When you think of diving as a sport, you picture the tranquil underwaters and the flamboyant wildlife. It might be the weightlessness of your body underwater or the mind freeing itself of worldly desires. Whatever it may be, you wake up to see the beauty of 71% percent of the earth you were truly missing out on.
However, it’s not long before the calm depth of the ocean can become fatal. Not to scare you or anything, but without the correct estimation of the amount of time, you could miscalculate the amount of oxygen you have left in your tank.
When we tested the various products, we found that the absolute best dive watch that is also affordable is Citizen Men, with a polyurethane strap and a rotation bezel. Here are our category winners:
- Best affordable dive watch: Citizen Men
- Best dive watch under $500: PHOIBOS
- Best dive watch under $1,000: HAZARD 4
- Best dive watch under $2,000: Garmin Descent Mk2i
Why you can trust us & how we picked
We are passionate about all kind of watches, and we get professional when it’s about dive ones. These are sophisticated creations that allow you to keep track of time while you are under the water. All watches have been tested by us and we present you with the best option for every budget.
Failing to return to land on time could indeed lead to unfortunate accidents. If you’re a regular, you’d know that. It is where dive watches and computers come in.
Sorry for the drop of heart, you may have gone through reading the last paragraph. But if a few chilling words can help you realize the importance of investing in a dive watch, we bet you can forgive us when you learn about the best dive watches.
When we speak of ‘investing’ in a dive watch, we don’t just mean monetarily. You must take out the time to understand the test and measures this piece goes through to be able to use the word ‘dive’ next to it. After which, you can skim through the watches that serve your purpose and utility. Of course, this article will help you out with that in its entirety.
Best dive watches under $500, $1,000, & $2,000
Here is a list of the best dive watches under $500, $1,000, and $2,000.
Best affordable options
The Citizen’s Eco-Drive Promaster is a top pick for somebody prioritizing affordability over everything else. The solar-powered eco-drive converts both natural and artificial light into energy. So, charging and changing batteries won’t ever be necessary. Yet, you’d still benefit from the luminous three-hand display and quartz movement in the dark. The anti-reflective mineral crystal lives up to its name with a crystal-clear display. At the same time, the stainless steel body will be an asset to your active lifestyle. Oh, and it comes with a polyurethane strap to keep everything comfortable and in place.
- The strap is made of rubber and very comfortable.
- The bezel marking is a bit cheap
- Dependability in water
If you thought we were towards the end of these numerous tests and standards, we’re just getting started. Having a sturdy, protective case is extremely important to safeguard the gear. But the gear itself must be of reliable quality. To ensure this, there are a variety of other examinations that mimic what a watch may have to go through underwater.
- The depth test: By placing the watch in a deep case of water for approximately 50 hours, the timepiece is checked for any changes in its functions.
- The shock test: The diver is susceptible to tons of shocks underwater, as is their sports watch. Shock can cause the mechanics of the wheel in the timepiece to lose balance and stop working. So the timepiece receives a gush of 5,000gs from at least two sides before it is checked for any defects that may have been caused.
- The crown test: ‘Crown,’ which is the most sensitive part of the watch, must also undergo a pressure test. For example, The crown is pressurized with a quarter more force than the depth it is designed for. If it is designed for 300m, then the crown must go through a shock of 370m. If it were to be accidentally dropped, the crown should stay intact.
- The thermal tolerance test: In this test, the timepiece is submerged in 30c deep water and heated up to 40°C in about a minute. The temperature remains 40° for five minutes before it’s shot back to 5°C in another minute. The diver may go through a series of temperature changes within the water. It is to check the gear’s tolerance for the same.
- The pressure test: In this test, the gear is thrown at a depth that is 125% of its labeled rating. It is left underwater for two hours, after which the density is bought down to about a 1/3 and kept in the water for another hour.
Bronze is an alloy made of mainly copper and a small percentage of tin. Over time, the bronze develops a patina (similar to rust). It gives the watch a vintage look. The color and patina change and reflect the environment of its wearer.
Here are a few we recommend:
Men’s Steeldive Automatic
This diver’s bronze gear has all the features to qualify for a great purchase. It has a water resistance of 200mm, and a unidirectional chronograph Bezel visible in the dark. Other than that, the rubber strap adds great functionality to an already affordable watch.
|Dial window material type
- The design is really nice.
- Doesn’t offer features of more expensive options.
