A new year, a new decade. Happy New Year all.
With another year, for me, that means another watch (or two or three) and another segment to collect - dive watches.
So when was the first modern dive watch invented? Or better, when was the first commercially made dive watch produced? Rolex produced their Oyster case in the late 20s but many say that Omega produced the first commercial dive watches in the 30s. Whoever it was, diver watches have a long history and the list of producers is long.
A segment within a segment, collectors might collect a specific maker and model or perhaps collect a specific era. Me, well I just happen to stumble on some and be purposeful with others. Admittedly, I have an affinity for Seiko dive watches.
|1972 Seiko ref. 6105-8119 aka Captain Willard|
Some might say the Seiko 6105-8119/8110 dive watch is a bit of "grail". Perhaps the hype (and price) is the result of it being worn by Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now. Regardless of its status with collectors, it's a cool watch.
|Martin Sheen wearing his Seiko|
Collectors take note, when it comes to grail watches, there are a lot of imposters out there and a fair share of Feikos. But you don't have to break the bank for a great dive watch. In 2019 Seiko re-created the iconic dive watch produced in the 1970s and as immortalized by Martin Sheen with their limited edition SLA033.
|Seiko's recreation of a classic|
|1969 Waltham diver|
Variations galore, the common thread among dive watches generally includes an outer bezel that rotates so that you can time your dive. Ratings, or the depth to which watches were designed, varied greatly. Interestingly, the use of the term "waterproof" became illegal in the 1960s replaced with "water resistant". Hmm... was there a run on law suits similar to the McDonald's hot coffee debacle that warranted this?
|1971 Bulova Deep Sea Chronograph|
Yet another variant above, a dive watch with a chronograph. Bulova did not want to be undersold so rated their dive watches at 666 feet versus say, 600 feet used by others at the time. The 666 foot rating is commonly referred to as the "devil diver".
|Ollech & Wajs (O&W) dive watch|
Many makers like Ollech & Wajs specialized in dive watches. While predominately producing their dive watches in the 1950s and 1960s, O&W have released their next generation of dive watches with a new modern take.
|O&W next generation dive watch|
|Modern Seiko Prospex "Samurai" dive watch|
May the new decade be filled with happiness and health and maybe a bit of excitement as you find your next watch. Here's to diving into watch collecting in 2020.