Divers Watch Guide – An Introduction To The World Of Deep Sea Divers Watches

This article is an introduction to Dive Watches.

QUICK LINKS:     List of Men’s Diving Watch  Dive Watch Computers  

View a complete list of Dive Watches articles Here.

What is a diving watch?

Divers watches are special kind of sports watch that features a water resistance greater than 10 atmospheric units or the equivalent of the watch being submursed in water to the depth of 100 meters (or 330 ft). Tyipcally though, commercial diver’s watches have much greater water resistance and are often capable of surviving to a depth of 200-300 meters or (660-990 feet).

There is even a standard measure of a dive watch, named ISO 6425 which defines a standardized test of watches suitable for diving. Watches that conform to ISO 6425 are marked with the word “DIVER’S” to distinguish the watch as a suitable scuba diving watch. By purchasing certified scuba diving watches you are assured of a minimum level of safety and quality when diving or swimming in sea water.

For a long list of scuba dive watches read the following article. Mens Diving Watches

Features of a Diving Watch

The features of a diving watche are also regulated by ISO 6425. In addition to being water resistant to a minimum of 100 meters, the standard also enforces other requirements that manufacturers must follow to ensure their diving sports watches are compliant. Thse are:

  • An ISO 6425 scuba dive watch must have a unidirectional bezel that has a minimum of a marking at every 5 minute mark as well as a pre-select marker to indicate a specific minute marking
  • A diving watch must feature clear minute points on the watch face itself
  • The watch must be readable at a distance of 25 cm (9.84 in) even in complete darkness
  • An indication that the watch is still operating, (usually represented by a luminous second hand) even in complete darkness must be present in the watch.
  • The watch must be reistance to magnetic fources
  • The watch must be shock resistant
  • The watch must be resistant to chemicals (comparable to actual sea water)
  • The watch band must meet a minimum robustness standard
  • When the watch battery runs out of life, it must be represented by the repsence of an “End of Life” indicator

Case

Diving watch cases must have an adequate amount of water pressure resistance and be able to bear the voltaic corrosivenss of seawater. Dive watch cases are commonly made out of resiliant materials like ceramics, stainless steel, plastics or synthetic resints and titanium. A diving watch case must also be resiliant against external magnetic influences, sudden impacts and shocks. While a steel or titanium dive watch case if quite a common option, there are several mechanisms used in shock resist diving watches to protect the watche’s internal mechanical movements against external impact that provide a cushioning effect within the hard metal exterior.

A Rotating Unidirectional Bezel For Elapsed Time

A rotating bezel is a common requirement for commercial analog divers watches. The bezel has the ability to rotate, permitting easier reading of elapsed diving time. In some watches, the dive watch bezel can be aligned with the watch’s minute or second hand. The elapsed time reading lets the wearer quickly view how long they have been under water and saves the diver the effort of mental aritmetic while they are doing a dive.

A divers watch bezel is unidirectional. It can only be turned anti-clockwise, thus increasing the perceived elapsed time. A lockable bezel is a popular option on many diving watchs, thus eliminating accidental bezel operations during the dive. Digital diving watches have the benefit of a more flexible watch display and often include a stopwatch mechanism for measuring the dive as well as extra features that can be useful such as a depth gauge and logging of dive-related information.

Strap/bracelet

Diving watches commonly feature watch straps made of either polyurethane, rubber, silicone rubber or a metal bracelet. Diver watch straps must be of sufficient length to accomodate the wearing over a wetsuit sleeve and to facilitate this, a diver watch strap often features a concealed extendable deployment clasp that allows the divers watch strap to be extended. Many diving watch straps feature a one-piece fabric strap made of nylon that slips under the case through both springbars to prevent loss of the diving watch due to one of the spring bars failing.

Dive watch manufacturers like Reactor have added a safety feature on their Men’s Trident Dive Watches that requires pressure be applied in three seperate directions to release the watch clasp.

You can learn more about Reactor Men’s Trident Dive Watches Here

Crown

A crown is a turnable “screw” usually featured on the right hand side on many watchs. Diving watches that feature a crown, must ensure it is water resistant. The crown must often be specially tightened after use to ensure the water resistance. Screw down locking crowns and traditionally operated water resistant crowns cannot be used under water, and the tightening of the crown ensures that this does not accidentily happen while on a dive.

Diving Watches and Water Resistance

ISO have issued a standard for watches that are water resistant that prohibits the word “waterproof” from being used on watches. “Water resistance” is acceptable, however and manufacturers achieve it with the use of gaskets that form a watertight seal, enhanced by sealant on the watch case. The watch case must be specifically tested in for the manufacturer to use the term “water resistance”.

