Why should you invest in the best dive watches?
List of Best Affordable Dive Watches
- Citizen Men’s Promaster Professional Diver
- Seiko Men’s Automatic Analogue SKX007K Review
- Casio Men’s Sport Analog Watch
- Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster BJ8050-08E
- Casio Men’s Black Analog MDV106-1A
- Orient Men’s ‘Mako II’
- Invicta Men’s 8926OB Pro Diver Watch
- Citizen Men’s BJ7000-52E Nighthawk Dive Watch
- Stuhrling Original Men’s Swiss Quartz Dive Watch
- Tissot Seastar 1000 Chronograph Dive Watch
- Henry Jay Men’s 23K Gold Plated Watch
- Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Titanium AT4010-50E Review
- Casio G-Shock Digital Dial Resin Quartz Men’s Watch
After all, the market is now full of dive computers – devices which not only monitor your elapsed dive time (which dive watches also do) but also measure depth (which dive watches don’t). Surely, then, purchasing a dive computer should be a no brainer, right?
Unlike an average dive computer, even the best and affordable dive watches have a competitive price tag. Unlike the computer, these watches make great daily wearers. And finally, unlike the computer, these watches are a style statement because of their eye-catching design.
Comparison Table: Dive Watches
Best Dive Watches
Who said diver watches have to come in drab colors which you cannot wear in other outdoor settings? With the Citizen’s Promaster Diver, you can get your hands on a watch for every occasion.
An ISO-certified dive watch which is submergible up to 666ft, the Citizen Men’s Promaster is cheap, reliable and stylish. Though it doesn’t provide a sapphire crystal, the presence of mineral crystal means you won’t have to worry about the ability of this watch to withstand a beating.
The Promaster has a unique dark blue background on its watch face with its blue Polyurethane rubber strap supplemented with a stainless buckle clasp. The presence of bold second markings and distinctive phosphorescent hands means you can easily read the time even when it’s dark under there.
What’s more, since the lugs of the Promaster measure 20mm, you can easily customize it with other straps or bracelets. Its stainless steel unidirectional bezel, meanwhile, won’t be that easy to rotate when underwater – which is a good thing as it reduces the likelihood of it moving after an accidental knock.
Additionally, since its crown is perched atop the 4 o’clock position, you won’t feel it digging into your wrist. Its screw-down mechanism means that provided you have tightened it before going underwater, no moisture will penetrate the movement area.
Unidirectional stainless steel bezel
Luminous hour and hands markers
Mineral crystal display
Fueled by light
A little on the heavier side
Whether you talk about looks or value for money, Seiko has always been able to punch well above its weight, a claim which looks truer once you go compare the performance of the SKX007K with its asking price.
One of the most best affordable dive watch on the market, the Seiko Men’s SKX007XK has a stainless steel case with distinctive crown guards and curved lugs blending into the case, hence giving the entire watch a classic look.
Apart from showing day and date, the black dial of this model features white graphics which are easy to see even in dark conditions. Since it runs on Japanese Automatic movement – which powers the watch with your wrist movement – the SXK007 will keep on ticking for 42 hours even if not worn.
To limit the likelihood of the crown accidentally opening when you’re diving, it is sturdily screwed down into the large crown guards. Provided you screw it out – which will require some effort – the crown provides two positive positions using which you can set date and time.
In case you were worried, this watch does have ISO certification – which guarantees its water resistance up to 600 feet. The 7S26 movement of this watch, meanwhile, provides incredible accuracy with a margin of error ranging between +40 and -20 seconds per day.
Robust and solid case
Bright and reliably luminous
Easy to read
Has ISO certification
Unscrewing the crown requires effort
A classic watch whose diver-looks might make it awkward for any other setting, the Casio MRW200 has everything which a professional might ask for in a diver’s watch.
From diving to snorkeling – and everything in between – the beautiful minimalistic design of this model makes it perfect for any outdoor activity. It comes with ISO certification which means that this watch is virtually impregnable to water to up to 300 feet.
Furthermore, thanks to its Japanese quartz movement and mineral dial window, you can expect precise results from this dive watch (Casio claims that its accuracy wanders between plus/minus 20 seconds per 30 days). That means there won’t be any need for you to adjust it every few days.
Also, while it does come with a rotating bezel, the fact that the bezel is unidirectional means it won’t move backward after an accidental bump. Its buckle closure will lock securely on your arm and the fact that it has a smooth texture means that it won’t feel weird on bare skin.
