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Are you shopping for a watch style dive computer? These models are smaller and more compact than their wrist and console style counterparts, and usually more fashion focused. But, their most essential functions are still monitoring your depth and time underwater. Because your computer is so vital to safety while diving, it’s often the first piece of equipment that new divers buy. But, with so many different designs available, it can be hard to know what to choose. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by options, don’t worry. The Adventure Junkies are here to help. Keep reading to learn about the best dive computer watches on the market and which features to shop for.

For more of our top scuba gear recommendations, check out the Best Dive Computers

 

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Quick Answer - The Best Watch Style Dive Computers

  1. Mares Smart
  2. Cressi Goa
  3. Suunto D4i Novo
  4. Aqua Lung i450T
  5. Garmin Descent Mk1

 

Comparison Table - Best Dive Computer Watch

PictureNameButtonsOperating ModesOxygen BlendDisplayPriceRating
Mares Smart2Air, Nitrox, Freedive2 gasses, up to 99% O2LCD Backlit$4.8
Cressi Goa2Air, Nitrox, Freedive, Gauge2 gasses, up to 50% O2LCD Backlit$4.6
Suunto D4i Novo4Air, Nitrox, Freedive, Gauge, Watch3 gasses, up to 50% O2LED Backlit$$4.4
Aqua Lung i450T4Air, Nitrox, Freedive, Gauge3 gasses, up to 100% O2LCD Backlit$$4.7
Garmin Descent Mk15Air, Nitrox, Trimix, CCR, Freedive, Gauge, Watch6 gasses, up to 100% O2MIP Full Color$$$4.8
PictureNameButtonsOperating ModesOxygen BlendDisplayPriceRating

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Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Computer Watch for Diving

Mares Smart

Specs
  • Buttons: 2
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, Freedive
  • Oxygen Blend: 2 gasses, up to 99% O2
  • Display: LCD Backlit
Features
  • Available in Multiple Colors
  • User Changeable Battery
  • Residual Nitrogen Reset (can be used by multiple divers in the same day)
  • PC Compatible (via cable)

BEST FOR: BEGINNERS

Are you new to diving? The Mares Smart is an affordable, entry-level option that comes equipped with all the features you need and none that you don’t. This lightweight model packs all the same diver-friendly details as the original Mares Puck but in a much smaller package. Plus, its oversized display and two button design make navigating its intuitive menus a breeze, even if it’s your very first computer. And, its LCD backlit display is easy to read in all environments, including dim light and direct sun.

Cressi Goa

Specs
  • Buttons: 2
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, Freedive, Gauge
  • Oxygen Blend: 2 gasses, up to 50% O2
  • Display: LCD Backlit
Features
  • Ability to Add/Remove Deep Stops (for a more or less conservative ascent)
  • User Changeable Battery
  • Residual Nitrogen Reset (can be used by multiple divers in the same day)
  • Cold Water Compatible

BEST FOR: BUDGET

If you’re shopping on a budget but still want a rugged mid-range dive computer that will stand the test of time, the Cressi Goa might be your best bet. This model is more compact than similar designs, but still has a large, easy to read backlit screen. And, unlike other budget options, its buckles and oversized buttons are stainless steel instead of plastic. The Goa also comes standard with an anti-impact housing and an extra long strap, making it a top pick for divers in cold climates and challenging conditions.

Suunto D4i Novo

Specs
  • Buttons: 4
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, Freedive, Gauge, Watch
  • Oxygen Blend: 3 gasses, up to 50% O2
  • Display: LED Backlit
Features
  • Available in Multiple Colors
  • Wireless Air Integration (compatible with a Bluetooth transmitter)
  • PC Compatible (via cable)
  • Doubles As A Wristwatch

BEST FOR: DAILY USE

The Suunto D4i Novo is a compact and comfortable watch style computer, perfect for daily use. It features more operating modes than competing models, easy to customize profiles and alarms, and the option to blend 3 gasses during a single immersion. The D4i Novo is also one of the most fashionable options available, with a wide variety of colors and straps to choose from. And, it doubles as a wristwatch so you can wear it around the clock both in and out of the water. This makes it a top pick for working dive professionals, and those who hit the waves on a daily basis.

Aqua Lung i450T

Specs
  • Buttons: 4
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, Freedive, Gauge
  • Oxygen Blend: 3 gasses, up to 100% O2
  • Display: LCD Backlit
Features
  • Wireless Air Integration (compatible with a Bluetooth transmitter)
  • Ability to Add/Remove Deep Stops (for a more or less conservative ascent)
  • User Changeable Battery
  • Doubles As A Wristwatch

BEST FOR: DIVE TRAVEL

The Aqua Lung i450T is a top pick for divers who travel thanks to its lightweight and compact design, and variety of user-friendly features. This computer can switch between 3 gasses during a dive, pairs with a Bluetooth transmitter for wireless air integration, and features adjustable deep stops. So, it’s a perfect match for advanced applications, but it’s easy to navigate menus make it ideal for beginners, too. Best of all, this model doubles as a wristwatch so that you can wear it straight from the plane into the water.

