Our Top Five Bronze watches priced between 2000 and over 20.000 Euro
Five Diver's Watches, in Bronze
If you talk about bronze watches, it is understood that you aim (usually) at diver's watches. Since the bronze debuted in watchmaking, the list of brands that have put at least a diver's watch with bronze case in their catalogue, has sky-rocketed. The interpretations are different, the brands have only apparently chosen solutions among themselves similar, the truth is that the composition of alloy can vary from brand to brand even if, at the time of purchase, all the bronze watches seem to have the same features.
In this article, which officially opens the heading Top 5, we compared five different watches: some are "vintage divers", others are instead professional divers and among them also appears a young brand, 100% Italian, which we will talk about in a dedicated article. Five watches which have a growing positioning that starts with €2000 up to get to a model, the Panerai PAM 671 Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Bronze, which represents an object of desire for Panerai lovers and represents today the most expensive watch with bronze case ever made.
The G.A.W. Gruppo Ardito Watches Numero Uno - The Italian Newcomer
The G.A.W. Gruppo Ardito Watches Numero Uno is the standard bearer of a 100% Italian artisan brand, based in Alexandria. Founded by Engineer Fabio Chiappino, the Numero Uno is proudly made in Italy from A to Z, excluding the mechanical movement, Swiss made. It is a strong, imposing watch with a large bezel fixed with Allen screws that can be removed, like the first equipment strap, using a supply provided tool. The case is 46mm wide and the thickness reaches the record value of 16,5mm but there is a reason.
The G.A.W. Gruppo Ardito Watches Numero Uno is water-resistant up to 1400m, absolutely the highest rating among the watches of this comparative, although it has been tested over 2000m. Among all the watches you see in this list it is closest to the concept of the watch-instrument and that I like to define as the new Panerai. In addition to being made entirely by hand, it has among its features the California sandwich dial and no date (the date module is removed from the movement before it is encased).
Complete with all accessories, which include a second strap and O-Ring seals replacement between bezel and case body, the Numero Uno has a retail price, today, just below €2,000, making it very attractive considering the build quality, materials used and year of manufacture but that represents a price, considering the specifications, destined to increase further.
PROS: exclusive, handmade, great craftmanship.
CONS: it is huge, but the brand has something in store for the smaller wrists (which we cannot anticipate).
The Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition - A Legendary Name
The Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition is one of the most successful and evocative "vintage diver" with a bronze case and was replicated in 2018 in a stunning chronograph version. Built on the basis of the top-seller Oris Divers Sixty-Five, it has a 42mm wide bronze case and a night blue dial.
A successful combination that made it particularly coveted, because the successful design of the Divers Sixty-Five reached in this version an incredible appeal and the coupling of materials and colours, strong and evocative, becomes more fascinating as time goes by and the formation of a patina, linked to the natural oxidation process of the bronze.
The measure of success lies in market quotations: an Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition was sold two years ago at the price of €2600 but the market recognizes an average market price that exceeds €3000, that’s why Oris relaunched this year the chronograph version, which I think is even more beautiful than the first one. The only real limit of this watch? The fact that it hasn’t an in-house calibre, but it is a matter of time in my opinion.
PROS: It has all the pros of the Sixty-Five collection. The union between the bronze case and the blue dial is perfect. It's very wearable.
CONS: It deserves a manufacture calibre or a vintage hand-wound movement, refurbished. And it would be perfect.
The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Bronze - Beautiful and unexpected
In this special ranking, sorted by list price (€3800 in this case) the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Bronze occupies a special place. I was lucky to use a Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Blue, the steel version of the Bronze, for more than a month, both in immersion and in common life and I can only confirm, as I wrote in the article dedicated to that experience, that Bell & Ross realized one of the most intriguing professional diver watches.
The bronze version adds a little vintage touch, which is more an aspiration than a reality because the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Bronze is a diver who exudes modernity from any angle you observe it. The photos you see were taken in Basel, in March. The substantial difference between the Bronze and the standard Diver (black or blue) is that the Bronze is more usable, because the Bronze case and wide leather strap make it an all-rounder. Moreover, among all the divers present in this list, the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Bronze is the only ISO 6425 certified diver. It entered last in this segment but it did it leaving the mark.
PRO: The BR's square case comes in Bronze for the very first time. And it is pretty cool.
CONS: An in-house movement please.
The Tudor Black Bay Bronze - Timeless
The Black Bay has definitely changed the fate of Tudor. With the Black Bay collection, the Tudor’s appeal has grown dramatically. The brand has completed a long journey that defined its real identity that separates it, once and for all, from Rolex (although critics continue to say otherwise, but I do not agree with them).
With the Black Bay Bronze, Tudor has added a milestone to the world of watches with a bronze case, declined in even more exclusive versions like as the Bucherer limited edition. Among its strengths that include the first in house-built caliber (the caliber MT made its debut with the North Flag), I could name the extraordinary overall balance, a slightly larger case than that of the classic Black Bay watches (the diameter reaches a 43mm size) and a bronze alloy with a less invasive patina effect than that building up on an Oris or on a Panerai.
Although today this watch might be less popular than before (it was presented in 2016), it is still a good choice and retails at a very reasonable price (€3,810) if you consider the increase in value that the Black Bay range is experiencing (the GMT version above all) and the in-house built caliber.
PROS: extremely balanced, it is personal, but not excessive. No date. In-house built caliber. It has a moderate "aging".
CONS: why not equip this watch with a leather Cordovan NATO strap?
The Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Bronzo PAM671 - The King
As on a chromatic scale, the Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Bronze PAM671 is the so-called “Holy Grail” of this list. Chronologically speaking, reference PAM 671 is the third limited series of the Submersible 1950 with a bronze case and the first series with a blue dial, after references PAM 382 and PAM 507 - the latter reference features a power reserve.
Few watches are capable to transmit that special sensation of the marine world like the Bronzo does – for Panerai has a clear military inspiration, although, in recent years, the Panerai collections have lost that flavour of military watches for a few selected ones and this is exactly the area, where the brand will have to specially focus on in the future. Regardless of personal taste, the Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Bronze PAM671 is the quintessence of a Panerai watch with its case measuring 47mm and there is no denying that the crafting is of exceptional quality.
The finish of the case, the bridge protecting the crown and the "Ponte Vecchio” leather strap with its large pin buckle are outstanding and, craft wise, well above the average standard of the segment to which this timepiece belongs. The three-day power reserve P9010 calibre completes the whole package of a watch that now retails at more than €26,000. To sum it up this is a collector's item.
PROS: you can recognize it from afar. Its "aging" makes it the most fascinating and credible bronze watch ever
CONS: the date betrays the origins of the 671, was it really necessary?
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®