A dive watch is much more than just a watch that tells the time underwater, but, at a glance, that’s exactly what you might think it does. They look like normal watches, but there’s something just a little bit…different…about them.
Whether or not you intend to gear up for an underwater scuba diving excursion with one of these fancy watches or not, these men’s dive watches look awesome and you can wear them in everyday life and they are perfectly functional that way.
In fact, they will act a bit like eye candy, as they are often designed to look extremely…well, cool is one way to put it.
There are a variety of different options when it comes to dive watches for men, from Swiss army watches to Timex pieces, to Bulova models.
We feel that if you are interested in a dive watch, you can find one that suits you perfectly right here.
In this article we will explore some of our favourite, and what we consider some of the BEST dive watches for men. Here is what we are going to cover today:
- [ps2id url=’#1′ offset=” class=”]Do all dive watches have orange faces?[/ps2id]
- [ps2id url=’#2′ offset=” class=”]What is the rotating dive bezel used for?[/ps2id]
- [ps2id url=’#3′ offset=” class=”]Bezel types[/ps2id]
- [ps2id url=’#4′ offset=” class=”]Dive watch considerations – What NOT to do[/ps2id]
- [ps2id url=’#5′ offset=” class=”]We Review the best dive watches for men [/ps2id]
- [ps2id url=’#5′ offset=” class=”]Citizen Eco-Drive Men’s Analog Diver’s Watch BN0085-01E[/ps2id]
- [ps2id url=’#6′ offset=” class=”]Tauchmeister Automatic 1000m Dive Watch[/ps2id]
- [ps2id url=’#7′ offset=” class=”]Luminox 603 F-16[/ps2id]
- [ps2id url=’#8′ offset=” class=”]Seiko Kinetic Dive Watch[/ps2id]
- [ps2id url=’#9′ offset=” class=”]Citizen Men’s BN0000-04H[/ps2id]
- [ps2id url=’#10′ offset=” class=”]Seiko 5 Sports Men’s Atlas Map Meter[/ps2id]
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Do all dive watches have orange faces?
The trend of using bright dial colors for dive watches can be traced back to 1967 and one brand – Doxa. Back in 1967, Urs Eschle, the designer of the world-famous Doxa SUB 300 dive watch, decided to test a variety of dial colors in murky Lake Neuchatel and found that orange color did the best job when it came to underwater visibility.
Although orange color made the Doxa an icon and found its way to many other watch dials from Casio to Seiko, it has been proved that it actually isn’t the best color for underwater visibility.
Water tends to absorb the colors of the light spectrum one at a time as a diver descends deeper and deeper. Red color tends to disappear first at around 15 to 20 feet, followed by orange, and so on.
Red and orange turn to a dull grey, unless they are fluorescent, in which case they glow at all depths. It has been proved that the colors that stay visible the longest underwater are yellow and blue. However, the legibility of a dive watch actually has nothing to do with the dial color, but rather with the amount of contrast between hands and the dial.
Of course, nothing really works better than a black dial with big wide hands, especially the minute hand.
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Have you ever been wondering what is the rotating bezel on a dive watch used for!? Stay with us to find out…
What is the rotating dive bezel used for?
The rotating bezel was introduced by Rolex and Blancpain in the early 1950’s. It was designed as a gadget for tracking a diver’s bottom time, or time spent underwater.
As oxygen is limited, the rotating bezel can work as a reminder to prevent divers from exceeding their diving time limit.
The bezel is very simple to use: before a diver goes underwater, the 12 o’clock bezel marker is aligned with the minute hand. This alignment allows for the elapsed time, up to 60 minutes, to be easily read on the bezel. This is why a lot of dive watches come with big and prominent hands, especially the minute hand.
If the bezel gets accidentally moved the time already spend underwater would be indicated as longer than already spend, which provides the diver with a safety reserve for his ascent to the surface.
It is also worth mentioning that the first 15 to 20 minutes on the bezel inlay are usually more highlighted because a standard scuba dive usually lasts only 30 to 50 minutes. The end of the 15 to 20 minutes sector on the watch theoretically indicates the point of return (the time at which the diver should start ascending to the surface).
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Next, we discuss different types of bezels available.
There are 2 main types of dive watch bezels: the more popular external on and an internal version, which was introduced afterwards.
First introduced by Rolex and Blancpain in 1953, this is the simplest and most user-friendly bezel type. The external bezel is fixed on top of a watch, and is operated by rotating it clockwise or counterclockwise.
Although this type of bezel is the simplest and most popular, it does have some disadvantages. The main disadvantages of the external bezel include wear from debris, sand or salt entering between the case of the watch and the bezel. There is also the possibility of accidentally moving or damaging the bezel.
The first watch with internal bezel was introduced by Aquastar in the 1960s. In this construction, the bezel is located inside of the watch. The bezel is protected by the glass, giving the watch a more elegant look.
The bezel is operated with a crown (usually additional), usually in both directions. Although the internal bezel is protected from unexpected movement and damage, it is harder to operate it than the external bezel, especially with diving gloves.
Bidirectional vs. Unidirectional Rotating Bezel
The first rotating dive watch bezels produced at the beginning of the 1950’s were bidirectional. Blancpain was introduced the first unidirectional bezel on its Fifty Fathoms watch in 1954.
