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Two Approaches to Vintage Styled Diver Watches

It’s no secret that we love dive watches designed with vintage style in mind. Our own Oceanking takes its design cues from divers from the 1950s and 1960s, where simplicity ruled. The Rolex Submariner 5513, born in the 1960s, is an exercise in restraint and is quite often what pops into watch collectors’ heads when they think of great dive watch designs for decades ago.

It makes sense that new dive watches coming out in recent years unabashedly incorporate vintage looks, down to a faked aged (or faux patina) dial where the lume looks more tan than white right out of the box. Some people only wear unwashed dark denim and some people welcome the pre-distressed look on their jeans. We aren’t that serious about adhering to authenticity in aging. If a watch looks good overall, we won’t judge how it got there too much. A lot depends on the execution of the entire package.

For example, Longines has now offers a modern version of its Nautilus Skin Diver called the Heritage Skin Diver. For the most part, it’s faithful the original version, which was released in the 1959. It’s larger than the original at 42mm (a point of contention for the vocal crew representing the smaller is better contingency), but it maintains some very important old-school traits such as the omission of crown guards and a date complication. The modern black bezel is PVD’d and domed sapphire, an is powered by an ETA 2892 movement modified to have a longer power reserve.

$2,600 at

If all this upsizing of watches has you yearning for a vintage styled diver with vintage style case dimensions, our friends at Oris have come through with a 36mm version of its Divers Sixty-Five model. It also comes in 40 and 42mm, but we’re shining the spotlight on their smallest version for our readers who have been searching for something rugged and small. The thing with watches around 36mm if that they feel small compared to anything over and around 40mm until your eye adjusts. The Oris Divers Sixty-Five in 36mm is the ideal watch for someone who regularly dons a suit jacket or blazer but isn’t into the dress watch look.

With this Oris diver, you get the classy vintage diver looks (plus a bronze bezel option) with the appeal of 100 meters of water resistance and a date function (to keep those business meeting appointments). This watch also uses faux patina lume and has no crown guards. It’s really going for the vintage esthetic, which really works well when you pair it with the bronze bezel version.

$1,900 at