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Over the past several years, free diving popularity has grown by leaps and bounds. And it's easy to understand why! This fun ocean sport combines many of the popular elements of scuba diving with the dare of adventure sport. It challenges divers physically, mentally, and some will even say spiritually as they seek to overcome the physical and psychological hurdles inherent in the sport.
While you don't need a great deal of equipment to get started, unlike that of a scuba diver, one thing you do need is a high quality freediving watch. As with all breath holding sports this is an essential piece of equipment as it improves safety, increases the sports enjoyment, and can even help to improve performance. When purchasing a watch, you’ll need to select a watch that provides you with all of the alarms, functions, and features needed for this sport to keep you safe and having a good time. If you’re in the market for a quality diving watch for your adventures, then stick around, because we are about to look at the best free diving watches on the market today.
Why Do You Need a Free Diving Watch?
Free diving is an adventure sport for those who dare dive deep without the use of a breathing apparatus. It’s also a sport which can be used as a mindful connection to your body and the beautiful, mysterious underwater world. It’s perhaps the closest a diver can get to the natural world in the deep blue, without tanks or complex equipment- just you and the water world around you.
This type of diving requires that the diver is aware and honest of their individual capabilities, limits and goals. There is one device in specific that helps keep you safe, and allows you to improve your diving that can easily be brought with on every dive. A freediving watch can be customized individually to your body, with the capabilities to give you details of your dive like decompression rates, and time spent underwater..
A free diving watch can also track your previous dives, storing important details, and giving you information to see your progress over time. Here you’ll find break times, time spent diving, and other details from past dives giving you an idea of how you’ve improved over time and your average breath time, and more.
These watches can be synced to the diver’s body and to their previous dives, helping you plan future dives as well. With an idea of what to expect, and where your limits reside, you can be more accurate in your dive experience. All in all, a quality watch can not only help keep you safe underwater, with audible alarms and more, it can also help you improve your time spent exploring the mysterious deep blue.
How to Choose a Free Diving Watch: Buyers Guide
The best freediving watches will not only help keep you safe while diving, but also help to improve your performance over time using many advanced features. These tools take the guesswork out of diving by tracking depth, managing dive times and keeping track of your previous dives- storing them for later use.
When purchasing a dive watch, you’ll want to pay close attention to the durability, quality and features, over the style. Your dive watch should make your dive easier, safer and prepare you better for future dives. Use this buyers guide to look for these key features in getting you the best dive watch on the market today, and out into the water sooner.
Dive Watch Durability
Not only should your dive watch look and feel comfortable while worn on your wrist, it should be made of quality materials to make it durable underwater and increase its lifespan over many dives. Ensure you choose a watch made for the depths that you plan to dive into, and choose strap materials like rubber or silicon for comfort and longevity of the device.
When trying to choose which diving watch to purchase, pay close attention to the device display and its feasibility to read. Get familiar with it’s design, modes and features, and make sure it has a well lit screen and large numbers for ease in reading. Opt for a user-friendly device rather than style to ensure you get a quality and convenient device that’ll be easy to use in less than ideal conditions while underwater.
By using alarms underwater you can pay special attention to your dive, without having to watch the clock or depth. This watch feature allow you to set your alarm at either a certain depth or amount of time, which gives you more freedom to explore without always watching your wrist.
Different devices will have different capabilities in storage and memory, so choose one which suits your diving needs. If you’d like to track your dives over a long period of time, go for something with a hefty memory which can hold many previous dives. Some devices can even sync to your smartphone or computer to input and collect data from your watch.
With a freedive watch, you’ll need to be able to clearly see the display with only a glance in less than ideal conditions underwater. Sometimes bigger is better when it comes to the display, so consider how clearly you can see it while wearing on your wrist. Avoid something too compact to see easily, and opt for a backlit display and large numbers for convenience and ease.
Comparison Chart of Freediving Watches
Best Free Diving Watches Reviewed
1. Oceanic F-10 Free-Diving Watch V3
This device is a great basic dive computer with a freediving mode that is perfect for beginners who want the power of a dive computer but aren’t sure what features they will need. This device is packed with great features. At only 8 ounces, not only is it lightweight enough to be used by divers of all sizes and ages, but it’s also durable and designed for regular use underwater.
The LED display on this watch is generally very easy to read, thanks to the large letters and the audio alerts that ensure that wearers are safe while out on the water. Not only does the screen display desaturation times, but it also provides a record of the last dive time that was made within the past day. It’s user friendly and easy to set measurements to be shown in metric or imperial- depending on the divers preference.
Not only is the battery incredibly easy to change, but the watch won’t lose settings or other data during the switch. This allows users to keep the settings that they want without worry, for ultimate convenience. The menu, while pared-down, is incredibly easy to read and to control, making this watch a great watch for beginners and advanced divers alike who want to track their dives.
It’s very easy to switch between the four operating modes on this device, allowing users to track a lot of information about their dives. Since it connects to the Diverlog+ app, which is a free application, users can keep track of their information and check their stats and past history with ease from their smartphone device or computer. This also makes it easy to share location, stats, photos, and dive memories with any other divers.