Garmin Descent Mk1

Specs
  • Buttons: 5
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, Trimix, CCR, Freedive, Gauge, Watch
  • Oxygen Blend: 6 gasses, up to 100% O2
  • Display: MIP Full Color
Features
  • Adjustable Algorithm (to preset more or less conservative dive profiles)
  • Cold Water Compatible
  • Multisport Function (can be used for running, biking, hiking, and swimming)
  • GPS Capable (tracks location above and below water)
  • Rechargeable Battery
  • Smartphone Compatible (via Bluetooth)

BEST FOR: BEST OF THE BEST 

When it comes to watch style dive computers, the Garmin Descent Mk1 is the top of the line. This computer has more functions than any other model on the market, packed into a stylish design suitable for everyday wear. It features modes for multiple sports, can support up to 6 gas mixes including Trimix, and uses GPS technology to track your location above and below water. The Mk1 also includes a rechargeable lithium battery and charging station.

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THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A WATCH STYLE DIVE COMPUTER

OXYGEN BLEND

If you are Nitrox certified or planning to try your hand at technical diving, you might want a computer that can manage multiple gas blends. For most advanced applications, 2 gasses with a maximum of 50% O2 is plenty. But, there are plenty of models on the market that can support up to 6 gasses with up to 100% O2 and Trimix.

 

DISPLAY TYPE

Most dive computers are manufactured with an LCD or ELD backlit screen. These black and white only displays feature bold, easy to read numbers that are visible no matter how much or little light you are diving in. But, these days more models than ever feature full-color displays. These screen types are often more fragile and may be harder to read in bright light and direct sun, so they aren’t best for beginners.

 

NUMBER OF BUTTONS

If you’re new to diving, choose a computer with as few buttons as possible. Many high-end models include 4 or more, but beginners may find that many buttons confusing to use. And, it’s pointless to dive with a computer that you can’t operate quickly and efficiently underwater. This is less of a consideration for advanced divers and those who are comfortable navigating through multiple menus mid-dive.

 

OPERATING MODES

Entry-level dive computers include basic modes like air, Nitrox, freedive, and gauge (monitors depth and time without calculating NDL). But, some more advanced models include other options like Trimix, CCR (closed circuit rebreather), and watch (operates as a wristwatch). Look for a design that features models you will use regularly. Keep in mind that advanced applications like rebreather and Trimix diving will require multiple computers for safety and redundancy. So, don’t worry about buying a more basic model to start with, it will make a great backup later on.

 

BATTERY TYPES

If you are planning to dive in remote areas, consider a dive computer with a rechargeable battery or one that you can change on your own. Some models require a trip to a service center to have their battery replaced, which may be difficult or impossible to find while traveling.

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

WIRELESS AIR INTEGRATION (compatible with a Bluetooth transmitter)

Wireless air integrated dive computers use a transmitter mounted to the regulator’s first stage to relay tank pressure to a wrist-mounted display. Keep in mind that these transmitters are delicate pieces of dive equipment. And, they are sold separately from the computer, which makes them an expensive addition to your gear bag. But, most divers agree they are well worth the extra cost and maintenance.

ADJUSTABLE ALGORITHM (to preset more or less conservative dive profiles)

All dive computers use mathematical formulas known as algorithms to determine your NDL (no-decompression limit). But, some models allow you to select a more or less liberal formula based on your comfort level and personal preference. A less conservative algorithm may give you a few extra minutes of bottom time per tank, but will still keep you diving well within your limits.

ABILITY TO ADD / REMOVE DEEP STOPS (for a more or less conservative ascent)

If you’re diving deep, your computer may suggest extra stops during ascent, in addition to the recommended “safety stop” at 15 feet (5 meters) for 3 minutes. Some models allow you to add extra stops for a more conservative diving profile, or remove stops for a quicker trip to the surface. This can be especially helpful for divers exceeding 100 feet (30 meters). Remember, a slow ascent with plenty of time for off gassing is the best way to avoid decompression illness and injury.

RESIDUAL NITROGEN RESET (can be used by multiple divers in the same day)

Some dive computers can be reset in between dives. A full reset allows one computer to be passed from one diver to another, without accounting for the day’s previous dive profiles. This feature is helpful for shared equipment and gear rental.

PC AND SMARTPHONE COMPATIBLE

PC and smartphone compatible dive computers can be synced with your electronic devices (via cable or Bluetooth technology) to log and plan dives.

COLD WATER COMPATIBLE

Dive computers intended for cold water use come with oversized buttons (for easy use with thick gloves) and extra long wrist straps (to fit over a thick wetsuit or drysuit).

READ MORE

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