What to know before taking your diving watch beneath the waves

What to know before taking your diving watch beneath the waves

Even if you’re a newcomer to the world of luxury watches, you may well have come across or two diving watches already. Some of the most sought-after references in our collections happen to be diving watches, such as the OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean. It’s one of the most distinguished models in one of the latest fascinating chapters in horological history – ever since Rolex released its Oyster model in 1927, the dive watch has exemplified the pinnacle of luxury timepieces.

Diving watches have come a long way since then, and here at Leonard Dews, we’ve got a variety of exquisite dive watches from prestigious brands like OMEGA and Longines. These watches, of course, are imbued with a highly respectable water resistance – but even so, there are a couple of things you need to consider before taking them beneath the waves. We’ll get onto those in just a moment, but first, let’s quickly recap the basics.


What is a dive watch?

If a watch survives an accidental trip underwater, that doesn’t mean it can accurately be classified as a proper dive watch. So, what constitutes the characteristics of a dive watch? Well, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has established the criteria for a watch, or timepiece, to be classified as a dive watch (ISO 6425).

Some of these criteria include:

  • The watch must have a water resistance to a depth of 100 m (300 feet).
  • It must be equipped with a diving (elapsed) time indicator. This commonly comes in the form of a unidirectional rotating bezel with indentations.
  • It must provide adequate readability / visibility in total darkness at a distance of 25 cm (9.8 in) away. Watchmakers tend to achieve this by using lume material on the bezel, watch hands, and watch face.
  • The watch must be made using corrosion-resistant casing and strap materials.

This is just a brief insight into the complex nature of the classification process, but broadly speaking – if a watch meets all of the criteria laid out in the ISO 6425, it’s classified as fit for diving.

However, regardless of all the rigorous testing that these watches undergo, they’re not indestructible. So, before you and your watch take to the waves, here’s what to bear in mind!

General rules when wearing a dive watch

  • Never wear a diver’s watch at depths greater than its declared maximum depth, as this would put the mechanism under more physical stress than it was designed to take.
  • A diver’s watch should not be used for deep diving (diving with a gas canister).
  • The crown of your watch should not be operated during the dive.
  • To ensure the continued integrity of your dive watch, make sure to use normal water to rinse all salt and dirt from your watch after each use.
  • Continued water resistance requires that you’ll regularly have to have the gaskets of your watch replaced. Once every two years should be adequate.

When it comes right down to it, dive watches are practical, handy companions for sailors, divers and seafaring adventurers alike – just as long as you keep in mind not just what your watch can do, but also what it can’t! If you’ve got any more questions or you need any extra clarifications that haven’t been covered here, rest assured that’s exactly where we can help here at Leonard Dews

We’ve got more than 140 years of in-house expertise to draw on, and our expansive Blackpool showroom is home to a number of exquisite watches from world-renowned manufacturers such as Patek PhilippeTAG HeuerOMEGA, and Longines – just to name a few! If you’ve got any questions, or you’re searching for a specific model, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on on 01253 754 940, emailing us on  enquiries@leonarddews.co.uk , or simply asking one of our showroom staff. We’re always happy to help!