The Seiko 5
Within the same price range is this Seiko 5 vintage-looking timepiece. That is if you opt for the one with the brown-black leather strap! Bronze tends to produce a ‘patina,’ which gives it a timeless antique finish. However, you get that look right off the rack and don’t have to wait for it. The water-resistant is lesser than the Steeldive version we shared above, only 100m. Nonetheless, we believe this is a great ‘multipurpose watch’ that’s reliable, looks beautiful, and can tolerate a dip or two!
- Comfortable on the wrist
- Very good value option
- The lens can get scratched.
Products Under $500
Phoibos Wave Master PY010R
If you’re looking for chunky modern-looking underwater gear, this stainless steel Phoibos is a wide 42.0m watch with 300m depth, made with premium sapphire crystal glass and extremely reliable Super-LumiNova (glow-in-the-dark) markings. It’s a great fit for anyone who just wants something premium-looking, functional, and affordable.
- Clean design
- The rubber band is a bit short.
Who said you need to spend lots of money to buy quality? With excellent water resistance (200m), mineral glass, and stainless steel case, this Casio can take on the world. Or assist you in taking on the world!
- Unbeatable price
- The bezel is a bit hard to adjust.
Products under $1,000
Heavy Water-Diver by Hazard (Black)
Suppose you’re somebody that gives priority to visibility when shopping for a watch. In that case, this Heavy Water-Diver is made especially for you. With a large 50mm diameter and tritium vials, you’re guaranteed easy reading even in the depths of the night. Tritium is a radioactive material that constantly glows in the dark, unlike other traditional fluorescent materials like Super-LumiNova. Those might fade within a few hours and only get charged with exposure to other forms of light. Additionally, the depth rating of 300m or 990ft officially makes it live up to its name.
- It definitely grew hair on our chests. What a watch!
- The price is a bit steep.
Heavy Water-Diver by Hazard (Silver)
It is the same watch above in features but slightly different in color and design.
- It feels well-made.
- It’s very bright and easy to see.
- It just didn’t feel special for the price.
This Cressi Leonardo computer has a great beginner-friendly display (47mm) that is easy to read. The air, nitrox, and gauge modes are easy to access with just one button and help facilitate an easier time in the waters. Speaking of easy, maybe you ever get carried away in the depths of the sea. It also has audible alarms that remind you of oxygen running out or unsafe depths.
- Easy to set up
- The strap is quite large.
- The white straps may show dirt.
36mm – 38mm models
Vaer DS4 Solar
36mm -38mm is a diameter rather close to that of regular time-telling pieces. Even 39mm still fits within the ‘small’ range, considering only two ranges exist. 40mm and bigger is when things start to get clearer, which is why Dive watches are so big. But for somebody looking to double their dive watch as a regular watch, a 36-38mm diameter is very suited like that of this Vaer DS4 Solar Dive Watch. 6 hours of this gear in sunlight can keep it working for 6 months! Isn’t that impressive? The Sapphire crystal, 316L stainless steel, and the 2-year waterproof guarantee make you want to seal the deal.
It’s why it’s one of the best dive watches for someone that likes a simple design.
- Solidly built
- Good quality at the price
- The design is perhaps more simple than we like it.
Citizen’s Promaster Titanium
Gear made from Titanium is corrosion-resistant and made to last. Citizen’s Promaster Dive Super- Titanium is one product that checks all the boxes. It is 200m water-resistant, with Luminous hands and a rotating bezel. But people often choose metals other than steel because of their rugged physical condition. It makes them look superior and antique.
- Outdoorsy feel
- Not for formal occasions
Victorinox Swiss Army I.N.O.X Pro
Speaking of titanium watches and their timeless aesthetic, you may like this Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Pro Diver. It comes in a chic white color. The white rubber strap with a buckle on the grey titanium case makes this watch stand out. It still has 200m water resistance and can be used for extreme water sports but not for diving specifically.
- Comfortable band
- Masculine-feeling product
- ISO 6245 Dive watch certification
- The bezel doesn’t hit the markers quite right.
Gucci Dive Analog-Display Swiss Quartz
Luxury watch recommendations are incomplete without the mention of Gucci. It is sleek black and silver with quartz movement and water resistance of 200mm. Unlike most Dive gear, the strap of this watch has been carefully designed with ‘Gucci’ indentation. Again, it is water resistant but not made for diving.
Suppose you’re looking for a luxurious buy, which is more of a statement piece. In that case, you should also check out:
- Tag Heuer
- and Breitling watches.
While Hamilton has great designs, Tag Heuer, Tissot, and Oris are considered very luxurious. Breitling watches represent their rich history and craftsmanship, which is why they are adorned by the ‘bold’ category of men.
