The Military Diver’s Watch

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The Military Diver’s Watch

Postby koimaster » August 21st 2017, 8:15am

For over fifty years, it has been the accepted knowledge that the history of the diving watch is intimately coupled to the history of recreational diving. Both Rolex & Blancpain (who equally claim to have invented the diver’s watch) use the introduction of the SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) as the driving force behind the demand for divers’ watches; I hope to show that this commonly held theory is untrue. The prime impetus for the development of the diver’s watch was (and has continued to be) the needs of combat swimmers in the armed forces of the developed world’s nations.

In this article, I will take watches from every decade from the 1930s up until the 1980s and show how the needs of combat swimmers forced the development of watches we now consider iconic.

1930s – the Officine Panerai

It is now universally accepted that the first ever pure diving watch were the Panerais used by the Italians in the early days of the war. What is not so well known is that they were essentially Rolex model 3646 with a special dial made by Panerai. These were used by members of the elite Decima Flottiglia MAS (usually shortened to ‘X Flotmas’); who rode the Italians’ secret weapon, the SLC (siluri a lenta corsa or “slow-running torpedoes”); although the men who had to use them commonly called them ‘Maiali’ (pigs or swine). The British, who were the main targets of these weapons, called them ‘Human Torpedoes’ after capturing several of them.


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Re: The Military Diver’s Watch

Postby conjurer » August 21st 2017, 9:34am

This explains why the Royal Navy was so devastated by the Italian Navy in World War II.
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Re: The Military Diver’s Watch

Postby Hawk » August 21st 2017, 2:13pm

conjurer wrote:This explains why the Royal Navy was so devastated by the Italian Navy in World War II.


And the Egyptian Navy.

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