Dive watches are one of the most popular style of watches today. Of course, this is partially due to the legendary iconic models of some of the brands and the lead actors of blockbuster Hollywood cinema. However, the dive watch, long before becoming a fashion icon, has emerged as crucial instrument that their users depended on them with their lives. In Scuba diving, under high level of ambient pressure, the nitrogen that you breathe starts to dissolve in your tissues and gets stacked. During the ascension of the dive due to the decrease of the pressure exerted to your body the dissolved nitrogen is freed from the tissues and travels through the vascular system to the lungs in order to be discharged. However, if your ascension is faster than the safe margin, since the pressure will be decreasing faster than the required amount for the nitrogen to travel to the lungs, the accumulated nitrogen particles will enlarge and form a bubble that will clog the blood flow. This situation is called “decompression sickness” or “bends” colloquially. For this reason, it is crucial for a diver to be able to calculate the time spent in depth, the time limit for staying in depth, the duration of the stops in indicated depths. At this point a watch which will enable you to use it underwater and in low-light environments under the sea is one of the most, if not the most, critical equipment of a dive.
The distinction between a water-resistant watch and dive watch is somewhat crucial. Even though the first examples of a watch which had water-resistance has emerged during the 1920’s and in 1930’s Panerai
produced watches/chronos for naval military personnel, the emergence of the dive watch as a fully professional diving instrument as a dive timer was not until the 1950’s. In 1953, two large manufacturers of the period; Rolex and Blancpain presented to the public the two dive watches that were pretty similar to their current counterparts and became icons for themselves: Submariner and Fifty Fathoms respectively. In the year of 1957, Breitling presented its deep-sea adventurer “Superocean” which was boosting, a record for that time except experimental pieces, 200m water resistance and a bezel lock to minimize the risk of miscalculation of the dive time. Today, Superocean Heritage line of the watchmaker carries the DNA of its predecessors and is a symbol for the experience of the watchmaker in dive watches. Even though the digital dive computer is the go-to choice of most of the current divers around the world, especially some professional divers carry their robust mechanical companions as a back up timer in environments where electronics may fail.