Lastly, in contrast to most dive watches on the market, the Casio Sport has dared to adopt a round dial. Supplemented with Arabic numeral indices and a textured bezel, the classic appeal of the dial is further enhanced by the day-plus-date window.
Excellent time precision
Has a tough resin case
Water resistant up to 330 feet
Has no backlight
Although Citizen is a brand which is more known for its luxury watches, the Eco-Drive Promaster BJ8050-08E shows that the company can claim its share in the outdoor market too.
First things first, the Citizen BJ8050-08E has a non-reflective curved mineral crystal whose case diameter of 48mm makes it a must-have for mixed-gas diving. Apart from its urethane rubber strap, this model comes with a diving extender so you can enlarge its clasp width with ease.
Additionally, it features Japanese quartz movement which is famous for its accuracy and reliability. Making sure that it remains easy to read in low-light conditions are its luminous hands and digits which change colors to enhance their visibility.
What’s more, the BJ8050-08E has a gigantic maximum power reserve of 180 days. Provided you haven’t worn it for a long time, its low charge warning will alert you 3 days in advance. And once you’ve worn it, the watch will display the remaining time that it will take to reach full charge.
Impressively, while its incandescent light feature will last for 9 hours under the sun, it has a life of 33 hours in cloudy environments. The screw-back case, meanwhile, gives the whole watch water stability and the fact that it is ISO-certified means that it will remain water-resistant up to 984 feet underwater.
Retains power for 180 days
Depth rating of 984-feet
Comes with a diving extender
Are you looking for a budget dive watch which could compete with models costing four times as much? The meager price tag of the Casio Men’s Black means’ you might have got your wish.
With its angular stainless steel case, 90-degree corners around the crown and a 44-mm case diameter, the Casio Men’s MDV106-1A sits fairly large on the wrist. Still, thanks to its lugs – which curve drastically downward – it has the ability to fit smaller wrists with ease.
Furthermore, the MDV106-1A boasts a small screw-down crown whose notched edges allow the crown to give a decent grip. Also, since the crown is surrounded by two crown guards – one on each side – it has the ability to withstand several beatings without breaking a sweat.
Turn the watch upside down, and you’ll see that this model is water resistance up to 200 meters, which is huge given the low price of this model. Also, while its mineral crystal is more prone to scratches than, say, sapphire, it will still be fit for the task as long as you don’t make a deliberate attempt to damage it.
Moving on, while its dial has a classic dive watch’s look – simple, circular and elegant – the fact that all the hour marks glow in the dark allows this model to belie its tiny price tag. The whole step is powered by a battery with a three-year life and an accuracy of +/- 20 seconds/month.
Stainless Steel case
Has Japanese quartz movement
Luminous pip on the zero marker
Engravings on the back look cheap
For those of you who have one eye on their pocket while searching for a dive watch, the Orient Mako II – just like its predecessor – might be worthy of your attention.
Starting with the best that the Mako II has to offer, and its practical dimensions come into play. With its 41.5mm width (minus the crown guards) 13mm thickness and 47mm lug-to-lug length, it is a compact watch which can be comfortably worn all day even on extra-small wrists.
Though it doesn’t have ISO certification, the Mako II more than makes up for this shortcoming with its Stainless Steel case, 200m water resistant and a uni-directional rotating bezel. But we do think that it could have done better than opting for mineral crystal which is a magnet for scratches.
Moreover, while it doesn’t have a backlight, the presence of lume inside the markings will make the time visible in moderately low-light conditions. Its dial’s outer perimeter has a protruding chapter wring which marks the passing of minutes and seconds.
Finally, to give the whole setup an elegant look, the bracelet of this model has a combination of polished and brushed elements. That said, the transition between both is so seamless that you can’t notice where the brushed top end and polished sides begin.
Double-push button safety clasp
Water resistant up to 660 feet
40-hour power reserve
Isn’t ISO certified
Most of us love what Rolex has to offer. Only a few, however, can afford to pay the king’s ransom which Rolex demands for its products. But why are we talking about Rolex here? Because the Invicta 8926OB has the same looks as the Rolex Submariner, though that isn’t its only unique selling point.
Weighing in at a just over 1lb, the 8926OB is a bit lighter than most other diver watches in this review. That, however, doesn’t mean that this watch is flimsy – as its 13mm thickness makes it sturdy and allows it to provide a firm grip under your sleeve cuff.
More importantly, to make sure that it stays resistant to up to 660ft, the 8926OB has a stainless steel case with a screw-down crown, and you can turn to the latter for time and date adjustment. It has a bezel frame and black dial which complement the luminous hands and hour marks to increase legibility.
