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Rugged Watch Selection

I've long wanted two things for my wardrobe: first a dress watch. Simple, classy, elegant, not too large. Second, a dive watch. Something that is more technical or sporty, but not too utilitarian or a "tool watch". In this article I'd like to explore the idea of a well made, well performing, classy, dive (or maybe aviation) watch with a bezel. I am curious to see what's available and what my expectations are for accuracy, looks and style and price point.

I will base my selection on the criteria set out in an earlier blog post.

In summary, the following criteria will be evaluated:

  • Appearance
  • Reserve
  • Nighttime Legibility
  • Accuracy (and its test criteria)

Watch List
After surveying about a dozen dive watch manufacturers, here are the watches I'm considering. Two watches each from four brands:

Make Model MSRP ($) URL
Tudor Black Bay $3,675
Tudor Pelagos $4,400
Omega Diver 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer $4,850
Omega Planet Ocean 600M Co-Axial Master Chronometer $6,550
Rolex Submariner $7,500
Rolex Sea-Dweller $11,350
Sinn 104 St Sa A $1,590
Sinn 857 UTC $2,450


Make Model Average Daily Precision (s/day) Max Daily Variation (s/day) Isochronism (s/day)
Tudor Black Bay -4/+6 +/-10 NA
Tudor Pelagos -4/+6 +/-10 NA
Omega Diver 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer -0/+5 +/-10 -0/+12
Omega Planet Ocean 600M Co-Axial Master Chronometer -0/+5 +/-10 -0/+12
Rolex Submariner +/-2 +/-10 NA
Rolex Sea-Dweller +/-2 +/-10 NA
Sinn 104 St Sa A 4+/-4 +/-15 +/-10
Sinn 857 UTC NA NA NA

Here are the environments the above accuracy is tested against. The wider range of environments the more authority that the listed accuracy carries.

For devices that use COSC certified movements the specs listed are anything that go above and beyond COSC certification requirements.

Make Model COSC? Magnetism (G) Humidity (m) Temperature (degC) Shock/Vibe (J) Orientations (#) Strength: Case Strength: Face
Tudor Black Bay Yes NA 200 8-38 NA 5 Stainless Steel Sapphire/Ceramic
Tudor Pelagos Yes NA 200 8-38 NA 5 Titanium Sapphire/Ceramic
Omega Diver 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Yes 15,000 300 23-33 NA 6 Stainless Steel Sapphire/Ceramic
Omega Planet Ocean 600M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Yes 15,000 600 23-33 NA 6 Stainless Steel Sapphire/Ceramic
Rolex Submariner Yes NA 300 8-38 NA 7 Stainless Steel Sapphire/Ceramic
Rolex Sea-Dweller Yes NA 1,220 8-38 NA 7 Stainless Steel Sapphire/Ceramic
Sinn 104 St Sa A No 60 200 NA 30 5 Stainless Steel Sapphire
Sinn 857 UTC No 1,000 200 NA 30 NA Hardened Stainless Steel Sapphire


Make Model Night Legibility (hrs) Energy Reserve (hrs)
Tudor Black Bay many 70
Tudor Pelagos many 70
Omega Diver 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer 2-3 55
Omega Planet Ocean 600M Co-Axial Master Chronometer 2-3 60
Rolex Submariner many 48
Rolex Sea-Dweller many 70
Sinn 104 St Sa A many 38
Sinn 857 UTC many 32

Quarter Final
First elimination round will take all specifications into account and will pass judgment on how the watch looks on my wrist.

Tudor Pelagos vs Omega Diver 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer
Right away the toughest comparison of the bunch. Here the accuracy of the Omega master chronometer just edging out the Tudor.

Both movements are COSC, but there is nothing about the Tudor that goes above and beyond COSC except water pressure (as you'd expect). So the Omega wins here.

That said the Tudor is gorgeous and the Omega looks good as well but not nearly as good as the Tudor does.

There is no reason to dislike either. In many ways this is a tie. The Omega is a more rugged watch but I'm not sure I would enjoy wearing it nearly as much. And the Tudor is certified and is certainly capable.

Winner: Tudor Pelagos

Tudor Black Bay vs Sinn 104 St Sa A
The Sinn 104, the most affordable watch in the bunch, has a hard time competing against the COSC certified dive watch from Tudor.

Apart from antimagnetic and shock specs, which the Tudor almost certainly meets and beats, the Tudor outdoes it in every respect including a Titanium case for scratch resistance.

