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What To Look For When Buying Your First Dive Watch

Having a great device will help you feel at home underwater.

The dive watch isn't just a fashion statement. You want to feel confident you can rely on it for a number of important things when you are well beneath the surface. Here's what to know about buying your first.

Citizen Eco Drive Promaster Diver Watch for Men
This anti-reflective option is water-resistant to 660 feet. | Citizen

Water resistance and waterproofing is key. "Water resistant" means that if the watch is properly sealed, it can spend a limited time to a certain depth without water getting into it. Most digital watches are waterproof by necessity, but analog watches are more likely to be rated as water resistant. Since you're likely going on short dives at first, that doesn't matter, but plan ahead if you're going to make longer dives.

Cressi Leonardo Underwater Single Button Diving Computer, Created in Italy, Quality Since 1946
The large display makes it very easy to read while wearing lots of gear. | Cressi

Pick a watch with a display you can understand at a glance. Remember, when you're diving, you'll need information quickly, so you should be able to get the data you need with a quick look. Big numbers, a back-lit face, and other visibility tools will be handy, even with an instructor nearby.

SUUNTO Zoop Novo Wrist Scuba Diving Computer
This newly upgraded design features 4 intuitive buttons for easy navigation. | SUUNTO

Don't ignore the other tools watches may have. Digital watches in particular can be full of features that are handy in and out of the water, such as compasses, altimeters, barometers, weather alerts, and alarm tools that will let you know, for example, if there's a sudden drop in pressure. If diving is only one activity you'll be doing, look for a watch that fits all your activities.