The choice of the type of best automatic dive watch under 500 is something very personal that will depend on your preferences, tastes and the use that you are going to give.
If you are looking for a versatile analogue watch to use both inside and outside the water that allows you to know the time of immersion, with a model that is submersible 200m, with unidirectional rotating bezel and good visibility of the digits and hands will suffice.
On the other hand, if you want a device that allows you to monitor some other parameter of the dive, such as the depth at which you are at each moment, you can opt for a digital model that offers additional monitoring functions.
Even if you already have a dive computer, if you are a regular diver or do technical diving, you will need a redundant backup system to ensure you can control the essential values of your dive in case the computer fails.
It is not the same as the watch is submersible to be really prepared to withstand the pressure to which it is subjected during a dive.
- It is important to look at the maximum depth to which the watch can be submerged, which is indicated by the acronym WR ( Water Resistant ) followed by a number.
- Thus, WR100 means that the watch, theoretically, can be submerged up to 100 meters deep.
Another possibility is that the maximum depth is indicated by the number of atmospheres (ATM) of pressure exerted by the water that supports the clock.
- To know the equivalence in meters, you just have to use this simple rule: 1 ATM = 10 meters deep. Thus, a clock that supports 10 ATM could be submerged up to 100 meters deep (in theory, although in reality, it is not good either).
Keep in mind that the conditions you use in the laboratory to define the pressure resistance of the watch are not totally comparable to those of a real dive since it is calculated by simulating the static pressure of a water column and not the dynamic pressure that receives the watch during a dive.
Therefore, I recommend that you do not buy a WR watch too low. For example, WR20 does not mean you can lower up to 20m real with your watch.
A digital watch is considered suitable for diving if it can be submerged at least 200m (20 ATM). Clocks with lower depths are suitable for other water sports, but not for diving according to official limits.
Check that the dive watch face is optimally under water to allow easy readability of all parameters even during night dives or inside caves.
For that, make sure you meet the following requirements:
Digital clock: choose a clock with a good backlight.
Analog clock: must have high contrast between numbers, hands, markers and the bottom of the dial. I recommend that you count, at least, with phosphorescent hands (especially the second hand, which will allow you to check that the clock is running), although ideally also the numbers and markers of the bezel should be bright. In addition, some models have an orange or yellow background to further increase the contrast with the numbers and hands.