Choosing the right dive watch can be as difficult as learning to scuba dive. And let us tell you, with so many different options out there, we are not exaggerating much.
Also, if you think a diver’s watch is only for divers, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Dive watches are some of the most practical timepieces out there, and they usually come with quite a touch of luxury and sportiness, making them a very tempting option for pretty much everyone who’s into watches.
In other words, be it the ocean or the office, buying a dive watch could be a great decision. Of course, with that said, they’re still designed specifically for divers and for the purpose of staying deep under the water safely.
They offer a wide range of functions, including letting divers keep track of how much time they’ve spent underwater as well as the amount of oxygen they have left. But not all dive watches are made equal — like the snorkel mask you choose or the speargun you buy, deciding which dive watch to buy is an important decision.
To help you find the right diver’s watch, we will walk you through reviews of the 5 best dive watches on the market, most of which come with pretty much everything you may be looking for (and perhaps a lot more). This section will also be followed by some helpful tips regarding choosing the right watch, making the buying process as easy as possible.
Let’s get started!
The following dive watches are the best we’ve come across so far. They are a great combination of quality and affordability.
Let’s go over them in more detail:
When it comes to watches that offer a good balance of affordability, functionality and features, Citizen is probably the first brand you can think of. And although the BN0151-09L is not one of the cheapest offerings from Citizen, even in the dive watch category, the amazing features and style it comes with makes it well worth it — and it still offers a great bang for your buck.
To start with, this watch doesn’t even need a battery. It’s fueled by light and if you’re even remotely familiar with watches, you probably know how much of a trouble it’s going to save you.
It has the aesthetics of a sports watch and the toughness and functionality of a diver’s watch, a rather rare combination to get in this price range. As far the size is concerned, you couldn’t ask for anything better as this 42 mm masterpiece is going to fit both small and large wrists perfectly.
The build quality doesn’t leave anything to be desired as well, but the trade-off is that it’s a little on the heavier side. However, it shouldn’t come off as much of a surprise at all given that the BN0151-09L is tough enough to handle the water resistance up to 200m.
A good diver’s watch can be anything but unimpressive, and the BN0151-09L doesn’t disappoint on this front. Its unique matte finish is something that wouldn’t fail to make people take a second look at it, and the overall look is absolutely gorgeous.
Surprisingly, however, none of these things come at the cost of the functionality. The BN0151-09L is amazingly functional, with features like the large non-numerical dots, orange lined minute hand, and the extremely accurate second hand. Additionally, the hands and dots glow bright blue in the absence of enough light, making it a breeze to quickly read the time when deep underwater.
While there’s actually more to the BN0151-09L, we think we have shared enough to make you want to check it out. If you’re after an all-round dive watch that offers enough of pretty much everything, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything quite like this watch in this price range.
- An all-round dive watch with a great mix of features, stylishness, functionality and durability
- No battery required!
- Wouldn’t have any problem going as deep as 200m under water
- Extremely easy to read the time
- Unidirectional rotating
- The date window could have been slightly bigger, though it’s not nothing major
- The rubber strap takes a bit of time to get used to, but works great if you’re a regular diver
If you want everything that a Rolex Submariner offers but at a fraction of its price, the Seiko SKX007J1 is likely your best bet. In fact, unless people really bend to take a closer look at your wrist and the watch that’s proudly sitting on it, they wouldn’t even be able to tell that it’s not a Rolex Sub.
It’s extremely well made, and its durability seems to be second to none. Don’t be surprised if it lasts you a couple decades or longer. Yes, it’s that durable.
It boasts some super shiny finishing too, with the sides getting a mirror finish and the steel case sporting some brush finish that feels nothing like ordinary. Reading the time under water would be a pleasure, thanks to the brightly glowing markers in the dark.
The size is something that you may or may not like, depending on whether or not you’re a fan of all those big and bulky watches out there. This is because the SKX007J1 is not one of them, and it’s rather just large enough to look great on your wrist without dominating it. The rubber strap is actually more premium quality than it may seem.
It not only looks attractive and cool, but also feels great on your wrist which is actually something worthy of taking into consideration given that dive watches tend to be heavier and can be a little on the not-so-comfortable side.
If you want to go luxury on a budget, this watch by Seiko is your opportunity to do so now.
- Has a very luxurious, Rolex-like feel
- Tremendously durable
- Extremely convenient and quick reading of time under the water
- Comes with an automatic self-winder
- One-way rotating bezel
- Can gain or lose a couple minutes over a few weeks
- A little on the heavier side though the strap is very comfortable
Luxury doesn’t come cheap, but it does with the Stuhrling Aquadiver watch. It’s one of few watches out there that you can get even on a very tight budget and yet won’t have to make up with something that feels cheap.
It looks great and feels solid, and offers more features than you would expect at this price.
Overall, it offers an amazing value for money, although it may not be extremely durable and a very good option for you if you’re into professional diving.
For everyone else who aren’t willing to shell out a lot of money, however, this is definitely one of the best dive watches they can get.
Some of its important features include a magnified date window, a stylish bezel, a very solid, heavy body, luminous hands and markers and the ability to keep perfect time without losing a second over time. It’s a little larger at 44 mm, but unless your wrist is too small you’re going to like it.
That said, don’t expect everything to be perfect if you’re getting so much at this price. There’s going to be a trade-off, and a part of that is that the second hand doesn’t hit the time dots perfectly, but it surprisingly still manages to keep perfect time. The bezel looks pretty cool but can be hard to turn, but not many people use it very often so it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker as well.
