What to Look for When Buying Your First Dive Watch

Having a great device will help you feel at home underwater.

Scuba diving
A dive watch isn’t just a watch. Your underwater experience relies on it.Shutterstock

The dive watch isn’t just a fashion statement. They’re designed to help with safety and direction in dives, so you know how long you’ve been under and when to surface. As digital tech has advanced, they’ve become packed with instruments, so here’s what you need to know about getting your first dive watch.

Know the Difference

Promaster
Citizen Men's Eco-Drive Promaster Diver WatchAmazon

Water resistance and waterproofing is key. “Water resistant” means that if the watch is properly sealed, it can spend a limited time to a certain depth without water getting into it. Most digital watches are waterproof by necessity, but analog watches are more likely to be rated as water resistant. Since you’re likely going on short dives at first, that doesn’t matter, but plan ahead if you’re going to make longer dives.

In Your Face

Leonardo
Cressi Leonardo Underwater Diving ComputerAmazon

Pick a watch with a display you can understand at a glance. Remember, when you’re diving, you’ll need information quickly, so you should be able to get the data you need with a quick look. Big numbers, a back-lit face, and other visibility tools will be handy, even with an instructor nearby.

The Kitchen Sink

Suunto Zoop Novo
Suunto Zoop Novo Wrist Dive ComputerAmazon

Don’t ignore the other tools watches may have. Digital watches in particular can be full of features that are handy in and out of the water, such as compasses, altimeters, barometers, weather alerts, and alarm tools that will let you know, for example, if there’s a sudden drop in pressure. If diving is only one activity you’ll be doing, look for a watch that fits all your activities.