A Fine Collection of the Finest Watches for Dive Professionals

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professional dive watch review

Diving is one of the most exciting activities one can ever experience. There are people who dive not only for fun – but as a legit routine. Some even consider it as a lifestyle. If you’re one of those people who take diving seriously, then you definitely need to have a dive watch!

The best dive watches are those that are made specifically with the needs of divers in mind. A proper dive watch has to spell out few basic technical specification.

Criteria for Best Dive Watch

How Deep Can it Go?

It is a dive watch! The first and foremost criteria that anyone would be looking at is definitely the maximum depth that the watch is designed and tested for.

But wait a minute. Does it always mean that the greater the number, the better it is? The answer turns out to be rather simple. Do you remember the bell curve that’s used to describe normal distribution? It turns out that relationship between the best dive watch and depth specification can be described by similar bell shape curve.

Unless you’re talking about casual diving that goes not more than 5-6m down, then a good watch made for diving has to be able to withstand at least 10 atm. This is equivalent to 100m.

As you can see, a watch that is specified as 50m water-resistant is definitely better than one that is specified as 30m. The same is true for 100m and 200m. But 1000m? It definitely shows the toughness there. But I think it is more of a marketing bullet rather than a useful feature.

Ask yourself what is your maximum dive record. Unless you are going for technical diving or professional diving, anything that is more than 50m works just as well as far as depth requirement is concerned.

How Bright will it Light Up?

We don’t need anyone telling us that as we go down deeper, the amount of sunlight will be diminishing. What many people tend to know less is the term Euphotic zone that’s used to describe the zone where there is still enough sunlight for photosynthesis to occur.

The thickness of this zone is very much dependent on the water clarity condition. In clear water, the zone can be as thick as 200m (660ft) down under. In murky water, the zone can be as thin as 15m (50ft).

So if your typical dive depth is more than 10m, and you need to rely on your dive watch for certain information, then you want to make sure it has a good illumination property.

Most people tend to focus only on the maximum brightness. However, it is equally important to ask how long such brightness can last before the illumination is lost. You don’t want the illumination to go off before you’re done with your dive.

Corrosion Resistance

Sea water corrodes! That’s a fact. Now, if you intend to take your wrist watch for a dive, corrosion is definitely something you need to be concerned of.

A common mistake made by dive watch hunters is to overlook this important point. They think stainless steel is just stainless steel. Nothing more, nothing less.

Wrong! Stainless steel comes in many grades. Certain grades are cheaper than others. Certain grades are harder than others. Certain grades are more resistant to corrosion than others!

It is not always straightforward to find out about the stainless steel grade used to make a dive watch. That’s why selecting the best dive watch is tricky and information as such can only be found by going through the right reviews.

These Dive Watches will Make You Crave

Alpina Diver

When you are diving you can only rely on your skills, instincts and timing equipment. Alpina Diver watches feature a counter-clockwise single directional rotating bezel to measure dive time.

The notches around its edge allow for a perfect manipulation with diving gloves and its 1-60 minutes markers are Superluminova coated to ensure readability in low visibility conditions.

Dive after dive your Alpina Diver automatic movements will always be protected by the built-in helium release valve. This allows the helium to escape from your watch during your ascension decompression stops.

Alpina diver extreme 1000Back casing of alpina diver extreme

In addition to their professional diving functionalities and the extreme reliability, Alpina Diver watches feature a see-through case-back through which their finely decorated movements can be observed.

Alpina Diver has been getting rave reviews from a lot of customers due to its functionality and great style. It is a watch that has proven to be handy and reliable at all times.

Given its price point, you will only consider getting this watch for 2 reasons. You are either a real professional diver who is looking to break Nuno Gomez’s scuba diving record or you simply love the style of the watch and has a bottomless pocket.

If you are looking for a dive watch under $1000, the Alpina Extreme Diver 1000M is definitely not what you want to be looking at. But if you are serious about finding the best dive watch and price is not a concern, lucky you!

Rolex Submariner

If the price of Alpina is enough to piss you off, you may want to skip Rolex Submariner. Unless you’re ready to part with thousands of dollars of your hard earned money, there is really no reason to go this far.

But maybe you’ve just got yourself a big pay bump. Or maybe you’re getting more serious about diving. And you start to notice that your Casio G-Shock may no longer suits your image. Whatever it is, Rolex Submariner is one of the ultimate choice when it comes to dive watches.

When we’re talking about a Rolex, brand name certainly makes up significant proportion of the price. Show anyone your Rolex Submariner and it’ll for sure spark exciting conversation. You’ll soon find yourself the center of attraction.

