Every diver knows how important it is to have reliable scuba gear for diving. Everything from the tanks and regulators needs to be double checked. A trusty diver’s watch is also a key piece of gear. For a safe diving session, a diver’s watch helps measures a diver’s time underwater. Apart from the practical features on these watches, they are also designed with rugged construction and sealed to prevent water damage.
A good diver’s watch doesn’t need to be as expensive as luxury models like the Rolex Submariner or the Omega Seamaster. While these timepieces have set the standards for the dive watch domain, most of our readers would not actually spend that much for a diver’s watch.
There are good quality, affordable options on the market like watches from Japanese brands, Seiko and Citizen, two of the most prominent brands when it comes to diver’s watches.
Both of these brands made it on our list, along with several other quality diver’s watches under $500. So read further to check out our list, and hopefully you’ll find a diver’s watch that suits your budget and style. All of the watches below are waterproof rated to 200M or better.
(Please note, at the time of publishing, 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 tried to include watches at the lower range for decent dive watches ($150-$200) to provide value options for everyone’s budget).
Best Affordable Dive Watches
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 features excellent 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 in, 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.
Seiko Men’s Automatic SKX007K
This watch is a lot similar to the aforementioned watch from Citizen, but it also has its own distinct features. Seiko and Citizen are, indeed, two of the most sought after Japanese brands by divers, and some of their watches share similarities. But they also have their differences.
In plain sight, the Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster Diver BN0150-28E above and this Seiko Men’s Automatic SKX007K may look almost identical with the simplistically chic design and the features for diving, such as 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; and screw-down case back. But let us point out their differences.
While the Promaster Diver is a quartz watch that’s powered by light, as Citizen focuses only in manufacturing quartz watches, the SKX007K is an automatic watch powered by the movement of the wearer’s wrist. And as an automatic watch naturally has more mechanisms within it, the SKX007K is a bit thicker. This watch has approximately 40 hours of power reserve and 21 jewels.
Another difference is that this watch is made with a rubber strap instead of a polyurethane strap. Although both rubber and polyurethane make good materials for diving, since they both do not soak in water and you could just let dry, what sets them apart is that while rubber is more comfortable than polyurethane, polyurethane is stronger and more resilient to tears but is less comfortable compared to rubber.
Like the Promaster Diver, this watch also includes a date display but also displays the day of the week, which is not present in the Promaster Diver.
And lastly, the dial window of this watch is made with Seiko’s trademark Hardlex crystal that is more scratch resistant than mineral crystal.
Tissot Men’s Seastar T0664171705701
As typically for diver’s watches, the Tissot Men’s Seastar T0664171705701 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 300-meter water resistance are other features that’ll come handy for diving, such as a helium valve for automatically depressurizing the watch; diver’s buckle and extension attached to its silicone strap; 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.
Victorinox Men’s I.N.O.X Professional Diver 241782
The Victorinox Men’s I.N.O.X. Professional Diver 241782 is not your ordinary diver’s watch. It can resist anything from water, high pressure, vibrations, extreme temperatures, and even the weight of a 64-ton tank running over it.
Having met the rigorous NIHS 92-11 Swiss watchmaking standards for certified diver’s watches, including criteria, such as luminosity; shock-resistance; anti-magnetism; and the solidity of the strap and having been able to withstand 130 diving-specific tests for resistance and functionality, this makes an exceptional diver’s watch.
Making up this tough and functional Swiss quartz watch is hypoallergenic stainless steel for its case and bracelet, as well as an anti-reflective; scratch-resistant sapphire crystal dial window. On its case, it has a screw-down crown and screw-down case back.
Attached to its bracelet is a diving extension. In addition, an attachable bumper comes with the watch that can protect the case; keep the unidirectional rotating bezel intact; and magnify the dial during diving sessions.
Its dial has a clean minimalist design for legibility in a nice blue color. Placed on it are highly luminescent hands and hour markers for clear readability underwater, especially since you can go deep depths with this watch, as it’s water resistant to 200 meters. It also comes with a date display between the 4 and 5 o’clock position.
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 their 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 long trusted by the Navy SEALs; the Special Forces; and other 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.
Casio G-Shock Men’s 35th Anniversary Frogman GF8235D-1B
Known for its highly resilient watches jam-packed with tons of features, G-Shock brought forth a special edition Frogman in honor of G-Shock’s 35th anniversary, the 35th Anniversary Frogman GF8235D-1B, which makes a superb diver’s watch that comes with a plethora of nifty features good for diving and more.
