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What Is a Dive Watch?

What Is a Dive Watch?

As its name suggests, a dive watch is a sports watch that is designed for underwater diving. However, because of its practical design and versatility, dive watches are also a popular choice with those of us who like to keep our feet on dry ground. 

That being said, for a dive watch to be an official dive watch, it needs to meet the ISO 6425 standard, produced by the International Organization For Standardization.

What is The ISO 6425 Standard?

The ISO 6425 Standard defines a set of tests that a watch must pass to be qualified for underwater use. You can find the full standard here, but the key elements that the modern standard requires are:

'a minimum depth-rating of 100 meters, an unidirectional bezel, a dial visible in total darkness, and for the watch to be anti-magnetic, shock-resistant, corrosion-resistant.'

What Are the Benefits of a Dive Watch?

Dive watches are a popular pick for more than a few reasons: 

Unidirectional Timing Bezel

Dive watches were developed in the 1950s as a means to track elapsed time underwater. It therefore allows divers to know exactly how much time they’ve spent underwater and when it’s time to ascend. 

The timing bezel will also be unidirectional which ensures that, if the bezel is accidentally moves when underwater, the time spent would be indicated as longer than the actual time spent - leading to a quicker and therefore safe ascent. 


As you’d expect then, dive watches are designed to be water-resistant. Because these watches are tested to those high ISO standards, when a dive watch is water resistant, it means it. Whether your watch ends up in the rain, shower or sea, it will remain sound with the water-protective seal. 


Dive watches are also designed to withstand pressure and, more often than not, are made from stainless steel or rubber. This means the material is hard to break and requires little maintenance. 

Simple and Uncluttered Dial

A dive watch is designed to be easy-to-read, and will often just have a minute, hours and second hand. This minimalistic style is accessible and stylish - just look at the photo below to see what we mean. 

As part of the ISO 6425 standard, an official dive watch also needs to be read in total darkness at a distance of 25 centimetres - helpful for divers and standard use in the dark. This means you should be able to read the time, at any time. 

Dive watches can be worn just about anywhere. With a suitable watch strap, it can be worn anywhere. This begs the question: 

How Do You Style a Dive Watch?

When it comes to fashion, critics of the dive watch are often sceptical of its design. However, a good watch strap can elevate a dive watch to be both stylish and practical: 

Our Dive Watch Strap Picks

1. The Hirsch Grand Duke

The Hirsch Grand Duke is a handsome Italian calfskin leather strap, with a refined alligator-style embossed pattern. This high-quality strap has a real presence on the wrist, while maintaining a durable and water-resistant finish. 

how do you style a dive watch

This strap is available in five natural colours with contrast stitching.

2. Morellato Cordura 2

The Morellato Cordura 2 is a robust and water-resistant strap. It's densely-woven fabric effortlessly combines modern design sensibilities with a classic overall look. This is an excellent choice for use during exercise. 

3. Premium NATO Straps

The NATO Strap, but better - and still at an accessible price. This strap is more secure than others as it is secured in two separate points. This means that, should one spring bar fail, it will remain attached to the strap. The Premium NATO is a great pick for outdoor activities like sailing, skiing or fishing. 

what is a dive watch

4. Pebro Cadw

The Pebro Cadw is a smoothly-textured vintage calfskin leather strap with thick, rounded padding that stands out on your wrist. This dependable strap is available in a wide range of understated colours.

5. JPM Vintage Leather

Last but certainly not least: hand-crafted and hand-finished in Italy by the eponymous Jean Paul Menicucci himself, the JPM Vintage Leather strap is a soft and supple strap that compliments a dive watch well - as you can see in these photos. This stylish strap is available in a selection of earthen tones. 

All of our watch straps are styled on the attractive Unimatic U1-MLM and U1-FDN dive watches. 

Shop our luxury watches, watch straps and watch tools and accessories on our website. 


Written by Holly Charman, for Watch Obsession UK.