- A freediving watch is an essential tool for professional freedivers to help keep track of depth and time underwater, as well as other important safety information.
- It’s best to look for a watch designed specifically for freediving – some watches are just divers watches and cannot offer the freediving-specific features you might want.
- Most freediving watches offer features like dive alarms, maximum depth alarms, ascent rate warnings, bottom time countdowns, etc., so pick one with all the functions you need.
- At Aghulas, we specialise in selling freediving gear that’s both friendly on your pocket and our oceans, with everything being sustainable and modular!
For the adventurous freediver, a dive watch or dive computer is not just a useful piece of equipment but an essential tool. Everyone who’s been diving knows the moment of worry when you wonder how long you’ve been underwater or how much time you have left before you must surface. This is where a freediving computer can make all the difference – helping to manage dive times, track your progress and maximise safety. But with so many brands, models and specifications available today, how do you know which is right for you?
Do You Need a Freediving Watch?
If this is your first foray into freediving, then chances are that investing in a freedive watch may not be necessary. Most freediving courses will provide all the gear you need, and a simple dive timer or stopwatch should suffice. However, as your skills progress, so should your gear – and this is where a freedive watch can prove indispensable.
These devices have evolved far beyond basic timing functions to include sophisticated features such as dive logs for tracking multiple dives and built-in alarms that alert divers when there might be a problem. For any serious freediver who wants to take their performance to the next level – a proper freedive computer is necessary.
Top Reasons Why You Will Want a Freedive Watch
Beyond basic timing functions and alarms, a quality freediving computer provides specific information such as dive depth, water temperature and bottom times that can help improve your performance and accuracy.
They also offer digital displays and easy-to-read interfaces, making analysing data easier than ever. Moreover, many advanced models have built-in GPS tracking, so you never have to worry about getting lost underwater! With all these features at your fingertips, it’s no wonder why a dive watch has become such an indispensable part of any freediving kit.
Types of Freediving Computers
When it comes to freediving watches, there are three main types you might find yourself interested in. These are scuba watches, dedicated freediving watches and those that service both disciplines.
As the name suggests, a scuba watch is designed for scuba diving. As such, there are some useful crossover features that freedivers will find useful, such as depth alarms, dive logs and timers. However, it should be noted that one of the primary functions of a scuba watch is the regulation of air tanks. As freedivers do not use tanks, this function and anything linked to it will be useless.
Dedicated freediving watches, meanwhile, are designed specifically for freediving, with added features that can optimise your performance underwater and help you stay safe too. Specialised models will always offer more features tailored to the specific needs of freedivers. They’re designed with safety and performance in mind, making them an invaluable asset for freedivers growing in confidence with their dives.
Finally are watches that bridge the gap between scuba and freedive computers, combining both worlds in one device. These devices are suitable for those who enjoy both freediving and scuba diving, though some may suggest that by trying to accommodate both worlds, they aren’t definitive in either.
What to Look for When Buying a Dive Computer
Once you’ve decided what kind of freedive watch you want, you’ll need to look at some models and start weighing up the different features. What you want from your freediving computer depends on who you are as a freediver. Beginners will want different features than professionals. Equally, those engaged in competitive freediving will want different features from those who freedive solely for pleasure.
However, it’s important to weigh what you need from your dive computer in the present and what you believe you’ll want in the future. Buying a high-quality freediving computer is an investment and not something you’ll want to replace too often unless it suffers an accident. With that in mind, here are a few of the features you may wish to look for with your dive computer:
While a fancy label shouldn’t be an overriding concern, with functionality being far more important, it must be noted that some brands have a high reputation for quality. By buying a known brand instead of a cheap model, you can be certain that you’ll both be able to get replacement parts and that you are covered in terms of a warranty.
Buyers should also be wary of imitation products. The best way to combat this is by buying all your freediving gear from a reputable freediving store or secondhand seller. Inspect the quality of the product. If it seems to be made from cheaper materials than the price point denotes, you should be wary. In the same vein, you should be wary of “too good to be true” bargains, as usually, they really are too good to be true.
