James Ede, Author at Exquisite Timepieces
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Author: James Ede

In the world of luxury timepieces, some watches become instant classics, while others may go unnoticed until it’s too late. The Cartier Calibre de Diver was one such timepiece that didn’t really catch on with the watch crowd after its release but will give any diver today a run for its money. 

This post scopes the Calibre de Diver in-depth, including its history, features, models, and alternatives. Unfortunately, we can’t say why Cartier exed the line, but fortunately, we can say it’s not because it was ugly or overpriced. 

It’s a classy and rare collection with features that scream luxury, sophistication, and elegance. You can still grab one or find similar options after this review.

About the Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver

Cartier was primarily known for creating elegant and sophisticated watches and jewelry. However, it expanded its offerings to include more practical watches suitable for adventurers and explorers. 

One of the earliest examples of Cartier’s foray into rugged watches was the Santos, created in 1904 for the Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. It was designed to be easy to read in flight and featured a sturdy, square case that could withstand the rigors of aviation. The Calibre de Cartier Diver line only recently joined the Cartier family in 2013.

It meets the rigorous ISO 642 standards for water resistance, legibility, and durability. This Diver is water-resistant up to 300 meters and features a unidirectional rotating bezel to measure elapsed time underwater. Despite its practical design, the Calibre de Cartier Diver maintains the elegance and finesse symbolic of the Cartier brand.

The watch has a sporty rubber strap, a bold Roman-numeral dial with luminous markings, and a polished stainless steel svelte case. Additionally, its 1904 MC automatic movement has a twin-barrel mechanism and a power reserve of 48 hours.

Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Models

The Calibre de Cartier Diver collection has over five (5) models. All of which share the same features with minor design variations. Some of the most popular models in the collection include:

The Calibre de Cartier Blue WSCA0010

The Calibre de Cartier Blue WSCA0010

This model features a blue dial with a matte finish and Super-LumiNova indicators. The blue unidirectional bezel is made of ceramic and also has Super-LumiNova markings to read time spent underwater. 

Like its counterparts, the case is made of stainless steel and is 42mm. It also features the Cartier Calibre 1904 MC automatic movement and a water resistance of 300 meters. However, its black strap either comes in leather or rubber.

Calibre de Cartier Diver Rose Gold W7100036

Calibre de Cartier Diver Rose Gold W7100036

This model is a two-toned dressy diver with a rose gold and stainless steel blend on the bracelet and case. The 18K rose gold unidirectional bezel, and the dial has markers and hands that are Super-LumiNova treated. So are the hands of its silver opaline dial.

Calibre de Cartier Diver Black W7100056

Calibre de Cartier Diver Black W7100056

This is the most popular model in the Cartier Diver line. The dial of this watch is black and has a stamped snail pattern with luminous indications and a black rubber strap. It also has steel markers that have been ADLC-coated.

And like the others, the case is 42mm stainless steel, has the Cartier Calibre 1904 MC automatic movement, and is 300-meter water-resistant. Other Calibre de Cartier watch models include:

  • The Calibre de Cartier Diver W7100057 with black dial and silver steel bracelet
  • The WSCA0011 model with blue dial and blue rubber strap
  • The WSCA0006 model

ISO Standards and Cartier Tests

Dive watches have become a popular tool among water sports enthusiasts, sports watch lovers, and watch collectors. But, as popular as these watches are, many skip what puts the “dive” in the dive watch. 

Did you know any watch that doesn’t meet the ISO 6425 standards can’t be called a diver?

Even if it has 400 meters of water resistance, it must be certified. Basically, ISO 6425 outlines the official physical requirements of dive watches, including water resistance, pressure resistance, magnetism, shock resistance, legibility in the dark, rotating bezel, and resistance to external forces. 

However, the most crucial requirement is the “overpressure test.” This test requires submerging the watch in 125 percent of its rated depth before leaving the factory. This is not a basic water-resistant test because not all water-resistant watches are dive-friendly. And if your timepiece isn’t adequately tested or doesn’t meet the standard, you might be walking around with a shock-conducting watch.

While Cartier might not have a legendary dive watchmaking experience, it does take these requirements seriously. It performs several tests to ensure that the Calibre de Cartier Diver line meets these standards. Watches in this line undergo a water resistance test at 375 meters or 125 percent of its rated depth. 

Additionally, it undergoes a pressure change test, sand in the bezel test, a temperature change test, a magnetic field test, and a pressure on the case, strap, and crown test. Plus, the brand’s dive watches are made to pass a condensation test to ensure that no water penetrates the case.

The watch is also tested for underwater visibility to ensure that the luminescent treated hands, markers, and numerals are readable 10 inches away from the face in the dark. Overall, Calibre de Cartier watches are solid and true watches that stand out in the crowd and meet the ISO 6425 standards.

Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver ref. W7100056

The devil, they say, is in the details, so let’s take a closer look at the defining features of the Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver ref. W7100056, from the intricate details on the dial to the high-quality materials used in its construction.


The Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver ref. W7100056 has a slim and lightweight case. Only 11mm thick and 111 grams, it’s svelte compared to the robust profile of most dive watch cases. 


It’s high-quality stainless steel with a fine brushed finish across its surfaces. But possess a light-reflecting polished finish along the bevel and lugs. 

Furthermore, its solid case back is locked airtight with eight small screws and has the emblem of authenticity inscribed – Diver’s watch. It’s only legal or seen on watches that satisfy ISO 6425 standards. 

This means the watch is true to its name and can handle a depth of 300m. Most won’t take their Cartier diver anywhere near the deep sea, but it’s refreshing to know it’s competent.


The crown guard – a vital water resistance feature – stands out. It is pretty large, and the blue gem gives it a mythical look. So much so that it adds 3mm to the watch’s size, over 45mm as opposed to the 42mm diameter of the case. But the crown guard is not the only factor increasing the watch’s diameter. The bezel and band are also quite enormous.

Fluted Unidirectional Bezel

Speaking of the bezel, it is made of black ADLC and has a unidirectional design to prevent timing mistakes underwater. You don’t want to be halfway through your dive and realize you accidentally reset the dive time backward.


The sapphire crystal is stunning. In addition, it’s scratch-resistant, so you do not have to worry about bumping it against an underwater rock or hard surface. Additionally, it’s anti-reflective, which means you can read the time clearly from different angles.


The Calibre de Cartier Diver ref. W7100056 black dial is a brilliant work of art. It has many fascinating features that will get you all tingly and excited.

Date Display 

For one, let’s talk big date. Its unique two-digit date display is both beautiful and functional. Located at 3 o’clock with a calligraphic III Roman numeral crown is its bean-shaped date window.

A triangle indicator puts the current date in the crosshair for easy reading. It also shows the date before and after, which is a minor, but important attention to detail to stay organized


Cartier uses classic sword hands for the hour, minute, and seconds hands. Speaking of which, there’s a standalone seconds window at rocked in at 6 o’clock. Another super cool feature of this watch is the glow-in-the-dark feature. All three hands, the small-second chapter ring, the XII numeral, and the baton hour markers are all treated with Super-LumiNova


While this Diver can stay bright for up to 18 hours, its lume strength winds down pretty fast. It doesn’t matter, though, because, with low juice, you may not be able to read the in the dark seas, but it’ll glow enough on your wrist in a dark room. Only the inverted triangle on the bezel glows, so the other markings aren’t visible in the dark.

Authenticity Badge 

Counterfeiters rarely get luxury watch designs right. But what’s most exciting is the style in which the Cartier name is engraved in microprint in the X numeral as an anti-counterfeiting feature, which is a major way to know that you’re wearing an original watch.

Movement: Caliber 1904 MC

All Cartier Divers use the 1904 MC movement designed in-house by prominent Swiss watchmaker Carole Forestier-Kappi. Anyone familiar with Carole’s work will expect no less than a masterpiece. 

She designed the Rotonde de Cartier Astroregulateur, which won the “Best Men’s Complication Watch” award at the 2010 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. This one’s built for accuracy and durability.

Solid Engineering

It sports twin, series-coupled barrels working together to even out the energy flow as the mainsprings wind down. It also has a power reserve of 48 hours, which isn’t enhanced by the twin barrels. However, these barrels improve longevity by generating less friction-inducing force.


The 1904 MC movement has 27 jewels that run at 4Hz, 28800vph. A bidirectional rotor in the mainsprings is mounted on ceramic bearings that increase the watch’s longevity. Instead of using a standard reverse, Cartier improves shock resistance and winding efficiency by utilizing a V-shaped pawl.

Additionally, Geneva stripe finishing on the rotor and automatic winding bridge and circular graining on the main plate is a testament to Cartier’s commitment to creating high-quality timepieces. An Etcahron adjustment regulates the watch’s energy release, a flat Nivarox balance spring, and a Glucydur balance wheel.

Bracelet / Strap

Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver ref. W7100056 has a soft, thick, and supple black rubber strap that measures 120mm by 74mm. The material is finished like leather with fluted inlays to avoid irritation if it gets wet. Cartier took this rubber strap to the next level by ensuring it’s water, wear and tear, UV radiation resistant, and can withstand relatively extreme temperatures.

In short, this strap is built to last. It wears comfortably, too, with its Cartier-embossed pin buckle to fit into wetsuits without bulging. This adds more appeal to this revered Diver as a dress watch.

One thing about the Calibre de Cartier, unlike many divers, is you don’t get strap options for versatility. Although there are models with stainless steel and different rubber styles, replacement isn’t user-friendly (buy-in-store). For example, the WSCA0010 and the W7100054 come in leather and steel bracelets, respectively.

Should You Buy a Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver?

Honestly, I don’t believe that watches are made for special kinds of people – except for the costly ones. Find a watch’s features helpful or appealing, and can afford it? Go for it. In this case, the Calibre de Cartier Diver is a watch for people who appreciate quality, style, and adventure.

As the name implies, this timepiece is a “Diver” watch that satisfies all ISO standards for dive watches. It is made for people who love exploring the outdoors, climbing mountains, or diving deep into the ocean’s depths. So if you’re looking to play Jacques Cousteau for a second, consider buying this watch.

