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For everyone from the most passionate watch collector to the total watch novice, dive watches are one of the most popular timepiece categories — despite the fact that almost no one goes diving with a watch. So what gives? Why should regular people on the street want a watch originally designed for use as a tool in the ocean’s murky depths? For me, the enduring popularity of dive watches has to do with several factors: Because dive watches obviously need to be water-resistant, they are as a rule over-engineered and solidly built, making them more than stout enough for rough-and-tumble everyday wear on dry land. Since divers require at-a-glance legibility underwater, dive watches also tend to have some of the cleanest dial designs. Finally, dive watches are culturally associated with a strong sense of cool, from James Bond’s Omega Seamaster, to Steve McQueen’s Rolex 5513, all the way to the military watches worn by U.S. Navy SEALs. Whether you’re a “desk diver” or actually want to get your watch wet, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of 54 of the best dive watches on the market — from entry-level to well into the world of luxury in price range. Of course, the usual suspects are in here, but I’m also aiming to share some new pieces with you. Before the keyboard aquanauts attack, let me state upfront we’re looking at both professional-level dive watches, i.e., meeting the ISO 6425 specifications, as well as “dive-style” watches here. Enjoy.
Casio G-Shock DW9052
Specifications: Price: $46, Case Size: 48.5mm, Thickness: 14.7mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Quartz Casio, Battery Life: 2 Years, Crystal: Mineral GlassHardy, cheap, and reliable are all words that perfectly describe what is perhaps the best truly inexpensive dive watch in the world, Casio’s G-Shock DW9052. This is a watch which was for years standard issue at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City Beach, FL, given to divers right along with their fins, masks, and knives. Used by everyone from US Navy SEALs to Home Depot dads, the DW9052 does everything it needs to do in terms of underwater time telling, with a simple to use stopwatch feature, while being virtually indestructible, exactly what military and civilian divers need.Shop here.
Specification: Price: $88, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 15mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Vostok 2416, Power Reserve: 31 Hours, Crystal: AcrylicKnown and loved by legions of value-thirsty diver’s watch enthusiasts, the Vostok Amphibia is a cult classic. For quite a bit less than $100, the Russian-made Vostok, which runs on an in-house movement, comes in hundreds of different case and dial variations, and is the subject of a busy aftermarket modification scene. Famously worn by Bill Murray in the hipster favorite film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, the Amphibia is the least expensive legitimate automatic diver’s watch you can get, full stop.
Specifications: Price: $235, Case Size: 44mm, Thickness: 12.9mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Orient F6922, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: MineralThe Kano is one of Orient’s newer dive watches and I view it as a cleaner, less fussy, and slightly larger version of the very popular Kamasu. The bezel is less busy and the dial appears simpler because of the large blocky indices. But like all Orient divers, the value proposition is hard to beat. At well under $300, the Kano is water-resistant to 200 meters and it has an in-house movement that has hacking seconds, hand-winding capability, and a power reserve of 40 hours. It’s an excellent choice for anyone’s first dive watch or even mechanical watch. It’s available on a silicone strap and a stainless steel bracelet, both of which are surprisingly good for the money, just like the rest of the watch.Shop here.
Citizen Promaster Diver
Specifications: Price: $280, Case Size: 44mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Solar Quartz Citizen E168, Power Reserve: 6 months, Crystal: MineralIn the tightly-packed world of truly affordable dive watches, Seiko rules the roost, with Orient for many stealing the second position. However, the entry-level Citizen Promaster has a lot to offer. The 44mm case is robust and oozes tool watch appeal. The dial is fuss-free and features large hands and markers filled with luminescent material for easy reading regardless of the circumstances. The orange minute hand is playful, but also makes it easier for divers to see when they are underwater. The movement may be quartz, but it’s solar-powered and can last for up to half a year on a full charge. Best of all, you get all of this for well under $300, making this an excellent argument for a diver on a budget.
Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Military
Specifications: Price: $400, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Auto SW200, Power reserve: 38 hours, Crystal: SapphireSome readers might have a disdain for homages and that’s understandable, but I think the Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Military gets a pass because it pays homage to the Rolex MilSub, a watch that’s long out of production and was only issued to the British military, meaning you will never get one. Also, it’s not a one-to-one reproduction. Steinhart has given it some modern twists, such as a larger and more contemporary case size of 42mm. It also has a higher water resistance rating of 300 meters. The dial, however, by way of the arrow-shaped hands and painted markers, stays true to the MilSub heritage, but brings the wealthy-collectors-only piece to the masses in terms of price.