Yellow & Orange models
Casio GA2000-A19 G-Shock in Yellow
If you just love the color yellow, check out this Cassio G-Shock gear. It is a vibrant yellow. It is highly shock-resistant and water-resistant up to 200m with a 51mm case. It’s big, tough, and in your favorite color. We forgot to mention it’s also cost-efficient. Again, it’s not recommended for deep-sea adventures.
- Great price
- Rugged design
- The bezel scratches easily.
Luminox Navy Seal XS.3603 in Orange
As fun as deep-sea diving is, it can often feel that there is a lack of color to represent it in its gear. Thanks to this Luminox gear, you get water resistance (200m), stainless steel back, and a unidirectional rotating bezel. It’s also visible in all situations and circumstances and doesn’t need batteries to charge itself. Finally, a watch that is well-built, powerful, and colorful.
- Very accurate
- Perhaps too big for most
We’ve got you covered when you’re on the lookout for a clean black design. This black dive watch is water resistant up to 200m. It has a unidirectional rotating bezel, luminescent hour markers, and 41 hours of energy storage. It is also offered at a very inexpensive cost. Still, our favorite part is the strap which has thin geometrical spikes (4 long stripes). Except for Gucci, this is the only gear we saw that had paid attention to the wrist strap and its details. We loved that.
- Easily readable
- Not quite as accurate as the other watches
Greener-Diver by Hazard (Silver)
Luminox Navy Seal XS.3517
It is another gear officially approved by the United States Department of the Navy. You don’t have to give it a second thought too. Luminox especially got together with the world’s greatest maritime explorers. They did so to develop a gear that can be used by professionals in tough spots that don’t have room for unreliable equipment. This green and black, almost a camouflage combination, is water resistant (200m). It has a big enough diameter of 45mm and is visible under any given situation. It will never need any battery replacement. Even if it does, there is a 2-year guarantee on this product.
- Rugged design
- The seller may not be an authorized dealer, voiding the warranty.
Best luxury options under $2,000
Here are luxurious watches that come with an in-built dive computer:
Garmin Descent Mk2i
The 1.5′ or 35.5mm display, a battery of 80 hours in the dive mode, and the capacity to store and revisit 200 dives make this a one-time investment for all divers. The smart sports apps with advanced training features are great for beginners. The heart rate and sensing of blood oxygen saturation, and altitude acclimation make it great for advanced divers. At the same time, contactless payment and music make it suitable for desk divers. With an additional cost of the T1 transmitter that comes with it, it can estimate air pressure and remaining oxygen. Paired with a transmitter, this gear will still cost under $2,000.
If you find Garmin attractive, you should also check out ‘Suunto.’ Suunto watches are known to be compatible with android phones and create a unique experience.
- Classic look
- All the bells and whistles
- The price
When a simplistic design meets affordability, it creates this user-friendly Cressi Leonardo Diving Computer. Its large and intuitive automatic menu makes it easy to use underwater. The high-definition screen isn’t just highly visible. Still, the air, nitrox, and gauge modes can be set by just one accessible dive button. Moreover, it has audible alarms for your safety. If you want to focus on diving and less on struggling to comprehend your equipment, you know this is what you should choose. The battery life is around 8 hours on a single charge.
- Good beginners watch
- Large button
- Not great for more advanced divers
Mares Puck Pro Plus
It is another affordable yet user-friendly gear available in all sorts of vibrant colors. The battery runs on a single charge is 36 hours which is quite good for the price. Besides the air, nitrox, and gauge modes, it also indicates altitude acclimation precautions. It is durable and has all important functions for beginners and experienced alike.
- Easy to use
- Some people may have received returned watches.
Military grade options
Luminox Navy Seal Blackout
Suppose you can’t wrap your head around so many configurations and features. In that case, we bring you this military dive watch that the US Navy has verified. The US Department of Navy’s feedback and prepositions developed the entire Navy Seals series. It has a diving rating of 200m and is made from very sturdy mineral glass with a diameter of 44mm. Then it also has a unidirectional bezel and a stainless steel back. It will never need a battery to illuminate itself. Instead, it’ll catch energy from natural and artificial lights. But the best part is its all-black edgy look and the fact that it’ll probably last you a good 25 years.
When it comes to military-level precision, Timex and Doxa watches are also industry-leading when it comes to accuracy and reliability. Doxa watches are great at calculating decompression times, which is especially useful for professional divers.
- Beautiful, rugged design
- It feels a bit cheap.
Factors to look for
In a dive watch
According to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), this piece of equipment must go through various tests to use the word ‘dive’ right next to it.
Now, ISO only writes the rules for standardization. It is usually the brand itself that goes through with the tests. If companies claim to be ISO certified, you know what that means.
