Whether you’re a diver or not, having a classic diver’s watch on your wrist makes an unforgettable fashion statement. While originally designed for marine adventure, these days, divers watches are as known for their sharp looks as they are for their performance features. They’re bold, elegant and look great with just about any outfit, formal or casual. And yes, they keep you punctual.
But, before we dive into the best Seiko dive watches, let’s learn a little bit about what a dive watch actually is. For any non-divers reading this article, it’s important to note why scuba divers must track their time at depth. In general, divers need to determine how much dissolved inert gas their body has absorbed. At a certain point, scuba divers would need to undertake decompression stops while surfacing in order to off-gas. However, recreational divers are taught to dive within their non-decompression limits, so that they do not have to take decompression stops following a dive. On most dives, recreational divers only need to complete a stop at five meters for three minutes in order to be extra cautious.
More often than not, these non-decompression limits determine how long a diver can stay down rather than how much air they have in their tank. When planning a dive, scuba divers determine their non-decompression limit using a table or algorithm. That way, they know exactly how long they can stay at any given depth before they even enter the water. They, therefore, need a way to track their time scuba diving, and that’s where the best Seiko dive watches come in.
However, like other scuba diving equipment, the dive watch has been the victim of technological advances. Today, most scuba divers rely on dive computers, which have the complicated NDL tables built-in, to track their time at depth and their non-decompression limits. Below, we’ll discuss the difference between dive watches and dive computers, and why divers may want to invest in one or the other.
Dive Watch vs. Dive Computer
In the scuba diving industry, there are two wrist-mounted devices often discussed by divers. Those are the dive watch and the dive computer. While each one offers the ability to track time and non-decompression limits, there are significant differences between the two devices. Let’s break down a dive watch versus a dive computer.
Dive watches have been used since the beginning of scuba diving to track time underwater. They generally look like normal, analog men’s watches but are waterproof to depths of 200 to 300 meters. Usually, the watches feature a rotating bezel to mark the time elapsed at depth in conjunction with the non-decompression limit tables. In addition, most of the design elements on these watches make them easier to read in low-light conditions. To dive safely with a dive watch, a scuba diver would need to pre-plan their dive using the NDL tables and also wear a separate pressure and depth gauge.
On the other hand, dive computers are entire wrist-mounted computers with non-decompression limit tables and a depth gauge built-in. They can also account for minuscule changes in depth, different types of air or nitrox mixes used and ascent rate. Most dive computers have built-in alarms to alert divers when an NDL limit or maximum depth is approaching. Plus, they record data over consecutive dives, making it easier to determine necessary surface intervals and no-fly times. These days dive computers are usually no larger than a digital watch.
Why Buy a Dive Watch
Given the differences outlined above and the fact that the price difference between a dive watch and a dive computer is minimal, you might be wondering why scuba divers ever chose to buy a dive watch. However, there are several advantages to owning one.
- Style – A dive watch is the only piece of scuba diving equipment that you could ever possibly wear from the office to your local dive site. They are incredibly attractive and dependable timepieces that would not look out of place on any wrist.
- Safety – Many scuba divers choose to wear both a dive watch and a dive computer when diving. Why? Because if one or the other fails, you’ll always have a backup. This is especially true for saturation divers and technical divers.
- Nostalgia – Dive watches harken to the days of Jacques Cousteau, Herbert Nitsch and other historical explorers. They’ve become somewhat of a status symbol in the diving community, and some models, like many of the Seiko dive watches below, are therefore quite sought after.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see why the dive watch industry is still thriving.
Why Buy a Seiko Dive Watch
Besides being a leader in the dive watch industry, Seiko is one of the most sought-after watch brands in the world. That’s because their designs offer a luxurious timepiece at an affordable price. In addition, the brand has always been transparent about its technologies and policies, leading other watch brands to copy the formula. And, Seiko’s designs are made in-house rather than outsourcing the design process to another company, and the whole watchmaking process from design to completion is overseen by Seiko’s experts.
Furthermore, the company has created several technologies that have advanced the dive watch over the years. This includes the now industry-standard Lumibrite technology, which is a highly luminescent material used in dive watches to ensure the clock face is visible at depth.
In short, Seiko watches are affordable, luxury timepieces worth buying whether you’re looking for a dive watch or any other watch for that matter. They just have the added benefit of being one of the oldest and most trustworthy dive watch manufacturers in the business.
Without further ado, let’s dive into our 11 favorite Seiko dive watches right now.
1. Seiko SKX007J1 Analog Black Rubber Diver’s Watch
The Seiko SKX007J1 Analog Black Rubber Diver’s Watch strikes the ideal balance between features, quality and price. That’s what makes it one of the most popular dive watches in existence and our top pick of Seiko dive watches. The stainless steel case and resin strap make this watch perfectly stylish in most situations. It’s also rated down to 200 meters and boasts a turning bezel to help you keep track of your non-deco limits. In addition, the watch features luminous hands and a day and date display.
