You can barely say the words “dive watch” without following it with the words Submariner and Seamaster. Rolex and Omega are so synonymous with the genre that it’s hard to judge any other brand or model without referring to the two Swiss giants. Let’s be clear, they’ve earned their status and they build dive watches of supreme quality. Furthermore it’s arguable they’ve established the design ethos of the whole dive watch industry and set the standards by which others need to be judged. But… (and it’s a pretty big but)…there are an awful lot of dive watches out there more than worth a plunge! (Sorry).
In fact, given that most modern dive watches take their design cue from the two leading brands, if you really want to get a piece that’s authentic, distinctive, capable and beautiful then a vintage watch offers a compelling option. Before everyone designed their watches as homages to the sub and seamster, manufacturers experimented with all manner of designs and build options. The results are some of the most distinctive watches on the market from brands that might not resonate with every collector.
Take a look at some of these superb dive watches on offer from the 1960’s from names that might not jump out at you but for whom quality and practically was every bit as important as the established Swiss brands. Names from the past, Marc Nicolet, Enicar Sherpa and Elgin. If you haven’t heard of them all then you’re in for a treat. The Elgin in particular, with it’s Pepsi dial and stunning face design stands out as a watch that could easily rival its contemporaries for style and function. (It also comes in at under £1400 which for a watch of this quality, style and provenance is an absolute steal.
Whilst the Enicar Sherpa super dive, whilst actually issued for the polish navy, earned it’s stripes (and name) as part of a Swiss Everest expedition in the 1950’s. Form the depth of the oceans to the highest peaks, this watch has seen it all. It is also one of the most disarmingly beautiful dive watches you will ever see. Lucky polish sailors (a phrase I never thought I’d use!)
Most of these watches were designed and built as practical dive pieces so they come in at around the very wearable modern day size of 40mm or so, making them the perfect every day watch. In a world of ubiquitous boardroom divers they definitely represent a statement of style and distinction that is guaranteed to turn heads. And as vintage pieces they are as close to a guaranteed investment as you are ever likely to get. These wonderful names from a golden era will be making waves well into the future.