The movie, 'Men of Honor', shows the rudimentary history of diving and the equipment that navy divers were forced to use. Well, if you have watched this movie, don't be disheartened by the heavy gear. Modern equipment is much lighter, safer, and user-friendly. Scuba is the short form for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.
Scuba Diving Equipment
Scuba diving gives us the opportunity to see life underwater in lakes, seas, and the oceans. The equipment helps the diver to stay underwater for a long duration of time. Professional scuba divers dive for commercial, scientific, and military endeavors.
Now, if you want to look smart, take along smarter accessories. The primary equipment for diving includes fins, mask, tank, gauges, and a watch. The suit which a diver wears can be wet or dry, depending on the water temperature. The tank on the back of the diver provides vital air supply for breathing underwater. Gauges display important information about the whereabouts of the diver while in the water. A compass and watch also come in handy during the dive.
Scuba Diving Watches
These watches come in a variety of features, looks, and price range that will suit all budgets. They are not only a timing device, but also a safety device. They help in tracking the dive time, so a diver can avoid running out of oxygen. These watches also help in monitoring time decompression stages while a diver is ascending. There are three styles available―digital, classic, and dive computer.
The digital ones are the most popular type used. It offers water resistance up to 200 meters. The classic range includes mechanical or quartz analog models. The price range can vary between $100 to $20,000, depending on the features, make, and look. The dive computer is the latest computer model that is the size of a wristwatch. You can strap this on your wrist and use it as a time displaying machine too.
One of the features include setting yacht timings and tide graphs. A few of them are light-powered, so they never need a battery change. They can charge themselves in any light, even underwater. A few sport an electronic depth sensor and have maximum depth memory. There are exclusive watches for women as well. They are mid-sized and have a large display which helps in increased visibility underwater.
The maximum water resistance for a diving watch is 200 meters, although scuba divers don't dive that deep. The screw-down crowns of an analog one is said to be better where waterproofing is concerned. There are few others that have a push-pull crown, which works fine too.
A defining feature in an analog watch is its rotating bezel. This feature is used to track elapsed time. The time is marked by zeroing the bezel. The hour hand can be timed up to 12 hours. The markings should be engraved and not printed, so that they do not wear out. The bezel should be unidirectional. It should move only in the counterclockwise direction. There are a few others which have the feature of lockable bezels. A built-in stopwatch or countdown timer are found in the digital types.
Some devices offer underwater illumination. Digital devices have Light Emitting Diodes (LED) or other glowing systems. Using LED devices runs down the battery faster, so it is better to use the solar-powered ones. Luminous paints are very popular. They are charged with light, and glow in the dark. High quality paints can glow for hours, while the others have a maximum life of about 1 - 2 hours. The tritium vials used in certain analogs give a better glow than luminous paints, but they fade out over the years.
There are watch straps which are specific for wet and dry suits. The metal straps have a wet suit extension link, which expands and fits over a wet suit. The dry suits do not require any extension link. Plastic straps are fine. One can use rubber straps, but they wear out gradually, and tt is very difficult to find replacements for them.
One should remember that many manufacturers void their guarantees once the watch is opened to change the battery. The mechanical wind-up in automatic watches must be opened only for servicing and repairs.
Dive watches are cool style statements. They double up, not only as timing devices, but also as a fashion statement underwater. It is your personal choice when selecting one of your choice. The basic need for all is telling the time. So whether you choose a digital, classic, or dive computer type, remember, accessibility and reliability weighs more than style.