Look, I know you come here for the watches, but I believe some of you remain for the swimming chat, so here’s an upgrade — and it is a sad one at that. I recently took my new-found swimming skills to the Maldives and also endeavoured to capture my triumphant splashing from the Indian Ocean with my drone camera. A drone camera I’ve had since November and never used or even opened. A drone I took to Australia and Southern Africa but was too scared to pare the plastic cap off. But here, in the generally placid Maldives, buoyed by the promise of shooting myself conquering the high seas such as a bloated Neptune, I felt confident that now was the time to let that drone fly.
And I lost it. Not just that, I don’t have any proof that I mastered the oceans. Well, no airborne evidence any way. 
Straight back into the watches. I’d intended to celebrate my aquatic feats by looking at dive watches this week, despite my horrible loss and unlike my drone, I won’t be deviating from this course. We are going to start proceedings with a watch that’s creating a powerful case for inclusion in my top 10 time-pieces of the year, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Barakuda (above).
One of Swiss watchmakers, Blancpain has one of the richest heritages when it comes to dive watches, with the first Fifty Fathoms introduced in 1953. The Barakuda relies on a Fifty Fathoms spin-off made for the German market in the 1960s and will appeal to nostalgia nerds with a design that remains faithful to the first. The black dial has markings coated in Super-LumiNova, however in the retro beige patina rather than the more modern white, with a dash of red.

The watch is sized at 40mm but wears smaller over the wrist, and it is a good thing. Interior is a calibre 1151 move-ment having an impressive 100 hours of power reserve. The only added feature is the date indicator. The dip elements of the watch include a unidirectional bezel — with the domed glass add I love — 300 metres of water resistance and a rubber band. Obviously, if you ever wish to take this deeper than a swimming pool, then you’re all set.
Sticking with retro, we have a piece from the Longines Legend Diver watches Collection. The newest women’s watches in this collection caught my eye, with the newest shaking up the dive concept, also in the instance of the L3.374.4.80.6 (yes, Longines gets the worst design system) adding a mother-of-pearl dial. Envision diving for pearls with a mother-of-pearl-dial dive watch? No? OK, maybe it’s just me personally.
Anyhow, I’m likely in the minority who thinks this watch works and provides a nice dash of sophistication to what is essentially a practical timepiece. The plan is straight from the 60s, and I am a huge fan of this Milanese mesh steel bracelet. The steel case is sized in 36mm and inside is an ETA-based movement with 40 hours of power reserve. The watch is currently priced at HK$17,400.

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