But the Calibre de Cartier Diver isn’t just for underwater explorers or thrill-seekers. It’s also a classy watch for casual and formal outings. 

It’s perfect for playing dress up at the office, a fancy gathering, a boat or yacht cruise, and even the movies. Consider it a tiny piece of luxury on your wrist, adding that extra touch of class to your already sophisticated outfit.

However, tech-savvy folks might not be enthused by this watch because it doesn’t necessarily have all the bells and whistles of a smartwatch. But it’s still a watch with technology, and you might find the engineering intriguing.

Is the Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Discontinued?

Yes. Cartier unexpectedly discontinued the Calibre de Cartier line in 2018. Nevertheless, the incredible collection highlighted the brand’s stellar craftsmanship and ingenuity. Unfortunately, the reason for the discontinuance is uncertain. Is it possible that Cartier didn’t want to appear too sporty, or the initial sale didn’t blossom as much as they expected?

Well, the brand is constantly evolving and developing new products. So it is possible that sometime in the future, they will rebrand and revive the collection as a vintage classic. But for now, the collection is only available on the second-hand market.

Alternatives To the Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver

The Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver line has impressive models in different colors and bracelet variations. But then, not everyone will be intrigued by this collection. So here are some alternatives with similarities and liberating differences.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms (ref. 5015 1130 52A)

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms (ref. 5015 1130 52A)

If you think the Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver, ref. W7100056 is big, you haven’t met the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. This rugged watch is much bigger, with a case size of 45mm and 15mm thick. The case, made of titanium, has a matte finish and an exhibition case back.

It is durable and corrosion-resistant, which fortifies it for underwater use. The dial of this Blancpain watch is equally impressive. Its hour, minute, and seconds hands and markers are all luminescent, aiding nighttime visibility.

The date window is also conveniently placed at 4:30, and unlike that of the Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver, it is not obtrusive. What I love most about the dial is the two-toned sunburst finish. So, depending on the direction of the light, the dial often transitions from blue to black.

Similarly, the unidirectional bezel is quite pleasant since it is easy to grip and luminescent. But that’s not the craziest part. Now imagine having a mechanical watch that can run independently for six days without winding. Yeah, that’s right.

This watch has an impressive 120 power reserve thanks to the watchmaker’s in-house movement – the Caliber 1315.  The Caliber 1315 movement features three series-coupled mainspring barrels and a silicon balance spring which mitigates shocks and has high resistance to magnetic fields.

Its numerous screws and the crown screw are also shock resistant and enhance stability. Additionally, the Caliber 1315 also has a secure date protection mechanism that guards against harm to the date wheel if a manual adjustment is made while the movement is already changing the date.

Glashütte Original SeaQ (ref. 1-39-11-06-80-33)

Glashütte Original SeaQ (ref. 1-39-11-06-80-33)

Here’s another alternative to the Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver that meets ISO 6425 and DIN 8306 standards. It’s a classic watch with a vintage-inspired look that’s hard to resist. But what’s cool about this timepiece is its size – the case size and diameter are 39.5mm and 12.50mm, respectively, which should fit a wide range of wrist sizes.

One amazing feature of the Glashütte Original SeaQ (ref. 1-39-11-06-80-33) is the simplicity of its features. The time window, which doubles as the 3 o’clock marker, is lodged plainly on the dial. It has no enormous crown guard, exhibition case back, or helium escape valve. 

All of its features are legible, usable, and functional. From the unidirectional black bezel to the gold and luminous white hour, minutes, and seconds markers and hands, and even down to the screw-down crown, you’ll find a need for every feature.

The only part of this watch that might seem a bit extra is the sword hour, arrow minute, and lollipop seconds markers. Like why so extra? What happened to regular hands? But it’s all part of the aesthetics, which extends to the ceramic bezel, black dial with an infusion of colorful numerals, and a half-barrel profile case.

Under the hood, the SeaQ is powered by the Glashütte Original’s self-winding movement – Caliber 39-11. It is a highly accurate and reliable upgrade to the 1978 Spezichron Caliber 11-26. However, this watch doesn’t have a strong power reserve like the Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver watch – it only has a power reserve of up to 40 hours. Its water resistance is also limited to 200 meters.

Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer (ref. 1183-126-3/42)

Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer (ref. 1183-126-3/42)

The Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer (ref. 1183-126-3/42) is an exceptional timepiece with precision, functionality, and aesthetic appeal. It boasts a 43mm stainless steel case with a thickness of 13.85mm. The silver dial’s wave pattern adorned with Roman numerals and silver steel epitomizes elegance with authority. 

It has a dressy circular-themed design. The case is round, and so are the windows for the date and small seconds subdial at the 6 o’clock position and the power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock.

In addition, extended lugs complement Marine’s rubber straps and deployment clasp for a stylish casual look. Unlike Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver watches, it has an exhibition case back that showcases the movement and Ulysse’s signature anchor motif.

The movement is an in-house UN-118 caliber developed by Ulysse Nardin and is particularly well-embellished with 50 jewels. It’s also a COSC-certified chronometer which means it’s not only a tough diver but an accurate timekeeper. The UN-118 caliber also boasts an impressive 60-hour power reserve, a silicon escapement, and a balance spring. 

The watch is thus shock-resistant and has anti-magnetic properties. Plus, the movement is equipped with Ulysse Nardin’s proprietary time zone setting, allowing you to adjust the local time easily without affecting the watch’s accuracy.

However, as functional as the Marine is, there are deeper dive watches. For example, it only has a water resistance of 100 meters and lacks a bezel for tracking elapsed time.


And there you have it! Another endearing masterpiece of horology from the world-renowned luxury jewelers. The Cartier Diver’s Watch is a fantastic creation that captures the essence of adventurous and luxury fashion. It’s not a Santos or Tank but doesn’t foray with its slim, sleek, yet hulking profile. 

Maybe the Calibre de Diver was a failed experiment or a statement innovation to show Cartier is more than a luxury design. You’d be wrong in either case because you’re still interested after a decade of decommissioning, and it’s a solid watch. 

But again, if, for some reason, say, the price or scarcity, you would like options, our list of alternative timepieces has relatively identical features and is worth looking into. 

Keep exploring and stay exquisite!

seiko speedmaster

Homage to Innovation, Excellence, and Sports

The Seiko Speedtimer is an outrageously efficient and functional budget chronograph. The Japanese-made timepiece is easily the only true chronograph under $700 and a top contender for top watches within $1,500.

What makes the Speedtimer so valuable? Or is it just an exceptionally affordable Japanese watch with inferior features? Find out in this in-depth review of the Seiko Speedtimer collection.

The Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Collection

The Seiko Speedtimer line is a collection of chronographs with varying functions, prices, color schemes, and two movements. 

Its premium models are the history-rich Mechanical Chronograph for watch enthusiasts who detest quartz. This collection includes four models with different dial colors but the same movement. 

Meanwhile, the Seiko Speedtimer seven-watch Solar Chronograph lineup is for those who want a bang for their buck. 

  • Speedtimer Mechanical Chronograph (1k pieces Limited Edition)
  • Three Mechanical Chronograph models
  • Seven Solar Chronograph models

Made for Excellence 

Every watch in the Speedtimer collection is the perfect blend of classic style and modern innovation. Each is carefully crafted to pay tribute to Seiko’s rich and continuing tradition of sports timing, with a new automatic chronograph movement to capture every detail. 

And the Solar chronographs, despite being budget pieces, also inherit iconic designs for a fraction of the cost of mechanical classics. 

Whether you’re looking for a statement piece or a complicated timepiece, you’ll find it on a budget in the Seiko Speedtimer collection. 

It’s a Seiko thing: the Speedmaster 7A38 also carried the world’s first analog display quartz chronograph movement in the 1980s. And you can get this vintage piece for under $500.

Functionality, versatility, and affordability make the Speedtimer an anomaly.

Features and Specs Speedtimer Mechanical Editon (SRQ)

  • Stainless steel case 
  • Tachymeter function
  • Case size: 42.55mm 
  • (Lug-to-lug: 50 mm)
  • Thickness: 15mm
  • Movement: Caliber 8R946
  • See-through case back
  • +25 to -15 seconds accuracy per day
  • Weight: 194g

Features and Specs Solar Speedtimer SSC Series

  • Solar energy 
  • Tachymeter function
  • Seiko Caliber V196
  • +15 to -15 accuracy 
  • 6-month power reserve
  • Power reserve indicator
  • 45 hours power reserve 
  • Weight: 161g

History of the Seiko Speedtimer Collection

The first Speedtimer models rolled out in the 1960s before, during, and after Seiko were official timekeepers of the 64′ Olympics. 

The official release of the Speedtimer in 1969 ushered in a landmark achievement for Seiko and the Japanese watchmaking industry. It was the first time the world saw an automatic movement chronograph – even the Swiss had yet to achieve this. 

Seiko subtly reincarnated the Speedtimer in its modern line of Prospex sports watches

The star of the collection is the limited edition model with a plain white dial and injection hands. This concept is inspired by the 1964 Seiko Stopwatch, built for sports timing. 

All the Mechanical and Solar Speedtimer watches are also a nod to the past, with each collection sharing the same movement and specs but different dial designs. 

Intriguing Dials 

All Speedtimer models resemble the iconic Rolex Daytona but are original in their lane. Besides, the subdials of Seiko’s Speedtimer and Speedmaster watches (also thought to have been a replica of Omega Speedmaster) are timeless racing watch designs. 

But don’t get the illusion that it’s a cheap replica or an homage watch. Stay tuned to find out the Speedtimer’s originality.

Mechanical Edition Dial

Seiko produces four Speedmaster mechanical edition models: 

  • SRQ037J1 
  • SRQ043J1 
  • SRQ039J 
  • SRQ035J1(Limited edition model). 

They have varying dial and subdial colors, hands, and finish variations that draw inspiration from their original models of the 60s. 


This charcoal-gray dialed mechanical watch design is inspired by the 1964 Crown Chronograph – Seiko and Japan’s first chronograph wristwatch. 

While not identical, the beveled hour markers and sharp sword-like hour hands mirror the original model. 

