WristReview’s Top 5 Most Absurd Diving Watches

Most diving watches are quite formulaic, but some go the extra mile and add some madness to the mix, here are our picks!


It’s been a while since we’ve done a Top 5 here at WristReview. Is that because we’re tired and possibly creatively bankrupt? Well, yes, but actually no. Today, we’re going to look at five of our favourite diving watches that are absurd in some way. This category is quite broad. We’re willing to accept watches with crazy complications and watches with virtually no complications, provided they are absurd in some other way. With these pieces, it’s more about the effort that’s gone into them and the thoughts that count; we don’t know if anyone actually takes these things diving and whether they ever push the limits of the watches, but surely one or two people do. By the way, we’ll be excluding all electronic watches, this is because we’d expect those to come loaded with handy features anyway, and it’s the same for diving computers.

5 – Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep 6000m ref.

The least absurd watch on our list is still pretty absurd; it’s the Seamaster Planet Ocean 6000m from Omega. The Planet Ocean, in my view, is one of the best-looking watches Omega makes at the moment, but this one loses some of the visual appeal of its brethren due to its technical requirements. At 45.5mm x 18.1mm it’s one of the smaller watches on the list, but it has a monumental depth rating of 6000m. It’s absurd to think that any buyer of one of these will have a use for that depth rating, even 300m is overkill for 99% of us. Still, it’s a bragging right, and it comes with a watch that looks good and can come with a metal bracelet or a rubber strap, depending on what you want. There’s also a highly accurate automatic calibre 8912 inside it.

4 – Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea ref. 136668LB

It’s hard to describe the attitude of the general audience when Rolex debuted the massive 18k Sea-Dweller Deepsea 136668LB at Watches & Wonders Geneva this year. Some were excited by the new direction Rolex was apparently headed into, while others were a little less kind to it. What I can say is that nearly everyone was surprised by this model when it came out. The solid 18k gold Submariner is an icon, and the Rolesor (two-tone) variant of the Sea-Dweller is an attractive piece, but a solid yellow gold Sea-Dweller Deepsea with a matching bracelet. It’s a brick, for sure; it might even take the crown from Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Offshore, which currently holds that nickname. At 44mm x 17.7mm and weighing 332 grams (11.7 ounces), we should probably call putting one of these on wielding it rather than wearing it. Imagine clobbering someone over the head in self-defence with one of these on. It’s no novelty toy, though. It’s just as accurate as the steel model and will go 3900 below sea level.

3 – Richard Mille RM 028

The other watches on the list have been absurd watches from watchmakers who are used to making more regular diving watches. Richard Mille’s own website describes their watches as ” a racing machine on the wrist”, so seeing a diving watch from them is quite a feat. What’s even more of a feat is that they took it seriously. This is not some fancy pants toy for rich people, which is all show and no poke; it’s a true diving piece. It has a rotating bezel which is locked in place unless you depress the buttons on it at 12 and 6 O’clock. The case, available in titanium or gold, is giant at 47mm, but it’s 300m water resistant, and it has special eight-pointed screws which, Richard Mille says, have better control of torque when being screwed in, and they “age well”. The movement uses these screws, too, and has titanium components which Richard Mille precision engineers. The rotor has a torque adjustment system which the brand can alter for you depending on how violent you’re likely to be with the piece, so the winding system is protected. There’s plenty more to talk about with this one, but I think we’ll leave it there.

2 – Panerai Submersible Elux LAB-ID PAM01800

Panerai is well-renowned for its chunky watches, which seem to have a mission-oriented design—apart from the Due models. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, as for most of its life Panerai has been a maker of tools exclusively issued to armed forces, most notably those of Italy. This heritage means that now Panerai predominately sells watches to people whose only experience of the military lifestyle is from movies or Call of Duty, it’s got a really strong customer base. The Submersible range is the most obvious for this, and the recently released Submersible Elux builds on Panerai’s history while using their new cutting-edge manufacturing to create a very performance-oriented design. This watch’s case is made of a super-tough ceramic and titanium blend with an extra hard outer layer, but the real party piece is inside. This is one of the only watches to come with a micro-generator; it’s powered by spring barrels and provides up to 30 minutes of electric light in the markers, hands and even the pip on the bezel.

Honourable mentions

Usually, at this point, I’d have a couple of alternatives for you, ones that didn’t make the list often for reasons arbitrary even to me. I don’t have that today, but I would like to honour some of the crazy diving watches we’ve lost over the years. Whether it’s due to dwindling buyer interest, corporate austerity or something else, we can no longer buy watches such as Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Compressor depth gauge, the Parmigiani Fleurier Pershing Chronograph, the Zenith Defy Xtreme or the Roger Dubuis Easy Diver Chronoexcel. There are many more pieces we can’t buy new any more, and those shouldn’t really feature on our list, in my view, but they deserve a mention here.

1 – Blancpain Fifty Fathoms x Fathoms

God knows how long the X Fathoms has been around, but it’s still here and still beats the rose gold tourbillon model to be the wildest Fifty Fathoms watch Blancpain makes. It also beats the other watches to be the wildest watch on our list. That wildness partly comes from its dinner plate-sized 55.6mm titanium case but mostly from the stuff it does. The watch’s party trick is a pair of depth gauges which use a membrane in the back of the watch to indicate the diver’s current depth. One gauge is an accurate 15m display for when you’re near the surface, while the second gauge goes to a maximum of 90 meters; there’s also a memory function where the watch displays the maximum depth dived. There’s an excellent article by The Naked Watchmaker on how it all works. A retrograde 5-minute timer is also present; this is used when divers need to return to the surface from a deep dive in timed intervals in order to avoid decompression sickness (the bends) and other ill effects. It also comes with an automatic movement and a 120-hour power reserve.

What are your thoughts? Do you like these ones? Are the honourable mentions catching your fancy? Let me know in the comments!