While iconic watches like the Rolex Submariner or the Omega Seamaster have set the standards as some of the best dive watches, most of our readers would not actually spend that much on a watch.
The good news is that there are plenty of good quality, affordable dive watches to choose from in the sub-$500 range. We’ve narrowed down the options to include watches from Japanese brands, Seiko and Citizen, two of the most prominent brands when it comes to budget-friendly diver’s watches. We also found a few Swiss-made dive watches that came in within our budget.
All of the watches below are waterproof rated to 200m, a feature you’d expect from a quality dive watch.
So here is a closer look at our list of best dive watches under $500.
(Last Updated: March 2022, all these watches were selling for $500 or less. Prices may have fluctuated since then, possibly pushing them over the original budget. We’ve also included watches at the lower range for decent dive watches to provide affordable options for everyone’s budget).
Best Dive Watches Under $500
Casio 200M Duro Dive Watch (MDV106-1AV)
The Casio 200M Duro dive watch features a relatively solid and straightforward build. Casio focuses more on functionality than bells and whistles, making the Duro Dive a fantastic entry-level choice for sea-lovers.
The black and white aesthetic is not only easy on the eyes; it is practical as well. Casio designed the Duro Dive to be as easy to read as possible, both in the day and nighttime settings. The black resin band provides that extra grip and comfort in both land and underwater.
The black dial features bold and luminous indices along with three analog arrow hands. There is also a date display neatly located beside the three o’clock marker. Other notable features of the case include:
- The diver-inspired anti-reverse bezel.
- A mineral crystal window.
- Water resistance of up to 200-meters.
Underneath the robust 44mm stainless steel case is a Japanese quartz movement to provide it with excellent reliability and accuracy at all times.
The Casio 200M Duro Dive excels as an affordable and highly reliable dive watch. The design of this timepiece is clean, professional, and has a sporty charm. The Casio 200M Duro Dive certainly offers an outstanding balance in performance and quality.
Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster Diver (BN0150-28E)
Designed with diving functionality and a minimalist aesthetic, the Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster Diver BN0150-28E is perfect for underwater adventures and for matching with your casual attire for a sleek look.
It’s complete with the 200-meter water resistance, unidirectional rotating bezel with a luminescent pip at the 60-minute position, large and luminescent hands and hour markers, screw-down crown, screw-down case back, and polyurethane strap—altogether, those features make it a quintessential diver’s watch.
Apart from its excellent features for diving, it has more great features in store. As this Japanese quartz watch comes from the Eco-Drive series, Citizen’s series that is powered with solar energy, a technology that they have pioneered, this watch can convert any light source, whether natural or artificial, into power.
An additional handy feature it has is its date display at the 5 o’clock position. The mineral crystal for its dial window gives an unimpeded view of the dial, free from glares, as it is anti-reflective and also prevents scratches from getting on its surface, as it is a durable material that’s tough to scratch.
Luminox Men’s Original Navy SEAL (XS.3001)
Extreme resilience and functionality are what Luminox is all about. Since 1989, the company has been providing the toughest watches in the market along with its proprietary light technology that can last up to 25 years and allows visibility at any condition without the need of an external light source or a push of a button, hence their brand name.
Not only has the watch brand been used by military and law enforcement groups, but it has also become all the rage for outdoorsy; sporty, and active persons for the quality it never fails to deliver.
Once again, Luminox delivers its trademark quality in the Original Navy SEAL XS.3001, which is why we have considered it as one of the best dive watches.
This durable Swiss quartz watch is composed of a carbon-reinforced polycarbonate case with a double-security gasket crown and a screw-down case back, mineral crystal dial window, and rubber strap. It’s water-resistant to 200-meters and provides a carbon-reinforced unidirectional rotating bezel making it perfect for diving. An additional feature is its date display at the 3 o’clock position.
Orient Men’s ‘MAKO II’
A classic dive watch that you can bet will consistently deliver is the Orient MAKO series. Specifically, this entry is the second iteration, the Orient MAKO II.
If you have an idea in your head as to what a traditional dive watch should look like, the chances are that you are thinking of Orient’s MAKO watches.
The Orient Mako II features a sleek 41.5mm stainless steel case and comes with the standard 120-click unidirectional rotating bezel. In addition, mineral crystal glass helps provide the timepiece with more than adequate protection from scratches.
Over on the dial, we see that the MAKO II features a combination of slim indices and three Arabic numeral hour markers (6, 9, and 12). There is also a sleek-looking sword-style analog hand and a red-tipped second hand. There is a day and date display that also acts as the three o’clock hour marker. All essential components on the dial also have a luminous finish which improves visibility in the dark.
