What is a Dive Watch? | Requirements of a Diver’s Timepiece

What is a Dive Watch? | Requirements of a Diver’s Timepiece

A dive watch is essentially a tool watch for diving purposes. There are a few specifications which qualify a watch as a diver’s watch. A water resistance of greater than 1.0 MPa is required.

A dive watch is not just any watch which is water resistant and has a rotating bezel on it. There are industry standards and criteria to meet in order for a watch to be considered a true dive watch. According to ISO 6425 dive watch standards, these are some of the requirements which include design parameters and testing methods.

Design Parameters:

  1. A sufficiently stiff unidirectional bezel that prevents unintentional rotation with 5 minute markings scaling up to 60 minutes
  2. Luminescence on the hands, markers and a power reserve indicator for battery operated watches. Legibility of 25cm in the dark is required
  3. Springbars that is able to withstand a force of 200N and a watch strap or bracelet that can withstand external force without damage at point of attachment
  4. Distinct markings of “Diver’s Watch + Total Depth Resistance in Meters”

Therefore based on these parameters, Panerai watches are technically not officially a “Diver’s Watch”, but they were and still are incredible watches used by divers.

Testing Requirements:

1) Resistance to magnetic interferences of up to 4800 A/M
2) Shock resistance of 4.4m/s impact velocity using a 3kg hammer
3) Resistance to saline water – Up to 30g/l of sodium chloride between 18 to 25 degree celcius
4) Water resistance of 100 meters (330 feet)

The chart above should provide a clear indication on what watches can withstand what kind of “wetness” so make sure you print this out and keep it in the wallet you take for any water activities.


Vintage watches may not be as water resistant as what the chart above may suggest, so it is advisable to always remove your vintage watch before having contact with water. While some may laugh at my paranoia, i carry a “watch condom” to keep my watch in the event of rain. Better be safe than sorry, amirite?

(Source: wabistraps.com)

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