So here we go. Here is what to look for in a dive watch.
Minimum water resistance of 100mm or 330ft underwater
100mm or 330ft is way deeper than a professional diver could travel underwaters. However, it’s essential to understand that these tests occur in still water with pretty stable conditions. Thus, the extra few feet are added to compensate for the diver’s movement and the rough conditions underwater.
A body that can withstand an abrasive environment
Any tool taken to the ocean is exposed to salt water and the pressure of charged electric current produced by chemical reactions. The body of this timepiece must thus also be constructed of either an alloy or stainless steel. An alloy is a mixture of two metal elements achieved to gain strength and durability. Stainless steel should be 316L.
Brands test their metal body by keeping them in a sodium chloride solution between 18 to 25°C a day.
At the end of the test, they check for any:
- or tear.
After which, they finalize the product or improve it accordingly.
The recent Rolex watches are made from 904L, savoring them for even the harshest chemical reactions and corrosion.
A rotating time bezel
Without this key element, this tool is essentially incomplete. A rotating bezel lets a diver know how long they have been submerged under the water. With the press of a button (or rotation of one), the diver can begin timing himself right before taking a deep dip. Though an alarm would’ve been more helpful, the bezel does let the diver know how long they’ve been in the water.
Estimating the time accurately is crucial for the diver to return to land on time before their tank runs out of oxygen. It is exactly why these rotating bezels are built to rotate only one way. In the case of any adversity where the clock may get knocked, the bezel will only tell you the time more than it is. It’s safer for the diver to assume they’ve got less oxygen and return to land early than to assume they’ve got plenty when running out.
Visibility in the dark
The deeper you go, the darker the ocean gets. Therefore, your time tracker must be visible from 25 cm away in absolute darkness. For this reason, the primary points in the watch are made from ‘glow-in-the-dark’ materials. Of these primary points, the 12′ O clock position is marked distinctively. Time is always read the right side up. When it comes to luminescence, there are many fluorescent materials out there that are used by brands worldwide. For instance, Citizen’s watches are made from a paint called ‘ Natulite.’ Whether it’s a high-end model or something rather affordable, Citizen’s products can be trusted to be visible in the gloomiest of places.
In Dive Computers
A dive computer is an essential piece of equipment that monitors important information such as:
- the depth of the dive
- oxygen left
- decompression timings
It’s a lot more informative and easier to read than a regular watch, and it’s what most divers prefer. Here are all the factors to look for in a dive computer:
|What to look for
|Some products only go down to a certain depth
|It’s convenient if it monitors the amount of oxygen left
|Decompression times make it easy to know whether you’re ready to go up.
|Air pressure monitoring
|It helps in predicting access to oxygen.
Dive computers are an excellent tool. It tells you how deep the ocean you’ve traveled and how far you may be from touching an unsafe level of depth. Insurance companies can also ask to see your dive computer for evidence that you haven’t surpassed the recommended level of depth.
When taking a deep sea dive, your body is exposed to the depths rather fast. Mixed gases such as nitrogen may enter the muscle and tissues. It will make you feel woozy, sick, or experience joint or muscle pain. In such a case, your dive computer can indicate whether you need to stay in a particular depth to adjust or levitate to a position where you can wait until you feel better.
Air pressure monitoring
It considers your current breathing rate, depth, and average oxygen utilization throughout the dive to predict how much time you have left with oxygen.
Can Monitor multiple cylinders
Most professional divers that explore vast depths carry more than one oxygen cylinder. The computer can track individual stats for each cylinder.
Keep a record
Thanks to a dive computer, keeping track of your dives is much easier. You can leave notes for yourself if you ever dive around the same location. Plus, you can share your trips with other divers. It includes the obstacles you may have faced and tips.
There are three kinds of ways that a computer can be incorporated into the diver’s journey:
- On your wrist: A Wrist computer is wrapped around the wrist with the help of a waterproof strap and gives you your dive’s insightful information through a monitor.
- Incorporated within your watch: A little more on the expensive side, many dive watches come with an in-built dive computer.
- Attached to your Tank: A dive console is attached to your tank via a regulator and is great at accurately identifying your depth, air pressure, and other vitals. However, they aren’t the smallest piece of equipment to carry and aren’t conveniently attached to your wrist like the other types of computers.
Dive computers are usually battery-enabled and can be recharged. A dive computer’s life depends on the quality of the product.
How much do the best dive watches cost?
Besides telling the time, these watches feature sophisticated mechanisms allowing them to function deep underwater. You can find dive watches costing $160 all the way to $2,000. The more expensive ones are also long-lasting and are capable to be submerged at deeper levels.