The unidirectional bezel rotates counter-clockwise, which is a safer way to track bottom time. If the unidirectional gets accidentally moved underwater it would only shorten the remaining dive time instead of lengthening it.
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Next, we discuss what not to do with a dive watch…
Dive Watch Considerations – What NOT To Do
If you are thinking of purchasing a dive watch, you must take heed. There are certain “rules” that apply to them that you should be aware of before you buy.
For instance, if the watch is advertised as being waterproof up to 30 meters, this simply means that the watch can be worn in the rain or get splashed by water, and will not be damaged.
In this case, you don’t want to be showering in one of these watches.
If the watch says it is waterproof up to 100 meters, this means you can do things like swim with it or snorkel, but you wouldn’t want to dive too deep. This means no scuba diving, most likely.
However, if the watch says it is good for up to 300 meters, this means you are good to go scuba diving, but you probably don’t want to do any saturation diving.
Always make sure you read the description carefully before buying your dive watch.
They are very sensitive pieces of equipment, depending on the specifications, so you don’t want to ignore what the manufacturer says. Doing so could leave you with a broken watch and no warranty.
Always make sure to look at how much pressure your watch can withstand. Pressure, in this case, is measured by the bar.
If you are down 10 meters underwater, this is equal to one bar of pressure.
Keep in mind, your average waterproof watch can usually take up to twenty bars of pressure, which is equal to a 200 meter dive.
Next, we move onto our reviews of some of the best dive watches available on the market.
Men’s Dive Watch Main Features
- Depth Measurement
- Helium Escape Valve
- Power Source
- Automatic VS Quartz Movement
Let’s start with depth measurement. Not every dive watch will measure this.
If you are intent on doing more than simply swimming or snorkelling, your dive watch will need to have this feature.
If you are an experienced diver, this is a feature you will know to look for immediately in a dive watch, because it will be much more important to you.
Even if you are new to diving, this is a feature you will want to become more familiar with, because knowing your depth while diving is extremely important.
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Here is a men’s diving watch we highly recommend which has this depth measurement feature:
Citizen Eco-Drive Men’s Analog Diver’s Watch BN0085-01E
If you want to dive extremely deep, a helium release valve is another main feature of a dive watch you will want to have.
For instance, if you are going past 300 meters, via a diving bell for example, the gas you will be breathing in will contain helium. Since helium particles are so tiny, they will penetrate your watch, no matter how well-made.
As decompression occurs, the pressure inside the watch, as a result of the helium, will need to be released.
If it is not released the right way, this pressure can easily damage your watch. Two answers to this problem have come along.
One way to handle this situation is by companies simply making a dive watch that can take the pressure.
The other alternative is to use a helium escape valve, which does your watch the favour of releasing any gasses that have built up inside its structure.
These helium release valves can either be manual or automatic, so please don’t forget to pay attention to this – especially with the manual models, because, if you forget, damage will likely occur.
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Here is a men’s diving watch we highly recommend, which has this helium release valve feature…
Tauchmeister Automatic 1000m Dive Watch with Helium Release Valve and Sapphire Crystal
When you’re underwater, there are times when it is very important to be able to see the face of your watch, for reasons which should be obvious.
This is where luminescence – or the brightness of the watch’s surface – comes into play.
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One of the best men’s dive watches for luminescence is the Luminox 603 F-16, which is known for its powerful luminosity.
Luminox 603 F-16
Dive watches can draw their power from many sources, and of course the first one that will come to mind is good old fashioned batteries.
If a watch is battery powered, we would hope it lasts a good long time, because this isn’t something we want to be worrying about constantly.
But there are other ways to power a watch, such as by using movement or light.
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Kinetic watches have a different power source – the wearer. With these types of watches, batteries are not necessary.
One very popular kinetic dive watch is the…
Seiko Kinetic Dive Watch
The other option for a power source would be a solar-powered dive watch, AKA an eco-drive watch.
With these types of devices, they derive power from the sun, but they can also get their power from indoor lights as well, which is a great advantage when it comes to keeping your watch powered up.
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A very popular model of eco-drive watch is the…
Citizen Men’s BN0000-04H Stainless Steel Eco-Drive Dive Watch
When it comes to telling the actual time with your dive watch, there are two types of movement: automatic and quartz.
With automatic movement, the hands of the watch sweep in a fluid movement across the face of the watch, whereas with quartz movement, there is that familiar ticking movement whereby the hands move incrementally.
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Arguably, if your watch possesses one or the other, it’s not going to affect how deep you dive, but it’s worth noting that, because automatic movement is harder to achieve, it is usually indicative of a better quality watch.
The Seiko 5 (shown below) is a great example of an automatic movement dive watch that comes highly recommended.
Seiko 5 Sports Men’s Atlas Map Meter Stainless Steel Automatic Dive Watch
If you want your dive watch to last years if not decades, then regular inspections will be in order. We recommend that you make sure to get your dive watch inspected once every two years.
Sometimes this can result in an extended warranty, if you do this. Just remember that if you take good care of your watch, it will take good care of you when you’re exploring the depths!