Is there a more beautiful metal than bronze to ornate a retro dive watch? While there were only a handful of models a few years ago, there are countless of bronze watches today.
Bronze retro models are now legion. And let’s be honest, this is a rather wise choice.
First and foremost, bronze sets us back to our distant history. It was the first metallic alloy made by humankind about 2,000 years BC, during the renowned Bronze Age.
But bronze also possesses quite an intriguing specificity. This metal is in a way “alive” as it physically reacts to its environment by forming a patina over time. Evidently, this enhances the vintage look of these watches and turns them into unique pieces. Concerning the composition, the alloy must be made of at least 65% copper and 15% tin. The, metallurgical engineers can also add aluminium, zinc, lead, nickel, phosphorus or manganese to the mix.
When oxidizing, the surface of bronze takes on a darker shade and becomes more brown. And in the long run, green hues can appear. No worries though, this external change does not affect the metal’s properties. Indeed, bronze was used early on for deep-sea divers’ helmets! Which makes it the perfect metal for dive watches.
Longines Legend Diver Watch
The Legend Diver Watch is a reinterpretation of a dive watch from the 1950s and is one of the most emblematic pieces of Longines’ vast Heritage collection. Find out all there is to know about this instrument by reading our article on it (Longines Diver Watch: “I am a Legend”).
Longines released different variations of the Legend Diver Watch, including this new stunning bronze edition.
Longines Legend Diver Watch, the legacy of the compressor case
Just like on the original piece featuring a compressor case, the Legend Diver Watch includes two screwed down crowns, though its case is not equipped with a rotating bezel. On this model, diving times are measured with the inner rotating bezel on the dial, which is calibrated for 60 minutes. This rotating feature is set with the crown at 2 o’clock.
Moreover, the stunning 42 mm diameter case of the Legend Diver Watch is powered by a high-performance automatic calibre. The movement is equipped with a non-magnetic silicon balance spring and offers a 72-hour power reserve. The watch comes with a brown leather strap adorning beige topstitches, as well as with an additional green NATO strap. Also, the model offers a five-year international warranty.
This Legend Diver Watch features a screwed down titanium case back. No, not a bronze one, because the metal reacts to skin contact. The case – which is water-resistant up to 300 metres – showcases a very beautiful green dial with a graduated shading.
Reservoir Hydrosphere Bronze
One thing is for sure, no one can say this dive watch lacks originality!
Reservoir drew inspiration from the counters of racing cars to design a patented module combining various complications – such as a retrograde minute, a jumping hour, the power reserve – to differentiate its models.
The idea was brilliant for watches made to be used on land, but when it came to dive watches, the brand still needed to prove its worth. And the founders of the young manufacture were very perceptive and were inspired by the old manometers of the first divers.
Just like the Hydrosphere Bronze edition – limited to a 100 pieces – the uni-directional rotating bezel is quite unique. It features a double scale specifically designed for the way the retrograde minutes hand works.
Speaking of which, here is your reminder that a retrograde minute hand moves along a scaled semi-circle and returns directly to the beginning of its course once it’s finished.
The double scale offers a better readability of the time of decompression stops before and after the new start of the retrograde hand.
The Hydrosphere Bronze is a dazzling instrument which includes a 45 mm diameter case, a helium valve, and which is water-resistant up to 250 metres. Thanks to this valve, divers can do “saturation” diving in diving chambers. The watch is delivered in a Peli case and comes with two straps. One is a rubber strap and the other is a NATO strap featuring – unsurprisingly – bronze stirrups.
Reservoir Hydrosphere Bronze technical specifications:
45 mm bronze case with satin finish
Bronze dial with sundial finish, white indices, magnifier on the jumping-hour window
Self-winding mechanical movement, 37-hour power reserve
Complications: Retrograde minutes, jumping Hour, Power Reserve
Patented proprietary 124-pieces module on ETA 2824-2 calibre
Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Unidirectional, ceramic rotating bezel with double scale for reading the time at different diving depths before and after the retrograde minute hand’s return
Stainless steel screwed back, screw-down crown, water-resistant up to 250 m
Rubber strap screwed onto the body
Additional NATO strap provided, mounted on bronze stirrups
Tudor Black Bay Bronze
The Tudor Black Bay Bronze was introduced in 2016 and won that same year the Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) “Petite Aiguille” Prize. The Black Bay is without a doubt the manufacture’s iconic vintage model, as well as its best-seller. The watch comes in a lot of different variations which constitutes Tudor’s most famous collection.
