Mens Diver Watch: The Ins and Outs of Diving Watches

January 13th, 2010 | 8 Comments

A diver watch, as the name implies, is designed for underwater diving. In fact, it is built to withstand water pressure of at least 100 meters. The fundamental role of this type of watch is to measure the amount of time spent underwater and guide the diver safely to sea level with the help of decompression tables (if it is an analog watch).

However, it is not just all about the diving; men’s diver watches look extraordinary and are often worn as a great fashion accessory.

Read more about diving watches:

Critical Criteria of a Mens Diver Watch

What’s the difference between your average male sport watch and your diving watch? Diving watches must comply with the ISO standard and therefore have a number of critical criteria that must be met.

Super thick cases are important for dive watches because of the underwater pressure they are subjected to. Because they must resist corrosion and water pressure, watch cases are typically made from very thick and sturdy materials.

Typical materials utilized for these cases include:

  • Titanium
  • Ceramics
  • Stainless steel
  • Plastics

Similarly, they must tolerate some level of magnetic shock, so smart shock protection is crucial in diver watches.

Keeping track of the overall diving time is one of the most important functions of a diving watch. A rotating bezel is one way to do this.

The bezel is twisted to align the zero on the bezel with one of the watch’s hands, saving the diver the need to remember the initial hand position and to perform the mental arithmetic to deduce the total dive time. This is only necessary with analog watches though, digital diving watches simply show the length of time in numeric format.

Deep below the ocean’s surface, reading conditions are definitely not ideal. Therefore, dive watches must be readable in these conditions.

To assist with this, diving watches have clearly marked:

  • Numbers
  • Minute markers
  • Hands

These are generally laced with a coat of luminous paint.

The How To: Important Steps to Know

The primary function of a dive watch is to serve as a timer. The standard feature that allows this to happen is the watch’s bezel.

The following 5 steps outline how to use a diving watch:

  1. Turn the bezel to begin the dive start time just before you get into the water (lock it into place if possible).
  2. Assess the depth gauge and the watch when you reach the lowest point of your dive. Continue to check the depth and timing reading every time you move to another stage of your dive.
  3. Check the watch every time you look at the gauge to see how much air is remaining in your dive tank (this will give you a good idea of your air consumption over a period of time).
  4. Assess the built-in thermometer. Numerous dive watches have them; if your watch does, check it whenever the water feels colder and find out just how cold it is. This can provide a good warning of increased air consumption if the water is colder than what your wetsuit is rated.
  5. Open the helium release valve on your final ascent to prevent gas expansion in the watch (this is absolutely necessary for dives below 130 feet).

While dive computers have become the key equipment in serious diving, diving watches are still used as useful pieces of diving equipment. Their features can be used independently or in combination with analog regulator gauges.

Buying for Great Looks or Serious Diving?

Diver watches are cool. They display a sense of adventure and risk that makes them stand out from the typical watch. In fact, many consumers purchase a diver watch for its style.

However, while everyone wants a great-looking watch, if you plan to do some serious diving, you need to take that into account as well before buying one.

If you are planning to do some serious diving with your watch, the first and foremost feature you need to consider is the level of water resistance. Important factors like the bezel or its readability in darker conditions as well as many other diving functions also need to be examined closely.

Just because you are buying for the actual diving process though does not mean your watch cannot be fashionable. The Orient Diver Automatic is a great diver watch to check out because it can be used for some serious diving, and it is very fashionable. The orange face of the watch is radiant on land and exceptionally helpful underwater.

Great looks and serious diving qualities should be factored in before purchasing a diving watch.

  1. 8 Comments | Tell us what you think!

  2. By Andreas Ericson on Jan 18, 2010

    Nice summary!

    I’d like to add something to what a diver watch should have according to the ISO standard if I am not mistaken: A way to tell that the watch has not stopped.

    This is most commonly accomplished by having a clearly luminous seconds hand so that one may see it moving even in darkness.

