What Makes A Dive Watch And Which Ones To Buy

dive watches
Roberta Naas

By Roberta Naas | Aug 7th, 2019

With today’s active lifestyles, many men and women are becoming certified divers to explore the depths of the oceans. They need a good companion on the wrist that can weather the elements along with them.

Thinking about becoming dive certified? Want to explore the deep blue sea as a way to get away from it all? That’s great. It’s not my thing – I am deathly afraid of the deep — but I have a lot of friends who find the calm and quiet of diving a wonderful respite and a great adventure. They often ask me what constitutes a dive watch, and which is the best one for them to take on their underwater journeys. Here, I answer those questions and offer a look at five top dive watches to fit a host of different budgets.

First and foremost, of course, is water resistance. The International Organization for Standardization, ISO 6425 standard, says a watch should have a minimum depth rating of 100 meters. For divers who want to go deeper, consider a watch that is water-resistant to 200 or even 300 meters. Watches that are water-resistant to deeper depths are also often equipped with a helium escape valve that enables the watch to vent upon resurfacing.

The watch should be crafted of a material that is rugged and durable and should have a top-quality precision movement inside. Titanium and steel are prime materials for the case and bracelet. The best dive watches will have an extension on the steel bracelet so that it can be worn over the dive suit. A rubber strap is also an option for underwater adventures.

Additionally, visibility, anti-magnetism and shock resistance are important factors in a dive watch. Luminescent hands and markers are critical, and some luminescence on the unidirectional bezel is also helpful. Divers suggest having a watch equipped with a running seconds hand with a luminous tip is important so that when diving you can quickly ensure that he watch is still working.

Panerai Submersible

Panerai Submersible

The Panerai Submersible collection was originally developed for the frogmen during World War II. Big and bold, any Submersible is a perfect water companion. This new Marina Militare Carbotech 47mm has a few extras. Its case is made from a carbon-fiber based composite the brand calls Carbotech. It is water-resistant to 300 meters and has a unidirectional rotating bezel and khaki green Super-LumiNova markings. It is powered by Panerai’s P.9010 mechanical movement.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller

rolex sea-dweller

Rolex Sea Dweller. Sold on Worthy for $4,162.

Rolex watches were the first to be deemed water-resistant back in the 1930s. Since then they have gone to the depths of Mariana’s Trench strapped to the Bathyscape Triest, and with John Cameron in his ocean explorations. The 43mm case and bracelet of this model are crafted in stainless steel and yellow gold. It is water-resistant to 1,220 meters and the Caliber 3235 automatic movement is shock- and magnetic resistant.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms

blancpain fifty fathoms

Blancpain’s famed Fifty Fathoms collection of dive watches makes finding a water watch easy. New this year, the Barakuda is a limited-edition timepiece that recalls a watch made by the brand in the 1960s. Its black dial features Super-LumiNova coating in the “old radium” style and color for the hands and markers. It is water-resistant to 300 meters, equipped with a unidirectional bezel and an automatic movement.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph

omega planet ocean

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean. Sold on Worthy for $1,530.

New this year, the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph shown here is equipped with the bells and whistles that make the Seamaster a masterpiece for water adventures. The 45.5mm titanium case boasts an orange ceramic rotating bezel, a ceramized titanium dial, and a fabric NATO strap. The Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 9900 with chronograph and METAS certification powers this watch.

Oris Dive Control Limited Edition

oris pro diver

Crafted in titanium, this newest dive watch from Oris – which supports cleaner oceans and coral restoration via a host of different projects — is water-resistant to 1,000 meters. The 51mm case is crafted in titanium and the watch boasts a patented security system that locks the unidirectional rotating bezel so that it can’t move if bumped. It features white and yellow luminescent indications and is powered by the Oris Caliber 774 chronograph movement.

Roberta Naas

Roberta Naas


Roberta Naas is a veteran watch and jewelry journalist and author, and is the founder of the authoritative watch blog, www.ATimelyPerspective.com.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
dive watches

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