15 BEST Bronze Dive Watches for 2023 (Rock a Beautiful Patina!)
Bronze has undoubtedly been the trend of the watch industry in recent years, with many of our favorite luxury watch manufacturers designing iconic timepieces from this unique material. A bronze case elevates a watch to a whole different level.
The allure of a bronze watch comes from its unique characteristic to age beautifully and change color over time. As a historical maritime material, bronze possesses excellent resistance to corrosion, making it a great choice for dive watches. Want to add a dash of maverick charm to your outfit this coming summer? Go bronze!
From the Omega Seamaster 300 Bronze Gold to the Oris Divers Sixty-Five ‘Cotton Candy’, bronze watches are on fire lately, and the flames are here to stay. I assure you this isn’t part of the burgeoning trend that explodes within the watch community and dies after a couple of months.
Bronze is getting increasingly popular. And why not? No other material in the Horological world creates a natural patina that is unique to the wearer when exposed to external elements. This is why we’ve put together this hand-picked selection of some of the best bronze dive watches in 2023. Enjoy!
About Bronze Dive Watches
Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin (typically consisting of 88% copper and 12% tin). However, other substances are used by watch brands in their composition, including aluminum, zinc, and iron, depending on the desired look of the finished product.
The color varies from yellow to a sort of rosy hue, and this is determined by the amount of copper added to the mix (more copper, more reddish coloration), giving the watch a vintage look.
Because of its hardness and durability, bronze was the choice material for the making of boats and ship fittings before the employment of stainless steel. It is still employed in the making of ship propellers and submerged bearings.
Since bronze is a historical maritime material, it makes perfect sense that it is used in the making of dive watches (Over 85% of bronze watches on the market today are divers).
Its exceptional corrosion resistance and excellent strength make it a choice material for dive watch cases. All true bronze watches are also anti-magnetic.
What’s even more impressive is that they acquire a stable oxidized layer over the years that protects the structural component and gives the timepiece a unique patina.
The History Of Bronze Dive Watches
The discovery of bronze dates back several millennia BC. Because of the numerous advantageous properties, the versatility of its application cuts across many sectors. In the watch industry, Gérald Genta is the visionary who pioneered the concept of bronze watches.
He was the first designer to venture off-piste by unleashing the first timepiece with a bronze case (the Gefica Safari watch) in the 1980s. Though still obscure, the lore surrounding the production of this timepiece suggests that it was produced upon request by three hunters.
These men wanted a watch that wouldn’t reflect light and scare off their prey, and bronze was chosen. Because of its muted look and compelling properties, it worked perfectly well for a tool watch of that sort. The bronze watch was powered by a quartz movement and featured a case back manufactured in titanium.
At that time, many consumers wanted their watches to remain radiant and new for as long as possible, so the use of bronze was seen as a quirky design experiment. Not many brands paid attention to the use of bronze for watchmaking since it didn’t have a mainstream appeal until the 21st century. In 2011, an Italian brand, Panerai, launched its first bronze watch, the PAM382 Bronzo.
The watch was worn by Stallone in “The Expendables,” popularizing the metal as a watchmaking material. Driven by the success of the PAM382 and the practical and aesthetic value of bronze cases, an interest in watch brands and collectors alike was sparked. As a result, the rugged and lustrous material made it come back in the watch industry from that time and is getting increasingly popular.
Should You Buy A Bronze Dive Watch?
Bronze is not a typical choice in watchmaking, and bronze watches sometimes trigger a divisive topic within the community of collectors. The appeal of a bronze watch is that it develops a patina that is unique to the wearer. Some collectors consider this discoloration dull and muddy, while others adore it for its vintage look.
The question of whether you should buy a bronze watch or not must be answered personally. Think about whether you appreciate the idea of owning a watch that ages and develops a patina over time. Again, do you take pleasure in the long history and concept behind why bronze is used for watch cases?
Bronze is not for everyone. However, if you are an adventurer searching for unconventional material that is sure to catch people’s attention, go for it! Bronze watches are ideal for diving, camping, hiking, trips… you name it! They will certainly make you stand out from the crowd in a world full of gold and steel watches.
And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for! The 15 Best Bronze Dive Watches!