Here at Agulhas, we pride ourselves on the quality of our products. As we’re free divers ourselves, we know how important it is to feel safe underwater, and having gear you can trust goes helps bring you that peace of mind.
When buying a freedive watch, you get what you pay for. A dive watch sold at a fraction of the price will generally not be as good quality as more expensive models. There are exceptions to this rule, such as buying a dive computer with only basic functions, which will always be cheaper than their complex counterparts. However, when it comes down to it, the more expensive models offer a wider range of features, including some important safety bonuses. As such, it’s worth saving up and waiting to make a purchase rather than rushing into buying something cheaper.
The interface of your dive computer needs to be intuitive and easy to navigate. It should also have bright LED displays that can be easily read underwater – even if visibility conditions aren’t great. You should also be able to access dive settings quickly and easily without fumbling around with your dive computer’s settings.
Ease of Use
The freedive watch should be easy to set up beforehand. This means it must connect seamlessly with any dive software you use for dive tracking or logs. It should also have clear instructions for use and a wide range of dive modes and menu options that can be easily chosen before each dive. Before heading out diving, make sure you understand how your watch works (and any special features) so that you can best utilise its functions during dive sessions.
It’s important to remember that one of the main attributes of a freedive computer that’s useful to a freediver is the safety features. Should there be an emergency, you’ll want to be able to access the watch quickly without having to scroll through menus or trying to remember how it all works!
Alarms and Alerts
And that brings us to our next feature – alarms and alerts. Your dive computer should provide audio-visual alerts when needed. Several alarms are available on a freedive computer, which can alert you to depth limits, ascent rates and dive times, amongst others. These could potentially save your life!
Your freedive watch should have customisable dive straps to securely attach to your wrist. Most straps for freediving watches will be made of rubber and easily replaceable. It’s important to ensure the strap is securely fastened shut, secure to the main freediving computer and comfortable. If the watch is too small, extensions are available.
While most watches are worn on the wrist and are preferred by most freedivers, some models can also be fitted to the chest, a strap or a buoyancy control device (BCD). If you feel that you may want to wear your watch differently, it’s important to look for compatibility and whether any extra straps might be provided. Occasionally freediving stores will offer these as part of a package.
The dive watch should be made from strong materials such as titanium, stainless steel or heavy-duty plastic to withstand pressure changes during dives. It should also be waterproof up to a certain depth (most models come with a more than adequate 100m as standard) and, ideally, come with replaceable batteries.
Dive Tracking Features
Dive tracking features are a must-have for a dive watch. Your watch should be capable of recording dive data such as depths, times and temperatures. It should also be able to sync with dive logs so you can track your dives over time and plan future dive trips more effectively. Some apps may even allow you to keep tabs on your dives via your phone or computer!
The memory capacity of the freedive watch should also be taken into account. You’ll want a watch with enough storage space to record your dive data without deleting previous dives to make room for new ones. To ensure that you have a vast range of storage, some models of freediving watches will allow you to insert an SD card.
However, for added security, you should always back up your watch data to another source, such as a connected app, cloud storage or your personal computer.
Lastly, is appearance. As with branding, many will negate appearance in favour of features, which is the right choice. Aesthetics shouldn’t take priority over features, particularly if they involve safety.
With that said, many would like the best of all worlds and a visually pleasing watch packed with goodies. There is a huge range of options for freediving watches on the market, with many flashy models that provide a top-notch experience.
How to Care for Your Freediving Watch
Now, you’ve just got your first freediving watch. It looks great, it’s packed with features, and your wallet is lighter. But you’re proud to wear it on your dives and happily toss it in your bag alongside your other freediving equipment. Which leaves a scratch right across its watch face as your fins rub against it.
So, how can you ensure that your dive computer stays in top shape?
Watches are delicate pieces of freediving equipment that must be properly cared for to last a long time. Taking good care of them is essential. Here are a few pointers:
Clean Your Freediving Gear
After each dive, rinse your watch and other freediving gear with fresh water. If you can take the watch out of its strap, then do so – otherwise, just make sure that any salt residue, grit or sand is removed after every use. Afterwards, give it an airing off in a cool, dry location and ensure that all moisture has dissipated before you put it away safely. Whatever you do, don’t dry it in direct sunlight.