Small second hands curved slightly downward to rest on the tip of the subdial markers and parallel to the tachymeter. Although subtle, this improves accuracy and reading legibility for racers, so you should be fine with measuring your speed over a distance.

The main difference from the Prospex classics, as with other mechanical successors, is the inclusion of subdials, tachymeter, and push buttons.  



Navy blue is an homage to the 1969 Speedtimer, but better. The dial has vertical hairline finishing, which changes from navy to vivid blue at varying angles. This helps when you don’t want to turn your wrist to read the time. The SRQ043 white subdials and outer ring further enhance readability. 


If you asked, the SRQ039 is my favorite dial color from the collection because it looks like my favorite jean.

The SRQ039 has the same specifications as the angle-changing model 043, except for its blue and black dial. It’s an acknowledgment of Seiko’s time as the official timekeeper of the 1964 Olympic games in Tokyo.   


This lovely Prospex Speedtimer is a spin-off of Seiko’s 1964 1/5th Stopwatch. That’s how it has a striking scale-like aesthetic with a plain white dial, needle hands, and 10-second progressive Arabic numerals. 

Solar Energy Dials 

Image from Seiko

The Solar powered Speedtimers have the most exciting color lineup, and the SSC813 “Panda” is the signature model. It’s a black and white color with a white dial and black subdials that look like the face of Panda. 

The third subdial is a power reserve indicator. The solar editions also have a unique slanting date window at 4:20 that draws mixed feelings among fans. 

Moreover, the SSC Speedtimer models have fixed external bezels with varying colors, unlike the mechanical editions with inner ring tachymeters. See the difference: 

History-Rich Cases 

Stopwatch-Inspired SRQ

The SRQ Speedtimers (mechanical edition) use a round polished stainless steel case that’s a muse of the 1964 stopwatch. All the mechanical watches have a 42.5mm diameter case that’s 50mm from lug to lug.

That’s a fine men’s watch size, especially since the SSC is a tool watch. It can also fit perfectly on a lady’s wrists, but they may not fancy its weight or size, but the SSC will be more suitable. Finally, the cases sport two push buttons and a crown in the middle, like the 1964 Stopwatch.

Perfect-Sized Solar Chronograph 

Seiko uses an entirely different case design for its SSC solar chronographs and I love their portability. I’m grinning from ear to ear as I write this wearing my 44m Diesel Armbar, wishing I could snatch the more comfortable Seiko SSC813. 

The case is only 39mm across and 45mm from lug to lug, which is still an excellent fit for even small wrists. At this size, it’ll be a perfect chronograph gift for a woman who loves to wear men’s or instrument watches. The case is another example of how Seiko blends history with modern innovations.

In this case, the SSC case is a concept from the 1969 Speedtimer. However, its seemingly sophisticated look results from its tachymeter bezel synchronizing with the in-dial 60-second markers. But is an upgrade of the classics. 

This design is another testament to the Japanese brand’s efforts to blend heritage with modern innovations.


Mechanical Edition

One thing Seiko boasts about its Speeditimer bracelets is their low center of gravity. It’s a result of the curved lugs and thick case. You’ll find the same feature in the solar edition. 

But a higher-quality bracelet-to-case finish makes the mechanical edition bracelets stand out from Solar Speedtimers. They have finely and evenly polished cases and bracelets compared to the Solar models. 

However, it uses the pin and lock system for removing links, which is considered clumsy and old-fashioned by watch enthusiasts.

Seiko SSC813 (Solar)

Seiko SSC813 (Solar)

The Seiko Speedtimer SSC813 has the same case and bracelet dimensions as the solar series. But stands out because of its black and white “Panda” dial

The Solar Speedtimer has a stainless steel bracelet and is secured with a three-fold clasp with a push button mechanism. That makes it easy to wear, comfortable, and safe from accidentally falling off the wrist. 

However, the SSC813 has roughly polished links that don’t match the case. We also saw this same issue decades ago in the Seiko Speedmaster. 

Still, it’s not a terrible or noticeable issue, despite pointing it out to you. Only watch enthusiasts can tell the difference and may feel irked, so it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a durable, scratch-resistant bracelet. 

Curved Lug

Seiko curves the lugs down to give room for the push buttons. It creates an illusion that it’s taller than its actual 13mm height or the Speedmaster with a downward design.

Tachymeter Designs 

Remember, the Speedtimer is a racing watch collection and, as such, sports a tachymeter. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s the inscription around the rim of watches used to measure distance traveled over time. 

The Speedtimers have two tachymeter designs. First, the Seiko Speedtimer SSC813, for instance, has a circumferential tachymeter on a fixed black bezel. All the Solar Chronographs have the same type but with different color schemes. 

Second, the SRQ mechanical series tachymeter is within the protective ring – a stationary, plain stainless steel bezel.

Uniform Movements

When it comes to the movement, there are two options. You can either splurge for the mechanical caliber or economize with the functional solar-powered (quartz) editions. The mechanical movements will shock you.

Top-Of-The-Line Caliber 8R46

The mechanical chronograph collection uses Seiko’s iconic Caliber 8R46. This movement is designed and hand-assembled in-house by Seiko’s finest engineers. It’s interesting because many watch lovers still think all Seiko watches are mass-produced and have inferior movements. 

Well, not the SRQ Speedtimer, that’s for sure. With a vertical clutch and column wheel movement mechanism for generational durability and accuracy. 

The vertical clutch slows down the wear and tear process while the column wheel controls the “start,” “stop,” and “zero” settings. The caliber 8R46 is ultimately Seiko’s most powerful automatic movement for mechanical watches.

Solar-Powered Caliber V192     

If you underrated the SSC series because they’re quartz, sit down for a rethink. But if you fancy quartz movements, you’ll get a great deal. 

The Caliber V192, as you know, is solar-powered and has an impressive six-month power reserve when fully charged. But that’s based on if you only use the chronograph feature for one hour daily.

What’s more, the V192-powered Seiko watches have an accuracy of +/-15 per month. Admittedly, that’s a better accuracy than most Japanese movements that offer an average +/- 25 accuracy per day but it is subpar at this price range.  

In addition, it offers a power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock and a controversial date window at 4:20. The date window can be problematic to glance at without “breaking your neck” to get the right angle. 

Seiko Speedtimer: Pricing and Value

Mechanical Edition

The Seiko Speedtimer Mechanical Edition watches cost around $3,000 to $3,300, with the limited edition piece priced on the upper end. 

For $3,000, you will find a few mechanical chronographs on Seiko’s craftmanship level. Well, not unless you opt for preowned watches, like the Omega Speedmaster or Longines Master chronograph. 

Also, it’s packed with vintage appeal that pays homage to one of the most iconic watch releases in the Japanese watchmaking industry. And it’s only an homage, not a replica, as some people would have loved. 

And it’s ahead of similarly priced competitors because of its premium movement with a column wheel and vertical clutch combination. Finally, the Seiko Prospex Speedtimer’s +25 to -15 seconds accuracy per day is decent, especially for a mechanical racing chronograph under $3000. But you’ll find higher precision watches for less. 

Seiko Speedtimer SSC813 Solar: King Of Value

The Speedtimer Solar (priced below $700) has rocked the watch industry since its release. Even when it’s not compared to quartz movements, this work of art remains a top competitor for chronographs under $1,500. 

The SSC813 (solar Speedtimer) guarantees a high value for your buck with its polished stainless steel finish and an enticing Panda dial. 

Its solar charge is also a nice touch of functionality. You never worry about winding your watch and don’t have to sunbathe it to charge it. It charges in cloudy or sunny weather and under fluorescent light. 

However, a few collectors think Seiko could’ve given a finer bracelet-to-case finish. And added a GMT instead of a power reserve subdial. But it couldn’t be any less good. 

Alternatives to The Seiko Speedtimer Mechanical 

SSC Solar Alternative 

  • Seiko Astron Solar
  • Citizen Caliber E210

Pros and Cons Seiko Speedtimer Mechanical Edition 


Pros of SRQ037

  • Topnotch finish
  • Durable and precise movement
  • See-through case back 
  • Magnetic resistance

Cons of SRQ037

  • Pricey 
  • Poorly integrated bracelet-to-case finish.

Pros and Cons Seiko Speedtimer Solar (Quartz) Edition 813

Seiko Speedtimer Solar (Quartz) Edition 813

Pros of SSC 813

  • Budget-friendly – costs under $700
  • Easy wearing chronograph
  • Solar powered with sun and light 
  • Power reserve subdial 
  • Easy-to-read dial

Cons Of SSC 813

  • Bulky 
  • 4:20 date window
  • Unsymmetrical bracelet-to-case finish

The Verdict

The Speedtimer is a worthy racing chronograph collection if you’re on a budget – both mechanical and quartz. This collection is perfect for watch lovers who want a piece of history on their hands but don’t want a relic. 

With both Speedtimer versions, you can tell a story of the original models from the 60s-70s, and they inspired the making of your modern timepiece. 

Shop the SRQ035 (only one-piece available), SSC813 for $3,200, and $675, respectively from Exquisite Timepieces. They’re trusted online and Florida-based new and pre-owned luxury watch dealers of the Speedtimer Chronographs. 

grand seiko snowflake review

The White Lotus, as I’d like to call the Grand Seiko SBGA211, is the purest everyday watch money can buy. And because it’s also known as the Snowflake, it’s pure on the inside, too – the White Lotus comes from mud, but snow is from white clouds. 

The SBGA211 has a beautiful famous dial and is rich in history, finish material selection, and a mindblowing spring drive movement. In this review, you’ll learn why it’s easily one of the best watches in its price range and why it’s named the Snowflake.

Grand Seiko Snowflake Over The Years

In the autumn of 2005, when the green Shinshu Mountains were transforming into snowy white peaks, Seiko released the SBGA011

Fun fact: the watch was never named Snowflake by the Japanese watchmaker, at least, not at first. We give all the credit to the excited community of watch lovers and SBGA011 cult followers, for which the company was also grateful. 

