what is dive watches

What is a Dive Watch? Types, Features, and History

Dive Watches are an essential tool when it comes to underwater diving. It is designed to keep track of time and ensure the safety of divers. 

Dive watches are generally equipped with a unique bezel that typically features markers going from zero to 60 which represents the number of minutes in an hour. 

Once the bezel is aligned with zero, the minute hand will start moving. As it reaches each marker on the bezel, it accurately measures the time spent diving.

The purpose of the watch is to withstand the harsh underwater environment and maintain readability even in low visibility conditions. These watches also have luminescent minute markers that allow divers to keep track of time even in complete darkness.

So, no matter whether you’re a professional diver or an adventure enthusiast a dive watch is a luxurious accessory for time tracking and an indispensable tool to ensure your safety while exploring the depth of the ocean.

Now you must be wondering, what features come along with the dive watches that help you feel secure and look the style in your diving adventures.

Features of Dive Watches

Here are the common characteristics of Dive Watches:

Water Resistance: 

This is the obvious one. Dive watches are built with water-resistance technology. Most dive watches have water resistance ability to at least 100 meters. However, there are advanced dive watches are available which has water resistance ability to 200 meters and more.

High legibility (Clear To Read): 

Dive watches are supposed to be clear to read underwater and they are. They have luminous markings for low-light or no-light conditions so that you can track your time with ease underwater.

Rotating Bezel:

The function of the rotating bezel is to help you track your time spent underwater.  It is typically located on the outer edge of the watch face and can be rotated in a single direction. As explained before the bezel is marked with minute indicators, usually from 0 to 60, that corresponds to the number of minutes in an hour which allows the diver to track how much time has passed as per his hand movements.

Durable Strap:

The strap of dive watches is made of high-quality rubber or stainless steel that can combat seawater, pressure, direct sunlight, and humidity.

Helium Escape Valve:

This feature is not available in all dive watches. But in the advanced ones. It’s highly important for professional divers who are operating at great depths for prolonged times. The helium escape valve allows the safe release of trapped helium gas that can build up inside the watch during deep dives.

Depth Gauge: 

A depth gauge is a tool used to measure the depth of water. It allows the diver to measure their depth while underwater. In some dive watches the depth gauge is located on the watch face or in a few a separate gauge is attached to the wrist or tank. 

Got acquainted with the features of dive watches. It’s time to take dive into the history of dive watches.

History of Dive Watches

history of dive watches

Once upon a time, watches were considered to be fragile instruments that were treated with the utmost care. 

People used to keep them in waistcoat pockets instead of wearing them on their wrists. Because long ago wearing watches on the wrist was mocked as it was considered to be disgraceful when wearing on the wrist.

But then came the mid-20th century in which diving rapidly gained popularity as a sport.

For this enthusiastic sport, divers needed specific tools which can help them to track how long a diver was underwater, calculate decompression stops to avoid the bends, and keep track of how much air was left in the tank. And, dive watches were something that could do all of that, and since then it gained popularity and are considered reputable.

However, in the beginning, dive watches weren’t that good in features. But, In 1926, Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf patented the Oyster case. It features a screwed-down crown and case back which made the watch water and dust resistant. It was a game-changer for dive watches and paved the way for enhanced water resistance in timepieces.

Plus, after that in 1930, the Italian Navy commissioned Panerai also begin to develop a water-resistant watch. This watch evolved into the Radiomir and was water-resistant to 30 meters. And, this advanced feature was really a turning point for dive watches.

By the 1950s, the diving sport was at its height and the world already saw the birth of iconic dive watches such as the Rolex Submariner, Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, and Breitling Superocean. And, many new companies embark on the journey of creative quality dive watches.

Then In 1967, Rolex made its mark again with the Sea-Dweller, a deeper diving version of the Submariner. 

Today, several of the early models of dive watches remain on the market with upgraded looks and advanced technology. Watchmakers are constantly pushing innovation on dive watches, allowing us to explore deeper ocean depths than ever before.


Dive watches are essential tools for underwater diving designed to ensure the safety of divers by keeping track of time accurately. In this blog, we have got you acquainted with the features of dive watches as well as their history of it. If you’re looking for buying dive watches for yourself. Check out the best dive watches from here.