Ensure Your Freedive Watch Software Is up to Date
Software seldom gets spoken of as part of a freediving kit, yet it’s essential for ensuring that your watch works as intended. Freediving watches must be up to date with the latest firmware, so make sure you regularly check for updates from the manufacturer — this will ensure that you have all of the latest features and bug fixes available.
Check Your Freediving Watch Battery
When purchasing a freediving watch, you should check that its battery works correctly. You should also ensure you fully charge your watch before diving and check the battery level before entering the water. If there’s any issue, replace the battery immediately, if possible, or wait until you’ve charged the watch.
Properly Store Your Freediving Watch When Not in Use
Store your freedive watch in an airtight container when you’re not using it. This will keep dust, moisture and any other debris from getting into the watch and potentially damaging it. Ideally, this should be a hard case with padding.
Have Your Watch Serviced
It’s also important to get your freedive computer serviced regularly by certified technicians so any potential issues can be identified and fixed. This will protect it from any damage that you may not be able to see and help extend your watch’s lifespan.
Some models feature such things as world time and can even double as an everyday smartwatch. However, it would be wise to resist the temptation to use your freediving watch this way, as everyday wear and tear will shorten its lifespan. Remember, this isn’t supposed to be a timepiece; it’s an advanced piece of freediving equipment and must be treated as such.
At Agulhas, caring for your freediving equipment is made easy. That’s because we’ve designed all our freediving gear to be modular, meaning you can replace any single part without shelling out for a whole new piece of kit. Not only is this friendly to your wallet, but it’s also friendly to our beloved oceans.
Sadly, we know that the ocean has been severely polluted by refuse. Agulhas’ freediving gear is made with the most sustainable parts available, and as it’s modular, we’re helping cut down on the number of materials used and items that end up as trash.
Our dedication to bringing you the highest quality freediving equipment at the best prices, alongside our efforts toward sustainability, comes from one thing – being freedivers ourselves. Our freediving kit is designed by the renowned freediver Hanli Prinsloo, the champion swimmer Peter Marshall and the acclaimed designer Alexander Taylor.
We’re confident that our freediving kit is the best on the market. So, why not check out the rest of our website, where you can dive into many other topics on freediving and access our freediving store – you’ll find everything from masks and snorkels to bags and accessories!
Every serious freediver needs a watch as part of their freediving kit to track their dives and as an important safety line. You might wish to look for several features when selecting a freediving watch, such as ease of use, safety alarms and a clear user interface. Many specialised freediving watches are available, and you should check with your regular freediving store to see what’s on offer.
No matter what kind of watch you choose, it is important to ensure that it fully works and that you perform proper maintenance. This is particularly important if you use the watch to monitor your safety while diving.
Agulhas produces a range of freediving equipment designed to help you stay safe while exploring the seas, all explained in detail on our website. You can also check out our freediving store for all of your needs. So why not dive in and explore?
What is the most important factor in selecting a freediving watch?
The most important factor in selecting a freediving watch is finding one with all the features you need for successful dives. Selecting a watch with accurate dive time tracking, software compatibility and a clear underwater display will ensure you always have an accurate record of your dives.
How deep can a freediving watch be taken?
Most modern diving watches are designed to withstand depths up to 100 metres or more underwater, with scuba combo watches often able to go much deeper. However, it is important to check with each manufacturer for exact specifications as some models may be more limited in their depth range than others. All specifications should be listed on the product page or in the manual for any given model of freediving watch.
How often should I change the battery on my freediving watch?
Generally speaking, changing the battery in your freediving watch is recommended every two to three years. However, this depends on how much you use the watch and what type of battery it uses. It’s always best to check the manufacturer’s guidelines for the specific model of watch you have. If your watch has a button cell battery, such as those used in digital watches, then these usually need replacing every one to two years. For more sophisticated models with quartz movements or rechargeable batteries, chances are that you will only need to replace them once every few years. Additionally, if your freediving watch features an alarm or backlight function, you may find that these drain the battery faster and need replacing more often.