Finally, the durability, too, isn’t going to be as impressive as the Seiko SKX173 or even the other options on this list.
- Surprisingly luxurious look and feel at a very budget price
- Manages to be water resistant up to 200m under the water just like some of the much more expensive watches out there
- The hands and markers glow very bright and you would be able to see the time in complete darkness without a problem
- Great workmanship
- Unidirectional bezel
- The durability may not be as good as some of the pricier dive watches
- The second hand not landing perfectly on the time dots
- Can feel a little bulky on smaller wrists
This is something that may definitely catch the eye of professional divers. It’s very functional and comes with lots of advanced features, besides being a solid, tough watch. If you’re into professional diving but don’t want to go for something that breaks the bank, then the Suunto Core may certainly be right up your alley.
Some of its advanced features include the altimeter, barometer, compass, useful weather features, as well as an alert function that lets you know if you have a storm or temperature fluctuations coming your way.
The build quality is excellent, although the bezel isn’t scratch-resistant and will get scratches over time. However, they apparently give the watch a kind of worn-in look, so that it might turn out to be something cool as well.
Something subtle but impressive about the Suunto Core is that although it has many advanced features to offer, it actually manages to be a considerably simple and clean watch — both easy to manage and operate. This is something to consider given that most of the similar dive watches can be a bit too complicated to operate, and it usually takes a while to get used to them if you’re not very familiar with how they work.
However, just like with the Stuhrling Aquadiver, you can’t get so much at this price without having to compromise a bit on some of the other aspects of the watch.
The strap quality isn’t the best to start with, although the overall build quality isn’t a problem. Similarly, while the watch is quite functional for the price, there seems to be a rather slightly annoying functionality issue.
The Suunto Core has a cool lock feature, but unfortunately the buttons still work when it’s locked, meaning that you may end up toggling the screen or changing other settings without intending to.
Finally, the strap is also not as comfortable as what you get with some of the pricier options, but that wouldn’t really be a problem if you wear it a little loose.
- Ideal for professional divers on a budget
- Extremely functional with lots of advanced features
- Simple interface and clean design
- Great overall build quality
- The strap quality is a little worrying
- The lock feature doesn’t work as it should
- The bezel is very prone to scratches, but it doesn’t really give the watch a poor look
Can you believe there's an Invicta in the sub $100 price range — and that too from its “Pro Diver” collection? This is very likely the best you can get without going for something that will be more of a toy than a diver’s watch.
When it comes to the looks and design, it’s hard to beat Invicta, even if it’s one of its cheapest offerings in the particular product category.
The silver-tone finish, black topring, attractively designed black dial with luminous hands as well as a magnified date window, is probably the best combination of looks and functionality that you can get at this price point.
It also boasts Japanese automatic movement, so the accuracy of time isn’t going to be a problem, which is a bit of a common issue in this price range. The rubber band looks cool and feels great, and also comes with a buckle closure — a really nice touch by Invicta.
Despite the surprisingly cheap price tag, this Invicta diving timepiece still allows you to take it as deep as 200m under the water, which is exactly the same as what you get with many dive watches priced well over $200.
The 40mm size is going to be just perfect for most people. However, the Invicta 9110 comes with its own drawbacks too, and Invicta is pretty clear about it. They mention on their product page that while the 9110 is fit for all kinds of surface water sports, as well as even professional-level marine activities, it isn’t designed to be suitable for deep-water scuba diving.
- Works great at what it promises to offer
- Offers much more than most, if not all of its counterparts
- Very versatile and stylish
- Automatic movement is great to have at this price point
- Anti-clockwise rotating
- You may have to adjust the time every few weeks
- Not suitable for professional divers
Now that you have just learned about some of the best dive watches you can buy, regardless of your budget, let us tell you about a few factors that are important to consider when making the final choice. Again, dive watches are one of the important items to consider when buying dive equipment.
If you’re a professional diver, perhaps the most important factor for you would be the water resistance of the watch. While 200m would usually be enough, there are also watches that can assist you as deep as 1000m under the water.
They cost a pretty coin as well, though, so unless you truly plan to go that deep into the water, you may want to stick to the 200m ones.
Of course, the bezel’s job isn’t just to make the watch appear sportier and stylish; it’s actually one of the most functional parts of the watch.
You would ideally want the bezel to have unidirectional rotating, which means that it can only be turned anti-clockwise and not otherwise. This makes your life easier under the water, where you need to quickly read the time and calculate how much time you have spent away from the land.
A diver’s watch, however practical and functional, would be far from attractive without a bit of style and sportiness.
That said, it’s going to be more of a personal preference than anything else, so we won’t get too specific here. Just as with finding a wetsuit, which have various stylistic differences among brands (not to mention between sizes — i.e. a wetsuits with 7mm thickness vs thinner).
As a general rule of thumb, though, the ones with a smaller dial and a thinner case boast of elegance and classiness, while the bigger dials are usually all about sportiness.
This is another crucial feature of a dive watch. The best dive watches usually have luminous hands and time dots that would glow very brightly even in complete dark, making it just as easy to read time deep under the water as on the land.
There are two types of materials used to make the hands glow — luminescence paint and tritium. The thing with the former is that you have to have the watch in the light for a while for it to be able to glow bright enough in the darkness. The latter, however, can glow without being subjected to the light before stepping into the darkness of the waters, and also tends to be brighter than luminescence paint. But it would also keep losing its ability to glow over time, making luminescence paint a more preferred choice for long-term use. And there you have it.
Hopefully this buying guide has been beneficial to you and our in-depth dive watch reviews have made your buying decision a bit easier. Now get in the water!