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Dive Watches

Saturday, 3 November 2007 | Tags: , , ,

A watch with dive features can induce drool in even the mildest watch-aholic or gadget geek. However, looks aren't everything. We test some dive watches to see which can withstand the pressure best.

The Basics

  • Dive watches are analog or digital. Digital options offer far more sophisticated computer features to enhance your dive experience.

  • Depth ranges are anywhere from 30m to 1000m

  • The dial around the outside of the face, the bezel, is used to keep track of the amount of time you’ve spent underwater. For safety reasons, the bezel should only turn counter-clockwise. If it slips back the other way, it may cause you to think you have more oxygen left than you actually do.

  • The water-resistant rating is usually stamped on the back of the watch and indicates how many feet of pressure the device can resist. But these ratings are based on static conditions, so arm movement should be taken into consideration when choosing a maximum depth.

  • Serious divers will want a watch that’s good to a minimum of 200m.If you snorkel or are just learning to dive, a simple 30-50m will do.

  • Make sure the strap fits around your wrist with your wet suit on.

  • A self winding watch costs more, but they have a water-tight seal so are able to withstand pressure very well.

Other Considerations

  • Some dive watches have a built-in dive computer to help track underwater stats like water temperature and depth readings, plus separate gauges for air tank timing and various alarms. These details can be downloaded onto a computer for analysis or sharing online.

TEST CRITERIA

With tested these dive watches with the help of some aquarium workers who spend a lot of time either in or near the water:

  • Timex: $80
  • Casio: $550
  • St. Moritz: $350
  • Doxa: $1800

Our tests and results include:

Usage Test

  • The Timex had an impractical leather strap, was difficult to read underwater, and the bezel moved in both directions. It didn’t take much of a bump to move the bezel the wrong way, which was a major safety concern.

  • Casio’s rubber strap made more sense. It wasn’t much easier to read underwater, even with the digital display and extra functions.

  • The Doxa had a clear display and an easy-on-easy-off metal strap.

  • The St. Moritz was easy to read and had a one-direction bezel. The rubber strap was a bit awkward, but still made this watch a good choice.

OUR TOP PICK

We feel the St. Moritz is a good entry-level dive watch with its easy-to-read time/date display and one-direction bezel.

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