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ing was dawning and Rolex was launching its own dive watch, the Submariner. Built as professional tools for underwater operatives in both civilian and military are- nas, the Fifty Fathoms and the Submariner were technologically revolutionary and set the tone for the entire genre of dive watches that would follow. Of the two, the Fifty Fath- oms is less known but arguably the more his- torically ground-breaking, and to my mind the more handsome by far. Like the Defender, the contemporary version is an unmistakea- bly luxurious take on an old and rugged style, retaining an unmistakably crafted feel. Blancpain has iterated it into rather too many variants, but the classic automatic in steel gives you a versatile sports watch that’s awash in history, along with a connection to the con- servation projects Blancpain is backing. I’ve long been a fan of Oris, the independ- ent company whose no-nonsense, fuss-free approach to both watch manufacturing and pricing can be rather refreshing. Its Aquis diving watch range offers tremendous bang for your buck – from around the £1,600 mark you get 300-metre water resistance, scratch- proof ceramic bezels and solid build quality across a number of styles and function varia- tions. It’s also a company with a building portfolio of recherché conservation projects, from whale sharks to Florida’s coral reefs to the Wadden Sea off Holland, all of which have their own limited edition, for which proceeds support the good cause. My favourite? The Lake Baikal edition, cre- ated to support an obscure but fascinating conservation project that’s been monitoring the health of the ecosystem at Siberia’s Lake Baikal for 45 years. Both the project itself and the unique, icy grey-blue dial of the associat- ed watch are, to my mind, mesmerising.


rai watch is a dive watch: they still follow the blueprint of the massive, technically innova- tive watches the company put on the wrists of Italian frogmen commandos during World War II. An obscure military supplier for most of its existence, since the 1990s Panerai has been built into a sizeable prestige maker at the heart of the Richemont luxury empire. It’s now making a lot of noise about turning itself into a climate positive company, including in- corporating a high degree of recycling into watchmaking directly. This year it presented the eLab-ID, a con- cept watch within its Submersible range of


A


brand taking a completely different approach to the conservation story is Panerai. In a certain light every Pane-


‘The contemporary version of the Fiſty Fathoms is an unmistakeably


luxurious take on an old and rugged style’


Blancpain’s Ocean


Commitment project is tied to the latest


versions of its classic Fifty Fathoms watch


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