5 Notable Divers’ Watches from Baselworld 2017

This week, just in time for last-minute Father’s Day gift ideas for the dads in your life, we are showcasing notable watches in five categories that debuted at Baselworld 2017. Today, we turn our focus to five new divers’ watches that particularly caught our eye.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of Thor Heyerdahl’s historic KonTiki expedition — which inspired the watch of the same name — Eterna has introduced the KonTiki Bronze Manufacture, the brand’s first bronze-cased timepiece. Limited to 300 pieces, the watch’s 44-mm case is made of brushed bronze, a metal alloy that has long played a role in nautical history due to its extreme resistance to rust and corrosion, and has become prized by watch lovers for its ability to develop a distinct patina over time, making each watch unique to its owner. (Dive-watch producers such as Panerai and Tudor have previously released models with bronze cases.) The unidirectional bezel, made of black ceramic, is different than most: rather than the traditional 60-minute dive-time scale, it features a “no decompression limits” scale that indicates the amount of time a diver can spend at a particular depth before he or she will need to decompress. The matte black dial has a granite-pattern finish and features the triangular, luminescent hour indices typical of Eterna KonTiki  models. A durable, dark brown, water-resistant leather strap fastens the watch to the wrist with a bronze pin buckle. The Eterna KonTiki Bronze Manufacture (it gets the manufacture designation because of its in-house movement, Eterna’s self-winding Caliber 3902A, with 65-hour power reserve) is priced at $2,950.

Eterna KonTiki Bronze
Eterna KonTiki Bronze

Seiko’s Grand Seiko family debuted as its own independent brand at Baselworld 2017, where it also introduced the first-ever mechanical Grand Seiko timepiece for divers, the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 3600 Divers. The watch’s high-intensity titanium case measures 46.9 mm in diameter and 17 mm thick. Designed with saturation diving in mind, it features the valve-free helium-resistance technology pioneered by Seiko in some of its earliest divers’ watches, which uses a heavy-duty case construction and an L-shaped gasket. The extended grooves on the unidirectional rotating bezel make them easy to use, even by a diver wearing thick gloves. The case and bracelet boast clean, mirrored edges thanks to Seiko’s Zaratsu polishing technique. The dial is made of a type of iron that protects the movement, Seiko’s Hi-Beat Caliber 9585 — with a 36,600-vph frequency and 55-hour power reserve — from the effects of magnetism. The bracelet adds an extra level of underwater functionality with its secure-locking, sliding extension that can change the bracelet size with the pressure changes. For more info including pricing, click here.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 Divers - blue dial - angle
Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 Divers

Inspired by the success its Planet Ocean “Deep Black” editions, the first ceramic-cased divers’ watches built to be water-resistant to 600 meters. The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “Deep Blue” is a GMT-equipped divers’ watch with a case milled from a single block of blue ceramic, and the first Omega watch with a case, and a dial, made entirely of blue ceramic. The 45.5-mm ceramic case is pressed into shape from a special zirconium-based powder, with the blue pigmentation added at this early stage. Afterward it is heated to temperatures reaching 1,400º Celsius in a sintering process, making it extra hard and scratch-resistant, then subjected to a three-hour plasma treatment in a 20,000º C furnace that prepares it for the final laser engraving.  The resulting case is six times harder than steel and never scratches, discolors, or fades. A contrasting orange highlight color is used for the GMT scale and hand, and on the edges and stitching on the blue rubber strap, and LiquidMetal is used for the diving scale numerals. The movement is Omega’s Master Chronometer Caliber 8906, with automatic winding and a 60-hour power reserve. Click here for more info, photos, and pricing.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue - reclining
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue


Rolex celebrated 50 years of its its extreme divers’ watch, the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller, by launching an all-new model, with a larger case and modern caliber, at Baselworld 2017. The steel case, which is water-resistant to 1,220 meters, is 43 mm in diameter, 3 mm larger than its 40-mm predecessor. The scratch-resistant sapphire crystal over the deep black dial is equipped, for the first time on this model, with a Cyclops lens over the date window at 3 o’clock, enhancing its legibility. The text “Sea-Dweller” appears on the dial in red, echoing the look of the original 1967 model. Finally, the watch is equipped with the new Rolex Caliber 3235, a self-winding movement boasting a number of innovative technical details, some of them patented. Its unidirectional, rotating divers’ bezel is fitted with a patented black Cerachrom bezel insert, in a virtually scratchproof ceramic whose color is unaffected by ultraviolet rays. The dial’s large hour markers are filled with Chromalight, a Rolex-developed luminescent material that emits a long-lasting blue glow in low-light conditions. The screw-down crown uses Rolex’s Triplock triple waterproofness system, which ensures secure waterproofness for the watch’s interior in the same manner as a submarine’s hatch. The movement powering the watch is in-house Caliber 3235, with Rolex’s new Chronenergy escapement and a 70-hour power reserve. Like all modern Rolex watches, this Sea-Dweller carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, instituted by Rolex in 2015, which ensures a high level of precision and timekeeping performance (-2/+2 seconds per day). Read our full report on the new Sea-Dweller for additional info, details, pictures and prices.

Rolex Sea-Dweller - front
Rolex Sea-Dweller
TAG Heuer founder Edouard Heuer filed the first patent for a watertight watch case in 1892, and the TAG Heuer Aquaracer collection of sporty divers’ watches has grown and evolved since its inception in 2003. This year’s Baselworld saw the debut of the Aquaracer Camouflage, a khaki-clad dive watch that combines military style with underwater functionality. The watch’s 43-mm case is made of sandblasted grade 2 titanium, with matte-black PVD treatment to reduce glare and reflections, and resists water pressure down to 300 meters, or 1,000 feet. The unidirectional diving bezel is made of scratch-resistant black ceramic and has graduations for the first 15 minutes of dive time. The opaline blue dial has an “Arctic” camouflage pattern that TAG Heuer says is inspired by the Siberian tundra, with faceted indices and faceted, lacquered blue hands, both treated with anthracite-colored Super-LumiNova. Inside the watch, and behind the solid black-PVD titanium caseback, beats TAG Heuer’s automatic Caliber 5, which powers the timekeeping and the date display, which appears in a window at 3 o’clock under a magnifying lens. The custom-made camouflage pattern on the NATO strap matches the Arctic camo look of the dial. The new Aquaracer retails for $2,800.

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Arctic Khaki - reclining

Tomorrow: we showcase important chronographs introduced at Baselworld.