What Got You Into Dive Watches?
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As a kid growing up in Southern California, I never actually went diving, but I knew the most famous SCUBA diver in all of Hollywood, Mike Nelson! I watched his show, "Sea Hunt” religiously. Every show was great--lots of adventure and plenty of underwater knife fights, shrouded in bubbles, and Mike never lost one of ‘em!
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Of course back then, I could barely tell time, but fast-forward a few more years, and I was almost a teenager. By that time, the surf scene was in full swing and the Beach Boys and the Association were playing on every kids transistor radio out by the pool. None of us were old enough to drive or have our own cars yet, but a few of the cool kids had older brothers who were, and if you could drive in Southern California at that time—you drove to Huntington Beach (or Redondo, or Zuma, or Malibu)!
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Surfing and Surfers were a huge cultural influence at the time and besides baggies and deck shoes, the one thing every cool surfer guy had to have (besides a board and a woody—which none of us had) was “Surf-Watch.” Yeah, back then, among kids who were still years from shaving, we didn’t realize these were actually called “dive" watches, but we sure wanted one! No self-respecting thirteen-year old would be caught dead without one—at least at the Jr. High I attended! And I’ll admit, at the time, none of us knew a Rolex fro a roll of nickels! The watches we were all running around with, were ten-dollar, no-name, dive-looking watches whose crystals would fog up like a bathroom mirror if you even mentioned the word “ocean" near them—but hey, were wanna-be surfers, not real ones.
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It’s bee a long time since then, but to my mind, I've never gotten too far away from what I thought every watch should like; it should have a bezel, a black dial, and a big rubber strap (and maybe a bracelet, but those came later). I mean, what else should a watch look like? Anybody who wore a gold dress watch like my old man, was—an old man!  So back to Mike Nelson for a minute (whom, if you hadn’t realized, is actually Jeff Bridges dad, Lloyd) I notice he's wearing some kind of dive watch in a few of these old publicity shots. Problem is, I can’t figure out what kind of watch he’s wearing. Anyone have a guess? And does anyone remember who or how they got into dive watches in the first place?
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thumb_uppradeep-s, jaxtrauma, and 10 others
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RayF
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Rolex Submariner, ofc. Everybody had one:)) Btw, loved your post on Drop with regard to Dan Durston's 40 liter backpack and that bedroll:))))))
RayF
24882
Oct 7, 2020
Some of my best work ;- )
Leoanger
321
Mar 3, 2020
I'll let you know when I get into dive watches (: I'm not even sure what makes a watch a diver besides the depth rating (100M+?) For the forseeable future, the only diving I'm likely to do is jumping into lakes and rivers and making quick underwater runs in a river where I go camping often. My Citizen BM8180 is fine for that and doubles as a good work watch that I'm not afraid to abuse (not that I love seeing new scratches appear). My grail watch is a Casio AW712 Alti-depth Meter, and it says 100M (I bought a non-working specimen to admire until I score a good one.) Interestingly, I was in a pawn shop today and spotted what I guessed was the 712's cousin. It was in fact a Heuer 3000, and now I've another watch on my bucket list. If I acquire either, I might wear the Heuer while swimming and rock scrambling, but the Casio I would probably be a little more careful with, and I don't think I could wear either to work (construction, renovation, occasional demo) except to show it off. And I just remembered the watch I ordered here recently. Definitly won't be abusing it until I've gotten to know it. This one will probably be my next https://www.skywatches.com.sg/reviews/casio-dual-time-alarm-watch-aw90h-9-aw-90h-9ev.htm?amp=1 It has some of that vintage diver styling that catches my attention.
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RayF
24882
Mar 3, 2020
You have eclectic tastes. Not a fan of that Casio dual time you linked but I think the others you mentioned are pretty interesting and not ones I've seen mentioned around here. Couple of links for you: https://www.calibre11.com/tag-heuer-3000-series/

http://bangkokjunkman.com/casio/vintage-casio-alti-depth-meter-aw-712-two-tone-ss/
Leoanger
321
Mar 3, 2020
Haha, yeah I'd checked out both sites already. To have a 712 in such great condition... My dead one has a black rubber/plastic strap that really completes the look for me; with the two-tone bracelet it looks too.. dressy-military, or something. This is the one: https://watchmod.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/casio-aw712-otro-de-esos-dificilmente-calificables-de-casio/amp/ The Heuer I looked at also had the black plastic strap, and black case. I'll be checking it out again if someone doesn't snag it, but for now the asking price is out of my range.
Radknight11
3
May 4, 2019
I was an active duty Navy Seabee stationed in Antigua in the West Indies for two years in 1989. Best first duty station ever. Needed a new watch for after work. Diving, sailing, partying. I used Ironmans and Timex Explorers for work that were cheap and could take a beating. Short of time and needing some snorkel gear I walked into a local PX and picked up my gear and there at the register was the watches. Citizen and Seiko. The Citizen Aqualand (?) , Seiko Turtle and Seiko 7002 7009. The first two were a bit too pricey for my E2 pay so I snapped up the 7002 7009 for like $120. It was huge on my wrist and heavy compared to the plastic digitals I was used too but I was in love. I remember say to myself that a tank could run over this thing and it would survive. I still have it and it is in excellent condition with only a small scratch on the bezel after all this time. A few years ago I took it diving in the Seychelles to about 20 meters with no issues. Not bad considering she has never been serviced. This thing is rock solid. Since then I've added mainly Seikos to my collection and have a SKX 007, Pepsi Turtle and a Titanium Shogun. My wife bought me a Rolex Datejust recently and I was kinda glad she didn't buy me the Submariner because I would probably feel like I was betraying my history with Seiko dive watches, not that I would've knocked the Submariner back though.
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RayF
24882
May 4, 2019
Interesting story with exotic locations and sexy watches--what a life! As for the Submariner--there's always next year...
fenderjapan
39
May 4, 2019
It was 007 for me. The Submariner and Seamaster made me salivate.
fenderjapan
39
May 4, 2019
Also worth mentioning is Magnum PI. He wore a Chronosport Sea Quartz but actually went in the ocean on the show.
RayF
24882
May 4, 2019
Magnum PI?! Okay, now you’re going too far!
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Greendiver
2
May 2, 2019
Sea hunt, and becoming Navy diver. Picked up first dive watch in 1976 in Japan. Though I wear a Samsung Galaxy on my right wrist I've switched to Sunnto for my navigation needs on my left wrist.
RayF
24882
May 3, 2019
Good to hear from another Sea Hunt fan!
wireal
5
May 1, 2019
uhm besides diving i just needed a nice and robust watch that's not afraid of saltwater and a bit of everyday abuse
zofodraziw
124
Apr 29, 2019
I hate to be boring, but diving got me into dive watches, and into watches in general. My first dive watch was my first automatic/mechanical, and it was off the deep end from there!
zofodraziw
124
May 7, 2019
My current diving watch is an old beater ESQ, which was my first automatic. It's been in lots of water, including deeper dives @100ft. I'll probably upgrade this year, but will keep it for nostalgia--it's our 10th anniversary this year, so I'm planting subliminal messages with my wife... I really like the Omega Planet Ocean GMT Goodplanet. Great watch technically, unique style, and (like any good diver) I like to promote environmental awareness--especially ocean health.
RayF
24882
May 7, 2019
We can’t wait to see your Omega—good luck!
Hewitt29
1507
Apr 27, 2019
Great post Ray !
RayF
24882
Apr 27, 2019
Thanks bud, I appreciate it.