Difference Between Dive Watch And Dive Computer

Last Updated: February 21, 2022

The general idea of dive watches and dive computers is a no-brainer for underwater adventure seekers. The sync between dive gadgets and divers is quite necessary for a safe and monitored diving experience.

Through the past decades, dive watches were the tools divers relied on. A functional device that worked even down in the depths of the blue.

With the advancement of tech and development in innovations, dive computers have started replacing traditional dive watches. It not only tracks time but provides info at what depths the divers are at any given second. They have more advanced features compared to basic dive watches.

This post will give you a thorough idea of the key differences between dive watches and dive computers. Time to dive into some depths (pun intended…)

What is a Dive Watch?

A dive watch is a conventional, trusted tool used by divers to keep track of time underwater.

A diver’s watch is quite straightforward. It allows you to track time before you run out of air. The mechanical bezel on the dial’s top gives you the leverage to monitor time underwater.

Now, you may be thinking about the watch face’s visibility underwater. Well, here is where a dive watch is different from your everyday watch! The watch face is luminous, and it glows underwater for better visibility.

The history of dive watches and their innovation is quite interesting, from radium-based to tritium-based and then lume pigments.

Dive watches are undoubtedly legible underwater. They are optimized to deal with underwater thrust and pressure and come in various depth handling capacities.

The range starts with 300 feet (100 meters) up to 1700 feet (500 meters) of underwater depth. For the record, an average diver explores a range of 18 meters equal to 60 feet under water. So, the range of capacities is quite sufficient.

The technological developments led to the invention of dive computers later. As a result, many scuba divers switched to the update.

What is a Dive Computer?

Dive computers show you the accurate time, measure the underwater depth and air left inside your lungs.

LCD or LED-based displays provide colored and complex readings all in one place, available in a couple of taps.

The wireless air integration feature on modern-day dive computers directly connects to your cylinder regulators. It accurately accesses and provides you information on the amount of air left in the oxygen cylinder.

Being a computer, it has additional advanced features like different dive modes. Mode selection allows you to be more specific with the kind of experience you want to track. The backlights make it a child’s play for you to read the info properly within a glance, even in the murky depths.

Well, there is more; the logbook feature of the dive computer keeps a record of all previous dive information and makes it easier to monitor your underwater performance. Also, through download cables, you can connect your diving computer to your PC. Pretty convenient, isn’t it?

Dive Watch vs. Dive Computer – The Differences

There are several factors based on which you can distinguish between a dive watch and dive computer. The differences lie in legibility, visibility, durability, and technology. Allow me to walk you through each of the parameters.


Dive watches and computers are both legible for professionals and adventure seekers underwater. However, diving computers hold the upper hand when it comes to performance because of their digital mode.

The traditional and trusted dive watches are, of course, good to go with typical water resistance of 600 to 1,000 feet (200 to 300 meters) for scuba diving. Dive computers are optimized to perform the same or more with all its other digital features.


Visibility underwater is an important and primary factor for divers. Dive watches have good visibility reviews with their luminous hands, visible even in low lights. The analog hands will glow in the dark underwater to make it easier for you to track time.

Also, the bezel on the top allows you to track the time underwater by presetting the time before diving.

In comparison, dive computers use advanced digital displays with backlight features that allow you to get the desired information within a glance and lesser effort.

Some big display LED, and LCD dive computers show the critical information like air left in the cylinder, heart rate, and others just in tap of a button.


Dive watches are traditional tools and prove to be durable for many decades. They are resilient to all corrosive elements. Added to that, they look classy and quite robust.

On the flipside, dive computers are generally fiber-based, and that makes their weight lighter underwater. The durability record is good enough and sure to offer you peace of mind.


Dive watches, being analog, miss out on the technology curve that diving computers offer.

They have all the digital and smart features that you could probably ask for. Tracking the oxygen level of your cylinder wirelessly, maintaining a downloadable logbook, reminding you about your current depth – it has got you covered in all aspects!

Dive Watch or a Dive Computer?

In 2021, when the world seeks an advanced and fast way out, it is easy to decide between them.

Dive watch is old school, more traditional and holds a vintage value. In contrast, most dive computers are cool, advanced, and updated. They offer more features with user-friendliness, which are on-trend. Undoubtedly, dive watches have a long reputation, but they cannot cope with modern technology.

So why would someone still go for a dive watch? Because of the style.

Are you looking for a watch that suits scuba diving as well as a dinner date?

The style factor is the main reason why someone would prefer a dive watch over a dive computer these days. Because these are very expensive items that are worn on land too, and are only made to be seen and not actually get wet.

But there are often some stylish, classic pieces that cost less than a smartphone, and they last long too.

Final Thoughts

Undoubtedly, both dive watches and dive computers have their place in scuba diving community. They provide safe, stress-free way to maintain a record of their underwater diving adventures.

However, the time is up for the practical use of dive watches nowadays. Divers want their information to be easily and clearly accessible underwater. So a digital display is better than a flashy piece of metal. But I wouldn’t say no to wearing both. I’ll still proudly wear a dive watch on one wrist and a dive computer on the other.

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