How to Choose a Diving Watch

If you are in the market for a new diving watch, here are some qualities you should look for before you spend a lot of money on a new diving watch.

  1. Water resistance.

All diving watches are going to be waterproof; they wouldn’t last for a minute otherwise. But how much water resistance is really needed? After all safety limits recreational divers to a maximum depth of  130 feet, so any diving watch that meets or exceeds 130 feet should be good enough, right? Wrong!

When companies test the water resistance rating of a diving watch, the test is completed in controlled conditions. The tests do not consider any other potential events that could play into the water-resistance of the watch. They tell the resistance to water penetration assuming there is no movement of the watch or the water, at a particular depth. These test conditions do not simulate real diving conditions where your watch is likely to be repeatedly jarred. If your watch is hit when it is near the extremes of its depth rating, it may fail.

To guarantee that your diving watch does not give out at depth, make sure you purchase a watch with a depth rating of at least twice the maximum depth to which you intend to dive.

  1. The band.

For a diving watch, there are three types of bands you should consider: rubber, titanium, and stainless steel.

If you are thinking about choosing a rubber watch band, make sure it is actually rubber and not some cheap imitation. Rubber bands are convenient because they are easy to adjust so they can easily be worn directly on your wrist or over your wet suit. One negative with rubber diving watch bands is that they can be sliced; if you take part in a lot of wreck diving, you may want to consider a metal band.

If you prefer a metal band, it should always be titanium or stainless steel since these metals are immune by corrosion and rust. Stainless steel has been well tested over the years and it is still an excellent alternative for diving watches. Of late, titanium has become an option. It is stronger than stainless steel and one half the weight. Regardless of the metal selected, make sure to get a wet suit extension so that watch can be worn over your wet suit when you are using one.

  1. Analog or digital

Most dive watches fall into one of two categories (although some combine both): analog or digital.

The analog watches are the traditional dial-faced watch. If you are considering this type of watch, make certain it has a unidirectional bezel (for dive timing) and bright luminescence (so that it can be seen in the dark) including on the bezel. Analog watches tend to be nice looking, but they usually have fewer diving-related features compared to digital watches.

Digital watches almost always offer a slew of sophisticated functions to help divers keep track of their dive status. Features such as water temperature, depth readings, separate gauges for timing the breathing mixture in one’s tank, and programmable alarms. Many digital watches also can record dive data which can then be uploaded from your watch to your computer.

  1. General Ease of Use

Look for attributes that will help make your new dive watch easy to use in actual dive conditions. Things such as a non-scratch crystal (so that you can actually read your watch), large and easily accessible buttons for use with gloved hands, and hardy construction so that your watch will give you years of use.

Lastly, look at the reviews for the diving watch you are looking at. Looking at a watch in the store or online, it’s really problematic to know for sure how well it will work in the water. By looking into the reviews of people that have used the watch, you will get a much better idea if this diving watch will work for you.

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