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Best Diving Watch

What is The Best Diving Watch?

It’s not that long ago that the only way you could time your dive would be using a dive watch. Dive computers that work out your bottom time amongst a myriad of other things have largely taken their place, but there are some very good reasons you shouldn’t overlook the humble dive watch.

Dive Watches Under Review - Quick Guide Table

Back Up

If your computer fails a secondary timing device, used with a depth gauge, will allow you to monitor your depth and speed and therefore enable you to get to the surface safely. 

Simplify

If you regularly dive on the same shallow dive site, you could plan your dives with little fuss and monitor your dive with a depth gauge and dive watch.

Go Pro

Divemaster and instructors need an underwater timepiece, not only to time skills but watches are far preferable to a computer when you are teaching skills in shallow water. Computers don’t cope very well with shallow water and the ‘up and down’ of skill development. 

Ease

If you are a diver and you are in and around water a lot having a dive watch makes life easier. Ask anyone who’s check the time on their non-diving watch at 60ft and realized that not only do they not know the time but that watch is never going to tell the time again.

A watch is quite a personal thing so of course, you will want something to suit your style and a budget to suit your pocket but beyond that, there are a few things you need to consider.

Splash-proof, water-resistant and water-proof

These descriptions are far from the same thing, and confusingly you will also find that the water resistance of a device has a rating measured in bar.

Being a diver you might think that a watch with a 5ATM/bar rating would be good to 40m /120 ft, but this is not the case – buyer beware! A 5 ATM rated timepiece is good for a bit of swimming but nothing more.

If you want to take your watch snorkeling, then look for watched designated 200m / 20 ATM but if you want to know the time at 30m / 100ft then you are looking for 100bar/1000m and ISO6425 ratings.

Readability

Any watch becomes useless if you can’t read it and underwater you have to allow for reduced light at depth, and reduced visibility due to water clarity. All good dive watches will ensure their digits, and hands luminesce for ease of reading in low light, but there are variations in strength so do check what you will see. Most will have a ‘black-out’ image for you to view the dial in the dark.

Elapsed Time

A dive watch needs a way to track elapsed time. Traditionally you would do this with a bezel that you align with the minute hand as you submerge. Some offer a digital display within an analog dial. Remember that this should be not only easy to read but also be easy enough to set with gloves on if you wear them to dive.

Strap

If you need to get the watch around a wetsuit or even a dry suit you need to make sure that the strap is either quite long or that the watch is mounted on an expanding bracelet.

Helium Release Value

A helium release valve is a feature that allows any helium that enters the watch to be safely released. This feature is only necessary if you are saturation diving and living in a pressurized habitat. Some would say that the valve is an unnecessary weakness that increases the flood potential.

Other Features

Many dive watches have features like depth gauges and temperature gauges too. Be clear on what you want and how you will use it. If your timepiece is a back up to your computer and you have an analog depth gauge on your high-pressure hose then maybe you don’t need this feature. With a dive watch, less does tend to be more when it comes to durability.

Review

Orient 47mm M-Force 22-Jewel Automatic Titanium Dive Watch with Sapphire Crystal

Titanium means this watch is both light and strong and its design evokes serious diving chops. The dial has luminous hands and hour markers, and the bezel has a luminous marker which helps visually. The dial also has an analog date inset, and the strap is rubberized

Pro:- Lightweight and durable.

Con:-  No additional features (if you were looking for them)


Pantor Seahorse 1000m Big Size 45mm Pro Automatic Dive Watch

The Pantor has a sleek, classy look with a solid, high-quality stainless steel strap that matches the watch case. The bracelet is extendable, and if you are a saturation diver, you’ll like that it has a helium valve. The hands and number markers luminesce, and the bezel also has a luminous marker. The date is also set within the dial.

Pro:- Extendable strap and helium valve.

Con:- No additional features (if you were looking for them)


NEYMAR 44mm Automatic

The Neymar adds a touch of gold plating to its design, and you have the choice of steel or rose gold. The hands and digits are luminescent, and there’s a date feature too.

Pro:- Choice of styles

Con:- No additional features (if you were looking for them)


Phoibos Men's PX005B 1000M Dive Watch

The Phobias comes in a blue or black design which matches the long strap to the dial. For its price, it’s a great quality watch and one to consider if your available budget is not infinite. It has a youthful, sporty look with luminescent hands and number markers and also incorporates a date inset.

Pro:- Choice of styles

Con:- Plastic strap


Tauchmeister T0249 GMT XL 1000m Dive Watch

The Tauchmeister is heavy on the luminescence with chunky glowing number markers and clearly defined hands. The dial incorporates a second time zone indicator too. The strap is high-quality rubber which complements a rugged sports look.

Pro:- Luminescence

Con:- Second time zone indicator distracts


Conclusion

Once you have decided on your budget and ascertained the watch’s water resistance and readability your decision is largely cosmetic. Buy something you are going to love to wear, it’s as much a personal statement as it is a dive tool. If this wasn’t the case, non-divers wouldn’t wear them for the sheer pleasure of doing so!