The features of this Japanese quartz watch that come handy for diving include its 200-meter water resistance, moon data, tide graph, and dive time and surface interval measurement.
This watch is powered by Casio’s Tough Solar technology that draws in energy from either natural or artificial light and even the weakest source. On a full charge, its approximate battery life is up to 10 months. A battery power indicator, as well as a power saving function, is included.
Its rugged construction composed of resin and scratch-resistant mineral crystal is reinforced with G-Shock’s trademark shock resistance.
This watch tells the time in either 12/24-hour formats. For illumination, it has a full auto EL backlight with Afterglow.
Other useful features of this watch include 4 daily alarms and 1 snooze alarm, hourly time signal, full auto-calendar pre-programmed until the year 2099, 1/100 second stopwatch, countdown timer, world time, 31 time zones (48 cities + UTC), city code display, and daylight saving on/off.
Orient Men’s Mako XL Diver’s Watch FEM75004B9
Diver’s watches are, a matter of fact, typically large, which makes for easy readability. And due to popular demand for a larger Orient Mako from the community, a larger version of the watch they got, indeed, as then came the Orient Men’s Mako XL Diver’s Watch FEM75004B9 that’s wider by 3 mm and thicker by a third of a millimeter.
There was also a revamp in design with its larger bar hour markers, pear-shaped hour and minute hands, lollipop second hand, and a splash of color orange on its unidirectional rotating bezel. Furthermore, it maintains its 200-meter water resistance; screw-down crown; screw-down case back; and luminescence.
This Japanese automatic watch with a power reserve of approximately 40 hours and 21 jewels is made with a stainless steel case and bracelet along with a scratch-resistant mineral crystal dial window. A day of the week and date display is present at its 3 o’clock position.
Seiko Men’s Prospex Automatic PADI Edition SRPA21K1
The Seiko Men’s Prospex Automatic PADI Edition SRPA21K1 is a product of Seiko’s collaboration with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). Its diving-specific features include its 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, and screw-down case back.
It’s a Japanese automatic watch with hand winding and hacking capabilities. Its movement consists of 24 jewels and has approximately 41 hours of power reserve. It also provides a day of the week and date display.
Stainless steel for the case and bracelet along with tough Hardlex crystal dial window that’s scratch resistant for the dial window make up this watch. And it has a stunning combination of blue and red in its design.
Orient Men’s Ray II FAA02005D9
In Orient’s attempt to further enhance the Orient Ray, came the Ray II FAA02005D9 with improvements including the upgrade of the movement to caliber F6922; hand-winding capability; stop seconds feature; 120-click unidirectional diving bezel; and strong luminescence.
Making it a conventional diver’s watch is its 200-meter water resistance backed by the screw-down crown and screw-down case back, unidirectional rotating bezel with a luminescent pip at the 60-minute position, and luminescent hands and hour markers.
Another useful feature it has is its day of the week and date display at the 3 o’clock position. This Japanese automatic watch has hand-winding and hacking capabilities. Approximately 40 hours is its power reserve. And it consists of 22 jewels.
It’s minimalist but rather stunning with the shades of blue that its sunray dial gives off. Enclosing its aesthetic dial is a scratch-resistant mineral crystal along with a stainless steel case that’s attached to a stainless steel bracelet.
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 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 it’s environmental, as it’s one of the watches in the Eco-Drive series 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.
Glycine Men’s Combat Sub GL0081
The Glycine Men’s Combat Sub GL0081 is a rather stylish watch that could suit the taste of diver who also wants something fashionable to match with his outfits, whether casual or even a suit.
This striking timepiece is tastefully designed with a stunning blue sunray dial with gold-tone hands and markers perfectly complemented by its yellow gold-tone unidirectional rotating bezel with a blue top ring on its silver-tone stainless steel case that’s attached to a stainless steel bracelet in tones of silver and yellow gold. A durable sapphire crystal dial window protects this watch from scratches.
As good as it looks, are its features for diving, such as its 200-meter water resistance; screw-down crown; screw-down case back; unidirectional rotating bezel with a luminescent pip at the 60-minute position; and luminescent hands and hour markers.
This watch runs with a 38-hour power reserve, 25-jewel Swiss automatic self-wind movement and also provides a date display at the 3 o’clock position.
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 which is usually presented as IPX 8.
You may also see terms like ATM or BAR which are other ways to measure. For a more detailed explanation, see our article on watch water-resistance. 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.