The main upgrade of the MAKO II from its predecessor is its movement. The MAKO II features the caliber F6922, which has manual hacking, something not present in its predecessor. Additionally, the F6922 also packs a power reserve of 40-hours.
Seiko 5 Steel Automatic Dive Watch (SRPD55K1)
The Seiko 5 Steel Automatic Dive Watch incorporates a rugged design with its 42.5mm stainless steel case. The case comes equipped with polished bevels and brushed lugs, as well as a transparent back case to showcase the Seiko Caliber 4R36 automatic movement within. This automatic movement comes with 24-jewels and movement beats of 4hz. It also has a pretty decent 41-hour power reserve for that added dependability.
Back to the case, the Seiko 5 offers added protection via the sapphire crystal glass window. Also of note is the Class 2 anti-magnetism build. The dial comes with a sleek matte black finish with a day and date display located at 3 o’clock. The Seiko 5 also comes with luminous hour markers and analog hands courtesy of the Lumibrite finish as a dive watch.
As with most Seiko timepieces, the Seiko 5’s dial focuses on a minimalistic aesthetic. The only visual flourishes come in the stylized Seiko 5 logo and the text print “automatic” in white. Additionally, the bold Lumibrite coated analog hands offer excellent legibility no matter the environment.
Tissot mens Seastar 660/1000 Dive Watch (T1204171104100)
As typically for diver’s watches, the Tissot Seastar 660/1000 is legible and minimalist in design, but it also comes with a pop of red in the ceramic top ring of its unidirectional rotating bezel and a nice design molded into its silicone strap, adding to its aesthetic. This watch is perfect for those looking for a diver’s watch that has an added oomph to its style.
For an optimal diving experience, along with its water-resistance of 30 bar (300 m / 1000 Feet) are other features that’ll come in handy for diving including a unidirectional rotating bezel with a luminescent pip at the 60-minute position; and luminescent hands and hour markers.
And of course, reinforcing its water resistance is its screw-down crown and screw-down case back. Apart from its diving functionality, this Swiss quartz watch also provides a chronograph and a date display at the 5 o’clock position.
Glares and scratches won’t impede the view of the watch’s clean face, as the dial window is made of anti-reflective; scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.
Casio G-Shock Mudmaster Twin Sensor (GG-1000)
Few can deliver that trifecta like Casio’s G-Shock series when it comes to watch toughness, reliability, and affordability. Unfortunately, G-Shock watches are always quite large, and the Mudmaster Twin Sensor is not about to break tradition. This timepiece measures 56.2mm in diameter, which makes it not the best choice for smaller wrists. That said, it piles on the functionalities to make up for the added trunk space.
Like all G-Shock watches, the Mudmaster Twin Sensor comes filled to the brim with features such as the standard countdown timer, alarms, full auto-calendar, 12/24-hour format, and low battery notification. In addition, the Twin Sensor design means that users also get a digital compass and thermometer.
Thanks to its complete resin build, the tank-like case might seem cumbersome, but it is pretty lightweight. Also, aside from having a solid 200-meter water resistance rating, this G-Shock watch is mud-resistant.
Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster Altichron (BN5058-07E)
With terrific features packed in a sleek and durable design that’s eco-friendly, the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Altichron BN5058-07E is a superb timepiece perfect for a guy who’s always on the go, even when going off for diving.
Its water resistance to 200 meters makes it suitable for underwater adventures. And making it extra resilient to water are its screw-down crown and a screw-down case back. Its luminescent hands and hour markers help to read the time clearly underwater.
Other features of this Japanese quartz watch include an altimeter, bidirectional rotating compass bezel, and date display at the 3 o’clock position.
Another advantage of this watch is that’s made with Citizen’s solar technology as their eco-friendly approach to reduce the use of batteries that could be toxic to the environment. And to show its stored energy is its power reserve indicator.
It has a rugged construction composed of a black-ion plated bezel on its solid stainless steel case, scratch-resistant mineral crystal dial window that’s also anti-reflective, and a polyurethane strap.
Phoibos Wave Master 300M Automatic Dive Watch (PY010R)
One notable aspect that you will notice with the Phoibos Wave Master watch is its somewhat similar aesthetic to the Tudor watch line. The Phoibos Wave Master comes with a 42mm stainless steel case with a pretty straightforward build. You will also notice that the Wave Master drops the crown guard, which now gives it a sleek and streamlined vibe.
Over at the back of the Wave Master is a beautiful and detailed engraving of its “Octopus” logo along with additional information/specs of the timepiece. Inside the Wave Master’s bulky case is the Seiko Caliber NH35A automatic movement. This particular watch movement from Seiko is highly functional with its 24-jewel structure and a 21,600 VPH. Additionally, the mechanical movement provides a power reserve of up to 41-hours.
