When you think of a dive watch, you get blown away by the performance of the new models out there. An experienced diver might know and have a clear idea about what his dive watch has to do, but when you’re new at this you might have some difficulties in choosing the right watch for you.
Luckily for you, here are some tips on how to get a good, useful dive watch. See also this site for more tips.
What do I need it for?
You need to ask yourself if your dive watch is going to be the primary source of timing or just a diving gear? If you’d rather have the dive watch as a primary source, make sure it’s a watch able to log your dives accurately. When you go for a dive computer instead, it’s better to stick with a more basic, moderately priced model.
Keep in mind that a redundant gear has to work just as well as your primary equipment. Don’t forget about the regulations of a dive watch on safety standards either.
How deep do I want to dive?
A good dive watch takes any accidents and takes you deeper that you’ll ever be able to dive. Choosing a dive watch rated for a 200meters depth might get you safely through any little incidents you might have. Some dive watches take you up to 1000m deep (like a Seiko dive watch, for instance), but…can you do it that deep?
It’s no point to get a “waterproof” watch as it only looks a lot like a dive watch, but they work better for fishing, snorkeling and other kinds of water sports where there’s no really need of a good dive watch.
The amount of atmospheric pressure that your dive watch can take gives you the quality of the dive watch. This is marked as ATM or by depth rating. Don’t take any chances and stay safe when going deeper than your watch is able to go.
Diving in style?
For some divers, style really doesn’t matter at all when choosing the dive watch, but for some this is also a thing to care about. You can find dive watches with a sporty look.
Some digital models are in fact self-contained dive computers and they have at least countdown timers or stopwatches. They are fine, but an experienced diver would go for a computer with a larger readout.
If you go for an analog dive watch, it might be easier with the reading thanks to the illumination feature. These watches also have bezels designed so that you can keep track of elapsed time. A unidirectional bezel can only be turned clockwise. In case of a bump, the watch can only go forward, reducing your dive time and keeping you safe and sound. Go for a bezel that can be locked, though.
Take notice of the luminescence of your watch. You need to read your watch clearly, in the dark, from at least 25 centimeters away. The best analog models contain tritium which glows all the time in the dark, not needing a source of light for charging.
The digital watches use LED lights that help you when you dive in the night and you can see clearly.
Keep in mind that, for a dive watch, style goes behind safety every time.
How much do I want to pay?
The price range for the dive watches is quite large, going from less than one hundred and going up too few thousands of dollars.
Be practical when buying the first dive watch. In the beginning, you need to rely on it and when you gain some experience, you watch may keep up with you and not the other way around.
Double check if your dive watch is indeed good for diving. Your dive watch should be long enough to fit over your wetsuit or dry suit sleeve or get also a strap extension for your watch.
Take time to choose your dive watch and read a bit before getting it. Ask around other divers and take a piece of advice from the personnel for assistance.
Besides these features, be sure that the watch strap is long enough to fit over your wetsuit or dry suit sleeve or pick up a strap extension along with your watch. Last but not least, don’t buy your watch in a hurry, do your homework and be sure you are getting something that will work well for you. Don’t hesitate to ask other divers or dive shop personnel for assistance – they’ll be happy to help.