adventure enthusiasts ranges from Diver’s 100 m to diver’s 300+ m. Timepieces with Diver’s 300+m rating are suitable even for saturation diving in helium loaded environment.

Reliability and accuracy in watchmaking are as important as style and design. In case of diving watches, the reliability against water damage plays a major role in their popularity. Other important features of diver’s watches are rotating bezel for the measurement of dive time and luminous markers or dial for better visibility under the water. A watch especially designed for divers needs to fulfill ISO’s specifications about standards and testing.

In the late 1800s, wristwatches were discovered as a modification to the pocket watch version. Earlier cases of wristwatches were not crafted using materials that made them resistant to water, dust and humidity, with durability gone for a toss. Wristwatches as a fragile piece of art underwent a makeover to become as durable as aesthetically appealing. Being water resistant was one of the important elements of this makeover.

Different watch brands claim to the pioneer in diver’s watchmaking, but there is no proof for this argument. In 1900s, many watch brands entered into the world of dive timepieces and designed many accurate and reliable models for underwater activities.

Brands that made significant contribution to the history

One of the most noteworthy watch models from Rolex that revolutionized the world of water-resistant timepieces was Rolex Hermetic. This model was designed in 1922 with a round case and an external durable casing. The external case acted as a barrier against water and humidity, but needed to be removed frequently for time adjustment, leading to wearing of threads on the internal side.

Francois Borgel, a Genevan watchmaker further designed newer versions of water-resistant watches without any additional casing. The patented model designed by him in 1903 had threaded rings around the bezel and at the back of the case, imparting much reliable seal against water.

This development in the technology of diver’s watches continued with the valuable input by premier brands like Omega, Blancpain and Panerai. Omega watches for divers were launched in 1932 in the name of Omega Marine. Omega Marine was the predecessor of the famous Seamaster collection later developed from this brand. The Marine collection was tried on the hands of Charles William Beebe, a famous nature explorer, and it successfully survived the water depth up to 14 meters.

Panerai joined the league of dedicated waterproof watchmakers in 1935, catering to the demand of the Royal Italian Army for accurate dive watches. Panerai Radiomir constituted radium-based powder, making markers and numerals luminous. Such was the success of this dive watch model that it became the first military watch for underwater activities.

Blancpain also joined the race for creating the best diver’s watch and made a mark in the field with the launch of Fifty Fathoms in 1953. Waterproof up to 100 m, this diver’s watch also featured on the wrist of Jacques Cousteau in the famous French nature documentary Le monde du silence.

And the saga continues

From Omega to Rolex, Oris, IWC and Panerai, every watchmaking brand is continuously bringing innovation to the world of diving timepieces. In the world of Omega watches, we have OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph, which has magnesium-and-temperature-resistant silicon hairspring. The Oris ProDiver Date has a corrosion-resistant titanium case, and an innovative bezel that is designed to prevent any accidental rotation, altering the dive time.