2. Seiko PADI Special Edition Prospex Solar Dive Watch
PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, is the world’s leading scuba diving certification agency. So, it only makes sense that Seiko has partnered with PADI to create a line of dive watches sporting the PADI logo and their famous yet retro red and blue color scheme. These dive watches make a great gift for newly graduated PADI Divemasters or Instructors. Of the 11 dive watches in the PADI line, the Seiko PADI Special Edition Prospex Solar Dive Watch is one of the most affordable. The watch is rated to 200 meters and features a simple yet effective analog watch face.
3. Seiko Diver Automatic Blue Dial Blue Rubber Watch
This stellar bold and blue diver watch has sea life written all over it. The blue dial face with white and gold accents serves up classic nautical coloring. It’s a breeze to read at a glance with its blue dial, luminous silver-tone hands and dot hour markers. The blue ion-plated bezel is super sharp, while the soft rubber strap keeps comfy on your wrist. As sharp with a suit as it is with shorts.
4. Seiko Men’s Automatic Prospex Diver Watch
The Seiko Men’s Automatic Prospex Diver Watch was made to be easily read, whether you’re tec diving at 150 meters or you’re heading to the office. The magnified day and date window is complemented by large, luminous hands, which have been covered in Seiko’s Lumibrite, an innovative, high-grade luminous material made specifically to be visible at even the darkest depths of the ocean. Plus, the simple tones of black and white will match nearly any outfit in your wardrobe as well as your wetsuit.
5. Seiko Prospex Turtle Diver Special Edition Watch
The Seiko Turtles, which is the nickname for the line of watches in which you’ll find the Seiko Prospex Turtle Diver Special Edition Watch, is incredibly popular with both divers and watch collectors alike. That’s because these watches boast an amazing value for money and a stylish appeal. They’re also reminiscent of dive watches made in the early 1980s, the heyday of underwater analog watches. The nickname comes from the slightly bulky cushion case, but don’t worry. The clever design of the metal curves makes this watch comfortable to wear below the surface and topside, too.
6. Seiko Men’s Automatic Prospex Divers Watch
BEST DIAL DESIGN
With the Seiko Men’s Automatic Prospex Divers Watch, we make the leap (for the most part) from silicone bands to stainless steel link bands. This change, of course, makes a watch feel instantly classier rather than sporty, so choosing between the two depends on the look you are going for. The ocean wave pattern on the dial of this particular watch makes it a great choice for water lovers of all types. It also features a rating of 200 meters, three hands for telling the time, automatic movement and a day/date window.
7. Seiko Men’s Automatic Prospex King Turtle Watch
Thanks to their popularity, we had to include more than one of the Seiko Turtles. The Seiko Men’s Automatic Prospex King Turtle Watch takes the nickname and runs with it thanks to its olive green, silicone wristband and face. Like most other Seiko dive watches, the illuminating hands and hour markings are easy to reach, while the date and day window is magnified. In addition, the face features a grid pattern, reminiscent of the dive tables used alongside the watch for recreational and technical scuba diving.
8. Seiko Men’s Chronograph Solar Power Watch
BEST QUARTZ MOVEMENT
While the watches on our list have all boasted automatic movement until now, the Seiko Men’s Chronograph Solar Power Watch comes in with a splash as the first quartz movement watch. That means this watch features a solar-powered battery to keep it functioning, instead of using wrist movements to power the internal mechanisms. In addition, this timeless timepiece boasts three attractive chronograph subdials built into the face, and it’s rated to depths of 200 meters (660 feet).
9. Seiko Prospex Diver Scuba PADI Special Model
BEST FOR PADI DIVERS
Another watch from the Seiko x PADI line, the Seiko Prospex Diver Scuba PADI Special Model is stylish and understated yet still boasts a 5/5 rating on Amazon. The analog display is powered by an automatic movement, and the silicone band is comfortable in the water and on dry land. But, one of the most attractive features on this watch is the face, which fades from blue to black, much like the ocean. The red details on the minute hand both make it more visible and are reminiscent of PADI’s brand colors. The PADI logo also appears on the watch face.
10. Seiko Men’s Prospex Automatic Dive Watch
BEST AUTOMATIC MOVEMENT
You will probably have noticed that most of the watches on this list boast automatic movement, much like the Seiko Men’s Prospex Automatic Dive Watch. These watches power their mechanisms by the movement of your wrist rather than a battery, so if you continually wear the watch, it remains accurate. In addition to automatic movement, this particular piece also comes with a built-in hand winding capability for extra assurance that you’ll never run out of power and end up with a dead watch. And, that’s a good thing when the watch is your lifeline under the water.
11. Seiko PROSPEX Marinemaster Quartz Professional Mens Watch
Seiko watches aren’t cheap, but that’s because they are an embodiment of the marriage between art and technology. However, the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Quartz Professional Mens Watch takes “not cheap” to another level. With that said, this watch is a beauty and worth the splurge. Nicknamed the Tuna or Tuna Can, this watch boasts a screw-down offset crown, a diving bezel and highly luminous hands. It also features a stainless steel shroud for added protection while you’re under the water. With this watch on your wrist, you’ll want for nothing when telling time when diving.