The Best Bronze Watches
Easily the icon of vintage-inspired bronze divers, the Omega Seamaster 300 Bronze Gold encapsulates all of the classical retro dive watch design codes. It is presented in a new gold alloy like Omega’s Moonshine and Sedna gold, Omega’s Bronze Gold.
This material is outstanding and captivating both in its physical and aesthetical allure. It consists of copper (which is the main element of any bronze metal) with about 37.5% of gold, allowing it to be legally described as a 9k gold watch. Just like traditional bronze alloys, it develops a unique patina over time.
The 41 mm case features a distinct warm pink color and has a brown ceramic bezel ring with a diving scale rendered in vintage Super-LumiNova. The elaborate finishing of the case gives it a luxurious look and feel that is balanced with a simple and clean dial.
The stark brown dial features different tones of brown, and legibility is excellent, thanks to a fully “lumed” bezel and dial. The dial is protected by a high-quality domed crystal with no edge distortion. The crystal greatly contributes to evoking a vintage feel as it bears a resemblance to Plexiglass with its seamless curved surface.
The watch is water resistant to a depth of 300 meters and is powered by the impressive OMEGA Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8912. The high-end caliber features a non-magnetic Co-Axial escapement and provides a power supply of approximately 60 hours.
In 1926, Hans Wilsdorf established Tudor to offer a more affordable alternative to Rolex. The brand has developed a devoted following thanks to its “Rolex-like quality” and experimental designs. The Black Bay dive watch collection is easily Tudor’s most popular catalog and is fundamental to the success the brand enjoys.
The Black Bay 58 Bronze is presented in a 39mm satin-brushed bronze case with an oversized crown that has no guards. The perfectly sized watch has a lug-to-lug measurement of 48mm and wears extremely well due to the curvature of the case.
The entire watch is bronze, apart from the case back, which is made of stainless steel that is further coated with bronze-colored PVD. The watch features a “brown-bronze” domed dial with applied Arabic numerals at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, like an “Explorer” dial.
A gradient dial gets collectors hot under the collar, and Tudor has adopted this approach by making the perimeter of the dial darker than its center. Adorning the dial are gold-colored hands and markers, and even the flange is plated in gold, accentuating the allure of the watch.
It is powered by the COSC-certified manufacturer caliber MT5400 that provides a power reserve of 70 hours when fully wound and is water resistant to a depth of 200 meters.
Housed in a 38mm bronze case, the Divers Sixty-Five ‘Cotton Candy’ from Oris is an unconventional timepiece with a strong visual impact. The case of the watch is crafted from bronze, including the unidirectional bezel and its insert. The case back, however, is made of stainless steel.
Water resistance is rated at 100 meters, and the dive watch features a unidirectional bezel with a 60-minute count-up scale in positive relief. It has a screw-down crown, and Its dial is protected by an ultra-domed sapphire crystal, adding a vintage feel to the lighthearted and fun watch.
The green dial is quite appealing, with circular and rectangular applied markers coated in gold to correspond with the bronze case and bracelet. The hands and applied indices have a fair amount of Super-LumiNova, making the watch legible in low-light conditions.
The unisex watch has a date window positioned at 6 o’clock, and it is indicated in black marking on a white disc. Powering the watch is the Oris 733, a self-winding movement that is based on the Sellita SW200-1. It contains 26 jewels and provides a power reserve of 38 hours.
Longines watchmakers are not shy about revolutionary inventions but have always kept the look and feel consistent. This is why the Legend Diver Bronze retains the spirit and aesthetics of a 1960s diver watch from the brand with avant-garde technicalities.
The bronze case measures 42mm across and is finely polished with slender lugs, two large crowns, and a hypoallergenic titanium case back. Green watches are trending, and Longines has followed the all-green trend by releasing this mesmerizing watch that continues to provoke perplexing responses.
The dial graduates from green in the center to a near-stark black around the peripheries. The forest green dial looks faded, which is a smart move from Longlines, as the bronze case will change to mossy green as it patinas, creating a remarkably unique aesthetic pattern.
