Another year, another resolution that has yet to be acted upon and will be quietly forgotten. I speak, of course, of my wish to swim. Every January, I promise myself I will finally swallow my pride (and a lot of water), don some fetching Buzz Lightyear inflatable armbands and thrash about until I perfect the art of not-drowning. Alas, life got in the way once more and I remain ensconced on dry land, wistfully wondering what might have been every time I pass any body of water larger than a puddle. Oh well, mustn't grumble, just because a person can't swim doesn't mean they can't enjoy the fruits of, well, swimming, does it?
Diving watches these days, with the investment in design and the use of flashy materials, are more suited to showing off on land than they are to practical purposes in The Deep. Take, for example, the IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Expedition Charles Darwin (right), a tribute to the man who made monkeys out of us all, theoretically speaking. Now this Aquatimer looks like a diving watch, feels like a diving watch and certainly works like a diving watch but, given its design and use of the black/bronze colour scheme, it would look just at home on the wrist of a landlubber. The timepiece features all the diving bells and whistles, including the IWC SafeDive System rotating bezel, water resistance to 300 metres, luminescent hands and indices and the IWC quick-change bracelet. But, again, the most alluring feature is the 44mm bronze case, a material one doesn't often see and a nice link to nautical instruments of the past. Inside the watch is the in-house IWC 89365 calibre movement, with 68 hours of power reserve, and on the case back is a rather charming stamp of Mr Darwin's beardy face, just in case you forget to whom the watch is dedicated. The IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Expedition Charles Darwin is priced at HK$85,000.
Switching from a watchmaker famed for diving watches to one that isn't so much, but makes nicely designed, practical and eminently affordable dive watches. The Mido Multifort Two Crowns (top) actually has a surprisingly long history, with the first Multifort created by Mido in 1934. The new iterations are distinctly modern in design and come in satinated and polished steel. The dive features include a rotating flange and diving extension bracelet as well as water resistance to 200 metres. The dial is the standout feature on this watch, with the anthracite colour given emphasis by the vertical Geneva stripes and white and orange indices brushed in Superluminova. The overall look is both sporty and retro and the two crowns from the name come from one that sets the time and another that sets the rotating flange. Features-wise, there is a day and date window at the three o'clock position, and the ETA 2836-2 movement is a bit stingy with only 38 hours of power reserve. The Mido Multifort Two Crowns is priced at a bargain HK$8,900.
Finally, we have another dive watch from an unexpected brand, again with a design that makes it rather nifty for dry-land wearing. Created to celebrate 25 years in the watch business, the Victorinox Dive Master 500 (top) has the appearance of a meaty watch, with its matt-grey finish and design, but, at 43mm, it isn't all that big and the case and bracelet are made of grade 2 titanium, making it incredibly light, too. Dive features abound on this watch, with an impressive 500 metres of water resistance, a unidirectional grade 2 titanium bezel and a 20-minute helium valve scale marked out in luminescence as a helium valve at the nine o'clock position. There are also three chronograph sub-dials for an extra sporty look and feel. Inside is an ETA 2894-2 movement, which is visible through the sapphire case back. Limited to 500 pieces, the Victorinox Dive Master 500 is priced at HK$22,000.