We’ve teamed up with Seiko, who make the Prospex PADI Special Edition Kinetic Dive Watch (shown being worn above) to look at the challenges faced by divers, and why accurate timekeeping is essential in the most extreme underwater environments. Here we bring you a guide to buying the best dive watch – explaining why you need one and what features you should look out for.
Diving watches are like the Range Rovers of the timekeeping world: They’re designed to feel luxurious and look great, but they also have the power to perform in extreme environments. Built to be supremely tough, they excel under the huge pressure that divers experience at depth.
“Timing is a life and death thing. If you get a bubble in your blood stream and it works its way to your head that’s it. Lights out.”
We’ll be using the Seiko Prospex Special Edition, which was produced in collaboration with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), as an example to explain the features you’ll find on the best diving watches.
Why do you need a diving watch?
Accurate timekeeping is, of course, essential to diving safely. For divers to avoid the condition known as “the bends” caused by bubbles of nitrogen in the blood stream, they need to ascend slowly after a dive, stopping at various points along the way to allow their body to expel the nitrogen and stop it building up to dangerous levels.
As Craig Mainprize, one of the most highly-qualified diving instructors in the UK, puts it: “This is a life and death thing. If you get a bubble in your blood stream and it works its way to your head that’s it. Lights out.”