Painted Arabic numerals and indexes adorn the dial, while the rose gold peak hands add elegance without sacrificing legibility. Inside is an ETA movement; Sellita SW200 automatic movement, the L888.5 caliber with 4Hz frequency and a healthy 64h power reserve. The watch is presented on a hand-sewn two-stitch strap in smooth calf leather.
Inspired by the corrosion-resistant HMS Beagle bronze ship (the HMS Beagle was made famous by Charles Darwin’s expedition), this robust watch is designed for expeditions and diving.
The IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Darwin is encased in 44mm of high-tech bronze alloy and contains aluminum. The use of aluminum will ensure the case ages more subtly over time, making it all the more pleasant. With a height of 17 mm, a big crown, and pushup buttons, a sense of sturdiness and masculinity is reinforced here.
The “Darwin” timepiece shares the same dial layout with the Aquatimer generation and comes in a matching black rubber strap with an IWC-patented quick-change system. However, in this instance, the hands, batons, and numerals feature a warm gold hue, save for the tip of the central chronograph hand, which is rendered in black with a yellow arrow tip.
But, the warm tone is reiterated in the beige luminescent coating on the hour markers, hands, and the quarter-hour scale of the internal rotating bezel. The watch is powered by an IWC-manufactured movement, the 89365 Calibre, with 35 jewels and a power reserve of 68 hours.
Panerai is the brand credited for spurring a growing trend and popularizing Bronze case watches with the release of PAM382 in 2011. Designed to take on a subtle patina and dark luster over time, the PAM00968 echoes the design of the first Bronzo. It is big, bold, and daring and is presented on an extremely attractive bronze case with a ceramic bezel.
Panerai is a respected name in the collecting circle with a heritage that is closely linked with deep-sea diving. Building on the legacy of its ancestor, the tough watch measures an impressive 47mm across, and Panerai reports that it contains “161 grams of heavy metal, for modern heroes only”.
Unlike other aluminum-bronze alloys, the phosphor bronze used by Panerai for this watch will produce a distinct green patina over time on the surface to protect the metal underneath from further corrosion. The brushed bronze case is striking and features a crown-locking lever trademarked by Panerai. The bridge device protects the winding crown while a micro-sandblasted ceramic bezel insert accentuates the sporty design of the timepiece.
The watch has a strong personality with a distinctive dark brown dial that features a luminous baton and dot markers with neat lettering, like other watches in the Submersible catalog. Visible through the sapphire case back is an automatic mechanical movement; the P.9010 with a robust 72-hour power reserve. The watch is rated water-resistant to 300m/1,000ft.
Here’s another unique and bold timepiece from Bell & Ross. Bell & Ross established itself as a guru in the domain of iconic dive watches since the release of the first divers in 1997. The Hydromax was a rugged watch with impressive diving capacities and a water resistance rating of 11,100m. The BR 03-92 Diver Brown Bronze follows the military-inspired style of its predecessors and was a monster hit when it was unveiled in 2022.
The watch is presented in a 42 mm bronze case with a “circle within a square” design. The case is crafted out of Phosphor bronze (or CuSn8) which is 92% copper and 8% tin. Unlike many other bronze diving watches, this alloy achieves a remarkable warm brown patina over time (instead of mossy green), depending on the environment and usage.
The case back is hypoallergenic stainless steel, while the bezel is anodized aluminum (this means it has been treated to produce an exceptionally durable finish). The brown dial matches the matt brown leather strap with beige topstitching.
The dial has a monochromatic look with no touches of color except for the rose gold-plated applique indices and hands. It is water-resistant to a depth of 300 meters and is powered by the Calibre BR-CAL.302.
TAG Heuer’s quest for excellence, innovation, and new challenges has given birth to the Autavia Bronze. Designed for automobiles and aviation (Aut + Avia resulted in the “Autavia” name), this timepiece boasts the ruggedness and versatility that was evident in the original Autavia from 1960.
The 42 mm bronze case features a bidirectional rotating bezel in brown with a 60-minute scale printed on a ceramic insert. The case of the watch is refined and polished and has a strong neo-retro feel that reinforces the Autavia vintage values.
The smoked sparse dial adds a striking look to the watch, making it an excellent choice for explorers who want to flaunt something exclusive and adventurous. The dial is protected by a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment and features large sword-shaped hands and Arabic numerals. At 6 o’clock, a small aperture replaces the digit and provides a useful date indication.
