Divers Watches: Complete Guide

Rolex Submariner Divers Watch

In the realm of timepieces, each one is crafted with a distinct purpose, imbuing them with singular characteristics. However, among all the variations of watches, diver’s watches stand out for their remarkable features. While all watches boast water resistance, very few can endure the sustained submersion and pressure that divers encounter. That is precisely why diver’s watches are highly valued.

In this comprehensive guide on diver’s watches from the enthusiasts at CALIBRE, we delve into the topic of what constitutes a diver’s watch, its inner workings, and the proper way to use one.

What is a divers watch?

Seiko 5 Sports Divers Watch

A dive watch is a timepiece designed to be used by divers, both professional and recreational. The most distinctive attribute of a dive watch is its ability to resist water, with many models rated for depths of at least 100 meters or more. But beyond being water-resistant, dive watches are engineered to endure the various strains of life beneath the waves, including pressure and extreme temperatures.

Even though digital watches are gaining in popularity, the majority of divers still favor the straightforwardness and dependability of mechanical watches. Dive watches are propelled by either a quartz or automatic movement, and if properly maintained, are unlikely to encounter issues.

Despite the fact that the primary purpose of a dive watch is to withstand water pressure, they have amassed a substantial following due to their timeless and uncomplicated aesthetics, making them appropriate for both formal and informal occasions.

History of the divers watch

The history of dive watches mostly stands out due to how quickly the technology progressed.

In the days prior to the advent of water-resistant watches, people would often remove their wristwatches before washing their hands to prevent any potential damage. However, in 1926, the founder of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf, introduced the legendary Oyster case, which was not initially intended as a dive watch, but nonetheless set the tone for the future of water-resistant timepiece technology. Following shortly after, other prominent brands such as Cartier and Omega developed their own waterproof designs. It was in 1953 that the dive watch, as it exists today, was born.

The release of the Rolex Submariner and the creation of the Fifty Fathoms by Blancpain marked the evolution of the design for all contemporary dive watches and influenced their present-day appearance.

What does a divers watch look like?

Tudor Divers Watch

A typical divers watch has several key characteristics that make it ideal for underwater use. These features include:

  1. Large, easy-to-read dial: Diver’s watches have large dials that are easy to read in low-light conditions and from a distance.
  2. Rotating bezel: A rotating bezel is a vital feature of a dive watch. It allows the diver to keep track of how much time has passed since the start of the dive.
  3. Luminescent hands and hour markers: These features enable the watch to be easily read in low-light conditions.
  4. Water resistance: Divers watches have a minimum water resistance of 100 meters, with many models having a higher depth rating.
  5. Secure strap or bracelet: A secure strap or bracelet ensures that the watch stays firmly attached to the diver’s wrist.
  6. Robust case: A robust case made of materials like stainless steel or titanium protects the watch from damage.

Overall, divers watches tend to have a sporty, functional look with a focus on legibility and durability.

How to use a divers watch

Seiko Automatic Divers Watch

Divers watches by nature are incredibly easy to use. To set the time, the general method would be to screw out the rotating crown, and manually turn the hands and date around the dial until they are in the correct position.

Once the time and date has been set, you will want to set the rotating bezel to your starting position. If you wanted to dive for an hour, and you were starting your dive at 3pm, you would set the bezels top point to 3pm. After the bezel is set, you can start using the watch underwater. The watch will usually have a water resistance rating of at least 100 meters, although some pieces will be able to get you to 300 meters without struggling.

Our Favourite Divers Watches At CALIBRE

As the diver’s watch is such an iconic piece, (and Jake’s all-time favourite design of watch), we decided to choose our favourite dive watches of all time.

Rolex Submariner

The Rolex Submariner is definitely one of the most iconic dive watches of all time. It has been in production since 1953 and has gone through numerous updates and modifications over the years. 

The Submariner is widely recognised for its classic, timeless design and its exceptional durability and reliability in underwater environments. In addition to its functionality as a dive watch, the Submariner has also become a highly sought-after luxury item, with a significant collector following. Many watch enthusiasts consider the Submariner to be the ultimate status symbol and a symbol of success and achievement.

Tudor Blackbay

The Tudor Black Bay is indeed a highly regarded divers watch, known for its quality, reliability, and striking design. First introduced in 2012, the Black Bay is inspired by Tudor’s diving watches of the 1950s and 1960s, and has quickly become a modern classic. 

One of the key features of the Black Bay is its robust construction, with a durable case made of stainless steel or bronze, and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. It also has a water resistance of up to 200 meters, making it suitable for most diving activities In terms of design, the Black Bay has a distinctive vintage-inspired aesthetic, with a large, easy-to-read dial, luminescent hour markers and hands, and a unidirectional rotating bezel. It is available in a range of color schemes, including black, blue, and burgundy, and can be paired with a variety of straps or bracelets to suit different tastes.

Oris Aquis Date

The Oris Aquis Date is arguably the best dive watch available under £2000. The Aquis Date is water-resistant up to 300 meters, making it suitable for a wide range of diving activities, and it also features a unidirectional rotating bezel, which can be used to measure elapsed time, and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.

In terms of design, the Aquis Date has a clean and understated aesthetic, with a simple dial and luminous hour markers and hands. It is available in a range of color options, including black, blue, and green, and can be paired with different straps or bracelets to suit different tastes. One of the standout features of the Oris Aquis Date is its movement. It is powered by the inhouse Oris Calibre 400 automatic movement, which is both reliable and accurate, and has a power reserve of up to 38 hours.

Breitling Superocean

The Breitling Superocean is indeed one of the classiest dive watches on the market. It is a high-quality timepiece known for its exceptional craftsmanship, durability, and elegant design. The Superocean has a water resistance of up to 1000 meters, making it suitable for even the most demanding diving activities.

In terms of design, the Superocean has a sleek and sophisticated look, with a simple and purposely cluttered dial, luminous hour markers and hands. It is available in a range of color schemes, including black and blue,, and can be paired with different straps or bracelets to suit different tastes.

Conclusion: What is a Divers Watch?

In conclusion, a diver’s watch is a timepiece that is specifically designed for underwater use by both professional and recreational divers. The primary function of a dive watch is to resist water and the associated pressures and conditions of underwater environments. With a minimum depth rating of 100 meters, a rotating bezel, luminescent hands and hour markers, and a robust case, the dive watch is the perfect tool for divers.

While dive watches were not originally intended to be fashion statements, they have become popular with enthusiasts due to their classic, uncomplicated aesthetics. Rolex’s Submariner and Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms are examples of early models that paved the way for the modern dive watch design.

Whether you are a professional diver or someone who enjoys outdoor activities, a dive watch is an excellent investment in terms of functionality, reliability, and style.

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