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Watch Guide / Diving Watch Essentials

Diving Watch Essentials

Article explores the basic features and uses of universally popular dive watches

Reactor Dive WatchVersatile, attractive and durable, dive watches have become the single most popular style of men's watches on the market today. Probably worn by more non-divers than actual divers, the diving watch is available in a wide variety of designs and with a wide variety of functions.

But what is it exactly that makes a watch a dive watch as opposed to a sport watch or any other style of watch? Some manufacturers such as Citizen produce highly specialized dive watches with features that are only applicable to divers. Some Citizen dive watches include features such as depth meters and electronic dive logs. But most dive watches have a set of features that are useful to anyone and not just divers. Let's examine some of the basic characteristics that are common to all dive watches.

First of all, all dive watches are water resistant. Nowadays a dive watch must be able to resist water pressure that is equivalent of 200 meters underwater, or 20 atmospheres. While most divers won't go this deep, a number of conditions at shallower depths could produce pressure on the watch that is equal to 20 atmospheres.

That is why watches with a basic water resistance rating of 30 meters should never be taken in water, and watches with a water resistance rating of 100 meters should only be used in very shallow depths. We highly recommend Reactor dive watches which employ a failsafe system of triple O-rings in their diving and sport watches.

Some dive watches are rated to 6000 meters or more. So if you are a diver who owns one of these watches and dives to 6000 meters, the good news is that your watch will survive, but the bad news is that you will not.

Diving watches' outer casing and bands must be constructed of a corrosion resistant material. Stainless steel is the most common, but titanium and even gold are often used. Bands are often made of rubber or silicone. While frequent exposure to sea water can be damaging to a watch, many dive watch owners who don't dive lead active lifestyles which their watch is exposed to dirt and sweat. Dive watches are ideally suited to any type of active lifestyle.

A dive watch usually, but not always, has some type of countdown timer. The most common is an elapsed time scale on a rotating bezel. These work by rotating the bezel to align "0" with the minutes hand. As the minutes hand progresses, you can see on the bezel how many minutes have elapsed since you began. It is critical for divers to know how long they have been down, but these devices are also handy for anyone who needs to keep track of elapsed time.

Legibility is also important. Large, highly visible hands and markers with a lot of luminescent material are important at murky depths, and also helpful when you are engaged in an activity and can only afford a very quick glance at your watch. Luminox dive watches use an extremely effective system of tritium gas filled tubes on their dials to provide non-stop luminescence.

Some dive watches have orange or yellow dials, because many divers think these colors are the most visible at depths (see Seiko dive watches. For everyday wearers, they convey an attitude of youthful vitality.

Diving watches are equally at home in an office or undersea environment. So whether you choose a basic dive watch from Swiss Army for your every day watch, or an ultra sophisticated dive computer from Suunto for an upcoming dive trip, The Watch Co. has what you need.