Here’s a bit of advice: Don’t go swimming with your vintage dive watch. It’s very likely the (once) watertight gaskets have dried out, leaving your timepiece prone to water damage. But do buy vintage dive watches because they look really, really rad. There’s a reason most watchmakers today are reissuing their vintage models. So if you’re looking for something you can actually dive with, I implore you to go that route, but if you’re looking for a great-looking (and non-Rolex) addition to your vintage collection, well, you’re welcome.
Seiko Baby Tuna
What we like: Yes, this ’80s Seiko Tuna is powered by quartz, but it’s also the smallest (read: most wearable) iteration of its monstrous Tuna diver from the era at 46mm in diameter. The markers and hands appear to have developed a nice fade over time, and due to the ubiquity and durability of Seiko’s quartz movements from the ’80s it should be relatively reliable in spite of its age.
From the seller: Case is in good condition with dings and scratches throughout. Rotating bezel likewise has signs of age and use, including some flaking and scratches. The dial is in very good condition with puffy luminescent elements that have gained a fine even patina over time.
Heuer Monnin 844
What we like: Though it’s known for chronographs, Heuer did make a series of dive watches back before it was bought out by TAG in the late-’80s. Because it was the brand’s first diver, it outsourced production to French company G Monnin; this iteration uses a “France Ebauche” caliber FE 4611A, hence the “Made in France” marker at the bottom of the dial.
From the seller: Watch is no longer water-resistant due to age. Dial shows nice patina, giving the watch a very pleasing antique look.
Tudor Submariner 94010 Snowflake
What we like: Tudor’s early dive watches were in many ways rebranded Rolex Submariners with ETA movements (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but the unique hands and markers of the “Snowflake” references really made the Submariner Tudor’s own distinct model. The 40mm case diameter is just right, and the faded lume on the hands and markers blends beautifully with the deep black dial.
From the seller: Case has not been previously polished. The hour and minute hands have aged to be a few shades lighter than the markers. The watch is running at COSC spec.