But putting brand aside, what is it that makes the Submariner such a fascinating dive watch?

That Oyster case! Inspired by Mollusca, one of nature’s most amazing creation, Rolex Submariner features the brand’s patented system of screwing down the bezel, case back and crown against the middle case.

What do you get out of this? A robust and airtight (a.k.a hermetic) watch casing that will protect its fine movement from water, pressure or dust.

High Grade Stainless Steel! Unless you’re contented with freshwater diving(click to see the best freshwater caves in America), corrosion is one thing that you want to protect your dive watch against. Not all stainless steels are made equal.

For Rolex Submariner, 904L high-grade high corrosion-resistant stainless steel is used. In short, if your Rolex Submariner corrodes, no other watch would last.

There is still lots to talk about. But since our topic of discussion is on finding a good dive watch, let’s limit our discussion only on the features that are important to a diver.

Glycine Lagunare

The name Glycine does not strike too common a chord among many tough watch seekers. But speak to any tough watch purist and they’ll tell you what the name Glycine stands for.

In 2014, Glycine will turn 100. This will make the brand among the rare few of centurions. Do you remember any watch company with a history longer than this? Unless you are a horologist, I bet you wouldn’t be able to come up with any name.

No, it’s not your fault. Glycine is after all, not a mainstream brand. Only the purists who are seeking the finest qualities in their watch would go the extra mile and discover the brand.

For more than half a century, Glycine watches have been trusted by the tough professionals. From fishermen to foresters to builders. First introduced in 2001, Glycine Lagunare dive collection was recently refreshed.

The Lagunare L1000 is highly sought after by both dive and watch enthusiasts. As its name implies, the watch is designed to take on depth of up to 300m (1000ft). With Glycine Lagunare L1000, you have the option between automatic and chronograph.

Personally, I love the stainless steel automatic with blue face dial (3899.18.1) more than the rest.

Tag Heuer Aquaracer

The name Tag Heuer certainly needs no introduction. Even the most casual watch seekers would have heard of the brand. From Formula 1 racing to WRC rally. From sailing to tennis. From Ferrari to Mc Laren. Tag Heuer has been through it all. From being the official timekeeper to being official sponsors. It is no wonder that everyone is familiar with the brand.

Tag Heuer Aquaracer is such a great watch. The brand reputation speaks for itself.

To me, what’s interesting about the Tag Heuer Aqauracer is not knowing how great a watch it is. But it is the story and efforts that have been poured into the making of every unit of the Aquaracer.

The brand has officially appointed Leonardo Di Caprio as its ambassador. One product of the partnership is the Tag Heuer Aquaracer 500m Leonardo Di Caprio limited edition. Now, if you’re an environmentalist or someone who’s concerned about the health of Mother Nature, you’ll be delighted. This limited edition collection generates royalties for the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) and Green Cross International.

What can be better than buying a great watch and knowing that you’re actually playing a part in saving the environment?

Dievas Aqualuna

If there is any dive watch that doesn’t look like most other typical dive watches, it would be Dievas Aqualuna!

It is one of those watches that feature simple and clean look but yet still deliver where it matters most. Starting with design, do you know that it is more difficult to come up with beautiful design that’s simple compared to complex design that’s full of crap?

Steve Jobs once said, “And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. … but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”

With oversize markers and maximum contrast, it makes reading your watch such a breeze. Add the use of Swiss Super Luminova on the hands and you’ll have maximum readability when you’re underwater.

Its 1,000m water resistant is definitely more than what 95% of divers could ask for. And the best part? It’s a Swiss-Made!

Squale Professional Dive 2002 Series

Squale is another professional dive watch specialist. Again, unless you’re true dive watch enthusiast and you’re looking for your second or third watch, you’d probably have not heard of the Squale brand before.

Squale is another fine Swiss watch maker. Its history may be only on the halfway mark of Glycine, but six decades is still considered long.

Squale Professional Diver 2002 series is one watch that’s been designed by diver for divers. Just like all the top-rated diving watches you find on this list, Squale 2002 boasts 1,000m depth resistance.

Saying No is a Tall Order

What you’ve just seen are some of the finest dive watches that you can ever find. Some of the brands you’ve just seen are true professional dive watch specialists. They are names that you seldom hear when you talk to guys on the main street.

I have to say these watches are extremely unfriendly to the pockets of average Joe. But that’s what everyone loves when they decide to spend thousands of bucks for something. Exclusivity!

Image credit Matt Kieffer

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