Also, while its mineral glass isn’t the best in the world, the presence of anti-reflective coating allows it to holds its own when exposed to sunshine. It also has a cyclops located right on top of the date aperture which magnifies the date to make it easy to read.
Lastly, the 8926OB boasts a reliable caliber which ensures that the time remains accurate to +/- 10, 15 seconds per day. Granted, there are watches who show more efficiency, but those that don’t come close to offering their services at the same price as the Invicta.
Reliable NH35A caliber
Incredible water resistance
Comes at an affordable price
Elegant and classy styling
Lume is weak
Containing a stainless steel band, an anti-reflective crystal and dial with luminous hands and markers, the Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster Nighthawk is certainly a premium diver’s watch.
Starting with a glance and its stainless case, and the Citizen BJ7000-52E Nighthawk affords a brushed finish around the outer bezel and on its body. Despite having the common 3-part construction, the protruding outer bezel of this model gives it body more height, thereby adding to its appeal.
At 3 and 8 are two crowns using which you can set time and operate the internal bezel, respectively. Both these crowns have a knurled finish which not only protects them but also gives a visually aesthetic texture. The crown at 3, meanwhile, screws down to make this model water-resistant to up to 200m.
Turning our attention to its dial, and it comes laden with information. Apart from the usual date and time, the dial has a bevy of markings in red and white, including tick marks, numbers plus a few conversion factors relating to volume and fuel. You also get the factor for time-distance conversion there.
Lastly, in addition to telling you date and time, the Nighthawk also has a GMT function which gives you the freedom to have two time zones on your watch. It also has a slide rule bezel which allows you to do various calculations including multiplication, division, and conversion of distances.
Surprisingly nice Stainless steel bracelet
The clasp has a double-locking system
GMT function and slide rule bezel
Water-resistant up to 660ft
Lugs are tight, might not handle heavy straps
Though not coming from as famous a brand as Casio or Citizen, the Stuhrling Original has made all the right noises in the market with its unique feature set and competitive price.
What’s it that distinguishes this model from other dive watches in this review? For starters, its surgical grade stainless steel case. Measuring 42mm thick, the case has a screw down back which makes it impenetrable for water to up to 660ft.
Also, the Stuhrling has a unidirectional edge bezel which means that it won’t go backward on encountering a thump to disrupt your time measurement. Its bracelet, meanwhile, not only comes with removable links but is also adjustable to fit most wrist sizes with ease.
Furthermore, thanks to its diver’s clasp – which is an expanding metal mechanism made of steel – the Stuhrling Original makes it easy for you to get a perfect fit, after which you can turn to its safety lock to make the grip secure.
Both the indices as well as the hands of this watch are coated with lume which helps the dial glow after a short exposure to light. As well as the quarter hour marks are made bigger than the rest so that you’ve no problem checking the exact time.
Surgical grade stainless steel case
Adjustable bracelet with removable links
Unidirectional edge bezel
Impenetrable, screw-down crown
Although the Tissot Seastar 1000 Chronograph is designated for male divers, it’s hard to see how it will look out of place on female divers or snorkeling enthusiasts. After all, its aesthetic design might make allow this watch to offer something to everyone.
Featuring a 316L stainless steel case which is average for most watches in this price spectrum the Seastar 1000 measures 12.82mm in thickness and 45mm in diameter – making it large enough for fit most adult wrist sizes, and it has a helium release valve too to ensure your safety.
To increase its water resistance, the screw-down crown of this model comes handy. Though the best part about this watch has to be its sapphire crystal dial whose anti-reflective coating and scratch-resistant surface makes this watch a mouth-watering prospect.
Also, since this is a chronograph watch – which is a fancy word for timer or stopwatch – you can stop this watch at will. Making sure that you take full advantage of this feature are the 30-minute, 60-second and 1/10 second subdials on this model.
Concluding our review of the Seastar 1000, it contains luminous hands and markers and is water resistant to up to 984 feet, which given the astronomical price tag of this mode, is something that you should expect.
Massive 984ft water resistance
Antireflective sapphire dial window
Helium release valve
Plenty of useful subdials
Question marks about antireflective nature of the dial
Who said that every gold-plated watch costs a fortune? Not the engineers at Henry Jay, that’s for sure. Otherwise, this watch wouldn’t have come at such an affordable price as it has.
In contrast to most gold-plated watches on the market, the Henry Jay doesn’t weigh a meager 12 ounces – so it won’t weigh down your wrist. Its dial, though not the best by any means, has that protective layer which will protect its inner contents but won’t keep scratches at bay.