ISO 2281 is a popular mark that indicates how “water resistant” a watch actually is, however none of the standard tests are adequate to pass a watch as a scuba diving sports watch. While these watches are ok for shallow water activities such as swimming or dropping your wrist watch in the sink or bath, only the ISO 6425 standard qualifies a watch for scuba diving activities at depths that can be considered serious by divers.

Within the ISO 6425 standard, watches are also classified by their degree of water resistance. Here are the levels of diving watch water resistance.

Rating Suitability
Water Resistant 50m Shallow water swimming, fishing, dropping in the sink etc
Water Resistant 100m Sailing, swimming, surfing, snorkeling and other water sports
Water Resistant 200m Professional marine activity (but not diving) and any serious surface water sports
Diver’s 100m Scuba diving at depths, but not saturation diving
Diver’s 200m or 300m Scuba diving at depths, but not saturation diving. Typical commercial diving watch
Diver’s 300+ m for mixed-gas diving Saturation diving in a helium enriched environment. Will be marked: DIVER’S WATCH L M FOR MIXED-GAS DIVING

Saturation Diving Watches – Sat diving watches

When diving at much greater depths than can be accomodated by popular watches for diving, certain types of commercial diving watches – saturation diving wrist watch – are capable of withstanding serious depths. Professional diving watches that allow commercial or extreme divers to achieve ridiculous depths, usually come fitted with gass or an escape valve that prevents the crystal face from being forceably removed due to pressure build up caused by helium seeping into the watch, when diving in a helium enriched environment. Another mechanism utilized in a commercial diver watch within the 1000m dive watch club is gaskets that simply do not allow helium gas to enter the watch case at all.

It may be tempting to buy a professional diver watch that is capable of withstanding these crazy sort of depths, but in reality, unless you are an experienced diver it is unlikely you will reach these depths or have the specialist equipment that will allow you to get anywhere near them! Usually a 200m diver watch is more than enough water reistance for the average recreational diver and the professional diving watch better off left in the hands of the experts.

Mixed Gas Diving Watches

Mixed gas diving is form of technical diving, where the diver breathes in a mixture of gas other than nitrox or air. The reason for using non air gas mixtures is the avoidance of nitrogen narcosis, improving the decompression process and the avoidance of oxygan toxicity. Operations involving mixed-gas diving require sophisticated equipment and detail planning with the help of extensive facilities and support personal. These dives are often conducted at considerable depth and for long periods of time, this makes the associated risks of mixed gas diving a lot higher than normal recreational diving activities. It is crucially important that the correct breathing mixture be identified beforehand as the wrong mix can result in a fatal accident.

There are a number of dive watches approved for mixed gas diving, these are usually computer digital diving watches and are specialized in nature.

Some popular mixed gas diving computer watches include the Suunto “Helo2″ Hoseless Wrist Mixed Gas Diving Watch, the Suunto Vytec Hoseless Air/Nitrox Computer Wrist Unit and the Dive Rite Nitek Plus Computer Watch.

We would like to stress that no Scuba diving activities, (mixed-gas diving in particular) should be performed without qualifications or instructions from a certified scuba diving instructor. The information we provide is not intendedto be used as a short cut for anyone to dive outside their abilities, skills and the capabilities of their diving equipment.

How to Buy a Divers Watch

How to buy a diving watch? When asking yourself what is the best divers watch, the answer in truth is that it is a personal decision that varies from person to person, but when considering what to look for in divers watches, if you are considering a watch for serious diving activities than you should – at the very least – be looking for an ISO 6425 divers’ watches as ISO 6425 compliant watches must pass a rigorous testing process that ensures a minimum level of quality and resiliance to the elements.

If you are only using your watch for swimming at the beach, then you might be thinking – should I buy a diver’s watch ? The answer is perhaps. While a diving watch is not completely necessary for recreational swimming in seawater, there are certainly benefits for buying a diving watch anyway. For one, ISO 6425 watches are thoroughly tested, and so can be used in and around water without worrying about water damage. Simply put, top diving watches are built to last, so by investing in a good one you, if looked after, you can expect it to last you for many years. Secondly many diving watches look stunning! While you may not be planning on doing any serious dives with it, there are many diving watches that make great fashion accessories and can usually compliment your best outfits with ease.

Here are some additional tips and considerations.

Buy for style or features?

The first realization you need to make when buying a diver watch is whether you are buying for style or features. Many consumers will of course be considering both of these, but to different degrees. Of course if you want great looks, but if you are planning any serious diving you should also consider the quality of the watch features that compliments the look of your scuba divers watches at a level you are comfortable with.

Dive watchs have a certain appeal that makes them stand out from the crowd. They have a certain type of coolness about them that attracts consumers of this type of watch. Divers watchs convey the image of adventure, thrill-seeking and risk taking that subtly projects an air of relaxed confidence in the face of great adversity.

