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Dive Watches

The first dive watches were built because they were needed by divers with newly developed diving equipment that allowed them to descend to what were then unfathomable depths. Many companies quickly rose to the task creating the first water resistant watches in history. The first one is likely the Omega Marine which was introduced in 1932 and was one of the only water resistant watches in production for the public at large at the time.

There were a number of early dive watches that appeared around that time but these were typically custom made watches were often limited to military use and are popular among collectors today. The iconic Rolex Submariner arrived on the scene the same year that the self-contained breathing apparatus, shortened to SCUBA, became available to the general public. These watches are legendary for their water-resistance and build quality and became incredibly popular due to their recurring roles in eleven James Bond films.

Though the Omega Seamaster replaced the submariner on modern 007 films, the style of watch remains largely the same. A proper dive watch not only is water resistant to a certain depth, but it also has to tell time accurately and visibly even in low light conditions. Luminous dials solved this problem very effectively and are still found on watches today saving the battery life for telling time. The crystal has to be clear enough to read and is typically coated with an anti-reflective application. Scratch resistance is very important among divers, which has produced a number of innovations in materials though crystal glass is still often used as a base layer because of its exceptional strength.

A typical dive watch has a rotating bezel that is used for calculating dive times. The bezel is outfitted with numbers around the dial that correspond with the numbers inside the display. The diver can rotate the bezel to the current time allowing them calculate how long they have been underwater at a glance with no calculation needed. This is an important yet simple feature that many divers still use today in conjunction with modern dive computers.

Even the strap on a dive watches is designed specifically for divers. The materials used do not corrode in salt water though a freshwater bath is still recommended after every salt water use. Titanium, stainless steel and rubber are common materials used in the band which often has an extension for use on the outside of thick wet suits. These combinations of usefulness and timeless beauty make a dive watch a good investment for anyone whether they dive, drive, or dine.