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It’s perfectly understandable to see the term “dive watch” and assume that these timepieces are designed exclusively for those interested in the underwater world. And while that may have been true at one point in history, in 1953, the Fifty Fathoms by Blancpain and the Rolex Submariner — the first dive watches that look like we know them today — made the niche timekeeper something much more desirable to the masses.
The best dive watches of today have evolved into something more than their originators had in mind. Most dive watches now combine a range of impressive features (for scuba diving and more) but also ooze style, to the point they’ve become a worthy addition to any watch collection.
What is a Dive Watch?
By all accounts, dive watches are not standard time-telling devices. Compared to the average timepiece, these watches were created to go underwater, as the name suggests. We’re not talking about a quick dip, either. We mean hundreds of meters down. That’s why you’ll find that a depth rating accompanies most dive watches. Most dive watches are designed to function at depths of 100 meters, with some pushing to 200 meters and, in some cases, even 300 meters and beyond.
But that’s not all. To legitimately call your watch a dive watch, it needs to tick very specific boxes. According to the International Organization for Standardization, which updated its dive watch standards in 2018, to call your watch a “dive watch,” it must:
- Be capable of resisting water to depths of at least 100 meters (330 feet)
- Feature a secure function for measuring dive time (usually found in the form of a 60-minute rotating bezel)
- Include time monitoring functions that are legible in the dark to a distance of 25 centimeters
- Be antimagnetic
- Be resistant to impacts and shocks
- Be resistant to saltwater
However, it’s important to note that not all watches on the list below may fall into these specific criteria. That’s because in some cases, while still sporting some of the key features, the name “dive watch” has become more about the style than just function.
If you are a recreational diver, it’s most likely that you’re never going to go beyond the usual limits of 40 meters (130 feet), meaning almost every dive watch available will suffice for your underwater needs. However, if you do dive deeper than the average diver (we’re talking in the hundreds of meters), make sure the watch you choose is capable of withstanding those murky depths and won’t let you down when you need it most.
After making sure it’s got enough water resistance for the depth to which you’ll be diving, choosing a watch comes down to personal preference, style, and how much you’re willing to spend. With this in mind, we’ve rounded up 19 of the best dive watches for all budgets and preferences to take your time-telling to new depths.
Best Dive Watches Under $500
Yes, you can find attractive-looking dive watches that will let you go down to 200 meters, and they don’t or won’t suck. There’s a watch myth that states the higher the price tag, the better the watch. If you want a handsome watch that does a great job, is durable, and smart-looking too, you don’t have to blow a month (or two) salary to own one. The below dive watches have fantastic attributes that may surprise you.
1. Nixon Base Tide Pro Watch
Nixon’s based in California and the company is deeply rooted in surf and skate culture. We’ve covered its dress watches, automatic watches and its boldly toned Olympics watch, but it’s the brand’s Base Tide Pro Watch that is a freaking steal. This watch has all the bells and whistles of a timepiece with a way higher price tag has. This dive watch is like having a surf computer strapped to your wrist because it’s pre-programmed with tide info on 550 beaches. Crafted from recycled ocean plastic, the fiber-reinforced polycarbonate case is water-resistant to 100 meters. The digital watch has programming options that include dual time zones, chronograph, date, backlight and three alarms.
2. Fossil Blue Diver Stainless Steel Diver Watch
Both casual and dress watches from Fossil can be found on guys’ wrists the world over; they’re popular, have a great price and look good for years. Its men’s dive watch has a quartz movement, a tachymeter bezel, a 42mm case, stainless steel body, and water-resistant to 100 meters. Best of all, it’s got a two-year limited warranty.
3. Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Quartz Men’s Watch
When you buy a Citizen watch, you’ll own a timepiece that utilizes any light to power its lithium-ion battery. If there’s light, this watch will never stop running. This three-hand watch with a date complication, mineral crystal and has luminous hands and markers and a rotating bezel. Housed in stainless steel, one can go down 200 meters/20 bars and explore.
4. Bulova Devil Diver
Bulova’s handsome orange and blue divers watch is an homage to the original Devil Diver, born back in 1970. It’s a self-winding mechanical watch with a 42-hour reserve. The blue dial has a date complication, luminescent markers and is covered by a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating, making it easy to read wherever you may be. The stainless steel body is attached to a stainless steel case with a screw-down back and crown. Looking for a sturdy watch for the deep, this baby is it. And you can play with the fish down to 200 meters. And yes, it’s ISO certified.
5. Timex Navi XL Automatic 41mm Stainless Steel Mesh Band Watch
A billion years ago, Timex used the tagline, “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking,” in all its adverts. While the catchphrase has become outdated, the performance is still outstanding. The Navi XL’s dive watch is a sweet automatic machinal watch with a 40-hour power reserve. It’s gotten and handsome new update from the classic design with a stainless steel case and bracelet, rotating bezel, and the dial has both hour and military time markers. The luminescent markers make it easy to read in murky waters. Speaking of dark waters, this water-resistant dive watch is for light snorkeling or diving as it’s best up to 100 meters /10 bars/ 328 feet.
