The enthusiast community seems constantly and perennially preoccupied with depth ratings, which is not surprising. In the world of watchmaking, which is almost entirely oriented around matters of opinion, a depth rating is a seemingly objective measure of the performance of AAA UK replica watches. The problem, of course, is that depth ratings are perhaps less concretely meaningful today than at any other time in the history of watchmaking.
First of all, working professionals generally seem to regard the dive watch as, at best, a fun accessory rather than a necessity. This is not a universal opinion; there are people who dive regularly who have experienced dive computer failures more than once, and for whom a mechanical dive watch is a useful – and possibly life-saving – backup. The second point is that dive high quality fake watches, for most of us, simply don’t need extreme depth ratings. Despite the fact that it rubs a lot of enthusiasts the wrong way for a dive watch to have a 100-meter depth rating, that is in fact more than enough for recreational scuba diving which usually doesn’t exceed 130 feet, or 40 meters.
The creation of a watch that, for all intents and purposes, could handle pretty much anything that modern recreational diving could throw at it came along surprisingly early. Best Rolex replica watches produced its first Oyster case in 1926, and Mercedes Gleitze wore one during an attempted cross-Channel swim in 1927, although the inspiration for the Oyster case wasn’t the creation of a dive watch, per se. Still, ten hours of more or less constant immersion is pretty impressive.
However, the first actual test of a waterproof watch that most of us are generally aware of, took place in 1932, when the Omega “Marine” was tested to a depth of 73 meters in Lake Geneva – the perfect copy watches was later tested in a laboratory pressure chamber to a depth of 135 meters. The Marine would go on to be used by early diving pioneers like Charles William Beebe, and was worn by diving pioneer Yves Le Prieur, who invented one of the first successful self-contained underwater breathing systems.
There are always potential caveats when it comes to firsts in watchmaking and one is the Depollier “Waterproof” watch. Charles Depollier, an American watchmaker, developed a very early water-resistant watch case and it was tested in 1918 by the US Army, and certified waterproof (back in the days when you could call a watch “waterproof” without irking the Federal Trade Commission). I have not been able to find anything on what the testing procedures were, however. Vintage ads say the Swiss made replica watches were tested “under water” so if anyone out there knows what the actual testing procedures were, I’d love to hear from you.
During World War II, the first generation of military scuba divers, as well as operators of “manned torpedo” mini-subs, like the British Chariot and the Italian “Maiale” (a nickname given to the class by their operators, which means “pig”) used dive watches, although surprisingly, many histories of such operators and such watches don’t go into detail on actual depth ratings. I’ve read that the Italian Maiale could operate as deep as 40 meters, so the top fake Panerai Radiomir watches they used would necessarily have needed to be able to tolerate at least that much pressure.
The next big step forward took place in the early 1950s, when the first generation of what we now think of as modern dive watches were introduced – at first, by Blancpain (the Fifty Fathoms) and Rolex (the Submariner). Fifty fathoms is 91.44 meters, and the first Submariner was rated to 100 meters, so the two cheap replica watches were roughly equivalent, functionally speaking. Depth ratings began to increase almost immediately – in 1955, Rolex launched the ref. 6538 Submariner, which had a rating of 200 meters. At that depth, water pressure is equal to twenty times atmospheric pressure at the surface – 20 bar, or about 290 pounds per square inch, compared to about 14 at sea level.
In a sense, the record to beat was set more or less permanently in 1960, when the Rolex Deep Sea Special rode the bathyscaphe Trieste to the bottom of the Marianas Trench – the bathyscaphe, and the 1:1 super clone watches, reached a depth of 10,916 meters. The Rolex Deepsea Challenge rode James Cameron’s experimental submersible to a depth of 10,898 meters in 2012. Both the Deep Sea Special and the Deepsea Challenge are behemoths (or perhaps I should say “leviathans”) in terms of size – the 2012 watch is 51mm in diameter and 28.5mm thick, while the Deep Sea Special from 1960 is 42.7mm in diameter and 36mm thick – not exactly wrist-friendly. The Deepsea Challenge is rated to 12,000 meters, which means there is literally nowhere on earth you can take it diving which will actually exceed the depth rating.
In 2019, a new record was set – by another gentleman explorer, Victor Vescovo, who took his submersible, the Limiting Factor, to a depth of 10,928 meters. Along for the ride were three experimental fake watches wholesale from Omega, named, appropriately enough, “Ultra Deep.” One of the watches was attached to an ROV called Scaph, which became stuck in the bottom ooze and could not be recovered for two days – but recovered it was, with the Ultra Deep in perfect working order. Unless sonar surveys find a deeper point in the trench (or dig a hole, which would be cheating), this record seems unlikely to be broken any time soon (the Ultra Deeps were tested in lab pressure chambers to 15,000 meters).
In the 1960s, recreational diving became widespread and making dive replica watches store site went from a highly specialized form of technical watchmaking done by just a few brands, to something done by dozens of brands. The first 500-meter dive watch, the Aquastar Benthos 500M, was delivered in 1962. The first diver’s watch rated to 1000 meters was produced by a brand that almost nobody outside the community of dive watch die-hards remembers. The Jenny “Carribean” was a 1000 meter-rated dive watch – in 1964, no less.
The same company would go on to produce a 1500 meter-rated watch. The best quality fake Rolex Sea-Dweller watches got a depth rating of 4000 feet – about 1220 meters – in 1978 (the current Deepsea Sea-Dweller is rated to 3900 meters). In 1982, IWC began production of the first 2000 meter-rated dive watch – the Ocean 2000, which had a slim, elegant titanium case and integrated titanium bracelet, a silent rebuke to the idea that a watch with a serious depth rating is necessarily bulky.
In 1998, a new record – good enough for Guinness – was set by Bell & Ross. The Hydromax 11100 Meters was a quartz watch, with a case filled with silicone oil in order to resist external pressure (the Hydromax was actually designed and constructed by Sinn and branded Bell & Ross). As far as I know, this was the first production wristwatch capable of reaching the bottom of the Marianas Trench that was not an ursine experimental watch – the Hydromax was 40mm in diameter.
Current production dive replica watches for sale come in depth ratings from 100M to thousands of meters. When it comes to affordable divers, Seiko remains a tough competitor to beat. The majority of its dive watches top out (bottom out?) at 200 meters, although they’re still keeping some skin in the diving game with the Prospex 1000M Professional model. The Deep Sea is currently the deepest diving watch from Rolex, at 3900 meters, and Omega’s Ultra Deep is rated to 6000 meters. Another 6000-meter dive watch comes from another company you might not have suspected unless you keep track of these things – CX Swiss Military makes an automatic chronograph dive watch, also rated to 6000 meters, which got it into Guinness in 2008.
You could say that extreme depth ratings are, at this point, more about bragging rights than practicality – and you would be right. Then again, so are dive 2022 replica watches in general – especially if you own one and don’t dive. But irrational as it may seem, there is something profoundly reassuring about a watch with an impressive depth rating. I can’t think of any circumstance under which you would actually physically test the water resistance of a 1000 meter-rated dive watch. But it feels nice to know you have a watch on that can go deeper than any military submarine – it’s a connection to a part of our world that still retains a lot of its romance, and mystery.