￼What is a dive watch and what makes it a dive watch?
When most people think of a dive watch, they likely picture an Omega Seamaster or Rolex Submariner. These watches are quintessential dive watches, thanks to their steel bracelets, rotating bezels and water resistance to hundreds of metres. However, not all watches that bear the “dive watch” moniker meet the requirements set out by ISO standard 6425. In this blog post, we will take a look at what makes a dive watch – and which watches meet the ISO requirements.
A dive watch is a type of wristwatch that is designed for underwater diving and meets certain standards set forth by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). In order to be ISO 6425 compliant, a dive watch must have a water-resistance rating of at least 100 meters (330 feet), be equipped with a secured measuring system to indicate the diving time and be legible at a distance of 25 cm in the dark.
Additionally, dive watches must be antimagnetic, shock resistant, saltwater resistant, and reliable underwater. While all these features are important for dive watches, the water-resistance rating is perhaps the most essential, as it ensures that the watch will continue to function even when submerged in depths that would damage or destroy a less durable watch.
Diving has been a sport and a science going back to before the 1950’s, but by the mid-20th century diving’s popularity was soaring. For this, divers needed specific tools. Enter, the dive watch. Long before there were computers, divers needed a reliable watch that could help track how long a diver was underwater, help calculate decompression stops (to avoid the bends), and help the diver keep track of how much air was in the tank.
There are a few standout models in the early years of the dive watch. And, like many innovations in horology, it starts with Rolex. In 1926 Hans Wildorf, the founder of Rolex, filed a patent for the Oyster. The Rolex Oyster with the screwed crown, caseback, and crown was waterproof up to 100 meters/330 feet making it perfect for not only everyday use but diving as well. In 1953 Rolex launched what is perhaps their most iconic watch – The Submariner Ref 5513. With its rotating bezel (to track dive time) and luminous markers (so you could see it underwater), this watch quickly become THE standard for serious divers around the world. But Rolex wasn’t alone in their foray into dive watches. companies like Blancpain (with their Fifty Fathoms which hit the market in 1953), Zodiac (with their Sea Wolf from 1953), Omega (with their Seamaster 300 from 1957), and Tudor (with their Submariner from 1954) all released their own versions of the dive watch in order to meet growing demand from both recreational and professional divers alike.
While there have been significant advancements in dive watch technology since those early days, the basic design principles remain largely unchanged. And that is a good thing as evidenced by the enduring popularity of these watches among both divers and non-divers alike. So whether you are looking for an everyday sporty diving watch like the TAG Heuer Aquaracer or a serious tool for your next diving adventure, you would do well to consider one of these classic dive watches.
How do you care for your dive watch and how often do you need to service it to keep it running properly?
Like any piece of machinery, a dive watch requires regular care and maintenance to keep it running properly. The most important thing to remember is to always keep the watch clean and dry. After each dive, use fresh water to rinse off the watch, and then dry it with a soft cloth. It’s also important to avoid exposing the watch to extreme temperatures or strong magnets, which can damage the delicate components. In terms of servicing, most dive watches will need to be serviced every two to three years. This includes replacing seals and gaskets, as well as checking the movement for accuracy. By taking good care of your dive watch, you can ensure that it will provide years of reliable service.