The flagship model then carried the Seiko logo at 12 o’clock and Grand Seiko at 6 o’clock. I’ll digress to talk about the origins of this timepiece. 

The design team (like they did when they released the Spring Drive movement) wanted the dial to enshrine the surroundings of its birthplace. So the artisans at the Shishu Watch Dial Studio drew inspiration from the pure white mountain view that outlined their workstation for almost half the year. 

They wanted the dial pure white, like winter’s snow covering the Hida Mountains. Also, a rough texture to imitate the uneven edges of the mountain range. The challenge: using paint would either drown the rough texture or render it dull if it accommodates it. 

So they decided to create the dial using silver! Next, the team dug into the archives and copied the technology on the dial of a ’70s Grand Seiko watch. Five years after the grand entry of the Spring Drive, SBGA011 became available to the public and was officially named Snowflake. It was also reintroduced in 2017 when Grand Seiko became a separate brand from Seiko with one logo and the current reference SBGA211.

The Marvel Engineering of Grand Seiko SBGA211

Let’s undress this titanium dress watch that has amassed a cult following and rightful haters. 

Super Lightweight & Mirror-Polish Case

The most glaring attribute here is the silver high-intensity titanium case. It’s practically indestructible, lightweight, and not uncommon for Grand Seiko to provide this material on a “budget.”

With its 41mm diameter and 12.55mm thick case, you get the face of a dress watch and the fullness of a sports timepiece. I love the slim case profile. However, folks with smaller wrists should pay attention to its 49mm lug-to-lug distance. 

The Snowflake’s case, with its mirror polish or Zaratsu steel polishing, shines under bright light. It’s a stunning work of engineering to achieve this finishing technique on steel, let alone titanium – a metal harder than steel. 

However, the risk of micro-scratches comes with the appeal of a reflective, eye-catching case. In other words, the GS SBGA211 is prone to scratches, but and will take decades before it looks even remotely beat up.

If that’s a deal breaker for you, it’s totally fine to find an alternative. See this 15-year-old, daily used Grand Seiko Spring Drive with Zaratsu polishing for reference.

If it makes you feel better, it’ll last for years, and considering the price, each scratch holds a memory. And to be fair, it’s no different from the scratch tolerance of mirror finish watches from other luxury watchmakers like Rolex, Omega, and Longines, except for Sinn and Damasco. 

Hokaga Mountains-Themed Snowflake Dial 

As we alluded to in the history of the SBGA211, the dial is inspired by the mountain range outside the Grand Seiko workshop. But it takes 80 increasingly difficult steps to achieve the dial’s snow-white and flaky texture. So I don’t blame the SBGA011 followers for naming it Snowflake. They also ring it in our ears that photos don’t do it justice and that you should check one out in a store if you mean business.  

Again, the dial isn’t painted white but made entirely out of silver. And the steps I mentioned earlier involve adding solutions to this textured silver plating. The brain behind this creation is silver’s reputation as the highest reflective metal and that it could be converted to white without obscuring the “flaky” texture with paint. 

Low Light Capability Without Luminescence

In typical dress watch style, this Japanese engineering machine doesn’t have a luminous material on the dial. But Grand Seiko makes up for what it lacks in lume with high reflection. 

The silver plating, uneven dial surface, and polished indexes make Snowflake shine in low-light environments. In addition, according to GS engineers, the dial is larger than traditional flat dials, which allows it to reflect light from all directions. 

Now couple that with the mirror finish on the indexes, and you’ll be able to read the time in low-light conditions – of course, not in a pitch-black room or underwater. 

Reflective Hands and Indexes

The same artistry that goes into the dial can be said of the Snowflake’s hands and indexes. First, all the indicators are laid by trained hands with acrylic tweezers of the craftsperson’s making. Its stick index design, sword hour, and minute hands all get the ancient Zaratsu polishing present on the case and bracelet. 

But the mirror finish on the hour hands or case isn’t the only alluring feature. It’s also the free-flowing blue wedged seconds hand gliding through the snowy dial on the fuel of the innovative spring drive movement. It feels like a bluebird flying over a vast white expanse when you watch it tick. 

Patent Spring Drive Movement 

Many mechanical purists and watch enthusiasts have called this masterpiece absurd names, like “just another quartz” or “gimmicky.” I beg to differ. 

The Grand Seiko 9R65 is a horological masterpiece that even the Swiss giants are yet to touch. It took Yoshkazu Akahane – the inventor – 28 years to bring the Grand Seiko Spring Drive to life. Who spends almost three decades on a gimmick? 

Currently, the 9R65 is the most standard caliber in Grand Seiko’s Spring Drive lineup. It essentially delivers a mechanical watch but with the accuracy of a quartz or electronic caliber. The 9R65 is accurate to +/- 1 second per day and has a 3-day power reserve. That’s perfection if you ask me.

The power reserve indicator is the little aperture with one hand you see between 7 and 8 o’clock on the dial. My point here is the SBGA211 is not powered by a battery but by a mainspring, like traditional mechanical watches.

However, a rotor connected to this engine generates an electrical charge that activates a quartz oscillator. In layman’s terms, this spark is what allows the spring drive to achieve quartz accuracy without being powered by one.  

Exhibition Case Back

As if the guys at ShinShuWatch Studio and I are on the same brainwave, Grand Seiko shows off this beauty using an exhibition case. The see-through case back displays a few of its thirty purple, red, and gold jewels. Is the spring drive just a fancy quartz movement? I’ll leave that to you. You already know my thoughts. 

Polished Titanium Bracelet 

The heading “polished titanium bracelet” may sound basic to a beginner watch enthusiast. So I’d break down the magnificence of this feat in the Snowflake. The Grand Seiko SBGA titanium bracelet features an astounding Zaratsu mirror and hairline finish.

As I failed to mention earlier, the case of the SBGA211 also features a hairline finish on the lugs. It’s a design finish that resembles a fine paint brush stroke or straightened hair. If achieving this level of sophistication and artistry on a stainless steel watch is difficult.

Seeing it on titanium is pure work of art and hard work. The Zaratsu finish is a feat within the grasp of only world-class watchmakers, which would also come at a steep price for the long hours of craftsmanship. 

Grand Seiko is one of the best at it, but seeing it on a $6,000 watch is stunning. A Rolex with this level of finishing will cost twice the price, if not more. 

Hell, the only all-titanium Rolex – the Sea-Dweller – costs over twenty grand. But that’s a stretch as we can’t compare them apples to apples. The Oyster bracelet is more comparable, and you know, as it combines a satin and brush finish. 

End Links and Clasp

Grand Seiko has a 20mm wide bracelet. It’s pin and collar style, so you need to remove links to size them. It stays locked in with the typical three-fold clasp and a push button release. 

Although many appreciate the bracelet’s beauty, they also complain of its lack of micro adjustment. Basically, they couldn’t get a perfect fit, so they either had to wear it too loose or tight.

Another drawback to the bracelet is the protruding end of the clasp. It gives the false sense that it’s a lift-to-release mechanism to an outsider, not a push-back release. 

Who Should Wear it?

I can’t deny that the Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake isn’t for everyone, especially because it’s a “Seiko.” That’s right, many folks still underestimate the Japanese brand, perhaps for its relations with Seiko or just the name. But I’d pick this SBGA211 over a stainless steel Datejust on any given day if I plan to wear and enjoy my timepiece for daily and formal use. Hear me out.

Engineering Fanatic

I love watches with innovative engineering, not just one with a popular brand name and a hefty price tag to follow. No disrespect to the impressive level of craftsmanship of Rolex, but this Grand Seiko model is on a different level. 

The GS is also handmade by the most experienced technicians, sports a groundbreaking in-house movement, and a famous but rare overall polishing. And to top it off, I get to gaze at the magnificence of her inner workings in a see-through case back when I turn this beauty over.

I still need to understand why Rolex denies us that. So if you’re in the category of watch lovers who prefers to impress themselves rather than others, the Snowflake is waiting for you under the mistletoe. 

The Lure of Understated Luxury

Isn’t the shine of a luxury watch nobody knows just different? It’s sitting pretty on your wrist, and nobody’s weighing your worth or trying to mug you. The Grand Seiko SBGA211 isn’t flashy but elegant, inspiring, and alluring. That’s because it draws attention to the curious and sophisticated minds of folks who know their watches.

In other words, it showcases class and wealth without actually attracting a crowd. The type of wristwatch that prompts a conversation among watch enthusiasts about its history and engineering. You’ll adore the Snowflake if you’re a believer in understated luxury. 

Who Shouldn’t Wear the Snowflake?

The most obvious answer is anyone who wants a flashy watch that can turn heads at first glance. Either by attraction to the brand name or bling. 

But know this, the absence of stones and a high-luxury status doesn’t mean that Grand Seiko is nameless. In defense of the Snowflake, it would hold a reasonable resale value if you decide you want a new adventure. 

On the technical side, a few things could be a dealbreaker for some folks in the long run. But in my opinion, these are excusable, in fact unnecessary, parameters to judge the majestic Snowflake. 

The most common deal breakers are that the watch profile is “too light”, and you can’t micro-adjust the bracelet. Each to their own, obviously, but I do have to point out that Grand Seiko dress watches never carry micro adjustment.

Don’t expect to find wings at a sushi place. Secondly, many luxury watch brands are guilty of this, and it’s silly, in all honesty. We’ll never know why they don’t make the micro adjustment a base feature (in addition to quick release). 

Furthermore, you’ll have to send the watch to Seiko if you need replacement links – setting you back for weeks if anything goes wrong. This watch is not for you if you plan to adjust timepieces by yourself. 

Thirdly, the Snowflake is built to be ultralight. It’s one of its major selling points as an all-titanium dress watch. That said, if a lightweight watch isn’t your cup of tea, you’re better off without the SBGA211. But get one if you want a metal that’s five times stronger than stainless steel. 

Pricing The Grand Seiko SBGA211

The SBG211 Snowflake has a reputation as “Grand Seiko’s most wanted”. It officially costs $6,200, but prices vary from who you’re dealing with to the condition of the watch. Do I think the Snowflake is priced reasonably?