Seiko SNJ025 “Arnie”
Specifications: Price: $525, Case Size: 47.8mm, Thickness: 13.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50.5mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Seiko Quartz H851, Crystal: HardlexThe original watch that inspired the SNJ025 was the 1982 release, the H558-5000, and was Seiko’s first dive watch with an integrated digital display and audible alarm complications. Given the two part case, smaller than you’d expect 40mm bezel diameter, the sloping nature of the plastic shroud, and a rather condensed lug-to-lug given the diameter, the watch wears smaller than the dimensions suggest. Despite the amount of information offered, the dial is surprisingly clean, highlighted, perhaps, by the large lumed markers.
Bulova Devil Diver
Specifications: Price: $556, Case Size: 44mm, Thickness: 14.6mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.9mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Miyota 821D, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: SapphireIf you like your watches with funky vintage charm, few watches on this list can compete with the Bulova Devil Diver. Based on the original Oceanographer from the 1970s, the Devil Diver gets its nickname from the depth rating of the original watch, a satanic 666 feet. With a stainless steel cushion case (conveying a Doxa-esque feel) very much representing the original design’s era, and some of the more unusual hour indices you’ll see, the Devil Diver gets by on sheer uniqueness as well as its reasonable retail price.Shop here.
Victorinox Swiss Army I.N.O.X. Professional Diver
Specifications: Price: $595, Case Size: 45mm, Thickness: 14.4mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Swiss Quartz, Crystal: SapphireFamous for its Swiss Army knives, Victorinox recently started a more concerted effort to produce watches. One might dismiss the I.N.O.X. Professional Diver that you see here just because it has a quartz movement, but to do so would be missing the point. Quartz has its advantages. Not only is it more accurate, but it is also more durable in terms of shock and magnetic resistance. To prove its reliability and sturdiness, I.N.O.X. watches are designed to survive a rigorous 130 endurance tests that include drops and subjecting the watch to extreme shock, making them something of an analog G-Shock type concept. The I.N.O.X. Professional Diver features a sandblasted case for greater resistance against knocks and scratches, and is an ISO 6425 certified dive watch.
Seiko SRPE03 King Turtle
Specifications: Price: $625, Case Size: 45mm, Thickness: 13.2mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.7mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Seiko 4R36, Crystal: SapphireSeiko’s excellent King Turtle builds on the success of the SRP Turtle collection released in 2016, addressing some of the most commonly modified aspects of the original turtle by adding a ceramic bezel insert, an interesting waffle-patterned dial, and a sapphire crystal. Both of these watches are inspired by an important dive watch from Seiko’s older catalog, the cushion-cased 6309 collection, likely one of the most popular dive watches of all time judging by the sheer number of them on offer pretty much everywhere watches are sold. While on the larger side, the combination of the classic Seiko DNA in this dial’s design, some of the best lume in the business, and the upgrades everyone wants in the ceramic bezel insert and sapphire crystal, the King Turtle is “shut up and take my money” material for many dive watches enthusiasts for a reason.
Specifications: Price: $700-$800, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Miyota 9039, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: SapphireThe Baltic Aquascaphe is a watch designed for enthusiasts by enthusiasts, with refreshingly moderate sizing at just 39mm wide and 12mm thick. While likely not often purchased by actual divers, Baltic nailed the dive styling with equal amounts of vintage appeal and contemporary flair, making this one of the better looking microbrand divers on the market. With an interesting, lume-filled, sandwich dial construction and three available color configurations, Baltic’s Aquascaphe is a powerful value proposition that wears well, especially when paired with the brand’s excellent beads-of-rice bracelet. Baltic also recently released an excellent GMT version of this watch in the Baltic Aquascaphe GMT, which is powered by the Swiss Soprod C125 caliber. I am perpetually excited to see what else Baltic comes up with.
Baltic Aquascaphe Dual Crown
Specifications: Versions: Blue Dial, Black Dial, PVD Black; Case Size: 39 mm; Case Height: 11.9 mm; Movement: Automatic Miyota 9039; Price: €650 (~ $730);
Baltic made a big splash this year for more than one reason, catching the attention of the collecting community with a huge OnlyWatch result, while also releasing one of the better values for a compressor-style dive watch, equipped with a non-screwdown 2 o’clock crown for easy engagement underwater. Three initial options are available for this brand new model. The movement is identical between Aquascaphe options with the rock solid Miyota 9039.
Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80
Specifications: Price: $725, Case Size: 43mm, Thickness: 12.7mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.3mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Auto ETA C07, Power Reserve: 80 Hours, Crystal: SapphireThe Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80 is available in various colorways but my favorite is the one you see above with a gradient blue dial, which reminds me of the ocean depths the watch was intended to operate in. The ingredients of the Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80 are as no-nonsense as they come, with a muscular 43mm stainless steel case, large unidirectional bezel, and huge hands and hour indices. Interestingly, it also has a see-through caseback which is an uncommon feature in dive watches. The movement within is the Powermatic 80 — so-called because it has an 80 hour long power reserve. For well under $1,000, it’s hard to find another Swiss-made diver that’s as robust.Shop here.
Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba
Specifications: Price: $745, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Auto ETA C07, Power Reserve: 80 Hours, Crystal: SapphireIf you are looking for a Swiss-made dive-style watch from a big brand that’s under $1,000, the list isn’t long. One solid option is the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba which, while not an ISO-certified diver, should be more than sufficient for the deep end of the swimming pool action most dive watches are confronted with. The Khaki Navy Scuba comes in a moderately-sized 40mm case and is water resistant to 100 meters, the minimum for a diver’s watch according to ISO. It’s available in a variety of colours including black, blue and white, and blue and orange. Inside, it’s powered by the Hamilton Caliber H-10, which is based on the ETA C07 — one of ETA’s newer movements — and features an impressive power reserve of 80 hours.Shop here.
Specifications: Price: $775, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 12.4mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto SW200, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: SapphireHalios is a microbrand that specializes in dive watches, and it enjoys a reputation among enthusiasts for making some of the most thoughtful watches. The Fairwind is one of their newest watches, and it follows the trend of smaller, more svelte watches more in keeping with vintage sizing. The Fairwind’s case is 39mm wide and only 12.4mm thick, which is reasonable for a 200-meter diver. It comes in blue and grey and can be ordered with a sapphire or steel bezel. I much prefer the look of the sapphire bezel as it has a liquid quality to it and really jazzes up the watch. The only problem is that Halios’ watches are fairly priced, typically produced in small quantities, and sell out quickly, so make moves if you have interest.
Casio G-Shock Frogman GWF-A1000
Specifications: Price: $800, Case Size: 56.7mm, Thickness: 19.7mm, Lug-to-Lug: 53.3mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Solar Quartz Casio 5623, Power Reserve: 5 months on a full charge, Crystal: SapphireCasio released an all-new ana-digi G-Shock Frogman in 2020, and it’s a great departure from earlier totally-digital models. It’s still a super chunky ISO-certified 200 meter diver, but now features a new case design with G-Shock’s Carbon Core Guard technology as well as the first analog display on a Frogman. At a glance, owners will be able to tell the time in two time zones and also refer to the tide graph showing tidal information at some of the world’s most famous diving spots. Longtime G-Shock tech including Tough Solar and Multi Band 6 are also present here. And, adding a heaping helping of convenience, owners can manage and adjust their Frogman via Bluetooth using the G-Shock Connected app.Shop here.
Doxa Sub 200
Specifications: Price: $950, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 14mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45mm, Movement: Auto ETA 2824, Water Resistance: 200m, Crystal: SapphireAs a brand more closely associated with the $1,500-3,000 price range, Doxa took a lot of enthusiasts by surprise when they unveiled the Sub 200 at the end of 2020, way back when the world still made sense. By any metric, the near $1,000 package offered by the Doxa sub is a good deal, and allows for more enthusiasts to get in on Doxa’s colorful designs, diving heritage, and excellent beads-of-rice bracelet. With dial colors and matching bezel inserts to satisfy nearly any color preference, the Doxa Sub 200 has very wearable dimensions, is simply a lot of fun, and is easily one of the better recent affordable diver’s watches to grace the scene.
Certina DS Super PH500M
Specifications: Price: $1,000, Case Size: 43mm, Thickness: 14.95mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Water Resistance: 500m, Movement: Auto ETA C07.611, Power Reserve: 80 hours, Crystal: SapphireCertina is a lesser known brand to most enthusiasts but does exist on the radar of most vintage dive watch fans. Certina supplied watches for the Tektite I project in 1969, where a team of scientists and divers spent two months in an underwater laboratory, and is also known for having been the issue watch for some lucky Royal Australian Navy divers in the 1970s. Today, like a lot of other brands, Certina is digging through their archives and providing updated takes on their classic designs including this excellent, orange-dialed PH500M, a watch which is visually an exact replica of the original watch but updated with a sapphire crystal, better lume, and the impressive Powermatic 80 caliber with 80 hours of power