Last week we discussed some of the biggest watch trends emerging from Baselworld. One of those trends revolves around diving watches, as more and more people get involved in active sports. Understanding what constitutes a great diver's watch is important, as most high-precision diver's watches offer a series of functions that could prove useful. With summer approaching, one may want to consider a new purchase to accompany that deep dive.
To be a true dive watch, a timepiece needs to adhere to certain ISO standards. These standards vary depending on whether one is snorkeling, scuba diving or deep sea diving. For diving, the absolute minimum should be 300 meters of water resistance. Some people may choose 200-meter water-resistant watches, but those will really only let you dive to within 100 meters of the surface. Currently, some of the ISO standards are being reevaluated, and new standards will be issued later this year. Depending on the anticipated depth, having a watch that is equipped with a helium escape valve can also be useful.
Additionally, a good diver's watch should be equipped with a ratcheted, one-way rotating bezel. That bezel helps measure elapsed dive times and can help to indicate when one must begin to resurface. Having a one-way rotating bezel instead of a bi-directional bezel ensures that the bezel will not be accidentally pushed in the wrong direction — leading divers to believe they have more time left underwater than they actually have.
Underwater reading of time is also an important factor, and so most dive watches should have anti-glare crystals and Super-LumiNova hands and markers. These will ensure that even when very little light is reaching the watch, the time indications are still visible.
While case materials for dive watches have come a long way, the preferred case is typically titanium. The metal is light weight, highly scratch resistant and extremely corrosion resistant. Following titanium, dive watches crafted in steel or carbon are the best alternatives. Most dive watches are equipped with metal bracelets or rubber straps, but it is best if you can find a strap with an expansion bracelet to fit over wetsuits. Double-locking bracelet clasps are also a great idea for underwater adventure.
Depending on the brand, some of today's dive watches also offer other important features. These can include double- or triple-locked winding crowns and/or additional gaskets for added water resistance. Just a handful of brands also offer dive watches with an alarm function, wherein the alarm can be sounded under water.
Most dive watches are also COSC-certified chronometers. Chronometers are watches that have undergone rigorous testing by the Controle Official Suisse des Chronometres (COSC) observatory — or by a similar observatory in France, Germany or Japan — over a period of time. The watches are monitored in various positions and under different conditions of pressure, temperature, depth and gravity.
If diving is on your bucket list and you are planning a spring or summer excursion, we invite you to swim on in to our store anytime to check out our seaworthy timepieces.