The hands and numerals are treated with Super-LumiNova and will give off a bright white coloration for the readability of the watch in low light. The watch is water resistant to a depth of 100 meters (330 feet) and is powered by the chronometer-certified Calibre 5 with a power reserve of 38 hours.
Rado is a globally recognized watch brand famous for pioneering the use of cutting-edge materials such as ceramic and titanium. Captain Cook is one of the brand’s most popular collections with very appealing divers, all of which feature high-tech materials.
Amongst the watches that Rado introduced in this collection, the Ref. R32504205 might well be the best deal of the lot. This timepiece is a slightly formal watch with a 42.0mm bronze case perfectly designed to stand the test of time. With a height of 12.5mm, straight case bands, and sharply sloped lugs, the watch sits well on the wrist.
Launched as a reinterpretation of the diver’s model from 1962, the watch bears the original look of the 37mm vintage icon, which was named after the British explorer Captain Cook. The bronze case is simply elegant, with a solid screwed titanium case back and screw-down crown that guarantees 300 meters of water resistance.
The bowl-shaped bezel is made from high-tech ceramic and features laser engraved/metalized numbers and markers. As you would expect from Rado, the domed dial is striking with its sunray-brushed dark blue surface that plays beautifully with light. The watch is powered by the caliber ETA C07, an automatic movement with 80 hours of power reserve.
Crafted in anti-corrosive bronze, the C60 Trident Bronze is an unquestionably high-quality watch in both finish and construction. Christopher Ward started in 2004 by selling “affordable luxury” watches designed in England and manufactured in Switzerland, the epicenter of fine watchmaking.
The young brand is known to offer sensational value-for-money timepieces, and this diver, with a depth rating of 600 meters, reinforces the bespoke credentials of the microbrand. The bronze case measures 40 mm in diameter and is executed well with good details.
The industry standard bronze (CuSn8, which is a solid mix of copper and tin) is used for the case. This alloy develops a unique bronze patina as it oxidizes depending on the environment of the wearer. Often the coloration is the famous green hue, but no two watches will look the same.
Another breathtaking feature is the contrasting blue dial which has been hand-distressed and executed beautifully with good details. Adorning the deep blue ‘ombré’ dial are bronze-colored hands and indexes filled with Super-LumiNova C1 for visibility in low light. Beating at the heart of the C60 Trident Bronze is the Sellita SW200-1 with a 38-hour power reserve.
With 300 meters of water resistance, the Seastrong 300 Diver Bronze from Alpina is a dense, rugged, and solid tool watch. The timepiece is presented in a big, chunky, 44mm case with a sleek design and affordability that makes it a great value proposition for new and seasoned collectors.
The design of the Diver Bronze takes cues from Alpina’s classic diver from the 1960s, the Seastrong 10. The case, which is stainless steel with bronze PVD coating, has a stepped cushion-like design with sharp angles when viewed from above.
The watch has a sporty look with a black dial and beige bezel. The unidirectional bezel has engraved minute markings and a radiant glossy finish that reflects surrounding light in fun ways. The dial features minute indices and rectangular hour markers printed in yellowish brown to keep with the overall vintage vibe.
The hour and minute hands are skeletonized halfway, and the space is filled with lume, offering ample legibility. Visible through the transparent sapphire case back is the AL-525 movement with 26 jewels and a power reserve of 38 hours.
12. Glycine Combat Sub Bronze (ref. GL0374)
Glycine is an entry-level Swiss brand founded in 1914 by Eugene Meylan. It is famous for its highly capable pilot and combat watches, used extensively in commercial and military aviation. The bronze case measures 42 mm with polished and brushed surfaces.
The overall design of the case is pleasant, elegant, and much more graceful than the usual sporty production of Glycine. It is about 11.5mm thick with a solid oversize crown and crown guards. The bezel is somewhat flat and beveled outwards with an aluminum insert and coin-edge rim.
The gilt dial is impressively clean and legible, with a date window at 3 o’clock and a vivid red seconds hand that enlivens it so charmingly. The date display features white printing on a black background, and the date window has a lumed frame which is quite thoughtful.
