It has been almost 70 years since the basic template was laid down for watches capable of diving to the ocean’s depths. And such was the appeal of the formula defined by the Rolex Submariner and Blancpain Fifty Fathoms—clean, simple dials, robust steel cases, and luminous material on everything that matters—that it wasn’t long before the professional tool achieved wider popularity. 

Today, just as the practicality of the SUV has given us the ubiquity of “crossover” cars, dive watches’ specialized competence has evolved into a market position as the de facto all-arounder. You can also thank a generational shift toward bigger cases, a softening of formal dress codes, and an appreciation of all things vintage. The elemental dive watch is now frequently executed in unusual and attention-grabbing ways.

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