Best Dive Watches Under $1,000
In this category, we’ve got the best men’s dive watches that range in price from $550 to $1,000. We’ve selected great watches from heritage brands, and they’re handsome enough to go to the office. Here you’ll find a few watches that go below 200 meters.
6. Seiko Automatic Prospex Diver Stainless Steel Watch
Seiko is the official partner of PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. It has a collection of 11 dive watches worn by divers and instructors worldwide; its well-known Prospex diver garners the organization’s red and blue colors. It’s an automatic with date and day complications, a one-way rotating bezel that helps you keep track, LumiBrite hands, and markers with a screw-down back and crown. This watch follows ISO standards and lets you go down to 200 meters because you can SCUBA wearing this watch. Made of stainless steel, it’s impervious to salt damage.
7. Mido Ocean Star Diver Watch
Staying true to Mido’s tradition of architectural inspiration, the Ocean Star Watch design is inspired by a romantic view of the Europa Point Lighthouse in Gibraltar. This sleek, thin diver’s watch lies neatly on the wrist, while the stainless steel bracelet features a 42mm case and face markers illuminated with Super-Luminova. The case back is engraved with the Ocean Star logo, and the case itself protects the screw-down crown. It’s water-resistant to 20 atmospheres (ATMs), or 200 meters.
8. Luminox Pacific Diver Watch
Luminox is like the Ernest Hemingway of watches; it’s up for crazy adventures, and its timepieces are built to handle everything from deep ocean activity to climbing mountains. Not only does British adventure man Bear Grylls has a collection of Luminox watches, but the brand is also the official watch of the U.S. Navy SEALS. If you’re the type who’s always competing against yourself, this watch will keep up with you. The Pacific Diver watch is Swiss-made and is 44mm in size, and not only are the markers filled with Super-Luminova, but the watch face also provides a constant glow for up to 25 years. Each watch is individually tested and is water-resistant to 20 ATMs. The bezel is uni-directional, rotates and is made of Carbonox.
9. Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80
Tissot makes a good dress watch for some guys, but they forget it also makes stylish dive watches. The Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80 is a Swiss-made dive watch that lets you go deep, and by deep, we’re talking up to 300 meters (1,000 feet). It’s an automatic watch with an 80-hour power reserve, and the case is a nice size at 43mm. It has a date complication, and the hour markers are painted white, the hands are luminous, which works perfectly against a black watch face. Yes, it’s a gorgeous, handsome, sexy dive watch that looks equally striking in the office.
10. Hamilton Khaki Navy Watch
The Hamilton watch company has a long and illustrious history. As an American-born company, it supplied most watches to the railroad company. During WWII, it manufactured marine chronometers, deck watches for the Navy, allied navies, and pocket and wristwatches for the U.S. Army. So, when you hold a Hamilton, you know that precision is in its DNA. This automatic dive watch is water-resistant to 10 ATMs and features an 80-hour power reserve. The Khaki Navy watch — which happens to be neither khaki nor navy — also has a date complication, rotating bezel, and a 40mm case. The watch’s face has military time indices, and the markers are luminous.
Best Dive Watches Under $2000
As you go up in price, you’ll find more complications in a watch. Dive watches can also be chronometers or chronographs, and they can be made from titanium, bronze or other precious metals.
11. Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Automatic Blue Rubber Watch
12. Orris Divers Sixty-Five Automatic 42mm Stainless Steel & Canvas Watch
Orris is a luxury watch company, and like many luxury watch companies, it is based in Switzerland. This Diver Sixty-Five model is a rhapsody of blue, silver and black. The blue and black canvas strap echoes the blue dial and black bezel. Water-resistant to 100 meters, the domed sapphire glass has an anti-reflective coating. The dial has Super-Luminova hands and markers, a date complication, and the case is 42mm. It’s an automatic with a 38-hour power reserve.
13. Alpina Seastrong Stainless Steel Automatic-self-Wind Watch with Rubber Strap, Black, 21 (Model: AL-525S4H6)
Alpina makes sports watches for the great outdoors, and yep, that includes the water… on and under. Inspired by the diver watches of the ’60s, this monochromatic watch is cream and black and classic, with the modern addition of its date complication sitting at an angle between the three and four. Powered by Alpina’s calibre AL-525 automatic movement, this handsome diver has a 38-hour power reserve and is water-resistant up to 300 meters. The stainless steel watch case measures 42mm and has a scratch-resistant crystal. Instead of leather or steel, the straps are made of textured rubber.