Absolutely! With the level of craftsmanship that goes into each piece, a Swiss brand would charge almost double the price. That alone makes it a fair price. Aside from whether it’s worth the price or not, the market loves it. And that’s all that matters.

What this means is that it’s in high demand. This is especially true in North America, where Grand Seiko authorized dealers carrying the Snowflake are less rampant than in Japan. 

So don’t be surprised if you see a boutique store selling one for well over $7,000. It requires patience or the assistance of discounts and coupons to buy the Snowflake at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). 

Luckily for you, we currently have one new Grand Seiko SBGA211 Snowflake in store at Exquisite Timepieces. It’s only $6,200 with free delivery within the United States. Order now before we also run out of stock. 

Is It A Good Investment Watch?

At the end of it all, luxury watch owners want to know if their watch would make a great investment piece. For most top-tier luxury brands, like Rolex, Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet, the answer is yes. The main reason is their penchant for low production, indirectly creating scarcity and value. 

We can’t say the same with most luxury watchmakers because the demand for that particular model must exceed the supply to make it a great investment piece. So while Rolex makes about one million watches yearly, the demand far exceeds this production number. 

Grand Seiko produces approximately 31,000 watches a year. Like most luxury watchmakers who don’t publicize output, we don’t know how many Snowflakes ship out yearly, but it’s surely not enough. Plus, the majority of this output stays in Japan. 

So is the Grand Seiko a good investment watch? Yes, it is. You will always find a market for it when the time comes, and depending on the condition, for a reasonable price. 

Remember that the titanium case holds scratches, so unless you’re collecting (never to be worn), expect the potential resale price to drop. But most Snowflake owners buy it to wear for everyday use and find it easy to resell when the time comes for a change. 

Alternatives to The Grand Seiko Snowflake

This review has gone on to emphasize the strong points of the Seiko SBGA211 and how to live with its drawbacks. However, it also comes with shortcomings that you may consider dealbreakers. 

Check out these alternatives, which cover areas where the Snowflake falls short. 

Grand Seiko SBGH205

Grand Seiko SBGH205

The GS SBGH205 comes to mind first if you want to stay within the Grand Seiko line. It gives you an equally stunning dial in black (you should see these watches in person to truly understand the hype).

It draws inspiration from the peaks of Mt. Iwate on the horizon of Grand Seiko’s Shizuku-Ishi Watch Studio. The studio is Grand Seiko’s facility for manufacturing mechanical watches. 

Furthermore, the case size is 40.2mm, and with a smaller lug-to-lug, it will fit better on smaller wrists. It’s missing a power reserve indicator, but this probably gives you about a thousand bucks in savings compared to the Snowflake. 

Grand Seiko Japan Seasons Collection

You can’t get enough beautiful dials, no matter the Grand Seiko model you pick. We see GS pay homage to the alps in the Heritage collection (that features the SBGA211). But the Seasons collection features timepieces that embody Summer (Rikka), Spring (Shunbun), Autumn (Shubun), and winter (Taisetu), with special attention to plant-themed designs. 

The collection features four models that represent four seasons. The Spring and Winter model features the Snowflake’s caliber 9R65, while Autumn and Summer carry the Mechanical Hi-beat 36,000 9S65 movement.

Apparently, they’re the same as the Snowflake speaking of material and finish. The only difference is a smaller case size of 40mm and an even more artistic dial. If you’re looking for a smaller dress watch with a beautiful dial like the Snowflake, consider the Japan Seasons collection. 

Rolex DateJust 116200-0084

Rolex DateJust 116200-0084

I love the idea of a European alternative to the SBGA211 for pop culture lovers, socialites, and influencers. What better brand than Rolex and their iconic Rolex Datejust 36mm? It’s a lot smaller but has a similar design with its all-silver look and stick-indexed dial. 

Better yet, the DateJust is all-stainless steel and heavier, weighing 45 grams more than SBGA211. You’ll get the solid feel of the weight of the stainless steel case, iconic Jubilee bracelet, and the signature Rolex zoom lens date. But its white dial appears brown when you compare it to the purity of the Snowflake. 

Moreover, it costs almost the same as the SBGA211 on the preowned market. The best part is you’ll also find it has a more profitable resale value, but you’ll need to scale the first huddle. That’s finding one that is priced in the range of the Snowflake.

Buy A Grand Seiko SBGA211 “Snowflake”

Normally, I never finish off my posts blatantly telling you to buy a watch, but I’ll make an exception here. If you’ve given the SBGA211 even an iota of consideration, don’t hesitate to go for it. It’s beautiful, solidly built to age gracefully even with scratches, and carries an unmatched caliber of horological engineering today.

You won’t find any deal breakers than the few I already addressed in this review – a protruding clasp, non-flashy, and an exceptionally lightweight feel. Ultimately, you can resell the Snowflake for a reasonable price if you don’t fall in love with this absolute beauty at first sight. 

15 best open back watches for all budget ranges

Are you in the market for a new open back watch? I relate with you. I love watches that allow me to glimpse the intricate engineering of their mechanisms. 

You don’t have to break the bank to find a quality watch with an exhibition case back. But honestly, you may have to spend on the high side to find timepieces with movement construction and finish worth the display case.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the 15 best open-back watches across budget ranges, so you can find the perfect watch to suit your style. From affordable quartz watches to high-end luxury timepieces, this comprehensive guide has something for everyone. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the world of open-back watches and discover what makes them so special.

About Open Back Watches

Open-back watches show the watchmakers pride in the engineering of their watch. They also offer you a chance to admire or show off the movement to another watch buff. These watches reveal the tiny gears, rotors, and springs working harmoniously to keep time running.

It’s like having a miniature Rube Goldberg machine on your wrist! But open-back watches are more than just a fascinating display of engineering. They are well-thought-out designs and can be pricey if you want to experience a movement worth showing off. 

History Of Open Back Watches

Display case backs have existed for centuries, but it’s uncertain when they were first made. However, Bovet, founded in 1822, claims to be the first brand to design an exhibition case watch. Time went on (pun intended), and watchmakers began to get more creative with their designs.

In the 19th century, watchmakers, in a bid to make the case backs more transparent, started to use materials like crystal. As expected, the watches stayed expensive, and only a few could afford them.

A. Lange & Söhne did release watches with enamored outer casings and transparent inner casings displaying the movement. Only in the 20th century did these watches become popular and more accessible, particularly amongst watch geeks, collectors, and enthusiasts. 

In the 1960s and 1970s, Swiss watchmakers began producing high-end luxury watches with open backs, such as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony.

These watches were often produced in limited quantities and featured complex movements. Today, open back watches are everywhere and available in all sizes, shapes, and prices.

The Top 15 Open Back Watches

1. Seagull 1963 Mechanical Chronograph

Seagull 1963 Mechanical Chronograph

If you are looking for a stylish and affordable display case watch, consider the vintage-inspired Seagull 1963 Mechanical Chronograph. This proudly Chinese-made watch is touted as the most attainable mechanical watch.

The 38mm stainless steel case has a polished finish and is 12mm thick, which gives the watch a retro look. It’s a simple, clean dial with a blurry white background, black hour markers, and hands. Three sub-dials show the chronograph seconds, minutes, and hours.

One of the unique features of this watch is the movement. It uses a manual ST19 caliber, which is fairly accurate and reliable, with a power reserve of around 40 hours.

In terms of functionality, the Seagull 1963 Mechanical Chronograph is a basic chronograph with no additional features such as a date display or a tachymeter. In addition, there’s hearsay that its leather strap may be of lower quality. However, it packs plenty of value for its price.

Starts from approximately: $300.83

2. Seiko 5 SRPD71

Seiko 5 SRPD71

The Seiko 5 SRPD71 (also known as the SRPD71K1) is a stunning and unique timepiece. It combines a traditional style and elegance with contemporary functions. 

The watch is enclosed in a stainless steel case made of scratch-resistant Hardlex crystal that is 13.4mm thick and has a diameter of 42.5mm. It has a sturdy bracelet that makes the watch feel substantial on the wrist. 

Also, it sports a black dial with luminous hands and markers that make it simple to read in dim light. Additionally, the placement of the day/date function adds a practical touch to the overall design.

Other striking features of the Seiko 5 SRPD71 are the automatic and manual winding 4R36 caliber that provides reliable timekeeping and a 41-hour power reserve. The watch also has a 10 bar water resistance, making it suitable for swimming and other related activities.

Overall, the Seiko 5 SRPD71 is an excellent choice for sport watch lovers who also want some style and durability to go with it.

Starts from approximately: $350

3. Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic (H32515555)

Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic (H32515555)

Now here is one delightful combination of elegance and whimsy! I like to think of it as the James Bond of watches – cool, calm, and daring. Let’s start with the design. The Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic (H32515555) has a classic look for formal occasions.

Its captivating white dial has dauphine hands and a mix of Arabic numerals and dagger indexes. It even has a big date at the 3 o’clock position, not to mention guilloche-like patterns in the middle of the dial. 

The Jazzmaster is pristine and refined with a matching 40mm stainless case.  And the Viewmatic naming is probably in reference to its exhibition-style case back that allows you to view the mechanical movement.

This Hamilton piece is powered by an H10 automatic caliber and features an 80-hour power reserve, which is unheard of at its price range.

It also has 25 jewels, but you’re only afforded a sight of its oscillating weight and parts of its wheels through its open case. Pair the Jazzmatic with its calf leather bracelet strap, and you have an elegant dress watch on a budget.

Starts from approximately: $910

4. Frederique Constant Manufacture Classic Moonphase (ref. FC-712MS4H6)

Frederique Constant Manufacture Classic Moonphase (ref. FC-712MS4H6)

The Frederique Constant Manufacture Classic Moonphase (ref. FC-712MS4H6), or as I like to call it, the “fancy watch that tells you when to howl at the moon,” is a work of art. It’s got a sleek silver and black design that’s sure to turn heads. 

The FC-712MS4H6 boasts other satisfactory attributes, like the calf leather black strap with croc-print and a folding buckle with push buttons. The polished stainless steel case has a 42mm diameter, a thickness of 11.6mm, and a 5 bar water resistance.