We have compiled a collection of stylish looking dive watches from leading brand names including, Seiko, Citizen, Suunto, Pulsar, Invicta and others.

If you are buying for features more than fasion, the most obvious criteria you need to look at is the level of water resistance, but you should also consider the look and feel of the watch’s unidirectional rotating bezel and that it’s luminescence glow when in dark environments is appealing to your eyes, which watch size you are most comfortable wearing on your wrist and which other diving functions you need.

Analog Or Digital?

Another decision you need to make is whether to purchase an analogue or digital watch. Analog dive watches look like a classic wrist watch with hour, minute and second hands and numbers. Digital watches are simply dive watches with numbers expressed in digits on an LCD display. A Classic diver watch often looks more distinguished and classier than a digital diving watch, but lacks the wide range of features of the latter.

Analogue style diver watches tend to support the classic diver’s watch features: water resistance to considerable depths, unidirectional rotating bezel, luminescent numbers. Digital style watches are essentially computer watches and tend to support many more features that track their underwater status such as the water temperature status, current depth rating, indepenent timing guages and various alarms. The more sophisticated watches even allow information to be downloaded to computer for later analysis.

Whichever scuba divers watch you choose, if you’re actually planning on doing any serious diving with it, make sure it can take a beating. Most diver’s watches are assembled with anti-corrosive materials, scratch resistant crystal dials have large and easily accessible buttons that can be pressed even with gloved hands.

We have assembled a collection of some popular divers watches. Feel free to browse through them at your leisure or click through to Amazon if you like a particular watch and would like to to purchase it.

Battery Powered or Automatic

An automatic dive watch is a meachanically powered timepiece that features main spring that can automatically wind itself when the wearer makes a motion of their arm. Most mechanical types of scuba diver watch sold today are automatic dive watches that are completely self-winding.

The way an automatic divers watch works is by a self-contained semi-circular ‘rotor’ that turns on a pivot using an eccentric weight. When the user moves their arms, the rotor pivots too-and-fro on an internal staff attached to a ratcheted winder. Thus, the physical energy of the wearers arm movement is translated into internal energy within the watch case that moves the rotor through a series of reverser and reducing gears causing the main spring of the automatic diver watch to be eventually wound. Contemporary automatic divers watch self-winding systems actually feature two ratchets, winding the main spring during both anit-clockwise and clockwise motions of the rotor.

The fully wound main spring featured in typical automatic divers watches is capable of storing enough power for about two days of the watch’s operation. This allows an automatic watch to run throughout the night when not gaining power as it would while worn on a person’s wrist or if a person’s wrist motions are not adequate enough to keep it fully self-wound.

A more recent innovation is the concept of the electronic quartz watch, it is powered by the same mechanism, but the watch’s time-keeping is battery powered. Thus the self-winding mechanism is hooked up to a miniture elecrical generator that charges an internal battery or capacitor which in turn powers the watch movement. A watch of this description is known as a Kinetic Diver Watch or Automatic Quartz Diver Watch. Quartz technology watches are of the highest time-keeping standard, so an electronic Quartz Divers Watch will give you accurate time-keeping for many years to come without the need to replace the battery for decades.

Some Prominant diving watch brands ISO Certified

There are really no best diving watches, but there are some notable models that could be considered the top diving watches in their class. What is best divers watch for your own needs is a personal decision, but below are a few of the most popular divers watch picks and categories. All these watches are ISO 6425 certified:

Invicta Men’s Pro Diver Watch Collection With Swiss Automatic Movement

Invicta Men's Pro Diver Collection Swiss Automatic Watch #4470
Price: $1,295.00

The Invicta Men’s Pro Diver Watches are Swiss divers watches that feature variations of either 21-jewel automatic movements or Swiss chronograph internal workings. These timepieces are able to navigate depths of up to 300 meters. With the quintessential functions of a Swiss diver watch, the The Invicta Men’s Pro collection delivers ISO standard performance in a handomly presented design that is build with confident prowess and beauty.

Victorinox Swiss Army Professional Dive Master Watch

Victorinox Swiss Army Professional Dive Master Mens Watch 241174
Price: $595.00
Better known for the “Swiss Army Knife”, the Victorinox, also know how to make a good quality Swiss divers watch. With heavy stainless stell mattee finish, dashing round orange face surrounded by a rotating bezel, 3 o’clock date position with magnifying window upon a sapphire crystal scratch-resistant window, all surrounded by a stainless stell case and adjustable band, this Quartz movement 500 meter diving watch is as delightful to look at as it is to use in the water.

