Diving certified water resistant watches have been a core component of the horological industry for decades. They are a popular option for water sports enthusiasts and divers due to the meticulous engineering that is required to produce a good quality model. A watch has to pass a great number of tests in order to be officially categorised as a diver’s watch. This process ensures that only the most resilient and water resistant watches are advertised as diver’s watches.
What is a Diving Certified Water Resistant Watch?
In order to be considered a diving certified water resistant watch, a timepiece must conform to the standards of ISO6425. If a watch meets all of these requirements, it can officially be named as a diver’s watch. Many brands produce diver’s watches and often it is the brand’s reputation that reassures the customer that the watch will be resilient and well-built enough for diving. However, it is always best to search for a watch that is specially built for diving purposes as only these models will have been through the rigorous testing process to confirm that they can safely be worn for diving purposes.
What is the ISO and ISO6425?
The ISO is the International Organisation for Standardisation. It is an organisation that creates and upholds standards for a huge variety of things. Their expertise extends from health and safety standards to environmental management standards to quality management standards. The ISO is a trustworthy and reputable source for maintaining the high standards that are required of diver’s watches. Their standards are based on global expert opinion and are reviewed every 5 years to ensure that they stay current with modern technologies.
The standards for ISO6425 were first published in 1982 and were recently updated in 2018. It is imperative that a watch meet these standards in order for it to officially be a diver’s watch. Although they produce the standards, the ISO is not responsible for testing; this is the responsibility of the manufacturers.
In order to be considered a diver’s watch and meet the standards of ISO6425, a watch must successfully be put through a range of tests. The tests are designed to mimic real world scenarios and events that may cause damage to the watch. Through this process, it becomes apparent whether a watch is resilient enough to be deemed a diver’s watch. Many of the tests put stress on the watch in order to see if condensation forms within it. If condensation forms as a result of any of these tests, the watch is deemed unfit and will not become a diving certified water resistant watch.
What Tests Does a Diver’s Watch Need to Pass?
The watches are tested for reliability underwater, condensation and water tightness and resistance at a water overpressure to observe whether the watches are appropriate to wear in the water. Tests are carried out to assess the resistance of crown to an external force and the resistance of attachments to an external force to ensure that the exterior of the watch will be able to withstand the pressure and knocks that may come with diving. Watches are tested for thermal shock resistance, magnetic resistance and shock resistance to assess whether the movement will continue to function with these kinds of eventualities.
As diving watches will be worn in the sea, it is vital that the resistance to salt water is tested. Salt water can be corrosive and therefore has the potential to damage components of the watch and if this were to happen, the watch would fail testing. It is incredibly important that a diver’s watch is visible underwater, so the standards assess whether this is the case. There should also be a clear indication as to whether a watch is running. A diving certified water resistant watch is required to have a time preselecting device, so this is also observed during testing.
A watch that has passed all of these tests will be officially recognised as a diving certified water resistant watch. The wearer could be very confident that the watch will be able to withstand a wide range of diving activities, as long as the timepiece is properly cared for. It is often recommended that diver’s watches be routinely checked by the manufacturer to ensure that all seals are intact, and the water resistance has not been compromised.
Diving Certified Water Resistant Watch Recommendations
If you are searching for diving certified water resistant watches, keep reading for our top five recommendations. Each of the watches in this list is compliant with ISO6425 standards and can officially be called a diver’s watch. Some watches are easy to identify as diver’s watches as this accolade may be written on the dial. However, some brands are more discreet and do not choose to adorn the dial with additional text.
Many diver’s watches have very high price points due to the meticulous engineering and testing that is required in the production process. However, this Citizen model is fairly budget friendly, making it an excellent choice for those who are at the beginning of their diving journey. The dark blue dial features luminous dot indices with a date aperture in the 4 o’clock position. The hour and minute hands are easily distinguishable as the hour hand is white and the minute hand is orange. A blue bezel with a silver minute track surrounds the dial and mineral glass protects it. A stainless steel case frames the dial. This watch is water resistant up to 20 bar (200 metres), so it is fine to wear for a multitude of water based activities. The watch is secured to the wrist using a blue polyurethane strap. Additionally, this watch is powered by Citizen’s famous Eco-Drive technology. This means that the watch can take power from both natural and synthetic light and use it to power the movement. A single full charge can keep the watch running for up to 7 months.
This diver’s model is fondly nicknamed the ‘Monster’ by fans of Seiko. It is said that the bezel resembles the open mouth of a monster that is baring its teeth. Seiko launched its first diver’s watch in 1965 and the incredibly high level of watchmaking that was exhibited changed global dive watch standards. The brand is pioneering in the production of diver’s watches and are therefore trusted by many water sports enthusiasts. The black dial of this model features luminous indices and hands with a weekday and date aperture at 3 o’clock. The hour hand is white, and the minute hand is red so the dial can be easily read at a glance. Hardlex crystal protects the dial and a blue unidirectional bezel surrounds it. The stainless steel case measures 42.4mm in diameter and houses an automatic movement of the calibre 4R36. This movement provides the watch with a power reserve of up to 41 hours. The screw down crowns aid with the water resistance rating of up to 200 metres (20 bar). This watch is finished with a stainless steel bracelet that secures with a three-fold clasp and secure lock with an extender.
The black, silver, gold and green colour scheme of this Certina watch will be eye-catching when styled for daily wear and practical for diving, providing the wearer with an attractive, all-purpose timepiece. The black dial exhibits luminous indices and luminous gold hands. A date aperture is placed at 3 o’clock for optimal timekeeping. A green stainless steel bezel surrounds the dial, adding a hint of contemporary style. The dial is protected by antireflective sapphire crystal to ensure that it can be read in bright sunlight. An automatic movement is housed in the 38mm stainless steel case. The watch has an end-of-life function and is a certified chronometer. This model is water resistant up to 300 metres (30 bar), so will exhibit excellent underwater performance. The watch is secured to the wrist with a two-tone stainless steel and gold PVD bracelet.
Sinn is a German brand that is internationally renowned for pushing watches to the limits to engineer the most highly performing timepieces possible. This model comes from the brand’s U1 collection, which is a family of automatic diver’s watches. This model features a matte black dial with luminescent hands and indices. The case and bezel of this watch have a black PVD coating and have been treated with TEGIMENT technology to increase their durability. The case of this model is made from German Submarine Steel to ensure that it is incredibly resistant to sea water. It measures 44mm in diameter and 14.7mm in thickness. The captive diver’s bezel is very secure and cannot be moved unintentionally. The Sinn U1 watches are water and pressure resistant up to 1000 metres diving depth (100 bar), allowing for excellent underwater performance. The watch is powered by an automatic self-winding movement that has a power reserve of up to 38 hours. This model is finished with a brown vintage-style cowhide leather strap that fastens with a pin buckle.
This Tissot model will turn heads with its unusual red dial. The dial features three sub dials with a date aperture between 4 and 5 o’clock. Luminous indices and hands allow for the dial to be read easily both in the dark and deep underwater. A black aluminium unidirectional bezel surrounds the dial and scratch resistant sapphire glass protects it. The watch is powered by a quartz movement which is housed in the 45.5mm stainless steel case. This watch has an end-of-life function to ensure that the diver will be made aware if the battery is going to run out soon. This model is water resistant up to 30 bars (300 metres), which is aided by the screw down crown. The watch is secured to the wrist using a black rubber strap that fastens with a buckle. Rubber is a good choice of material when diving as it should remain comfortable to wear, even when wet.
Do you own any diving certified water resistant watches? Do you think you would add one to your collection? Let us know in the comments below!