This case houses a matching silver dial and automatic central rotor mechanics that can be seen through the open case back and an FC-712 caliber. The moon phase and day-indicator subdials maintain the simple look of the dial.

In all, the Frederique Constant Manufacture Classic Moonphase is a watch that’s both stylish and practical. It’s perfect for the fashion-conscious werewolf who needs to keep track of lunar cycles or anyone who wants to look darn good while telling time.

Pricing: $3,172

5. NOMOS Tangente 38 (ref. 164)

NOMOS Tangente 38 (ref. 164)

The Tangente 38 is a minimalist’s dream come true, with clean lines, simple indices, and a stunningly understated dial. It’s the kind of watch that makes you feel like a savvy sophisticate just by wearing it, even if you’re just wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt.

But don’t be fooled by its simplicity – this Nomos watch is a veritable treasure trove of clever engineering. The in-house manual-winding caliber Alpha is a marvel of precision and efficiency, keeping the time with the kind of accuracy that would make an atomic clock blush.

And the sapphire crystal open back gives you a peek into the inner workings of this mechanical masterpiece and its aesthetic blend of purple, blue, gold, and silver colors. Of course, the Tangente 38 isn’t just a pretty face (with an even more beautiful back).

It’s also built to last, with a 43 hours power reserve and a round (37.50mm diameter) sturdy stainless steel case that can take a beating. And with a 30 meters water resistance, the watch is splash-proof.

Let’s not forget the little details that make the Tangente 38 so special. The slim blue steel hands, elegant markers, subtly curved lugs, and the Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan leather are a testament to the beauty of simplicity and the power of a great design.

Pricing: $1,912

6. Longines Master Collection (ref. L2.673.4.78.3)

Longines Master Collection (ref. L2.673.4.78.3)

The Longines Master Collection (ref. L2.673.4.78.3) is a perfect accessory for anyone who wants to feel like a high-roller. It’s stylish, functional, and toolsy. Now, let’s talk specs. The Longines Master Collection ref. L2.673.4.78.3 has a stainless steel case with a diameter of 42mm.

It’s a “barleycorn” silver-toned dial with a guilloche pattern and many markings in Arabic numerals. And its blue feuille hands give it a cool, relaxing look that calms its cluttered dial. It has standard 12-hour, 24-hour, small seconds, day-date-month indexes, and a moon phase indicator on the dial. 

This Longines Master is a complete date and timekeeping watch. It’s got a sapphire crystal open case back so that you can admire the intricate workings of its Longines caliber L678.2. Admittedly, half of the display is only the oscillating weight, so a watch critic might have some disapproving words. 

Another standout is its 64 hours of power reserve. So you can go more than two and a half days without winding it. If you love the idea of a full calendar and exhibition case watch, this Longines Master is a no-brainer.

Starts from approximately $2,300

7. Grand Seiko SBGP017

Grand Seiko SBGP017

This stunning timepiece was designed as a special anniversary edition of the 44GS. Its light blue dial and cloud-texture pattern were influenced by the sea of clouds of GS’s Shinshu studio. Now to the watch itself.

The SBGP017 is a part of Grand Seiko’s Sport Collection, so you know it’s made to withstand wear and tear. The case is made of high-strength titanium, which is both lightweight and durable. It also has a see-through sapphire crystal case back to glance at its quartz movement.

And if you thought that was impressive, wait until you hear about the diamond-cut hour markers and the date window at 3 o’clock. Further, the SBGP017 is powered by Grand Seiko’s 9F85 quartz movement, accurate to within +/- 5 seconds per year. So, if you value precision and reliability more than super-complications, this watch is for you. 

The open back shows the movement in all its glory, with a gold finish, gems, and battery on display. Ultimately, the SBG017 is a value-packed open back watch with a dial design, finishing, and durability ahead of its price range. Perfect choice if you don’t mind quartz. 

Starts from approximately: $3,800

8. Tudor Black Bay Ceramic (ref. M79210CNU-0001)

Tudor Black Bay Ceramic (ref. M79210CNU-0001)

The watch in black – the Tudor Black Bay is a classy watch any collector or enthusiast will jump at. It’s a premium dive watch with a micro-blasted black ceramic case, bezel, and hybrid leather-rubber strap. Only the white Tudor markers and hands give it a pop of color.

It’s reminiscent of a customized all-black BMW, or any all-black car for that matter. Surprisingly, the Black Bay’s dial is extremely easy to read in the dark or underwater. The case measures 41mm in diameter, making it a great size for most wrist sizes. 

Its exhibition case back offers excellent visibility of the watch’s inner workings, adding to its allure. The watch also features a screw-down crown and is water resistant up to 200m. But let’s get to the really important stuff – the movement.

Its METAS-certified MT5602 caliber, with a 70-hour power reserve and anti-magnetic up to 15,000 gausses. Of course, it’s also finished all-black with only a few contrasting gems and steel finishing. Overall, the Tudor Black Bay is a high-tech watch with fancy finishes and an exhibition case. 

Starts from approximately: $5,025

9. Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Blue (ref. 95.9002.9004/78.R590)

Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Blue (ref. 95.9002.9004/78.R590)

The Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Blue (ref. 95.9002.9004/78.R590) is a magnificent skeleton watch that allows you to admire the intricate details of its movement, front, back, and center. Some major sights are the blue oscillating weight, the Zenith star logo on the rotor, and the counters.

Plus, a mindblowing 36,000 frequency on its El Primero movement. Additionally, the watch has a power reserve of 50 hours. And if you’re worried about getting wet, fear not – it’s water-resistant up to 100 meters.

Despite its seemingly complicated look and prominent case, it’s a classy dress watch. Its 44mm titanium case synchronizes with the rubber strap and tones of blue from the El Primero movement. The Defy El Primero will pass for a luxury sports watch, statement piece, and night dress watch. 

Starts from approximately: $8,814

10. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique 5015 (ref. 5015 1130 52A)

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique 5015 (ref. 5015 1130 52A)

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique 5015 is a diver’s watch with stellar craftsmanship. The open back design is a great touch, allowing you a glimpse of its 227 components in action. Its sapphire crystal case back displays the oscillating weight, escapement, and balance wheel, all in motion.

The Fifty Fathoms 5015 in-house caliber 1315 has an impressive 120-hour power reserve. It is encased in a sizeable 45mm stainless steel case that’s comfortable to wear with its sail-canvas strap. 

It’s typically built for underwater use with a unidirectional rotating bezel, black dial, luminescent hands, and markers for legibility in low-light conditions and 300 meters of water resistance. If you love iconic watches that are bold to put their movements on display, the Fithy Fathoms is the true definition. 

Starts from approximately: $15,555

11. Omega Speedmaster Caliber 321 (ref. 311.

Omega Speedmaster Caliber 321 (ref. 311.

This watch is the perfect trifecta of watchmaking – combining style, function, and history. The Omega Speedmaster is easily one of the most beautiful display case watches ever. It houses the Caliber 321 – early Speedmaster models worn by NASA astronauts during the Apollo missions – that would leave you staring at in awe.

It’s a hand-wound movement with 18k rose gold finished components, a Breguet balance spring, and 55 hours of power reserve. Again, this is the moon caliber on display. The face of the watch is one of simplicity and class. 

It features a sleek black dial with contrasting white minute markings on the sub-dials and bezel tachymeter. Its 39.7mm 316L corrosion-resistant stainless steel case bracelets are sturdy and complete each other for a masculine instrument watch look.

Starts from approximately: $23,900

12. Glashütte Original SeaQ (ref. 1-39-11-17-91-33)

Glashütte Original SeaQ (ref. 1-39-11-17-91-33)

At the heart of the red gold SeaQ is Glashütte Original’s Caliber 39-11 automatic movement, which boasts an impressive power reserve of up to 40 hours. This movement is built to last, with its signature three-quarter plate and Glashütte stripes adding a touch of elegance to the watch’s overall aesthetic.

The SeaQ’s blue dial with its sunburst finish, lume on the hands, and indices are top-notch features that provide excellent legibility in any lighting condition. It’s no surprise for a dive watch with its water resistance rating of 300 meters.

This is thanks to a screw-down crown, a screw-down case back, and a unidirectional rotating bezel. The SeaQ has a stainless steel case with a sizable 43.2mm diameter, giving it a sporty and masculine feel that will turn heads.

One minor critique of the SeaQ is its lack of a date function, which some users may find inconvenient. However, this omission aligns with the watch’s classic design and isn’t exactly a dealbreaker for most.

Starts from approximately: $26,524

13. Breguet Classique Chronograph 3237

Breguet Classique Chronograph 3237

Next on my list of the best open back watches if you love ornamented watches is the Breguet Classique Chronograph 3237. Before you notice the display case, its artful case and dial should catch your (or anyone’s) attention. It’s a fluted 36mm 18k yellow gold case with pump pushers that gives a discreet but bold look. 

When you look closely, you’ll appreciate Breguet even more. The roman numeral hour markers and Breguet hands are like eye candy. But the show’s real star is the silver guilloché pattern on the dial.

It gives substance to the dial’s bare center and outer rings while allowing the hour markers and counters to shine. As if that’s not enough, your eyes stay full when you turn the Breguet Classique 3237 on its back. Its in-house caliber 533.3 takes up the space with fine engineering for you to gaze at.

It has a 48-hour power reserve. And with a 36.0mm case diameter and 10mm thickness, it’s big enough to make a statement without being so big that it looks like you’re wearing a clock on your wrist.

Starts from approximately: $24,400

14. Patek Philippe Calatrava (ref. 6119G-001)

Patek Philippe Calatrava (ref. 6119G-001)

In a world of iconic dress watches, the Patek Philippe Calatrava collection is a line of A-listers. It is a true classic that embodies the timeless elegance and understated style that Patek Philippe is known for. 

The 6119G-001 displays the manually-wound in-house Caliber 30-255 PS in a full-circumference open case back. It gives you a full view of the back, with the movement’s jewels, rotor, and golden wheels with Patek Phillipe Seal in sight. 

The 30-225 has 165 parts in total and a power reserve of 65 hours. You’ll need as many hours to study the complication and geek out with your watch pals.