Tudor Black Bay: signature snowflake hands
Like every Black Bay model, the bronze version looks almost identical to Tudor’s dive watches made between the 1950s and 1970s.
Thus, it features an oversized crown, a unidirectional rotating bezel with a dot on the zero marker, and a domed sapphire crystal.
The watch is not only water-resistant up to 200 metres, it also stands out thanks to its luminescent snowflake hands. This watch is a legacy of instruments Tudor started to make for the French National Navy in 1969.
Tudor’s bronze cases: an alloy used by naval engineering
The 43 mm case of the Black Bay Bronze is made of a high-performance aluminium-copper alloy which enables the formation of a homogeneous patina.
It is made of an alloy, which is highly resistant to corrosion, that is why it is also the one used by naval engineers to design pieces that stay underwater for long periods of time.
The latest version – released in 2019 – is powered by an automatic Tudor movement. The COSC-certified calibre features a non-magnetic silicon balance spring and a 70-hour power reserve.
This edition stands out because of its matching colours of the aluminium insert on the bezel and the graduated shading grey slate dial. The only thing left to do is choosing the strap: nubuck or fabric.
But the impressive quality and comfort of the fabric strap has to be mentioned. Since 2010, their fabrication has been entrusted to the craftspeople at the company Julien Faure, located near Saint-Etienne in France.
Baume & Mercier also has its own bronze watches with the Clifton Club
Bronze watch is not really a domain in which you expect to find Baume & Mercier. Yet, Clifton Club – the watchmaking house’s casual and sports line – features five models.
Baume & Mercier’s outstanding know-how is notorious. This 42 mm automatic edition with its appealing new-retro style is the perfect example.
This watch includes a green dial with white Super-LumiNova hands and indices and a water-resistant case up to 100 metres. Also, the bezel does not sport coloured inserts (PVD, aluminium or ceramic) like it is often the case on watches from other houses. It is simply cut and engraved in a block of bronze. Which is far from a bad thing because it exudes a very eye-catching raw spirit.
The watch is worn with a brown leather strap. The presentation case contains an additional ‘All Road’ black calfskin strap with a sailcloth pattern and blue rubberized lining.
Divers Sixty-Five “Cotton Candy”
It would be impossible to have a selection of bronze watches which did not include an Oris model. The manufacture is one of the first to have set the trend with its Carl Brashear watch in 2016. The instrument became a rather sought-after piece.
Oris’ Divers Sixty-Five became in just a few years the essential iconic retro model of the independent brand. Its origin is in its name: the watch draws inspiration from Oris’ first dive watch designed in… 1965.
The customer is faced with many options as Oris regularly adds references to the myriad of variations of its collections.
Oris Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy: in-fashion bronze watches and true mechanical tools
The new bronze Divers Sixty-Five “Cotton Candy” watches attract the eye with their “flashy” pastel-coloured dials
These colourful mechanical watches come in sky blue, wild green and lipstick pink and are water-resistant up to 100 metres.
These automatic models look like the original instrument while also being truly technical, tool watches. But they also keep with the times with their gender-neutral size – 38 mm diameter – and their colours that appeal to both men and women.
You will have to choose the dial’s colour, but also between the full bronze version or the light brown leather strap.
Price: €2,100 and €2,400
Baltic Aquascaphe Bronze Blue Gilt
No need to retell the story of the Baltic house: you can either find out about it by watching the Frank sans C video about French watches or by reading the article on the same subject Switch to French time.
The Aquascaphe is Baltic’s emblematic model and the brand designed a lot of different versions. They include two bronze pieces, such as this 39 mm diameter Aquascaphe Bronze Blue Gilt. This edition is water-resistant up to 200 metres and features a stunning blue sunrayed dial and vintage-looking luminescent hands and indices.
This automatic Aquascaphe Bronze Bleu Gilt is also the least expensive out of the entire selection: €750 for the tropic strap version.
The only drawback is not specific to the watch but also concerns Baume & Mercier as a whole. The models cannot be considered to be real dive watches because of the absence of a luminescent marker on the bezel. Indeed, without this point of reference, they cannot display the immersion times in the underwater darkness.
Baltic Aquascaphe Bronze Blue Gilt technical specifications:
CuAl8 bronze case
Size: 39 mm x 47 mm
Thickness: 12 mm
Sunray blue dial 3/6/9/12 with “Super-Luminova”
Automatic movement Miyota 9039
Double domed sapphire glass
Screw down crown
Uni-directional rotating bezel 120 clicks
Night blue tropic rubber strap and bronze buckle
Water-resistant: 200 m (20 ATM)