Dive Watch Care 101: Essential Maintenance for Trouble-Free Diving

dive watches
dive watches

For divers, a reliable dive watch is an essential piece of gear for safe underwater adventures. However, neglecting care and maintenance for your dive watch can lead to potential issues like leaks or malfunctions. By following some basic tips, you can keep your dive watch working properly before, during, and after your dives.

Inspect Seals and Gaskets

One of the most important maintenance tasks is to regularly inspect the seals and gaskets of your dive watch. The seals and gaskets form watertight barriers that prevent leaks where the case back, crown, and crystal meet the watch body. Over time, these seals can become cracked or damaged from the stresses of water pressure and wear. Visually inspect the seals for any tears, gaps, distortion, or deterioration. Replace any worn-out seals immediately to retain water resistance. Silicon lubricant can help keep seals supple.

Wash the Watch After Saltwater Dives

After diving in seawater, thoroughly rinse your dive watch in fresh water to remove any salt residue. Salt can build up in joints over time and cause deterioration or hinder functionality. Operate the buttons and winding crown while rinsing to flush out salt from crevices. Avoid chemical cleaners or soaps that might damage seals. Gently scrub the watch bracelet with a soft brush and mild soap to remove salt crystals trapped between links.

Lubricate the Crown and Pins

Keep the screw-down crown and wristband pins lubricated for smooth operation. Apply a small drop of watch oil to the threads of the crown every few months. Twist the crown to work in the lubricant. Oil the bracelet sleeve tubes, clasp, and link pins with lightweight machine oil like sewing machine oil. This prevents corrosion and helps counteract saltwater exposure.

Avoid Pressures Shocks

Sudden changes in pressure can damage the seals, crystal, and movement of a dive watch. Although best dive watches are engineered to withstand pressure variations, it’s still important to take precautions. When descending during a dive, stop for acclimation every 10 meters to allow the watch to adjust and equalize internal pressure gradually.

After surfacing, sit for a few minutes before removing the watch to prevent a shock differential. Do not press the pushers or unscrew the crown underwater. For air travel, keep the watch on your wrist to equilibrium the interior pressure. Rapid temperature shifts from hot showers or cold rinses can also create issues with pressure tolerances in the watch. Taking these preventative steps will prolong the water resistance and functionality of your dive watch.

Rinse and Dry After Pool or Ocean Swims 

Even if not used for diving, thoroughly rinse your dive watch after swimming in pools, lakes, or oceans to wash away chlorine and saltwater residue that can erode metal components over time. Spin the bezel and operate pushers to flush out any trapped liquid inside. Dry the watch thoroughly before storage to prevent moisture corrosion issues.

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Have Watch Pressure Tested Annually

Get the water resistance pressure tested by a watchmaker at least once a year, especially for watches used frequently for diving. They will test gaskets and seals in a pressurized tank to check for leaks. This ensures the watch maintains factory specifications for water resistance at intended depths.

Consider a Watch Service for Used or Older Models

For used or vintage dive watches, consider having a complete watch service performed by a professional to refurbish any worn parts and provide water resistance. This may include new gaskets, tube refinishing, crown repair, and seal replacements. Watch pressure testing should always be done after servicing.

Follow Manufacturer Guidelines

Review the owner’s manual or manufacturer recommendations for your specific dive watch. Some models may have additional maintenance procedures or servicing intervals suggested by the brand. Following their guidelines can help retain water resistance and functionality.

Taking the time to regularly care for and service your dive watch will help ensure it stays in optimal working condition for all your underwater adventures. Simple preventative maintenance steps like rinsing after dives, replacing seals, and pressure testing annually can add years of performance and reliability to a quality dive watch. Proper maintenance will save money over time versus replacing damaged watches. More importantly, it provides the critical assurance that your dive watch will function properly when you need it the most beneath the waves.


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