These days it can be difficult to make an argument for the existence of more dive watches. That’s the bottom line. Sometimes it’s hard to see the point and between what the big brands are offering and the constant wave of ambitious Kickstarter start-ups, it all just seems like pointless noise after a while. What I am interested in, however, is seeing smaller brands work towards overcoming new challenges in a saturated marketplace – and it doesn’t get any more crowded than the space occupied by affordable dive watches.
I'll begin this Gucci Dive 45mm "Bee Embroidery" dial reference YA136216 watch review by immediately acknowledging that this is not a timepiece for everyone. In fact, if your tastes are mostly about utilitarian "serious" tool watches and your focus is more on function versus style (nothing wrong with that), you are likely not going to have much interest for this watch.
lpina is updating one of their Swiss dive watches for Baselworld 2016, and the result looks great in all four styles, which is saying a lot in a crowded field like vintage-inspired dive watches. The Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 Automatic watch forgoes the extreme monicker as well as the triple-date display, looking cleaner and more contemporary.
Capillary-style depth gauges are nothing new or particularly advanced, but they are simple and effective. Swiss Oris has managed to design one into one of its dive watches. The result is a mechanical watch with a non-electronic depth gauge that does not cost an arm and a leg. IWC and Jager-LeCoultre already proved to us that they can make those - and that is fantastic - but they were a complication for complication's sake because even if you choose to dive with a luxury watch, you probably aren't going to want to rely on it as your depth gauge.
With a simple function-forward design, the casual Marathon Diver's Automatic, aka "GSAR" is a 41mm steel dive watch with a grippy bezel, legible display, and tritium illumination on the markers and hands. Despite the extra depth required for the tritium tubes and the tall bezel design, the Marathon Swiss Diver Watch Automatic GSAR is just 14mm thick. With a lug-to-lug size of 48mm and a total weight of 112g, this is a dive watch that can suit a wide range of wrists.