    P.S.: I think the link to critical features is broken, it points to:



  3. By Steve Poorman on Jan 18, 2010

    I’d bet a good percentage of people who purchase diver’s watches will never dive with them. But who can argue because they are some of the best looking watches.

    And it always seems like a good conversation starter when someone asks what the He valve is for.

  4. By Donald on Jan 19, 2010

    Love the styling!

  5. By Vladimir on Jan 20, 2010

    Dear friend!
    Let me tell you something about my old Orient.
    Since I got it, I did not open the case a long time. The accuracy was not very sharp but I was afraid to open it.
    One time I decided to adjust the accuracy.
    I found very easy way to do adjusment better, (I mean, to change the length of the hairspring in very short steps, in microns, without any optical devices and special tools). After that I adjusted the accuracy . My watch runs now with accuracy about 10sec a week. It is very good. It’s nice! You know, some watches have accuracy about +,- 30sec a day (according to manuals) and nobody complains because it’s normal. But it is not for me. I adjusted my Orient.
    10sec a week – can you believe it?
    I did it because I like the watch with high accuracy. Some watches don’t need this high quality adjustment because they run differently in day time and night time, in summer and in winter. They run slower or faster in different conditions. Even you adjust this watch to +,- 0 sec a day, the accuracy will be changed in time.
    But the Orient is the special watch. Since I adjusted the accuracy, my watch runs same 10sec a week and it does not depend of conditions. In this case the Orient watch is the best watch.
    The Orient watches have very nice shape, very high accuracy, very good design of dial and hands. You can see the time with any angle. I mean, you don’t have to move the watch in sertain position to see the dial better. You can see the dial from different places.
    I have seen a lot of watches. Sometimes very expensive watches have very bad dial. You have to look a long time at the watch, to undersand, what time is it.
    The Orient is the best watch. Really very nice watch for every day.
    So, thanks to ORIENT Company for the Orient Watches they make!

  6. By Harry Bishop on Jan 20, 2010

    It’s always good to look at depth rating (aka “water resistance”) on a dive watch, based on how you plan to use it.

    Many people wonder why the ratings are so much higher than the depth you actually dive at. Although there is certainly some over-engineering in many brands, there is also the fact that jumping into water and other movements puts a much higher level of pressure on the seals of the watch (and resulting potential for leakage into the movement, which is not good) than just the “standing still” water depth does, and the rating you use needs to take that into account.

    So what do modern depth ratings really mean? 50m (165 feet) means water should not get in during normal outside wear, but don’t swim in it. 100m (330 feet) means wear it in the shower, or for normal swimming. 200m (660 feet) is what you need for scuba diving. And 300m (1000 feet) or greater is required for full gear diving. Of course, if you have a screw-in crown, make sure it’s in place or the water will come in anyway!

    Note that if you have the watch back opened for maintenance or any other reason, you’ll need a proper dive watch watch specialist to reseal it. Both in this case, as well as with vintage watches which may have lost their seal over time, they can also perform a pressure test to confirm water resistance.

    Again, the written rating is not the depth you’ll dive to, it’s the “un-stressed and static” pressure of water that the watch will withstand, you need a rating that reflects your actual use, select your dive watch accordingly.

  7. By Arthur Roy on Jan 22, 2010

    What is so special about a diver watch? It was a diver watch that started my love for watches. This single style has drawn me like no other style of watch. It has inspired me to investigate watch histories study different brands and movements.I continuously look for new styles or twists to modify my watches. My wife thinks I am crazy having such a passion for watches. I only ask for all to be careful as not many realize the power of the diver watch or the long term effects which may be associated with such an inspiring thing!I have never dived but the watch is more a personal reflection of style and self.

  8. By Dan on Jan 22, 2010

    I always thought diver watches were very cool looking, but had no idea so much technology and functionality went into them. No wonder our favorite spies wore them. I think that I’ll have to pick one up soon!

  9. By Marco Corrente on Jan 24, 2010

    The ORIENT watches are some of the best looking watches.

    If I could Dive I would take it with me! But I don’t know how to dive.

8 comments | Tell us what you think!