Moving on, the 6119G has a refreshing dial of understated luxury. It’s a charcoal gray background in a visible vertical satin finish with applied white gold stick markers and dauphine hands. 

Further, it features a 39mm 18k white gold case. It also has a stunning and meticulous hobnail guilloche bezel design. 

More impressively, the case is only 8.08mm thick, which makes it super-dressy and comfortable on any outfit. Especially when you pair it with the shiny black alligator strap with square scales.  Overall, the 6110G Calatrava is crafted to perfection.

Starts from approximately: $27,818

15. A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Platinum (ref. 425.025)

A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Platinum (ref. 425.025)

The 1815 Rattrapante Platinum is a stunning 200-piece limited edition display case watch. First off, it’s powered by a manually-wound in-house chronograph movement – Caliber L101.2. So there’s a handful to exhibit in its sapphire glass case back.

More specifically, the movement has 631 individual components, running a “rattrapante” (or split-seconds) complication that times two events simultaneously. As a result, the movement has a super-complicated switching process, with two column wheels and a rattrapante clamp, which you can observe through the glass.

It delivers a power reserve of up to 58 hours before it needs to be rewound. Unsurprisingly, A. Lange & Söhne delivers an artistic dial to carry this beautiful movement. In addition, it has an argenté-finish that complements its 41mm 950 platinum case.

The blue hands, black Arabic numerals, and minute track look clean and legible on the silver dial. Impressively, the Rattrapante’s stellar movement and dial are packed into a 12.6mm thick case. Its lightweight and portability make it a go-to statement piece or casual watch for the elite.

Starts from approximately: $140,000


Display case watches are not built equal, nor are people’s tastes in watches. The best open-back watches, admittedly, only get better with the price. So, if you’re focused on the finishing and complication of the movement on display, we suggest you pick from the last 10 watches on the list. 

Ultimately, you’ll find a value-packed option whether you’re on a tight or affluent budget. If it’s on this list, it’s worth showing off. 

best thin dive watches

If you are reading this, you are probably tired of heavy and bulky dive watches, and you need a sleek design. You’re in luck. The Exquisite Timepieces team scoured depths to uncover the 15 best thin dive watches.

These watches combine a relatively slim profile with a regular dive watch’s renowned durability and precision timekeeping. As a result, they are versatile and stylish dive watches. Portable enough to style formal wear and lightweight for everyday fashion without bugging your wrist.

While they all have a similar design architecture, you’ll find a variety of svelte styles for different budgets to choose from on our list. So let’s get to it.  

About Thin Dive Watches

When you think of a dive watch, you probably envision something big, bulky, and built like a tank – which is true. It’s no surprise when they are designed to survive deep-sea diving. Ideally, they feature overengineered, often oversized cases with superior durability, legibility, luminosity, and water resistance, boosting their general demand and not being restricted to divers only. 

You most likely thought, “you want all these quirks but in a streamlined and elegant case” when you embarked on the journey for thin dive watches. The good thing is there are quite a few quality timepieces that fit the category. However, you’ll be out of luck if you expect models like the ultra-thin 2.4mm Bulgari Octto Finnissimo. Thin dive watches range from around 6mm to 13mm, and most fall within the 11mm range. 

On the bright side, they are comfortable to wear for long periods and can be dressed up without getting caught under your sleeve or jacket cuff. Slim divers can serve you on formal occasions or in their element for casual or sports wear. 

Thin dive watches are no pushovers, either. Some models can be slightly tougher than regular or oversized ones. However, they suffer no compromise to structural integrity due to the slimmer profile. They also maintain essential dive watch features such as a unidirectional bezel, water resistance, and luminosity. Plus, technological advancements have allowed for the creation of thinner movements that don’t sacrifice accuracy.

Should You Buy A Thin Dive Watch?

It’s no secret that more than half of the people who buy diver watches are not divers or into sports. Most enthusiasts buy them because they love the design, which is subjective. At the same time, another set of folks uses the unidirectional bezel to time an array of activities other than underwater duration.

For what it’s worth, the closest action my dive watch sees is recording 20-minute intervals for regular breaks from work. Another thing is even bulky dive watches are designed to fit under a wetsuit. They are tool watches, so they fit perfectly under overalls if you work in an industry.

But a thin dive watch is your best bet if you want a low-profile model you can style with a dress shirt. It gives you that bold look, unmatched visibility, and functionality in a small case. Plus, they are a great choice for small wrists that struggle to wear divers without having the fit of an Omnitrix. Slim dive watches fit better and stylishly.

The Best Thin Dive Watches

We’ve compiled this list of the absolute best quality divers with cases thinner than 13mm. The selections are according to their value and respect among enthusiasts, not by size.

1. Tudor Black Bay 58 Blue (ref. M79030B-0001)

Tudor Black Bay 58 Blue (ref. M79030B-0001)

Starts from approximately $3,300

The Tudor Black Bay 58 Blue (ref. M79030B-0001) is a thin dive watch masterpiece with a vintage appeal. It has a 39mm case, slightly smaller than the conventional 40mm and 45mm, and is only 12mm thick – a perfect size for both men and women. It has a durable, corrosion-resistant case made from 316L stainless steel.

Its blue unidirectional bezel is a classic design with 10-minute Arabic-numbered intervals to 60 minutes. The aluminum bezel is fluted for non-slippery handling with gloves or underwater. Also, its markers are Super-LumiNova treated – meaning they glow in the dark. This “glow in the dark” feature extends to the hour marker and hands on the dial.

Speaking of the dial, it’s yet another classic look, but in blue. It sports a domed dial plate, trademark round markers, and snowflake hands, which are simple yet aesthetic. You’d love the attention to detail in the finish of the Black Bay. Its case is polished down to the lugs, while the bracelet is a rough, bold, and dressy satin finish.

The Tudor Black Bay’s standout function is arguably its long-lasting 70-hour power reserve. That’s about three days’ worth of juice powered by a COSC-certified in-house movement, the MT5402.

2. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe (ref. 5000 1110 B52A)

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe (ref. 5000 1110 B52A)

Starts from approximately $11,500

Since introducing the original Bathyscaphe watch, Blancpain has committed to creating smaller-sized sports diving watches, and the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe (ref. 5000 1110 B52A) is no exception. 

This luxury dive watch stands out for its thin profile and sleek design. It’s housed in a 43mm case of only 13.4mm thickness. And this size might not seem thin to casual wearers, but it falls in the sweet spot for professionals. 

While this Bathyscaphe might seem relatively thin compared to dress watches, it is noteworthy for a dive watch, which typically requires a thicker case to withstand the pressures of deep-sea exploration.

In addition, the slim and flat bezel enhances the watch’s thin profile with its ceramic inlay and Liquidmetal markers and numerals. The 23mm width between the horns also enhances its slim profile. 

What I admire most about this dive watch is how Blancpain kept up with typical features while trying to achieve a slim profile. As a result, the watch maintains a high water resistance (300 meters), an impeccable 120-hour power reserve, and a high resistance to shock and magnetism.

3. Glashütte Original SeaQ (ref. 1-39-11-06-80-70)

Glashütte Original SeaQ (ref. 1-39-11-06-80-70)

Starts from approximately $11,900

They say looks can be deceiving, and that’s exactly the case with this Glashütte Original SeaQ model. Its gigantic numeral Arabic numerals can be misleading of its actual weight and frame. But it’s only the brand’s way of prioritizing visibility for underwater and low-light environments or reading the time at an angle.

But its enormous feature goes no deeper than the numbers. The SeaQ has a polished stainless steel case, possibly one of the thinnest certified dive watches. It’s only 39.5mm and has a height of 12.15mm, which is impressive considering the watch’s 200-meter water resistance rating. A small detail I loved about this diver is the representation of its 20-bar (200 meters) water resistance on the case back with 20 waves.

You’ll also love its innovative dial design. It’s a radiant combination of large orange Arabic numerals, baton markers on a sunburst black dial, and the date window at 3 o’clock.

Regarding functionality, SeaQ has all makings of a professional dive watch. It has a fully graduated 60-minute unidirectional bezel, luminescent markers, and hands. The brushed stainless steel bracelet is nice, but you also have more dive-friendly options of rubber and synthetic straps. 

In addition, it comes with a Glashutte Original automatic caliber 39-11 with a 40-hour power reserve running at 28,000 frequency. Plus, the watch meets DIN 8306 and ISO 6425 diving standards.

4. Longines Legend Diver 36mm (ref. L3.374.4.50.6)

Longines Legend Diver 36mm (ref. L3.374.4.50.6)

Starts from approximately $2,300

This watch is another small adaptation of a classic diver – the Legend Diver – as a 10th-anniversary model. As its name implies, its round measures only 36mm, 11.90mm thick, with a 19mm lug width. Give it to Longines to add class and style to their rugged tool watches, as this Diver 36 gets a Milanese (mesh) bracelet. It’s easily mistakable for a dress watch considering its skinny profile and unisex appeal.

The Longines Legend Diver 36mm (ref. L3.374.4.50.6) is remarkable for more than its sleek design, though. I love how its dial is caricature-like as it packs many functions into its portable 36mm case. For example, it has an inner bezel rather than a robust unidirectional bezel to stay thin and fashionable. And has distinct stick indices and mixed hour markers that make it even easier to read the time, despite the clutter. 

Additionally, with water resistance of up to 300 meters, the Legend Diver L3.374.4.50.6 proves you don’t need a 50mm thick case to go some distance underwater. It runs on a 45-hour power reserve in-house caliber L592.

5. Oris Divers Sixty-Five (ref. 01 733 7707 4055-07 8 20 18)

Oris Divers Sixty-Five (ref. 01 733 7707 4055-07 8 20 18)

Starts from approximately $2,700

The Oris Divers Sixty-Five is another relatively thin dive watch worth taking a shot at. It’s a sleek and fashionable diver of 40mm diameter and 13mm thick. I particularly like that you can make a statement wearing this watch on any outfit, whether a suit and tie or dressing down for a beach outing.