Winner: Tudor Black Bay

Omega Planet Ocean 600M Co-Axial Master Chronometer vs Rolex Submariner
Accuracy between these two seems similar. Both watches are rated above and beyond COSC albeit in different ways. Unfortunately like every watch here there are incomplete specs. But average daily variation does edge out to Rolex but I appreciate the isochronism requirement from Omega.

Omega could be the better rated watch, with it's METAS specs being open and completely transparent. The biggest complaint I have about METAS are two fold: a) that there is no shock/vibe requirement and that the temperature range tested is very narrow and doesn't cover very cold (nightstand) situations or very hot (Arizona) situations. Rolex on the other hand is even more frustrating because they publish none of their specs and just expect you to believe that "it's better trust us".

These more exceptional figures I'm not sure are useful, like the extreme magnetic and water pressure resistances that I will likely never expose the watch to. However both movements are COSC certified and these are just additional metrics and I think that the edge goes to Omega here.

The Omega has a larger reserve by 12 hours.

Both watches look gorgeous on wrist but given that the Omega specs better, is guaranteed as such I think that Omega wins this round.

Winner: Omega Planet Ocean 600M Co-Axial Master Chronometer

Rolex Sea-Dweller vs Sinn 857 UTC
This almost isn't a fair comparison. The Sea-Dweller is an absolute monster in the dive watch category with proven performance and popularity (now that no one actually dives with a dive watch). However that comes at a high price in two ways. The first being price.

The second goes to wear. It is a very large watch. As a matter of fact it is too large for my wrist.

The Sinn watch uses a pretty good movement, but the specs and performance are hidden despite the Sinn website which boasts remarkable performance. This is because many of the test limits are given without actually defining the performance guaranteed by those conditions. This is a concern because I really want a watch with proven time keeping accuracy.

But because the Rolex does not fit my wrist well this round goes to Sinn.

Winner: Sinn 857 UTC

Semi Final
Tudor Pelagos vs Omega Planet Ocean 600M Co-Axial Master Chronometer
The Pelagos in blue strikes quite a statement, but may be too loud for me. The same watch in black is far more understated and does look quite good on my wrist. That said the Omega Planet Ocean in blue or black both look great on my wrist, with the black being a slightly safer bet.

Both watches are COSC and I expect to be quite reliable. I do not expect much different in the performance or reliability of the two watches however the Omega is specced quite a bit better.

The most important factor here is that I am not able to afford the Omega Planet Ocean. It MSRP is well over $6,000 which is quite a bit outside my budget. So unfortunately, just like the Rolex, the Planet Ocean must forfeit to the Tudor.

Winner: Tudor Pelagos

Tudor Black Bay vs Sinn 857 UTC
Both have interesting specs. But between these two the Tudor is the only watch that is certified and prove to have a certain performance. The Sinn lists many specifications against damage but not time keeping performance and I expect it to be very rugged and dependable. The movement Sinn uses is known to be good and fairly accurate, but they do not release any public figures/guarantees about its performance.

Both are more affordable and Omega or Rolex, the Sinn being the most affordable of the two.

The Tudor looks fantastic on my wrist than I expect the Sinn would (there are not brick and mortar dealers in the US for Sinn) would look good as well, making the choice difficult. The Tudor is a bit more classy and premium looking. The Sinn is a more utilitarian finish, but with tight tolerances. Both watches actually have tight tolerances and excellent fit and finish.

To be honest I want both watches and the Sinn has been on my list for a while and I think I will buy it eventually. But because I already own a solid UTC type watch that I use while traveling and because the Tudor is a bit more elegant I think I will tip the hat to the Tudor.

Winner: Tudor Black Bay

Final Choice
Tudor Pelagos vs Tudor Black Bay
The final came down to two Tudors. This is not surprising since both Rolex and one of the Omega's were very expensive. And while I intend to buy the Sinn 857 UTC eventually neither Sinn was meeting my exact desire for a "statement piece" level of craftsmanship.

Both of these watches are nearly identical in performance. The primary difference being Titanium case and Date function on the Pelagos, and a more elegant finished look of the Black Bay.

Aesthetically both have excellent finish quality. The Pelagos is sporty where the Black Bay is more elegant. Both look excellent in blue or black (the Black Bay having a few different black variants), but I think I would opt for a more classic black or black and gold.

Winner: Tudor Black Bay


Extra Links
METAs certification requirements
COSC certification requirements
METAS vs COSC comparison


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