As for its case, Henry Jay made a daring decision of combining the gold-colored case with the dark-blue dial, which would have looked ugly hadn’t it gone according to the plan. Fortunately, it did, hence the reason why you can easily read both date and time.
Look closely, and you’ll note that while the dial has been provided with large-sized gold-colored minute markers, the date appears bigger than ordinary. That’s because it contains a magnifier in front of it to allow for easy visibility.
On top of everything else, this model has a push button deployant clasp which ensures a secure fit and can withstand water to up to 330ft thanks to its screw-down crown. And while you don’t get any backlight, luminous hands and markers are on offer.
Luminous hands and markers
23k gold-plated stainless steel bracelet
Prominent time markers and magnified date
Provided you can afford to pay a handsome amount, the Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive has all the bells and whistles to justify your selection.
Since modern watches should have modern technology, Citizen applied this maxim by providing the AT5010-50E with its Eco-Drive movement. This technology converts solar energy into electrical signals before storing the same in a power cell, so no more periodic battery charges are required.
Next comes the dial of this model which doesn’t look cluttered despite having a plethora of subdials. These subdials contain useful information including a perpetual calendar, five time zones, 12/24 hour time, alarm and the power remaining in the watch’s reserve.
While other features of this model are also useful, its star feature has to be its titanium case. Lightweight yet sturdy, titanium rivals stainless steel in strength while weighing half as much. It is also resistant to corrosion from regular body sweat as well as sea water.
Given the price tag of this dive watch, Citizen did well to supply it with a sapphire crystal dial. It is resistant to scratches and has an anti-reflective coating plus the crystal’s polished surface means reading the date and time is a cinch. Oh, and it is water-resistant up to 200m.
Subdials with useful info
Double push-button closure
Citizen’s Eco-Drive movement
In love with those age-old watches which had a backlight to remain relevant after dark? Then you’ll surely find the Casio G-Shock to complement your taste.
Design-wise, the Casio G-Shock wasn’t built to impress. Instead, with its shock-resistant casing and ISO200M water resistance, this watch is built to last. So while it would do little for those after looks, others who want their watch to be sturdy will find plenty to admire in the G-Shock.
Similar to its sturdy hardware, the software of this model is also impressive. Apart from showcasing world time, noon data and tide graph, the watch’s built-in software let you set 4 daily alarms and 1 snooze alarm. You also get an hourly time signal as well as the remaining battery power indicator.
Its solar battery lasts 10 months on a full charge, though you could further expand this time by activating the power-saving mode that this watch provides. Equally impressive is its full auto-calendar which is programmed until the end of the century and its accuracy of +/-15 seconds per month.
As far as divers are concerned, this watch provides two very important graphs: Moon Graph and Tide Graph. You can rely on the information provided by them to calculate the best time to get underwater. And its backlight ensures that the watch stays readable even when it’s dark out there.
Power saving function
Daily alarms, world time
Doesn’t come with a warranty
How to Choose the Top Dive Watches – Buyer’s Guide
In case you were wondering, our selection of the watches recommended above only came about after those products fulfilled the following criteria:
Too obvious, isn’t it? What isn’t obvious is how you measure the water resistance of the watch. After all, every dive watch which you see in the market can claim to be impregnable against water. How, then, would you determine the veracity of their claim?
Here’s how: check the depth rating of the watch you’re looking at. While most dive watches stop functioning 200ft beneath the water, there are some – like the Citizen BN0151-09L – which give you company even when you’re 660feet underwater.
ISO 6425 Standard
If you want to know whether the person standing in front of you is an expert or an amateur diver, ask them about the utility of ISO 6425 Standard. Provided they can satisfy you with their answer, then rest assured that you’re in the company of an expert.
A dive watch with an ISO 6425 certification means that it can withstand water pressure up to a depth of at least 100m. Also, these watches have a secured measuring system which allows them to deliver accurate diving time, even in darkness.
Screw Down Crown
After the case back, the watch’s crown is its most vulnerable point for the penetration of water. So the crown should have a screw-down mechanism to get a 100% tight water seal. Also, it should have good gaskets to keep water at bay.
Granted, some of the watches in this review have cam locking mechanisms or involve double gaskets, yet the screw down mechanism is undoubtedly the most reliable. Which is why the majority of dive watches employ it.
Material of Construction
Scour the market in search of dive watches, and you’d realize that the majority is made of four types of materials. Let’s check out which one of them should you select.
