Scuba diving is one of the most popular recreational water sports in the world today with increasing numbers of diving enthusiasts enjoying deep sea diving adventures in locations everywhere from Puerto Galera in the Philippines and the Blue Hole in Belize to the Beqa Lagoon in Fiji.
Regardless of where your diving travels take you, there are several essentials you will need for your deep-sea expedition, including having the right diving gear: a wet-suit, goggles, fins, a mask, a scuba tank, not to mention finding just the right diving watch.
Although the sports watch you’re currently wearing is water-resistant to 100 meters, it may not withstand the pressures of the ocean’s depths and is not classified as a diver’s watch. There are several standards and criteria a timepiece must have to be classified as a true diver’s watch.
A timepiece must undergo rigorous testing under water, have a locking screw-down crown and caseback with water-resistance 200 meters or more to be considered a diver’s watch. A screw-down crown and caseback prevent water from entering the inner chambers of a watch, which could cause damage to the mechanisms inside if water was present. Watchmakers from Breitling, Omega and TAG Heuer to Invicta and Swiss Legend feature diver’s watches with higher water-resistance levels of 1,000 meters or more for intense diving expeditions.
Titanium and stainless steel are the preferred metals for diving watches, since both will not corrode or rust when exposed to salt water. However, titanium is the perfect choice, since it is extremely durable and also incredibly lightweight on the wrist. Black, gold and gunmetal ion-plated steel watches are also suitable for diving, however both 14K and 18K gold watches could corrode under constant exposure to sea water and are not the best metals for diving.
Going with a matching titanium or stainless steel bracelet is acceptable, however the bracelet should have a wetsuit extension clasp that extends to accommodate the wrist for the extra bulk of a wetsuit. Bracelets without wetsuit extensions may feel too tight and constraining on the wrist when diving.
For this reason, many divers opt for a strap watch which adjusts to fit around the wetsuit. Both silicone and rubber straps are the preferred choices for deep sea diving. The two materials are both water resistant and impervious to salt water.
Having the correct watch on your wrist while diving is vital, since it is extremely necessary to record dive times and know when your air may start to run out, so you can safely return to the surface. A singular rotating bezel allows you to accurately record your dive times and will not rotate backwards.
A legible dial with luminous hands and hour markers is also important for divers, who require easy-to-read time measurements in the dark conditions under water.
A glare-proof sapphire crystal is also essential since you need to easily see the dial under many types of different conditions that could prevail while under water.
Helium Escape Valve
Prestigious watchmakers Breitling, Omega and Rolex feature Helium Escape Valves on select diving models. The valve is designed for professional divers who spend large amounts of time under water breathing gases from their air tanks which may contain helium and hydrogen. Considerable amounts of helium and hydrogen could create a build-up in the case when a diver resurfaces to the top. The escape valve is designed to release the gasses trapped in the case while resurfacing.
What Makes A Diving Watch?
- A Locking Screw-Down Crown & Caseback
- Water Resistance To 200 Meters Or More
- Non-Corrosive Case & Bracelet: Titanium Or Stainless Steel
- Water-Resistant Strap: Rubber Or Silicone
- Unidirectional Rotating Bezel
- Luminous Hands & Hour Markers On The Dial
- Glare-Proof Crystal