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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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June 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 41, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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The Rarest Dive Watch Ever?

from the June, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

In an Undercurrent article three years ago, we poohpoohed the idea of buying a dive watch when dive computers have more features and are way less expensive. However, we did advise that if you have an old dive watch lying around, you should consider selling it. They're more commonly being appreciated as valuable collectibles, and watch collectors, whether scuba divers or not, are shelling out more money for them.

Take this Breguet diver's watch that hit the auction block at Christies last month. According to Luke Rottman, executive editor of the Watch Adviser blog, 20th century Breguet wristwatches are the rarest watches on earth. In 1962, Breguet produced roughly 60 dive watches, all with varying dials. "Hence, this [watch]with an Arabic dial, to the best of my knowledge, is likely piece-unique," says Rottman. It's similar to "tool watches" (those designed for specific purposes, like diving or flying) of the 1950s, such as the Rolex 6536 Submariner and the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, but not that innovative compared to larger dive watches that Blancpain, Omega, Eberhard, and Rolex were already beginning to produce. But according to Rottman, it's all about the aesthetics.

Christie originally estimated this Breguet's value as between $32,000 and $65,000. Rottman sniffed, saying that wasn't the least bit generous. "If anything, this watch will fetch a considerably higher dollar amount than what Christie's anticipates." And he was right -- the world's rarest dive watch ultimately sold for $100,866. So if you have an old dive watch, get thee to a jewelry appraiser post haste.

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