If you love to SCUBA dive, you already know that you need special equipment to keep you safe. If you insist on wearing a watch while you dive, a watch made just for diving is a must. But if you’re new to diving and in the market for a good diving watch, you might be unsure what to look for when you shop for one. Not to worry, because that’s what this article is here to help you do. Diving watches don’t just look completely different from regular watches; they are also made completely different. Below are some of the dive watch parts and functions you need to know about.
As you can guess, the most important factor to look for in a diving watch is its accuracy. When you’re dozens of feet under the water and your supply of air is finite, you need a watch that can tell time perfectly. But you need far more than this. You also need a watch that has superior water resistance. Most watches will tell you just how water-resistant they are, and they’ll give you a number that corresponds to the number of feet the watch can accommodate. For instance, it may say “water-resistant to 200 feet” or “water-resistant to 100 feet,” and it’s best to follow this recommendation to a tee.
When you’re shopping for a good diving watch, look for one that has met ISO 6425 standards, which means it is water-resistant up to 328 feet (100 meters). Many diving watches exceed this standard and are water-resistant to a much lower number, but you’ll want one that can guarantee it will work well at a minimum of 328 feet. This information is always included in the paperwork and instructions that come with the watch, and it’s important that you check it before you decide which watch to purchase.
What About the Other Parts of the Watch?
Some of the other watch parts you need to study include the following:
- The bands (straps): these are usually longer because they have to fit over bulky diving equipment.
- The material of the case and band: look for silicone, titanium, stainless steel, or rubber because all of these are corrosion-resistant.
- The material of the crystal (the part that fits over the face of the watch): sapphire crystals are strong, but they are not always resistant to breakage. A good diving watch often has a face made out of hardened mineral glass because of this.
- The right type of bezel: bezels on diving watches should only turn counter-clockwise and not clockwise. This allows divers to start the dive by setting the index to the minute hand, making it easier to time how long they’re underwater.
With unidirectional bezels, divers may inadvertently turn them in the wrong direction and add more time than they truly have. This can have disastrous results and cause them to run out of air sooner than they had planned to.
Should You Be Concerned About Helium Buildup?
You may have heard that, as a diver, you need a watch that has a helium valve. When you get too far under the water, you may experience certain breathing gasses that have helium in them. The helium molecules, which are tiny, can end up in the watch case. When this happens, and when the diver ascends, the molecules will expand and can damage the watch. Considering how much you pay for even average dive watches, this can ruin your whole day. Not to worry, though, because in reality, this is only a problem for commercial divers who are doing very deep saturation diving. For recreational divers and even technical ones, this is not really an issue, mainly because these people don’t spend a lot of time real deep below the surface of the water.
Finding the Perfect Dive Watch
There are other very important components of a dive watch that you need to look out for, and one of the most important is the dial. As a general rule, don’t aim for anything fancy or intricate in design. Instead, find one that is easy to read and has luminous markings for both the indexes and the hands. The reason for this is simple: you want your watch to be easy to read when you’re underwater, and this is the best way to ensure that will happen. Fancy dials don’t benefit you when you’re under the water; dials that are large and easy to see do.
When you’re in the market for a good diving watch, just know that there are a lot of them out there. Remember that just because the watch is water-resistant or even waterproof, that doesn’t mean you should dive with it. Buying one that is made specifically for diving is your best bet, and now that you know what types of parts and components should be a part of the watch, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the one that’s right for you.