How To Buy The Right Diving Watch
by Kelly Sullivan
Treating yourself to a new diving watch? Here’s everything you need to know about diving watches from their history to their waterproof features before you dive in...
Dive Watch Buying Guide: How to Buy The Right Diving Watch
Dive watches are one of the most prolific men’s watches, though today more sought after based on their aesthetic appearance than their functionality. Not to be mistaken for a sailing watch, the dive watch has some defining features and functions to distinguish it from the myriad of timepieces available today. Before you immerse yourselves in our round up of the best men's diving watches, let's briefly reflect on the history of craftsmanship that’s gone into creating a watch style that’s so highly sought after globally.
What is a Dive Watch?
Celebrated for their technical ability, engineering and stylish appearances, albeit different, dive watches are highly sought after by professionals and amateurs alike. Born from a very practical function, the dive watch was created to withstand the pressure of the deep blue and to help divers keep track of their bottom time.
The defining features of a dive watch include a rotating bezel, which was created so divers can track their time under water. A stainless steel or titanium casing is most common as well as a luminescent dial and hands, so divers can read their watch in the darkest depths.
"Their most crucial feature, is the external/internal rotating bezel, which combines ease of use and safety." Says Walter Volpers, Associate Director Product Mgmt Technics.
"The rotating bezel can only be adjusted by turning it anticlockwise. If the bezel is accidentally touched, the dive time can not be inadvertently changed."
Some dive watches also feature a helium valve to help the watch equalize the pressure inside the case, though this isn’t commonplace.
"The depths that a dive watch can go to depends on various factors like the material and size of the case or the thickness and geometry of the front glass," says Volpers. Non-specialist dive watches will generally withstand submersion of 200m to 300m, though professional dive watches will go further.
The History of the Dive Watch
Rolex was the first to successfully create a waterproof dive watch back in 1926 with the Rolex Oyster, whereas Omega was the first to take a dive watch to market with the Omega Marine. Today, the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional holds the world record for the deepest dive, attached to the submarine of undersea explorer, Victor Vescovo.
Today, dive watches are seen dressing the arms of celebrities, sports stars and our favourite on-screen spy, James Bond. Some of the more popular pieces such as the Rolex Submariner as seen on the aforementioned James Bond, are incredibly hard to get hold of and have lengthy waiting lists. In fact, you’d think them talismans at the length of some waiting lists... let’s just say it takes a patient person.
Buying the Right Diving Watch
Whilst dive watches can be quite technical, you can have faith in them being robust, durable and reliable timepieces. If you are buying a dive watch for its intended purpose then research into its water resistance is crucial to ensure you get something that suits your needs. Today, most divers use dive computers in place of watches so often consumers’ choice in dive watch is a matter of personal preference on appearance. They can be quite the investment so no doubt you’ll want something suitable for everyday wear.