What to think about before buying a dive watch

by Zhang Ron on Dec 19, 2023

What to think about before buying a dive watch

Look, I get it, just like with diving, dive watches are not for everyone. But, if World Oceans Day has you considering a dive watch for the weekends or just a cool looking diver to wear day to day it's best to consider a few basic pointers to separate the useful tools from the murky waters of watch marketing.

The following is a consideration of a few things that will seem obvious to the divers and dive watch nerds among us, but is far from conventional knowledge to the non-diver. So, if you want to dip a whole lot more than your toe into the world of SCUBA and its myriad dive watches, here's some hopefully helpful advice.

1. Water Resistance: Understand the Depth Rating
When selecting a dive watch, pay close attention to its water resistance rating. While most recreational diving stays within depths of 30-40 meters, a dive watch with a rating of 200 meters or higher offers ample margin for safety. Keep in mind that the depth rating signifies the watch's overall durability, making it suitable for various water activities beyond diving.

2. ISO 6425: The Benchmark for Dive Watches
Familiarize yourself with ISO 6425, the international standard for dive watches. While it outlines the essential criteria for a dive watch, remember that it's a guideline, not a requirement. A watch that doesn't meet these specifications can still be reliable for diving, so consider the standard as a reference point rather than a definitive rule.

3. Bezel Design: Functionality and Grip
The bezel plays a crucial role in a dive watch, allowing you to track elapsed time underwater. Look for a unidirectional rotating bezel with clear markings and a secure grip, especially if you plan to use the watch while wearing gloves or in wet conditions. A well-designed bezel enhances usability and ensures accurate timing during your dives.

4. Lume: Legibility in Low-Light Environments
Visibility is vital when diving, particularly in low-light or murky conditions. Check the watch's lume quality and brightness. While lume longevity is less critical for diving (as you can easily recharge it with a flashlight), focus on legibility—the ability to quickly read the watch's dial and hands in dark environments. Opt for a watch with reliable and long-lasting lume for enhanced safety and convenience.

5. Strap Considerations: Comfort and Adjustability
The choice of strap significantly impacts your comfort and flexibility when wearing a dive watch. Bracelets and rubber straps are common options, each with its advantages. Consider factors such as water temperature, exposure suits (wetsuits or drysuits), and the need for additional strap length or extensions. Ensure that the strap is adjustable, comfortable, and suitable for your diving environment to maximize your watch's usability.

Remember, buying a dive watch involves a combination of personal preference, intended use, and practical considerations. By keeping these five points in mind, you'll be well-equipped to make an informed decision and find a dive watch that meets your needs and enhances your underwater adventures.


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