Finally there is the question of whether a date function is useful in a dive watch. It is arguable that a date is superfluous for a watch meant for scuba but it is hard to deny that it could be desirable for a saturation diver, who must live cut off from the outside world for weeks at a time. 

It’s a highly stressful work environment – although observation of correct procedures keeps things uneventful, catastrophe is only a mishandled valve away; something that surely weighs on every saturation diver’s mind. Anything that helps keep a diver oriented with respect to time would certainly be a plus under such circumstances. 

With a total of 570 offshore drilling platforms in operation in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and Southeast Asia alone as of 2015, there remains a great deal of work for saturation divers. Anecdotally, video documentary evidence would seem to indicate that not a few saturation divers wear purpose-built dive watches.

HODINKEE contributor and very experienced scuba diver Jason Heaton has views on helium escape valves; see what he has to say right here.