2. Pyle FreeDiving Watch
The Pyle FreeDiving Watch is a beginner friendly freediving watch that comes with a lot of nice features.
The Pyle FreeDiving Watch can be used to snorkel or free dive to depths of 100 meters or about 330 feet. It features a 0.1 resolution and it automatically activates and deactivates dive mode. This freediving watch has a range of close to 100 hours, which is quite impressive, and the Pyle FreeDiving Watch will display the water temperature to you as well.
For your safety, this device features a dive alarm which lets you know when you are surfacing and decompressing too fast. Additionally, it has a backlight display so you can always see what is going on even in fairly dark and less than ideal water conditions. This watch features 5 modes including current time, dual time, chronograph, underwater diving, and countdown timer. A durable design, this device is made of marine-grade waterproof materials, so it will handle well in the ocean, plus it has a fairly high level of overall durability making it long-lasting.
3. Oceanic F-10 Free-Diving Watch V3
If you are on the hunt for a quality diving watch, one that is very durable, has many great functions, and looks nice too, the Oceanic F-10 Free-Diving Watch V3 is a good way to go. The quality of this watch is well worth the investment, and you’ll likely be satisfied for many dives to come.
One of the most important things which the Oceanic F-10 Free-Diving Watch V3 does is to provide you with many important underwater audible alarms. This watch features a user-defined surface recovery timer, which is very useful because it will keep track of the break time between your dives. Additionally, it also comes with a repeating elapsed dive time alarm, a repeating dive depth interval alarm, and 3 separate maximum depth alarm, all of which help keep you safe in the deep blue depths.
The Oceanic F-10 Free-Diving Watch V3 does have a couple of other modes, mainly countdown timers ambient air temperature, and water temperature when submerged. This watch functions at depths of up to 100 meters and more without the fear of breaking. It is made with a durable design and high-quality materials that are sure to keep the water out, holding true for both salt and freshwater.
4. Cressi Free Diving Watch
If you need a well built and super-advanced diving watch that has no shortage of functions, safety features, and a high level of durability, the Cressi FreeDiving Computer Watch is a good option to consider Yes, it is premium product, but it definitely gets the job done and will keep you satisfied for many dives to come.
What is really great about the Cressi FreeDiving Computer Watch is that it comes with an available dive log book, so you can record the information for up to 500 previous dives, something which the other watches on this list so far have not featured. This watch is very durable, as the materials used in its construction are impact resistant. It features a screen that won’t fog or scratch, and you can easily go to 100 meters or deeper without fear of the watch breaking or malfunctioning.
The watch band on this device, while quite durable, is admittedly not the most comfortable in the world, but it gets the job done. To keep you safe and sound while diving, the Cressi FreeDiving Computer Watch comes with many alarms. It features your dive time, elapsed time, current time, surfacing alarms, maximum depth alarms, and more. In our opinion, this watch is one of the top options for freediving out there on the market today.
5. Suunto D4F Black Freedive Watch
This might be one of the best freediving watch on this list today, as it hosts the most features, is the most durable, and will help keep you safe while freediving for many dives to come.
When it comes to durability, the materials which the Suunto D4F Black Freedive Computer is made of cannot be beat. Even though you cannot dive 3,000 meters, this computer will keep working to those depths. It just will not let water in, it is highly impact resistant, and the face is virtually impossible to scratch. The solid rubber band included here might not be the most stylish in design, but it is adjustable, it is durable, and actually quite comfortable too.
The Suunto D4F Black Freedive Computer comes with many different modes and safety alarms. These include things like your current depth, your surfacing rate, surface time alarms, maximum depth alarms, elapsed dive time, and many more. This watch also has the ability to accurately measure both air and water temperatures, which is quite impressive in such a convenient device. For pretty much every reason we can think of, the Suunto D4F Black Freedive Computer seems to be the best option on the market right now.
None of this should come as much of a shock given that it's made by Suunto. They produce some of the very best scuba diving gear and computers on the market today.
The Verdict: The Best Free-diving Watch
Freediving is perhaps the ultimate connection between man and the underwater world. There are no tanks or other complex gear involved, simply you and the quiet mysteries of the ocean below.
Freediving can either push divers to their limits as an adventure sport, or be a mindful exploration of the natural world underwater. This ocean sport is open to anyone who wants to get their toes wet and adventure in the deep blue without complicated gear. One of the few pieces of gear we suggest absolutely including on your dive is a watch suitable for use freediving.
There are many great watch options on the market today, five of our favorites featured here. If you would prefer to keep a tight budget and get a basic freediving watch, The Pyle FreeDiving Watch is a good beginner option to start with. If you need something a little more reliable, and featuring advanced modes and alarms, the Suunto D4F Black Freedive Watch is not only a good dive watch but it but it gets our best free-diving watch award. No matter which watch you choose, make sure it’s one that is designed specifically for the sport. While there are regular swimmers watches available, these frequently don't have the safety features you need to engage in a sport such as freediving.For more diving gear recommendations, like our SCUBA diving gear guide infographic, check out some related articles below! Or subscribe to our email list for content sent right to your inbox.
Megan Jones is the lead author of Seaside Planet. She is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and travel enthusiast who takes any opportunity she can to spend time in the ocean. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.