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Luxury divers’ watches aren’t just for seafarers

Diver’s watch. the name says it all – but in fact, these timepieces are worn by people in all walks of life. the watch enthusiasts value them, not only for high-tech timing technology, but also as stylish fashion statements, wearable for both leisure and more formal events. here are a few public figures with luxury Divers’ watches on their wrists.

By William George Shuster

Signature_5-11Michael Phelps for OMEGA

America’s Michael Phelps isn’t just a great swimmer. He is the greatest swimmer of modern times – and has the accolades to prove it. He holds 22 Olympic medals – making him the most decorated Olympian in history – including the most gold medals, the most gold in individual events, and the most first-place finishes at a single Olympics. Altogether, at only 27, he has won a staggering 71 medals in the Olympics and other world championships. For the timekeeping precision a champion needs, Phelps wears the stylish 45.5mm Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean diver’s watch. It has a decorated movement with co-axial escapement, unidirectional rotating bezel, helium escape valve, 60-hour power reserve, and see-through caseback.

Signature_5-16C.J. Wilson for GRAHAM

Baseball All-Star C.J. Wilson, pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels, is a man of many interests. Off the mound, this race-car driver and owner of a racing team, who collects Porsches, is an avid photographer, and oversees the C.J. Wilson Children’s Charities. He’s also a watch enthusiast, who owns several timepieces by Graham, the Swiss-made London brand known for its chronographs. “The Graham brand is bold – and for me, standing out is important,” says Wilson. A favorite is the Chronofighter Oversize Diver, suitable for land or sea. The 47mm watch, water resistant to 330 meters, has luminescent markers on a black dial, a PVD-black stainless steel case, black rubber strap, 42-hour power reserve, and unidirectional bezel.

Signature_5-20James Gandolfini for KOBOLD

Actor James Gandolfini, best-known as crime boss Tony Soprano on HBO’s “The Sopranos,” is a man who knows what he likes and wants. His ‘likes’ include divers’ watches manufactured by the U.S. luxury watch brand Kobold – 300 of which he presented to “The Sopranos” crew when the show wrapped. Among his ‘wants’ are watches that fit. Because regular watches are too small for Gandolfini – the actor, together with Michael Kobold, designed the popular Seal diver’s watch, based on his wish list. The 44mm stainless steel watch, like all Kobold timepieces, mainly uses U.S.-made components, including case and movement. Water resistant to 1,000 meters, it has anti-magnetic and anti-shock protection, a unidirectional bezel, an extra-thick crystal, 46-hour power reserve, and luminescent markers and hands.

Signature_5-22Ben Saunders for BREMONT

Ben Saunders must love the cold. The polar explorer and long-distance skier, has skied solo to the North Pole – one of only three people to do so – and holds the record for the longest solo Arctic journey by a Briton. In October, he will lead the first roundtrip-by-foot to the South Pole, a 1,800 mile trek – the longest unsupported polar journey in history. He is, he says, “an explorer of limits – geographically, physically and mentally.” Wherever he treks, Saunders wears the Bremont S500 diver’s watch by the Swiss-made British brand. The 43mm timepiece, water resistant to 500 meters, has an anti-shock system, anti-electromagnetic properties, helium escape valve, sapphire crystal with dual-sided anti-reflection treatment, day/date display, luminous sapphire unidirectional bezel, and screw-in caseback.

Signature_5-18Dr. Silva Earl for ROLEX

Oceanographer, scientist, and author, Dr. Sylvia Earle has spent much of her life in the sea – 7,000 hours and counting – exploring, studying, and leading expeditions. “The ocean is the cornerstone of earth’s life support system,” says Earle, named Time’s first “Hero for the Planet,” and a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress. “Health of the ocean means health for us.” Her favorite timepiece is the 44mm Oyster Perpetual Deepsea diver’s watch by Swiss brand Rolex, maker of the first diver’s watch (1953). Water-resistant to 3,900 meters, its steel case includes an inner nitrogen-alloyed steel compression ring, titanium alloy caseback, and 5.5mm non-scratch crystal. It has a date display, luminescent index markers, unidirectional bezel with ceramic insert, platinum PVD numerals, helium escape valve, and 48-hour power reserve.

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