Locate a PADI Shop

Dive Watch(2)

Your Dive Watch

Dive watchYour body absorbs nitrogen during a dive and it’s important to keep this nitrogen within acceptable limits. This is done by tracking your depth and time during a dive; the watch allows you to monitor your dive time.

Also known as : diving watch


Most divers have dive watches and there’s a resurgence in the classic, mechanical and quartz analog watches that were popular in the 1970s and early 1980s.

There are three basic styles of dive watches

Digital – Many popular digital watches are water resistant to 200 metres or more. They’re suited to scuba diving, people use them scuba diving and in fact, you may already have one. They’re relatively inexpensive and compact.

Doxa dive fashion watchClassic – Classic dive watches are mechanical or quartz analog models. They range from very inexpensive (under $100 US) to some of the most expensive designer fashion watches made (more than $20,000 US).

Dive computer – Some of the latest dive computers are the size of a watch and strap to your wrist. They do everything a dive computer does, and also have a “time of day” display. Which means they’re also a watch.




A dive watch is a badge that identifies you as a scuba diverAlthough you’ll have a dive computer, chances are you’ll also have a dive watch for several reasons

  • You need a watch so it may as well be a dive watch.
  • A dive watch – especially the classic style – is a badge that identifies you as a scuba diver.
  • The high end mechanical dive watches are pretty retro cool, and many people collect them for their own sake.
  • You may end up choosing a dive computer that doubles as a watch.
  • Some edgier forms of diving, such as tec diving, require backup systems, so you may want a watch to back up a computer.



Scuba Divers use their dive computers oftenRequired features

  • Depth rated – A scuba watch must be designed for the job, not just be water resistant. In digital designs, a rating of 200 metres is considered the minimum. Watches rated to 100 metres, for example, are for swimming and nondiving watersports. (100 metres/330 feet is 160 metres/200 feet deeper than the max depth for recreational diving and you can’t scuba with it? Sounds weird to us, too, but we didn’t write the ratings.) Analog watches for scuba diving typically have a screw down crown, which means the winding knob screws into the case to seal it.
  • Elapsed time at a glance – You want to be able to tell how long you’ve been down at a glance. Analog watches use a bezel that you rotate to align with the minute hand so you can read elapsed time directly from the bezel. Digital wat  ches typically have a stopwatch function.  Dive computer watches typically display elapsed time automatically.


Desired features

A dive watch allows you to know at a glance how long you’ve been down scuba divingLong strap or expanding bracelet – You need more room to fit your watch over a wet suit sleeve, and even more to fit over a dry suit sleeve. It’s nice to either have a long buckle strap or an expanding design bracelet to cover the added diameter. Otherwise, you have to change out the strap whenever you dive with a wet suit or dry suit.

Optional features

  • Self wind or solar power – Self wind in mechanical watches and solar power in digital watches are convenient and reduce the number of batteries going into landfills. It’s a green thing.
  • Illumination – Most digital and computer watches have illumination that make them easy to read in low light (like night diving). Mechanical watches don’t have this, but typically have glow-in-the-dark hands.


  • Selecting a dive watch is very much a personal preference. All dive watches tell time, so purchasing a dive watch has more to do with your personal preference than diving requirement.
  • Does a lounge chair need training wheels? You’d think this would be obvious, but bezels are for reading elapsed time against the movement of the minute hand. So, a watch without hands (i.e. digital number display) does not need a rotating bezel, right? Right. Believe it or not, there are watches without hands that have rotating bezels.