If Scuba diving is more than just a hobby, sooner or later you’ll need to get a real dive watch. There are many types and brands of Scuba wristwatches, some of them are more resistant, some of them cost a lot of money and some of them just look nice.
If you started with a 10 dollar diving watch, you probably want to get new one. Really. If for some reason your watch goes nuts underwater, you will not have any other way to time your dive and no other way to determine how long you can stay before decompression illness kicks in.
So first of all, start looking for watches that can take at least 200 meters of water. And I’m not talking about your “waterproof” watch which can take a bath, but will not stand underwater pressure. You probably won’t get that deep but 200 meter water resistance is the recommended minimum for any diving wristwatch due to tighter testing methods.
Because the sun doesn’t shine in these depths, it is also recommended that your watch will have additional lighting or arms that glow in the dark. Even after 20 or 25 meters things get dark so any watch should have glowing, easy to read arrows and numbers. And try to read the watch from a fair distance. Without your glasses. But remember that LED or other electronic lighting can dry your battery faster when used often, so luminous paint will be a better choice here.
Adjustable bezel is the next thing to check. The bezel is the metal ring that sits around the face of the watch. Your watch should come with a one-way adjustable bezel. The “one-way” is counterclockwise so if the bezel is accidentally twisted, it will seem that you have been under water for a longer period rather than a short period. For the same reason the bezel should be tight and not easily moved.
Most divers dive towards the abyss with analog watches. Don’t really know why, but that’s the most common watch you’ll see underwater. Digital watches are kicking in due to relatively low prices and there’s nothing wrong with them, except that you have to know how to work the timers. There are also self winding dive watches and chronograph diving watches.
After you’ve made your choice, remember to wash the watch and bezel after each dive in the sea (salt water) or in the pool (chlorine). Oh, and don’t take the watch to the after dive sauna or hot-tub. The gaskets don’t like extreme temperature change. Inspect the seals and gaskets every once in a while and have them changed every 2 -3 years.