1. Stainless Steel
In contrast to what most people choose to believe, stainless steel – though good – isn’t perfect by any means. While it does keep corrosion at bay, stainless steel watches tend to be heavy, though they are generally less expensive than their titanium counterparts.
Whether you’re swimming with dolphins in Hawaii or snorkeling in Molokini, a titanium dive watch should be a part of your itinerary. They have a lightweight construction and offer extreme resistance to corrosion, though they won’t come cheap.
Of all the things it can do, leather doesn’t make even a half-decent dive watch. Granted, it offers water resistance, but expose it to too much water and leather’s affinity for water will make it stiff and hard once it dries.
4. Metal Bracelet
Though their performance isn’t as bad as leather under water, metal bracelets perform some way short of stainless steel, too. Why? They might have a decent depth rating but you can never trust how they would fare when fighting rust.
Unidirectional Rotating Bezel
Regardless of which material your watch is made of, it must have two properties: a unidirectional rotating bezel and a 12 o’clock position marked with a luminous marker. As to why we recommend both these features, the following are the reasons.
– Why Unidirectional Rotating Bezel?
By ensuring that the dial won’t move backward as you’re busy with your dive, a unidirectional rotating bezel won’t give you an impression that you have more time at your disposal than you actually do, thereby ensuring your safety.
– Why a luminous marker at 12 o’clock?
Underwater, you won’t have enough time to glance repeatedly at the watch to assess the correct time. A luminous marking sign at the 12 o’clock, therefore, will make sure that you can easily assess the elapsed time at a glance.
It goes without saying that for a dive watch to last ages underwater, it must be impregnable against corrosion. Otherwise, while it might last one trip to the sea bed, the accumulation of rust might make it useless for the next. Make sure the following parts of your dive watch are corrosion resistant.
As far as resistance against corrosion is concerned, we always recommend silicone bands. Made of a combination of different additives and vulcanized silicone rubber (RTV silicone), they don’t allow accumulation of bacteria on the surface.
Also, they offer good temperature resistance too, which is why rubber dive straps can be used at temperatures ranging between -90*C and 300*C.
Although the whole watch is susceptible to corrosion underwater, its band and casing – for the simple reason that their upper surface is exposed to direct contact with water – are the parts which are most in danger.
So, if you are after a corrosion resistant casing – and can afford to pay a bit over the odds – you shouldn’t settle for anything less than titanium. Conversely, if budget is an issue, high-grade stainless steel should be your bare minimum choice.
What is it that makes a watch tick? That’s right; its movement. One of the most essential pieces of the clock, it moves the hands and keeps the time accurate. Dive watches offer two types of movements: Quartz and Mechanical.
A quartz movement relies on a small piece of vibrating material whose vibration they convert into time via a battery. Such an arrangement gives way to incredulously accurate time measurements, to within ½ second per day.
Apart from the occasional changing of their battery, such movements require little if any maintenance. They also tend to be inexpensive, especially when compared with their mechanical counterparts.
Only available in the most luxurious dive watches, these movements use energy from a wound spring. They have a set of gears which keeps the watch ticking for up to 40 hours on a full-wind, though some watches last longer.
Fortunately, not all mechanical movements require self-wound – as some are automatically wound with your wrist movement. They are more stylish and beautiful than their quartz counterparts, but might also empty your bank account with their asking price.
Type of Luminescence
Misquoting a line from Game of Thrones, the ocean is dark – and it gets even darker as you try to scour its depths. So it’s important to have a luminescent watch, which means the one that glows.
– Tritium Paint
Without going into technicalities, the main selling point of tritium paint is that it glows without having to be in the light first. That means that even if you have kept your watch in your bag throughout the trip, it would still glow in the darkness. Also, tritium paints glow very brightly.
– Luminescence Paint
In direct contrast to tritium paint, this substance needs you to place it in the light for it to glow afterward. That’s because it relies on solar energy to get charged before releasing that energy in the form of light later on. While they grow less brightly than tritium paints, luminescence paint won’t fade over time.
Dive Watches FAQs
To answer some of the questions that may have arisen in your mind while reading this article, this section comes into play.
At the cost of sounding politically correct, all the dive watches in this review are best in their own field. Still, if we have to make a choice, the Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Titanium AT4010-50E gets our vote. Apart from the usual benefits which its titanium construction provides to this model, it has Citizen’s Eco-Drive movement plus three highly useful subdials and a sapphire crystal dial.
Thus, whether you’re on diving deep in the ocean or watching turtles on the beach, this watch will justify its price tag with aplomb.
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