14. Gucci Swiss Diver Watch Rubber Strap, 40mm
Gucci’s is both a fashion and a good watch; crafted in Switzerland in its own workshops, Gucci can offer on-trend style and precision in one timepiece. This dive watch has a durable rubber strap, gold-tone stainless steel 40mm case with PVD coating to prevent discoloration and protect it from dings. The hands and indices are luminous, there’s a date window, and you can splash down 200 meters wearing it.
15. Hamilton Swiss Automatic Khaki Navy BeLOWZERO Black Rubber Strap Watch
This Hamilton dive watch is a beast. Hamilton’s BeLOWZERO dive watch is water-resistant to 1,000 meters; that’s some deep diving, which makes sense as submarines were the inspiration for this dive watch. The 46mm case is made from titanium and has a helium-escape valve. It has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and a rubber strap.
Best Dive Watches Under $5000
As you go higher in price, you’ll start to notice dive watches created by luxury brands. And while these dive watches could easily pass for a dress watch, they’ve got what it takes to get wet.
16. Tudor Pelagos Blue Dial Automatic Men’s Watch 25600TB-BLRS
Rolex created the Tudor line of watches specifically to appeal to a younger demographic. You could call Tudor watches “Rolex Lite,” but these babies are just as iconic as their papa and come with a somewhat hefty price tag. This dive watch is also a certified chronometer. Water-resistant to 500 meters/1,650 feet, the titanium watch has a 42mm case. The dial features luminous hands and markers, a uni-directional bezel, and a date complication.
17. Longines Skin Diver Stainless Steel, PVD and Rubber Strap
Once upon a time, Longines was a super popular luxury watch; now, it seems only to be appreciated by watch aficionados. That means more watches for the rest of us., right? Its Skin Diver takes its design from the house’s same style of the ’60s. Retro cool with a black dial and gold-toned indices, numbers and hands, this dive watch is water-resistant to 300 meters. The stainless steel case has black PVD coating, and it has a matching black rubber strap.
18. Tag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 43mm
Tag Heuer’s known for its nifty sport watches, and its Aquaracer is just that. The dial is blue on blue stripes, with blue and green luminescent indices. This automatic watch is water-resistant 300 meters and has a 38-hour power reserve.
19. Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Co-Axial Chronometer 42MM
We recently covered Omega’s Olympic watch collection: The Omega Seamaster Diver and the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra. Aside from gracing the wrists of generations of men and women, Omega is the Olympics’ official timekeeper. This chronometer dive watch has a black face, black ceramic bezel, and black rubber strap. The 42mm case has Super-Luminova coated hands and indices, with a date complication. It’s water-resistant to 300 meters.
20. Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Red Limited Edition Automatic 42mm Bronze and Leather Watch
Take a step away from the expected and go for the glorious gusto with this deep red and bronze automatic dive watch from Bell & Ross. A bronze square encircles the face, and the uni-directional bezel is anodized aluminum in red and bronze. The gold-plated hands and indices are also filled with Super-LumiNova, and the case back is stainless steel. It’s water-resistant to 300 meters/1,000 feet.
Best Dive Watches Under $15000
We start to see the fabled and lusted after Rolex, Ulysse Nardin and Cartier watches at this price range. Rolex has three different lines of dive watches: The Sea-Dweller, Submariner and Deepsea Sea-Dweller. While you can buy a new, never worn (and fantastic) luxury dive watch from Nardin or Cartier, at this price point, the only Rolexes you can purchase are pre-owned. Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with buying a pre-owned luxury watch, and sites like Mr Porter and 1st Dibs are rigorous in vetting their dealers and authenticating items.
21. Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch, 42MM
Cartier is one of the few jewelry houses that also designs luxury or “good” watches as opposed to fashion watches. And as such, their watches never lose value, Their Calibre de Cartier dive watch is water-resistant to 300 meters. It’s an automatic watch that uses caliber 1904-PS MC mechanical movement, hence the “calibre” in its name. The stainless steel case has a ceramic bezel, the indices are coated in Super-LumiNova, it has a date complication and a seconds subdial.
22. Rolex Pre-Owned 2008 Submariner Automatic Oystersteel Watch
The Rolex Submariner was the brand’s first foray into dive watches, and professional divers have worn them since the ’50s. This certified chronometer dive watch is water-resistant to 300 meters, and the bracelet and case are made from stainless steel. The 40mm case has a rotating ceramic bezel, luminous hands and indices are made from 18k white gold.
23. Ulysse Nardin Diver X Nemo Point Limited Edition Automatic 44mm Titanium and Webbing Watch
This Ulysse Nardin Diver X Nemo watch has a jaunty nautical blue and white design with flashes of red. It’s a limited edition watch and is undoubtedly on its way to becoming a collectible item. The mechanicals are superb, and this dive watch has 50 jewels and an automatic with a 60-hour power reserve. The 44mm titanium case has a rubberized titanium bezel, Super-LumiNova hands, indices, a seconds subdial, and an engraved case back. It’s water-resistant to 30 ATMs.