Mechanical scuba dive watches with depth gauge are rare and have always been typically expensive. However, there are some models available and if you are determined to have a watch with depth gauge our top choice is the Citizen Eco Drive.
(Post updated May 2019)
ANALOG DIVE WATCHES WITH DEPTH GAUGE
It is a popular analog dive watch with depth gauge that is highly commended amongst divers. It is robust, packed with quality features. When it comes to this market, the Citizen Eco Drive tops the polls and will last you many if not all of your diving years. It is most certainly the best dive watch for the money :- Compared with rivals in the market, the quality is above par while the price-tag is lower.
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ESSENTIAL DIVING VARIABLES: TIME AND DEPTH
Scuba diving is fun and recreational but never underestimate the dangers associated with this popular sport. Divers need to be able to accurately monitor duration and depth underwater. Both of these variables are essential to use decompression tables.
For scuba divers, it is vital to accurately compute decompression time. Your body needs a precise amount of time to adjust when ascending from a dive. Ascending too quickly can result in pain, severe illness or even fatal tragedy! Before the development of scuba diving computers, divers wore a dive watch, used a depth meter or gauge and used dive tables.
Nowadays, dive computers are relatively inexpensive and provide a reliable method of measuring data essential to compute decompression limits at specific depths. Some divers still do like to wear a mechanical watch however, whether it be for nostalgia, novelty or backup. As one diver commented recently, don’t forget a dive watch ‘tells the time’! Many dive computers do not show the time on their primary display.
DIGITAL DIVE WATCH DEPTH METER
Digital dive watches are available but if you want to go down the digital road, you might consider a dive computer. Dive computers provide the time and depth with a whole host of other features and calculations.
The Casio G-Shock Frogman featured below is a digital dive watch depth meter combo. Fans of this watch use it as a backup to their depth gauge or dive computer and the fact that the watch doesn’t require a battery is good peace of mind.
If you’re looking for a dive computer, there are a huge range of dive computers available with user-friendly and simple features so don’t let complexity put you off.
HOW DO DEPTH-GAUGE DIVE WATCHES WORK?
Typically these watches have a sensor on the side of the case. Water pressure causes the sensor to calculate the depth in feet or metres and this is displayed on the watch face by a designated hand.
The renowned Oris Aquis applies a unique technology. It uses a minute tube or tubule around its crystal with a tiny opening to allow water to enter. Diver depth is calculated based on calculations relating to the amount of water that entering the tubule. We explore the Oris Aquis in more detail later in this post.
BEST DIVE WATCHES WITH DEPTH GAUGE: FEATURES AND SPECS FOR OUR TOP CHOICES
★ Our #1 Pick! ★
CITIZEN ECO-DRIVE PROMASTER AQUALAND DEPTH METER WATCH
TOP CHOICE DIVE WATCH WITH DEPTH GAUGE
- Water resistant to 200 m (660 ft)
- Key feature: Eco-drive powered technology: no need for a battery
- Rotating Bezel
- 70M depth display
- Power: Eco-drive (solar/light)
This stainless steel dive watch has a 70M depth display. The bright hands with luminous indices are clearly visible under water.
It features a Rotating Bezel to monitor elapsed time underwater. Read our post how to use a rotating bezel.
It features “Eco-drive technology” which is powered by light (any light) and therefore does not need a battery. After a full charge, the Eco-drive can run for over six months.
It features unidirectional bezel, reverse crown and pushers. The band is synthetic and it is water resistant to 200M (660ft).
The Eco-drive is a highly popular scuba diving watch and our top choice for those who want an incorporated depth meter.
CASIO G-SHOCK FROGMAN GWF-D1000-1JF
DIGITAL DIVE WATCH DEPTH METER
- Water Resistant to 200M (660ft)
- 80M depth display
- Power: Solar powered
This shock-resistant watch is hailed for its robustness and resilience. Described by one user as “… built to survive the end of the world…”! This is, without doubt, the best digital dive watch you could find.
Despite its hardiness, it has a unique asymmetric shape that results in a comfortable fit. The scratch-resistant display is easy-to-read and the buttons and features are easy to use.
Scuba dive watch computer backup…
Many divers use this watch as a computer backup. A comparable benefit of this watch is its solar powered rechargeable battery.
It features include water depth gauge, temperature reading and compass bearing. Its durability is favoured by many involved in marine search and rescue activities.
- Measures depth to 80m in 10 centimeter increments.