The indices and handset are well-lumed, simple, and legible, and the dial is protected by a flat sapphire crystal. Under the dial is the tested, tried, and true Swiss ETA 2824 automatic movement which Glycine refers to as GL224 Swiss Automatic.
The movement is protected by a screw-in, stainless steel case back, ensuring you get the 200 meters of water resistance advertised on the dial at 6 o’clock.
The Kontiki Bronze Diver was released in 2018 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Thor Heyerdahl’s legendary KonTiki expedition. The watch is presented in a robust 44mm brushed bronze case with a massive crown and a green ceramic unidirectional rotating bezel.
At 14.5mm thick, expect a substantial cool feel on your wrist; add that to a gorgeous dark brown leather strap with green stitch detailing, and you’re bound to grab attention. The dial is gorgeous, with large triangular luminescent markers and a shiny green granite-patterned surface, giving this piece depth and presence.
Under the screwed stainless steel case back is a reliable automatic movement, the EMC 3902. The EMC 3902A was first designed by Eterna in 2006 and is meant to become the standard engine of the brand which will certainly bring a serious competitive advantage.
The remarkable caliber features Eterna’s patented technology known as the Spherodrive, a ball-bearing-mounted spring barrel construction. It contains 30 jewels, beats at 28,800 bph, and contains a power reserve of 65 hours. It is water-resistant to a depth of 200 meters.
The Aquascaphe Bronze Blue Gilt is presented in a solid bronze case that measures 39 mm in diameter with crown guards and a full bronze bezel. Right at first glance, you’ll notice how Baltic crafts this timepiece to bear a resemblance to the number one legend in underwater exploration history; the Bathyscaphe.
The little French brand has outdone itself by creating one of the most well-thought-out and irresistible bronze watches in recent years. On the wrist, the watch makes an impression, especially when it’s fresh from the factory and has not lost its bright gold luster. The bronze case now has a bright, almost gold sheen but is still discreet and less flashy than an 18k yellow-gold case.
The bronze used is an aluminum-copper alloy which will transition subtly to a darker and more somber bronze tone resulting in a natural patina. So be rest assured that you won’t be left with a completely different-looking watch after a few months of wear.
As far as the layout goes, there’s a minute index printed around the outer edge of the dial with gold-plated indices and hands that match the case. There are luminous Arabic numerals and dots with decent texts that perfectly integrate into the design of the blue gilt dial.
Ticking away at 28,800 beats per hour at the heart of the watch is the Miyota 9039 movement with 42 hours of power reserve.
15. Boldr Odyssey Bronze Coal Black
Last but not least is the Odyssey Bronze Coal Black from a Singapore-based company. Boldr is an independent microbrand that manufactures contemporary watches that are functional and elegant.
The brand is known to regularly trumpet its love for daring adventures, and this watch continues this proud tradition by pushing the performance of the Odyssey collection further.
Made only for the fearless and adventurous, the Odyssey Bronze Coal can manage depths of up to 500 meters (1650ft), making it worthy of professional divers. It is presented in a robust CuSn8 bronze case that measures 45.5mm in diameter.
The case has a very interesting design that is pleasant and much more understated than the usual sporty production of Boldr. It is evenly matte in texture and has a warm tone without any glossy, reflective finish.
The aquatic-oriented piece features a matching dial with large circular and rectangular hour markers that have a three-dimensional appearance. There is a discreet date window at 6 o’clock, and both hands and hour markers are fully lumed for enhanced readability in low light.
It is powered by the Swiss Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement, a solid workhorse with 26 jewels that offers a power reserve of 38 hours.
The recent resurgence of the use of bronze, particularly in the making of dive watches, is becoming a mainstream choice. Bronze cases are still flying below the radar (when compared to ceramic and titanium), but Panerai did a great job of starting the current wave. It is quite surprising that many high-end watchmakers haven’t explored the use of bronze extensively.
However, collectors searching for bronze watches have a ton of options than ever before. Very broadly speaking, brands with a rich nautical heritage might have a bronze watch in their fold. In any case, it’s great to see bronze offerings from the likes of Omega and Longines.
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