The Phoibos Wave Master is as good as they come as a dive watch. It offers an impressive 300-meters or 30ATM water resistance for a sub-$500 watch, a solid scuba diving watch. Even in low-light environments, the bold luminous hour markers and analog hands provide exceptional legibility. Also, the dial’s wave pattern is an excellent visual supplement to the Wave Master’s applause-worthy underwater performance.
Luminox Scott Cassell Deep Dive Edition (XS.1553)
Luminox offers some of the most robust timepieces in the market. Generally known for their durable tactical timepieces, Luminox is always an excellent option for looking for highly functional watches. This particular Luminox watch is designed to collaborate with counter-terrorism operative Scott Cassell, so you can bet this is one highly dependable timepiece for all sorts of environments.
As a dive watch, the Luminox Scott Cassell Deep Dive checks all necessary boxes. This rugged timepiece has an ISO 6425 certification, which means it is built for scuba divers and has a 300-meter water resistance rating (30ATM). Thanks to the bold and prominent luminous hour markers and hands, the dial is also quite legible, whether in broad daylight or underwater.
Other notable features incorporated into the Luminox Scott Cassell include a unidirectional rotating bezel, gas tube illumination, and a double security gasket for improved water resistance. As for accuracy, the Luminox Scott Cassell utilizes a Swiss quartz movement for a cost-effective and reliable timekeeping performance.
Invicta Automatic Pro Diver (8926OB)
The Invicta Pro Diver is one of the bestselling budget dive watches in the market today. Along with a pretty solid 200-meter water resistance, it is also quite affordable compared to other dive watches. The Invicta Automatic Pro Diver features a 40mm stainless steel case and bracelet, giving it a professional charm.
Underneath the robust aesthetic of the Invicta Pro Diver is a high-quality mechanical movement, the Seiko caliber NH35, which offers excellent accuracy. The caliber NH35 is a tried and tested watch movement and is as dependable as you can get. With Seiko’s quality horological know-how, the Invicta Automatic Pro Diver certainly offers something more than most dive watches within its price range.
The Invicta Pro Diver models have a fairly decent reputation as a dive watch. That said, I would recommend primarily using this timepiece for swimming as it might not hold up for more extreme scuba diving expeditions. Overall, the Invicta Pro Diver brings that classic dive watch aesthetic, a pretty decent water resistance, and stylish enough to be used as a dress watch.
Orient Kamasu Blue Dial Automatic Dive Watch (RA-AA0002L)
The Orient Kamasu is another famous timepiece within the divers’ circle. Designed to capture the essence of the barracuda with its sharp and cool aesthetic. You will notice the analog hands having a robust design meant to simulate the fearsome teeth of the barracuda.
The stainless steel case measures at a reasonably robust 41.8mm, and the oyster-style bracelet adds a dash of class and finesse to the overall charm of the Orient Kamasu. The midnight blue dial is akin to the darker depths of the ocean, while the luminous hour indices and analog hands provide excellent contrast for enhanced legibility.
The Orient Kamasu offers a pretty decent balance between performance and price tag in terms of value. Considering that this is a 200-meter water resistance timepiece, it delivers pretty much all the basics regarding being a dive watch.
Additional features that the Orient Kamasu delivers include a day and date display and a unidirectional bezel. Overall, the Orient Kamasu is another worthwhile entry-level dive option that you should check out if budget is a factor.
Buying Dive Watches: What To Look For
Even if you are not a professional diver or never even plan to dive, the iconic look of a divers watch and the ability to fully submerge them in water without damaging them make them some of the most popular watches on the market.
The key feature is, of course, the water resistance. For diving watches, you should look for one that is water-resistant to at least 200 meters (660 feet) or more. Another way to see if it’s good for diving is by checking if its IP Code is usually presented as IPX 8.
You may also see terms like ATM or BAR which are other ways to measure. However, for the sake of this article, you can rest assured that all the watches we’ve reviewed here have a rating of 200 meters or better.
Other necessary features include a screw-down crown and a screw-down case back for a tighter seal; a legible watch dial that’s luminous for clear visibility underwater; and most importantly, the unidirectional rotating bezel that allows a diver to keep track of the time spent underwater.
Diving is an enjoyable activity that also requires caution. So we understand how you can also be careful in choosing the best diver’s watch with the best bang for your buck. That’s why we’ve done some filtering to come up with a list of only the best.
But it really all comes down to your own preference, whether you opt for quartz, automatic, analog, digital, one with a rubber strap, one with a bracelet; or whatever. There are a variety of watches here, so you may find something that’s suitable for you. But rest assured, these watches, indeed, will serve their purpose.
Timing is definitely important when it comes to diving. Take it from the professional diver, Craig Mainprize, himself. So it’s essential to have with you a precise diver’s watch when going underwater.