In the 1970s and 1980s, divers wore dive watches because it was the standard way to track bottom time while scuba diving. Today, with dive computers being the norm, divers wear watches as symbols that identify them as scuba divers. A dive watch looks good, tells you what time of day it is, and can serve as a backup dive timer. You can choose a dive watch that is also a dive computer to get both in one unit. Visit your PADI Dive Center or Resort to see a variety dive watch styles.
Standard Dive Watch Features
- Depth rated – Most dive watches are water resistant with a depth rating of at least 100 metres (330 feet) – far deeper than the maximum depth for recreational scuba diving. Sports watches that are waterproof to shallower depths aren’t rated for scuba diving.
- Elapsed time at a glance – Analog watches use a unidirectional bezel that you rotate to align with the minute hand so you can read elapsed time directly from the bezel. Digital watches typically have a stopwatch function. Some analog watches also have a digital stop watch feature. Dive computer watches should display elapsed time automatically.
Optional and Desired Features
- Long strap or expanding bracelet to strap your watch over a wetsuit or dry suit sleeve.
- Self-wind or solar power.
- Illumination makes it easier to read in low light.
- Multifunction – Some dive watches are actually dive computers that provide no stop dive limit information. Others have depth gauges, thermometers, electronic compasses, tide predictors, and even dive log capabilities included.
How to Choose Your Dive Watch
Selecting a dive watch is a personal preference. If you’re going to wear a watch, it might as well be a dive watch. If you like the classic look of a mechanical or quartz analog watch, then your choices range from very inexpensive to some of the most expensive designer fashion watches made. If you prefer a digital watch, you’ll find a wide selection suited for scuba diving. You may decide to choose a dive computer that doubles as a watch, or may prefer this watch style as a good backup for your dive computer.