- Temperature function measures water temp in 0.1 degree celcius increments.
- Compass measures bearing in one degree increments even when tilted.
- Features an excessive ascent rate alarm
ORIS AQUIS DEPTH GAUGE WATCH
- Water resistant to 500m /1650ft
- 100m depth display
- Stainless steel case with a stainless steel bracelet
- Unidirectional rotating silver-tone bezel with black ceramic top
- Automatic-self-wind movement
- Case diameter: 46mm / Depth scale around outer rim.
- Black dial/ silver hands / Luminescent hands and markers.
- Scratch resistant anti-reflective sapphire crystal.
If you want a higher-end dive watch with depth gauge, take a look at the Oris Aquis Depth Gauge.
This Swiss watch uses what it calls “Boyle Mariotte Law” which refers to the relationship between the pressure and volume of gas.
The watch has a tubule inserted around the dial that has a tiny opening at 12 o’clock. When the diver descends, water enters as the air inside the channel becomes compressed by the water pressure. As you can see in the video, the counter-clockwise gauge around the dial adjusts from light to dark gray according to the diver’s depth below the surface.
Out of all the dive watch brands, the Oris Depth Gauge is highly respected and simply a timepiece of stunning innovative beauty.
Numerous tests and comparisons to dive computer readings have proven the depth gauge on the Oris Aquis to be remarkably accurate. Watch the video above to see it in action.
ANALOG/DIGITAL COMBO WATCH
- Water Resistant to 200M (660feet) (See image above)
- 60M depth display
- POWER: battery
The Tissot Sea Touch features a combination digital / analog display. Along with its sporting features, the watch is stylish and fits well as the perfect accessory to wear for an official or formal occasion.
One user commented that the watch boasts the “Analog finesse for a 007 dress-up event, Yacht shows or at Fletcher-Jones motor cars…” Well said! Luminous hands and indexes at hour and minute points make the display easy to see in dark conditions. Also features anti-reflective display.
Feature-rich, the Tissot Sea-touch boasts technology including the depth gauge, compass, timer, log book and ascent meter.
LUXURY DIVE WATCHES WITH DEPTH GAUGE
LUXURY DIVE WATCH
IWC AQUATIMER DEEP TWO
- Water resistant to 120m (400feet)
- Depth gauge to 50m
This timepiece comes in at strong among the best luxury dive watches…The highly regarded and respected IWC Aquatimer.
This is a high-end dive watch featuring a mechanical depth gauge. A blue indicator shows the depth in real time while a red indicator shows the max depth achieved. A button at 8 o’clock can be used to reset the maximum depth to zero.
A polished beauty in black, white, red and blue- this watch is a diver’s treasure. In my opinion, it also wins for best looking dive watch.
The minute markers are on the outside rim in 5 minute increments. Automatic movement / 42-hour power reserve.
LUXURY DIVE WATCH
BLANCPAIN X FATHOMS
Launched at the largest aquarium in the world, the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, the Blancpain X Fathoms is a luxury high-performance diving watch.
Blancpain’s X Fathom is a big luxury watch (55.65mm diameter case) with a big pricetag to match! If you’re looking for the Rolls Royce of dive watches however, you’ve met your match.
HOW ABOUT A SIMPLE WRIST DEPTH GAUGE?
AQUA LUNG 200' WRIST DEPTH GAUGE
If you want to consider a simple wrist depth gauge, take a look at this one from Aqualung. It is simple to use and easy to read with its luminous face.
Features 200foot/60m maximum measurement. It is available in imperial or metric… Be sure to select the option you prefer if you click through.
MARES PUCK PRO
If you need time and depth gauge this dive computer has both and lots more features and computations to keep you safe under the water.
For example, it features automatic audible and visual alerts for safety stops on ascent, exceeding safe pp02/MOD, Nitrogen Saturation, decompression stops and low battery.
This single button dive computer boasts ease of use and simplicity. It is highly popular among scuba divers. It is easy to read and also features safety alerts.
Diving into a decision?...
So you may decide to go along with a dive computer but if you’re still determined to have a watch with depth meter, now you have a good idea of what’s available. Remember, reliability is fundamental and it is important to have a backup depth meter.
So as you can see, finding a mechanical dive watch with depth gauge only gives a handful of options. They are intricate instruments, rare and typically expensive. If you’re certain you want one, you won’t go wrong with the Citizen Eco-Drive. It will last you years of diving if not a lifetime and with this brand, you’re sure of reliability and quality.