Inspired by, designed for and sometimes developed in conjunction with a particular sport, each of these timepieces pushes the performance envelope.
Top Sport Watches
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Utra Deep
Of course, no one can possibly dive to a depth of 6000 metres (or almost 600 bar) – indeed, for most diving purposes, an ordinary 10-bar watch should be quite sufficient – but if humans were able to do so, this is the watch they’d be wearing. Still, with Omega’s Planet Ocean Ultra Deep strapped to your wrist – it comes in a hefty 45.5mm case of either O-Megasteel or Titanium – you’ll definitely claim post-dive bar-room bragging rights, and as its co-axial calibre is Master-Chronometer-certified, you’ll be wearing one of the most accurate sport watches you can buy.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms
The “original” dive watch, by which we mean the one that established the design codes that persist to this day, Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms first appeared in 1953, when 300 feet (roughly 100 metres or 10 bar) was considered quite a depth for a timepiece. Today’s Fifty Fathoms, such as this 250-piece limited-edition Ocean Commitment III model, can dive three-times further, though in a 40mm satin brushed-steel case it looks as good on the wrist in the boardroom as it does exploring the wonders of the deep.
Since it began manufacturing watches for the Italian navy in the 1930s, Panerai has become almost synonymous with diving, a connection it maintains through collections such as the Luminor Submersible, tool watches par excellence that generally feature oversized cases with chunky bezels and, of course, the Italian brand’s signature crown-guard mechanism. This limited-edition 47mm Submersible Chrono Guillaume Nery, a tribute to the French freediver, which was released in 2021, typifies the model’s aesthetic and features a brushed-titanium case, a rotating bezel with blue ceramic insert and a P9100 automatic calibre that offers three days of power fully-wound. Waterresistant to 30 bar, this archetypcally masculine watch is present on a rubber strap.
Dating back to the 1960s, when it served as Breitling’s entry in the hotly contested dive-watch niche, the Superocean was recently revamped with new sizes (from 36 to 46mm), designs and colours and tagged simply as a sea-going timepiece – as the copy goes, “surf with it, swim with it, hit the beach bar with it”. It’s also the choice of the brand’s squad of surfing ambassadors – they include Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons – who love its cool colours and stripped-down, tool-watch, go-anywhere.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas “Everest” Dual Time
Best known for its classic watches, complications and métiers d’art craftsmanship, Vacheron Constantin surprised the watch world when, late last year, it released this overwhelmingly grey-hued and uncompromisingly contemporary interpretation of the Overseas Dual Time. Known as the “Everest” and with a titanium case and grained dial, the watch was based on a prototype created for the American climber, photographer and adventurer Cory Richards for his third ascent of the world’s highest mountain. Made in a limited edition of 150 pieces and available only at Vacheron boutiques, the “Everest” is now almost certainly sold out, but with its second 12-hour and am/pm hands in orange, and a stunning relief of the Everest range on the 22k pink-gold oscillating weight, we think this is one of the most desirable timepieces produced in the past few years – and definitely worth seeking out.
IWC Pilot’s Watch
Yes, we know it says Pilot’s Watch on the box, but when IWC wanted to celebrate its lengthy association with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 team, the Schaffhausen brand’s celebrated aviator was the obvious choice. Released earlier this year, this commemorative Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition comes in case of high-tech titanium, features a black dial festooned in acid-green highlights and comes on a matching green strap. Flip it over and the skeletonised oscillating weight, visible through the caseback crystal, resembles the spokes of a traditional steering wheel.
Tag Heuer Monaco
If any watch brand has strong links to automobiles and motorsport, then surely it’s TAG Heuer. In its early years, Heuer was known as much for its dashboard instruments as its timepieces, and in the 1960s and ’70s, under the leadership of the company founder’s great-grandson Jack (today TAG Heuer’s honorary chairman), it formed deep ties with the world of motor racing, as well as producing classic collections such as the Carrera and Autavia. But surely no timepiece is more emblematic of that connection than the Monaco, the square-shaped automatic chronograph honouring the world’s most glamorous Formula 1 circuit, which first appeared in 1969, was famously worn by actor Steve McQueen in his ’71 movie Le Mans and is still massively cool – and produced in plenty of iterations, such as this recent DLC-coated titanium special edition – today.
Rolex Yacht-Master II
At 44mm in diameter and with cases in Oystersteel, Everose Rolesor or yellow gold, the Yacht-Master II is arguably the most emphatic statement in the Rolex collection. It also features a Ring Command bezel linked to the watch’s chronograph functions, which are designed to help a yacht skipper plan the most effective courses of action during a regatta. Aside from competition functionality, the Yacht-Master II has at its heart one of the finest movements money can buy, in the form of the Superlative Chronometer-certified calibre 4161, so you’ll be keeping perfect time whether on or off the water, as well as looking like the captain of your ship wherever you happen to be.
(Hero and feature image credits: Aterlier/watches)