Aside from having a low-slung profile, Oris’s (ref. 01 733 7707 4055-07 8 20 18) watch doesn’t really strike all the right chords for me. For a watch that is 13mm thick, you’d expect it to have some high water resistance, which is not the case. The watch only has a 10 bar water resistance which is quite good if you don’t intend to submerge it in water.

6. Seiko SNE573

Seiko SNE573

Starts from approximately $500

If you are not a fan of big dive watches or you have a small wrist, consider buying the Seiko SNE573 watch. It is small, only 10.6mm thick, and barely wide (38.5mm diameter). Although the watch is small, it is not uncomfortable.

The dial and bezel have legible numerals and markers with a LumiBrite coating. So, even underwater, you can tell the time clearly. It also has a very comfortable silicone rubber strap that doesn’t bite into or leave marks on your skin. Despite a small frame and entry-level price point, this Seiko SNE573 houses impressive features.

One standout feature is the solar-powered quartz movement, which is very accurate and long-lasting. When fully charged, it can last for up to 10 months. And with its 200m water resistance, you can descend with this watch into deep waters – just be sure to ascend in ten months.

7. NOVE Trident E009-02

NOVE Trident E009-02

Starts from approximately $370

Now, this definitely has to be the slimmest dive watch you’ll ever find. It is only 6.8mm thick, even though it has a relatively large 46mm case. So, if you want an extremely thin watch but with a huge face, the NOVE Trident E009-02 would be the perfect candidate for your collection. It’s lightweight and among the most affordable luxury dive watches on the market.

In addition to a slim profile, the NOVE Trident E009-02 has a unique three-level stopper bezel system. They are designed to help the bezel stay unidirectional and are easy to clean after underwater use. Note, though, that only the hour and minute hands are luminous. It may not be ideal for use in dark or low-light environments, as the hour and minute markers on the dial and bezel lack applied Superluminova.

8. Glycine Combat Sub (ref. GL0076)

Glycine Combat Sub (ref. GL0076)

Starts from approximately $1,300

Here’s another watch on our list of thin dive watches. Admittedly, the Combat Sub isn’t exceptionally thin compared to the NOVE Trident E009-02 or Seiko SNE573. But at 11mm thick, it more than paints the perfect picture of a thin dive watch. 

The case is 42mm in diameter and houses a very busy dial. Busy in the sense that there are 24-hour markers on the black dial – who cares about military time in this age? And only the 1 to 12-hour markers are visible in low-light conditions. So why include the other hour markers? If I’m a fan of military time, I’ll want to use it in the light and the dark.

But then, different strokes for different folks, right? Still, on the cluttered dial, there is a date window at the 3 o’clock position and many brand and model name engravings. The dial is a bit choked up.

My issue with the dial aside, the Glycine Combat Sub (ref. GL0076) is a high-performance watch. It has all the kicks and perks of true dive watches – a unidirectional bezel, screw-down crown, water resistance, and powerful movement.

9. Mido Ocean Star 200 (ref. M026.430.11.051.00)

Mido Ocean Star 200 (ref. M026.430.11.051.00)

Starts from approximately $1,100

The Mido Ocean Star 200 (ref. M026.430.11.051.00) is also a top contender for those in the market for a thin dive watch. It has a thin case that is 11.8mm thick and 42.50mm wide. The case has a screw-down back, crown, and 20 bar water resistance.

What strikes me most about this watch is the dial’s simplicity. Don’t get me wrong; sometimes, complicated dials can be beautiful and functional. In fact, Mido has some watches in the Ocean Star collection with insane clutter.

But the simplicity of this model is quite intriguing. It features white stick markers and skeletonized hands on a black dial and bezel. Only the 15th, 30th, and 45th minutes on the bezel are numbered. Inside the Ocean Star, 200 is a COSC-certified Mido Caliber 80 (base ETA C07.621) with an 80-hour power reserve.

10. Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 300 38mm

Starts from approximately $1,150

What’s more exciting to an enthusiast than a watch with an open case back? Probably a thin dive watch with the same case back or anyone with a worthy movement to display. Luckily, Christopher Ward’s C60 Trident Pro ticks both boxes at a price I’d like to call a steal.

This C60 Trident is an ultra-thin (11mm) and portable (38mm) masterpiece, sporting a lightweight polished stainless case and bracelet. It’s also highly customizable, with options to add an engraving or resize the bracelet for a token.

Not to mention, the bracelet is marine-grade stainless steel with micro-adjustment mechanisms (and screw links), a useful feature even top luxury watchmakers ignore.  The Trident’s dial and bezel are exceptionally stylish while staying rugged. It features a plain white dial, white markers and hands highlighted with black for contrast, and a black-on-white bezel with Arabic numerals.

One detail that particularly caught my eye was the Trident on the seconds hand. Finally, it uses an automatic movement with a 38-hour power reserve, date display, and an Elaboré’ Colimaçoné’ finish.

11. Baltic Aquascaphe Black Cream

Baltic Aquascaphe Black Cream

Starts from approximately $735 

Next on our list of thin dive watches is the Baltic Aquascaphe Black Cream watch. Its stainless steel case is 39mm wide and 12mm thin. The watch offers a vintage charm with a modern performance. Its retro-inspired design draws inspiration from classic dive watches. However, it incorporates modern elements that make the watch safe and stylish.

The case and bezel are covered with double-domed sapphire glass. Being one of the toughest materials in the watchmaking industry, this solid sapphire glass is poised to protect the watch from scratches and breakage. So go ahead and surf the seas, knowing that your watch can take hard hits. Avoid bumping it intentionally into things because even the strongest materials have a breaking point.

In addition to a sturdy case and glass covering, the dial is powered by the iconic automatic winding Miyota 9309 movement, which has a 42-hour power reserve. This movement also powers the unidirectional rotating bezel and its 120-minute graduation.

12. Sinn U50 (ref. 1050.010)

 Sinn U50 (ref. 1050.010)

Starts from approximately $3,500

Sinn U50 (ref. 1050.010) is a mid-sized version of the highly durable U1 watch. It offers nearly all the benefits of the U1 version but in a 41mm case instead of the 44mm. The U50 combines the rugged durability and water resistance of the U1 with the sleek and slim profile of a dress watch – its case is only 11.15mm thick. 

But don’t be fooled by the aesthetics and slim profile. The U50 is a super functional instrument watch and one of the most rugged dive watches ever made. The case is made of submarine steel, an antimagnetic material that’s highly resistant to seawater corrosion and “tegimented” to prevent scratches.

And unlike conventional luxury dive watches, the U50 has a remarkable 500-meter depth capacity. It’s powered by an efficient Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement with 25 jewels and 28,800 running frequency.

Its dial and bezel have an eye-catching toolsy aesthetic. The contrast of orange and white markers on its matte black dial is an ode to legibility in and out of water. It’s an even more striking beauty when the dial’s luminescent applications come to life in the dark.

The only gripe is that it uses a leather band, which can be an advantage if you get the U50 for casual and formal dressing. However, you’d need to buy a Sinn rubber replacement for diving purposes. 

13. Orion Calamity Void

Starts from approximately $1,650

The Orion Calamity Void is a thin dive watch (11.3mm) with a bold face. It’s only 39.5mm but has a double-domed anti-reflective coating and shielding lug design that covers the crown. So while it may appear large, it can fit small wrist sizes and dress cloths.

The dial also accentuates its bold and masculine appeal. The black-on-black combination with the bezel, sharp white hour markers, and hands, and oversized orange seconds hand are far from a calamity. However, it has a high-gloss finish that shines on its satin-brushed case and bracelet, making it a choice evening watch. 

Furthermore, the Calamity has a 200-meter water resistance rating) and an exhibition case back. It displays the automatic Sellita SW300 movement with Geneva stripes and a gold Orion logo. Overall, the Orion Calamity Void is a mystifying combination of the hardiness of dive watches in a thin and stylish frame capable of dressy wear. 

14. Formex Reef Automatic Chronometer

Formex Reef Automatic Chronometer

Starts from approximately $2,100

This watch is a bad boy in every sense. It’s a true diver by design, with a case similar to an old diving helmet. While the case is 42mm across, it’s only 11.4mm thick and built with the toughest materials all around.

The Reef’s case uses the same 316L stainless steel as our number 1 pick, the Tudor Black Bay 58 Blue. And features a scratch-resistant zirconium oxide ceramic bezel with 3D graduations of 60 minutes. It’s the only watch on the list with a 3D effect engraving on the bezel.

The exceptional bezel glows in the dark with its Rehault-syle baton markers on its sunray-finished dial. You can take this beauty down to 300m, which is also impressive since most thin dive watches only have the standard 200m water resistance or less.

However, a patented micro-adjustment system sets the Formex Reef Automatic Chronometer apart from the crowd. This rubber strap has a patent clasp that allows seamless adjustment and safe lock in all conditions.

The Reef also has a stainless steel bracelet with screw links for easy adjustment to any wrist size. Further, inside the 11mm thin dive watch is a COSC-certified movement. It’s a Sellita SW300-1 with 56 hours of power reserve.

15. Ole Mathiesen Navy Diver 40 (ref. OM12.40A1.NA)

Starts from approximately $2,500

At just 10mm thick, the Ole Mathiesen Navy Diver 40 (ref. OM12.40A1.NA) is one of the thinnest dive watches on the market. But some of its features are less impressive than other thin dive watches on the list. Particularly, the 12-bar water resistance rating is too low. There are thinner watches with higher water resistance. So don’t attempt submerging this watch into deep waters. 

Despite its low water resistance, it is still one of the best thin dive watches on the market. The black dial is accented with white luminous indices allowing easy readability. And the case also has a tough crystal made from scratch-proof convex sapphire.


There are plenty of options if you’re in the market to own your first stylish and functional thin dive watch or add to your collection. But options start to shrink when you have a size, thickness, and design in mind. Otherwise, getting lost in a sea of slim dive watches is easy, and buying all or nothing is possible.

Regardless of the size or features you prioritize, you’ll find that these 15 models are the best options for your budget. Hopefully, this list informs you of the best thin dive watch for your style or points you to suitable alternatives.

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