What you Should Know Before Buying a Dive Watch

Many renowned watch brands carry collections of dive watches. But what exactly are dive watches? Well, as the name suggests, they are watches designed especially for diving and other water activities. But while their features might be water-specific, dive watches are incredibly popular for everyday wear due to their style and aesthetics.  So, whether you’re looking to buy a dive watch to support your water sport activities, or simply because you like the design, here’s everything you need to know first.

What you Should Know Before Buying a Dive Watch

How do dive watches work?

Dive watches come in various forms and all work differently depending on their movement type. 

 

For example, watches can be automatic or quartz powered and some even get their energy from sustainable sources, such as the sun. Each of these movements works in a different way.

 

Essentially, automatic watches are powered by kinetic energy which is collected and stored while a watch is being worn. Quartz watches feature a tuning fork shaped mechanism that has been cut from a quartz crystal. While quartz vibrates naturally, it also holds piezoelectric properties, which means that a small volt of electricity is produced when pressure is applied to it, and it also vibrates when electricity is passed through it. By reducing the frequency of this to one electric pulse per second, the hands begin to tick. 

 

Both movement types are particularly beneficial for dive watches as it means they will continue to work even when underwater conditions are unfavourable. This can prove lifesaving for divers as watches are a vital piece of kit that identifies how long they have been underwater and when they should begin to come back to surface. 

Unique features of dive watches 

Because of the unique needs of divers, watches designed for them have some specific features. While their movement type plays a part in enabling dive watches to work under water, there are a number of other aspects that provide further support. 

 

Firstly, dive watches typically have a screw down crown. When fully screwed down, water is stopped from entering the watch mechanism and damaging its display or function. 

 

The screw down cap also offers another benefit that is important for divers. This type of time adjustment cannot be altered accidently by divers. This is important because any slight disruption to time can be fatal for a diver. 

 

Another feature that ensures under water use is the luminescent hour markers and dial details. These enable divers to clearly read the time no matter how dark the diving conditions are. 

 

A helium escape valve is another key feature of a diving watch. Divers are exposed to high pressure environments the deeper they dive and in these circumstances, helium molecules can seep through the seals of watches. If too much gas is built up in the watch, it can cause damage. The escape valve is a one way entry allowing helium to be released as a diver returns to neutral surface levels of pressure. 

 

Unidirectional rotating bezels are also unique to diving watches. This ensures bezels can only rotate in one direction, usually anti-clockwise. For divers, this is incredibly important as it ensures time can not be accidentally manipulated when under water, which again, could prove fatal. 

 

While these features ensure better diving performance, they also make for convenient and impressive watch functions for everyday use. 

What depths can dive watches handle?

The depths that diving watches can handle vary between brands and models. Most standard diving watches are resistant up to 100 - 200 meters, while some higher quality and more technically advanced models can withstand depths of 300m.

 

This is more than deep enough for most recreational and professional divers. However, demonstrating just how advanced the timekeeping technology has come, Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep currently holds the record for the deepest dive at 10,928m.

How much pressure can a dive watch handle?

Ultimately, the amount of pressure a dive watch can handle is similar to the depth at which it is water resistant. It’s a common misconception that water resistance means waterproof, however, the resistance is more an indicator of the pressure it can withstand. 

 

Therefore, a watch with a higher water resistance depth will be less impacted by high levels of pressure. Those with helium escape valves recover better after being in high pressure environments for extended periods of time. 

How accurate are dive watches under water?

When it comes to accuracy, diving watches must be resistant to magnetic fields. In accordance with the ISO 6425 standard, which is a specific set of characteristics watches must meet in order to be labelled for diving, accuracy must be kept at +\- 30 seconds a day. 

 

As well as this, watches must be resistant to shock as this can also impact the accuracy of timekeeping. According to the standard, watches must not deviate more than 60 seconds a day when exposed to shock. 

 

To assess accuracy, watches are put through a number of rigorous tests. Therefore, any timepiece that carries the name of a diving watch, is guaranteed to be accurate in and out of water. 

Top divers’ watches 

There is an extensive range of dive watches on the market. Top models include:

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m chronometer 

Features:

  • Water resistant up to 600m 
  • Unidirectional bezel 
  • Diving scale 
  • Super-LumiNova dial details 
  • Extendable foldover clasp and diver extension 
  • Helium escape valve 
  • Chronometer status 
  • Chronograph functionality 

Omega Seamaster Diver 300m chronometer 

Features: 

  • Water resistant up to 300m 
  • Polished blue ceramic bezel 
  • Diving scale 
  • Laser engraved waves on dial 
  • Super-LumiNova details 
  • Stainless steel case and bracelet 
  • Chronometer status 
  • Chronograph functionality 
  • Wave-edges caseback 

Tag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 7

Features:

  • Water resistant up to 300m 
  • Unidirectional bezel 
  • Screw in caseback engraved with diving bell 
  • Folding clasp with safety push buttons 
  • Super-LumiNova coated details 
  • 38 hour power reserve 
  • Rapid date correction 

Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Aqualand 

Features:

  • Water resistant up to 200m 
  • Unidirectional bezel 
  • Screw back case 
  • Screw down crown 
  • 70m depth display 
  • Water sensor 
  • Auto-start dive mode 
  • Extender clasp 
  • Eco-Drive technology - powered by light 

For more dive watches, browse the full collection at Wallace Allan. 

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