Pre-Owned Spotlight: Thomas Tracks Down Some Less Predictable Dive Watches
Join me on the hunt for non-cliché pre-owned picks in the diver segment. It is safe to say that the dive watch is one of the most popular genres in the watch world. Even though most of us do not dive, most watch aficionados own at least one diver. There are some obvious candidates out there. Rolex, Omega, Tudor, and Seiko hold the majority stake in the dive-watch universe. But what if you want something of high quality that is, let’s say, less predictable? What if you’d like a not-so-obvious luxury diver? Today, I am offering three pre-owned picks that will have people saying, “Hey, what is that?”
I am not going vintage for once. This time around, I will stick to youngtimer pre-owned picks. If properly looked after, you can undoubtedly go diving with these. If you would rather keep your feet dry, they will make you look cool nonetheless.
Pre-owned non-cliché diver #1: IWC Aquatimer 2000
This relatively unknown diver from IWC dates back to the mid-2000s. Measuring 42mm wide, it features no-nonsense, functional styling. Later Aquatimers got a little more ornate and intricate, but this is beautifully simple.
The Aquatimer 2000 ref. 353602 is made of steel and has its water resistance rated at a ridiculous 2,000 meters. If you put the watch on, though, you would never expect it. Although it is very clearly a sports watch, it wears rather subtly. Still, it is all business. The bezel is of the push-down variety. The integrated bracelet can be taken apart down to the last link. Inside, we find a version of the ETA 2892, decorated and regulated by IWC. You will not be able to see it, however. The case back is closed and decorated with a Submarine.
This steel version is currently offered in the UK for £4,950 (around €5,710). If you prefer, there is also a full-titanium alternative out there. I have had the pleasure of wearing one, and it was a very enjoyable experience. And the chance of running into another one of these at the office anytime soon is rather slim.
A more fashionable pre-owned pick from Glashütte
The second of my pre-owned picks is, in many senses, the polar opposite of the IWC. Whereas that was all business, this 2019 release from Glashütte Original is all play. You have to divide the water resistance by ten, but you get a lot of style and luxury in return.
You get, for instance, a fully in-house caliber and a beautiful blue sunburst dial packed in a vintage-inspired 39.5mm package. There is also a rather fancy Oyster-style bracelet that can, again, be taken apart entirely. Its party piece is the fine-adjustment system hidden under the Glashütte Original logo on the clasp. Just push down on that logo, and you can slide the bracelet to your desired size.
This is, I think, a watch you buy with your heart. At an RRP of €11,300, it is more expensive than the obvious candidates from Rolex and Omega. On the secondhand market, however, things are rather different. I have found this example from a dealer in the USA listed at $6,675 (roughly €6,640). That is some painful depreciation for the first owner, but it does make it an awesome pre-owned pick for us.
A Deep Sea Chronograph from Jaeger-LeCoultre
Last, I want to put this 2012 release from Jaeger-LeCoultre on center stage. This is the Deep Sea Chronograph ref. Q2068570, and this example dates back to 2016. Perhaps you are more of a horology nut than a diver per se, in which case, this is the one for you. Its 100m water resistance might not amaze you, but its vintage JLC styling and caliber might.
As you can see, this is a diving chronograph — a contradictio in terminis for some, but a sensible combination of sporty features for others. Regardless, the automatic in-house caliber 758 inside is rather impressive. It features twin barrels for a 65-hour power reserve, and you get a column-wheel chronograph with a neat indicator on the dial. The dot below the logo is white when the chronograph is disengaged. It turns half red when the chrono is running and fully red when it is paused.
You also get a lot of the charm of a vintage dive watch, albeit in a rather sizeable 42 × 50 × 14.5mm package. Luckily, JLC did not opt for any faux patina on this particular model, making it a little less retro in style. These are not that easy to find. I found this full set currently for sale from a private seller on Chrono24. It is listed at AU$17,950 (approximately €11,825).
Closing thoughts on these pre-owned divers
These are three not-so-obvious dive watches that are very much worth having. I intentionally steered clear from “more affordable alternatives” to the more typical options. There are plenty of such lists on the internet already. These are for aficionados who want a watch at that level, but just a little less common.
If you want it simple and tough as nails, the IWC is the pre-owned pick for you. If you like it more stylish and luxurious, the Glashütte Original is your watch. But if you want a whiff of Haute Horlogerie to surround your diver, I would surely chase a Jaeger-LeCoultre like this. In short, this seems like a pretty varied bunch of not-so-obvious pre-owned divers to me!
Which divers would you recommend to someone with a taste for something different? Let us know in the comments below!
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Featured image: Subdial