Seiko’s orange dive watch (The “Orange Monstor”)

Seiko Men's SKX781 "Orange Monster" Automatic Dive Watch
Price: $475.00
The first thing that strikes you about the Seiko Orange Monstor – a modern day classic diving watch – is the color of the dial. The Seiko watch, officially labeled (SKX781) was introduced in early 2001 and inherited it’s name from an older Seiko model, the ““Black Monster”” (SKX779). There are also limited editions available in other colors at a greater cost, but the red/orange color has significance as Doxa, the Swiss watch company conducted research in the late 1960s and discovered that this color is the most highly visible in deep water conditions as shorter wavelenghts are absorbed at these depths. The watch features automatic winding, a stainless steel case with three-hand function. An English/Spanish day/date window is positioned at the 3 o’clock position and the watch features screw-down crown, one-way rotating bezel and hardlex scratch-resistant crystal. The watch is rated to 200 meters and is an ISO diving watch.

Luminox Navy SEAL

Luminox Men's EVO Navy SEAL Colormark Watch #3051
Price: $295.00
The Luminox Navy SEAL watch is a popular example of a military diving watch that was commissioned by the US navy SEALs division as their official navy diver watch for night time missions. The Navy SEAL watch is most noted for it’s illumination system which has been labeled the “Luminox Light Technology”. It utilizes borosilicate glass capsules enabling the watch to always be illuminated without requiring external lighting sources. The luminox navy seal ISO 6425 watch is of a quality you expect from military diving watches, it features a polyurethane case is powered by analog-quartz movement and is rated to 200m.

Ulysse Nardin Men’s Maxi Marine Diver Watch

[amazon-product-block asin="B0010ZKZL8" title="Ulysse Nardin Men's Maxi Marine Diver Watch" includeprice="True" includerating="True" tracking="diving-watches-20" showunsignedrequest="True"]
Designed by Ulysse Nardin, a highly renowned Swiss watchmaker. The Maxi Marine Divers watch is as luxuriuos as it is sport. Crafted with titanium elements the watch has a black rubber strap, 42.7mm stainless steel case, screw down security crown and unidirectional rotating diving bezel. The window is constructed from scratch-resistant sapphire and the watch automiatically self-winding with 42-hour power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock. The watch also features a date display at 6 o’clock and is a 300m divers watch. The Maxi Marine Divers watch is backed by a 2-year limited warranty.

Orient Dive Watches – Orient Divers Watch

Orient Men's Black Mako Automatic Dive Watch #CEM65001B
Price: $215.00
The Orient diver watch series is the most popular collection on offer from the Orient brand. The watch combines a sporty look with a timeless dial design that is a work of art to behold. These dive watches from Orient feature self-winding mechanical movements, the dial has day and date indicators at 3 o’clock with a push-button located at 2 o’clock that sets the day. The watch sports a 2-level crown that adjusts time and date and the watch has unidirectional rotating bezel, luminescent hour indicators and a stainless steel metal or black urethane watch strap. There are 8 distinct Orient series watches to choose from. These distinctive dive watches are rated to 200 meters.

Russian Diving Watches – Invicta Men’s Anatomic Collection Russian Diver Watch

Invicta Men's Anatomic Collection Russian Diver Watch #3894
Price: $495.00

Invicta’s Anatomic Collection Russian Diver Watch is a discovery of what vivid innovation can make possible. The Swiss watch maker highlights the inner workings of these masterful dive watches that feature translucent dials and tinted crystal exhibition case backs. Constructed with a surgical grade stainless steel back, the ultra-light and durable thermo-polymer bands provide dexterity and comfort. A reflection of ingenuity and spirit, these vibrant specimens highlight what Invicta is reknown for.

The #3894″ watch is the most comfortable RD in the Russian Diver Watch series. It features a simple bezel color and easy to read large face with exceptional luminosity. One of the nicer choices in terms of anatomic band color, this is easliy one of the more pleasant watches to view the TIME with. The hands are imaculate, numerals large and clear. This is simply another incredible Invicta watch.

Cheap Diving Watches

If you’re looking for something that’s a little more affordable than some of the top diving watches that sell for hundreds of dollars an affordable divers watch is a Casio sport divers watch or Timex Dive Watch – which is another best budget divers watch, these are a standard 200m diving watch, so can be used in and around water without worry, but when doing serious diving activities you will want to spend a bit extra.

If you are looking for diving watch reviews, we have many dive watch articles on our website. A great source of customer diver watch reviews can be found on the Amazon website. A diving watch review given by someone who has purchased and used the product is a great insight into how a product measures up when used in day to day life. Reading generic diving watches reviews written by an author who has never used the product themselves, often glosses over the nitty gritty details that can only be experienced in real life use which is why reading Amazon customer reviews is so useful.

For more information on some great options, we review some of the best men’s diving watches in an article located here. Mens Diving Watch

More diving watches for sale can be viewed here.