Choosing a dive watch

By George Garza
Info Guru,

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Dive watch
A dive watch is an important purchase for any diver
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What should you consider when choosing a dive watch?

Scuba diving has changed significantly over the last 10 years with the advent of new equipment and better training methods. Divers are now able to go down deeper than was thought possible. One of the equipment pieces that is important to the diver is the watch.

What is a Dive Watch?

A scuba diving watch is different from the other watches. They have additional functions and features needed while diving or while under water. There two basic distinguishing factors of a scuba diving watch. First is water resistance, not waterproofing. The watch should be able to go below to 300 feet. Second is the adjustable bezel, which is the rotating dial on the watch. The bezel is used as a pointer indicator to determine how long you have been submerged. It is compared to the minute hand to know the length of time.

Why is a Bezel Important?

It is important to know how long one has been submerged. A separate indicator on the watch is needed as a redundant piece of information. That redundancy is provided by the bezel.

It is a rotating dial on the face of the scuba diving watch and has a pointer indicator. When one compares the minute hand with the bezel, one can easily know how long one has been submerged in the water. The bezel only turns counter-clockwise and this is done to ensure that banging the watch against an object or one's own body or even an accidental turn will not result in misalignment of the bezel. When one descends into the water, the bezel ought to be aligned with the minute hand at which point it stays during the dive.

Dive Watch Status Information

Good dive watches will also provide other information. Some will provide some present status dive information. These watches are intended to serve as auxiliary or backup instruments and should always be accompanied by dedicated depth gauge. The watch should have battery powered black face with luminescent hands and hour markings. The markings should be easy to read, especially at great depths.

A dive watch should display present depth, elapsed dive time and total dive time. They should monitor start and end time for a dive, the maximum and average depth, and surface interval. This information is automatically logged and can be recalled for future reference.

The depth indicator should measure depths to at least 80 meters, although the watch should be tested up to 200 meters. Also, alarms should be available and programmable to sound at desired depths down to 80 meters or for desired dive times up to 95 minutes. To advise divers against rapid ascent, and to prevent the bends, an audible rapid ascent alarm should sound automatically if the ascent rate exceeds 1.5 meters in 10 seconds.

The wrist strap is also an important part of the watch; it should be expandable so it fits over a wetsuit or dry suit. 

Models and Prices

When choosing a dive watch, consider selecting men's dive watches models and designs by Citizen, Seiko, Casio, Suunto and Luminox. When choosing a dive watch for women, you can select from St. Moritz or Delmar.

Prices for dive watches depend on features, model and manufacturer. At the low end you can find watches for about $110 and at the upper end, you can find them at over $800.

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