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Diving watches, a history from Rolex to Seiko & Citizen

Geplaatst op 13-10-2023 door Marc Hut

Diving watches, they have an irresistible appeal. They are not only precision instruments for divers, but also stylish accessories that you wear on your wrist to show off. And the latter makes pretty good sense with a diver, after all, these kinds of watches are pretty hefty! In this watch news, we take you through time, discovering the origins of water-resistant masterpieces by Rolex, Seiko and Citizen, among others!

The first diving watch

The origins of the diving watch can be traced back to the early 20th century, a time when pioneers such as Rolex, Blancpain and later Citizen began experimenting with watches that could withstand the pressures and elements of the deep sea. But the real foundation for the diving watches still worn today was laid by Rolex in 1926 with the pioneering Oyster watch. This diver was unrivalled in water resistance but also in ruggedness, which revolutionised diving and watchmaking.

Rolex Submariner duikhorloge (Foto: Rolex.com)Photo: Rolex.com

At that time, that Rolex was not really a production watch but really reserved for a single professional diver. The first commercially available diving watch was the Omega Marine from 1932, a watch with double watchcase and sealed with cork. Great for professional divers of the time and tested in Lake Geneva, to a depth of 73 metres, near Omega's headquarters.

The Icons of the Sea

However, that Rolex name was central to the history of diver watches, especially the Rolex Submariner watch. A sublime diver first launched in 1953. This model marked an undeniable milestone in the evolution of diving watches. With an (at the time) impressive water resistance of up to 100 metres and convenient rotating bezel so that the diver could also time his dive/pause times, the Submariner quickly became the favourite of many divers and watch enthusiasts worldwide. Proven to stand the test of time, the Rolex Submariner remains a symbol of style and performance.

Citizen Marine BJ8058-17X Promaster

Citizen diving watches

In 1965, the Citizen brand entered the diving watch era with the introduction of the Citizen 62MAS. This was the Japanese brand's first diving watch and offered a remarkable water resistance of up to 150 metres. The Japanese proved that very high quality watches could also be produced in a lower price segment. It not only put pressure on European watchmakers, but also showed that diving watches were no longer the exclusive domain of the European watch world. Seiko and Citizen have since set the tone with affordable and high-quality diving watches. Even today, Citizen continues to make progressive diving watches.

Duikhorloge Citizen Promaster BN2036-14E Aqualand Eco-Drive herenhorloge 46,5 mm

Evolution and innovation of diving watches

Since their humble beginnings, diving watches have undergone numerous evolutions. Materials have become more sophisticated, such as stainless steel, ceramic and sapphire crystal. Modern diving watches are equipped with advanced features such as helium valves and built-in depth gauges. These technological advances have made diving watches not only more durable, but also better suited to their original purpose: diving in deep waters.

Bulova 96B322 Oceanographer automatic

From Vintage charm to state-of-the-art watches

The love for vintage diving watches is stronger than ever, with collectors looking for rare specimens from the past. Remakes like that of the Bulova Oceanographer are very popular. We get it, because there is something magical about wearing a watch that has stood the test of time, that has lived through the adventures of previous generations.
At the same time, Rolex, Seiko and Citizen continue to innovate and produce state-of-the-art dive watches that are both technically advanced and elegant. These modern watches reflect these brands' commitment to perfection and their constant quest for improvement.

Bulova 97B168 Marine Star Chronograaf

Popular diving watch brands

There are many great diving watch brands on the market, each with their own features and styles. Choosing the "best" brand may depend on personal preferences and needs. Here are five of the most recognised and respected diving watch brands:

An icon in the world of diving watches, Rolex is known for its Rolex Submariner and Rolex Sea-Dweller models. They are famous for their durability and style.

Seiko has a long history of producing quality diving watches, including the Seiko Prospex line. They are known for their reliability and affordability.

Omega is another leading name and produces watches of exceptional quality. The Omega Seamaster range is particularly popular with divers.

Citizen has a strong presence in the world of diving watches, with watches like the Citizen Promaster. They are known for their innovative technologies.

Panerai has a niche position in the diving watch world and is loved for its unique designs and robust construction.

Dive watches: inspiring masterpieces

Whether you are intrigued by the rich history of diving watches, a collector of vintage pieces or looking for the perfect diving watch for your next adventure, the journey of Rolex, Seiko and Citizen into the world of diving watches is an inspiring story of adventure, style and innovation. And to discover an extensive collection of diving watches, including Rolex, Seiko and Citizen, we invite you to visit watch webshop WatchXL.co.uk, where you can find and admire these masterpieces with a single click.

Also read: 'Diving watches with ISO 6425 standard: what does it mean?'

Looking for a high-quality and reliable diving watch? Take a look at our range of diving watches. WatchXL is a dealer and specialist in Citizen Promaster Marine.

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