Watches: IWC Aquatimer Deep Three (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on June 10, 2014

For many of us the forthcoming months of July and August are synonym with summer time, sunny holidays, white-sand beaches and crystalline blue water. It is also the period of the year when we want to store our thin and elegant dress watches into the safe and put on some bulky sports models, more suitable to our suddenly very physical activities. With their high water-resistance, colourful looks and robustness to pretty much anything, diver’s watches are among the most sought after sports timepieces out there.

Well aware of the importance of this market segment, most high-end brands offer their take on the diving watch and the choice is extensive for watch aficionados in search for the perfect summer companion. This year, however, most of them will probably end up opting for IWC as the brand did an amazing job with the revamping of its Aquatimer line. With 15 new references the Schaffhausen manufacture clearly offers a diving model for everybody’s taste and I will definitely review most of them on Watch Agora very soon. Today, I would like to kick off these presentations with the most technical of them all, namely the Aquatimer Deep Three.

The Deep Three is actually IWC’s third generation of diver’s watches equipped with a mechanical depth gauge able to display the wearer’s current depth as well as the maximum depth achieved during the dive. The first such model, the GST Deep One, was introduced in 1999 and the second iteration, the Deep Two, was presented in 2009 when the brand last updated the Aquatimer line. Although the changes from the first to the second iteration were aesthetically obvious, the design gap between the Deep Two and the Deep Three is much more subtle. It does not mean however, that the technical improvements have been limited this time.

The evolution of IWC’s Depth Gauge model

Despite a similar case width of 46 mm, the new Deep Three feels somehow larger than the 2009 model, maybe because of the additional thickness (16.5 mm as opposed to 15.5 mm). The use of lightweight titanium, though, makes it surprisingly comfortable on the wrist and the new structured black rubber strap looks particularly nice. The dial is aesthetically similar to the previous version: a black background with highly legible red baton hands filled with white SuperLuminova and rhodium-plated hour markers also coated with the luminescent material. The depth scale forms an arc of a circle on the left-hand side of the dial and features two depth gauges: the blue marker indicates the actual depth (up to 60 meters) while its red equivalent gives the maximum depth achieved during the dive.

An important aesthetic and technical difference between the 2009 and 2014 versions is in fact common to all Aquatimer models from these two years. In 2009, all Aquatimer models were fitted with a unidirectional bezel with a sapphire ring featuring the 15-minute dive scale. This year all models showcase the brand’s SafeDive system that connects the internal and external bezel. The diving scale appears on the internal bezel. It is activated by the external bi-directional bezel but can only be turned anticlockwise.

Water-resistant to a depth of 100 meters, the Aquatimer Deep Three showcases a titanium case back embossed with a diving helmet. It is equipped with the brand’s quick-change bracelet system but for now no other options than the black structure rubber strap are available. In all likelihood, the brand will soon offer a meal bracelet as they did for the Deep Two. The price tag is US$ 19,000 and unfortunately the watch will only be available in late 2014 so you won’t be able to splash around in the pool with this beautiful watch this summer. The watch is well-worth the wait though, and if you only receive yours in December, it could be the perfect excuse to organise a little end-of-year holiday in a sunny place to test the depth gauge.

Although a few brands have a model with an electronic depth gauge in their collections, only one other high-end manufacture (Jaeger-LeCoultre with the Master Compressor Diving Pro Geographic) offers a mechanical version of this complication. With already three such models produced, IWC remains the manufacture with the highest motivation to produce the ultimate diving watch. With these elements in mind, there is no doubt the Aquatimer Deep Three will particularly appeal to watch collectors.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: