Purchasing your first dive watch can be an exciting yet daunting task given the vast array of styles and options. As a beginner diver, focusing on a few key factors will help you select a timepiece well-suited for your needs and budget.
Determine Your Budget
Dive watches span a wide range of prices from affordable under $500 to luxury over $5,000. Set a comfortable budget to narrow down the field. Even at lower price points, you can find durable, functional dive watches from reputable brands. Read reviews to find the best dive watches at different tiers.
Consider the Size and Fit
A properly sized dive watch will be comfortable on your wrist both in and out of the water. Dive watches tend to wear large due to their chunky construction. Try on different sizes to see what feels best. Look for a case diameter suited for your wrist size, typically 38-44mm for most. Lug-to-lug length should not overhang your wrist. Appropriate weight will feel substantial but not overly heavy.
Mind the Readability
Legibility is critical for easily checking the time mid-dive. Look for big bold markers and wide hands with plenty of lume for visibility when deep underwater. A high-contrast dial with a dark background and light indices works best. The unidirectional bezel must have clear markings as well.
Determine Needed Water Resistance
Consider what diving you’ll be doing to choose adequate water resistance. Ratings of 100m provide protection for recreational diving up to 100 feet. 200-300m gives a safety buffer for scuba diving. Anything more than 300m is really only needed if professionally diving to extreme depths.
Think about which features will aid you underwater. A rotating diver’s bezel is essential for timing dives and decompression stops. Chronograph functionality can be useful for timing as well. Deployment clasps make on-the-fly strap adjustments easy with gloves. Analog-digital or full digital dive computers integrate more advanced metrics. Only pay for what you really need as a novice.
Analyze the Movement
Quartz or automatic movements both have pros and cons. Quartz movements are very accurate and don’t require winding but need periodic battery replacement. Automatic mechanical watches operate without batteries but must be worn daily to remain powered and are less precise. Each has merits for diving.
Look for dive watches certified to ISO 6425 or DIN 8306 standards. This ensures rigorous water resistance and performance testing. The watch manual should indicate the certification level like ISO 6425 compliant. Certification provides added peace of mind.
Research Reputable Brands
Stick with established dive watch brands that demonstrate expertise in dive watch production. Top names include Seiko, Citizen, Luminox, Victorinox, and more. Their offerings cater to different budgets and needs. Boutique microbrands can offer high quality and customization too.
Check Out Reviews
Read buyer reviews on sites like Amazon to get unfiltered opinions from real customers on factors like legibility, durability, accuracy, and comfort for a given dive watch model. This helps determine if it lives up to claims. Video reviews on YouTube also give great visuals and insight.
Consider After-Sales Service
Look for a watch with a warranty and access to factory service for any potential repairs down the road. Many brands offer servicing to keep watches functioning properly for years. This provides added long-term value.
Visit an Authorized Dealer
Shop with an authorized dealer to ensure you get the real watch with valid manufacturer warranty. Handle the watch in person to check fit and comfort before purchasing. Reputable dealers can answer questions as well.
Take the time to weigh these key factors and your diving needs to select a dive watch you’ll enjoy wearing and relying upon in the water for years to come. Don’t let the myriad of options overwhelm you. Focus on practical criteria for an informed buying decision you’ll be satisfied with as a new diver.