Best Dive Watches Buying Guide

Best Dive Watches Buying Guide

Water resistant watches were first manufactured in the 1920s, but it was not until the 1970s that different manufacturers started creating what were considered real dive watches. The dive watches of today are more than purely functional tools. Technology has advanced to enable manufacturers to put an emphasis on style while maintaining integrity and functionality. These same technological advances have brought prices down, allowing the average consumer to afford a functional, high quality, and attractive dive watch.

Dive Watch Frequently Asked Questions

What is a dive watch?

A dive watch is a wristwatch that is designed to remain water resistant under extreme pressure. It is an essential tool, invented in the early years of scuba diving. Scuba divers today still use them to know when to resurface and determine their surface interval for the next dive.

Can any water resistant watch be used for diving?

Though a dive watch might look like an ordinary water resistant watch, a water resistant watch is not necessarily suitable for diving. This is because typical water resistant watches cannot withstand the pressure when submerged hundreds of feet.  Typical dive watches are pressure tested to at least 100 meters.

What is the difference between a dive watch and a dive computer?

Dive computers are specialty tools capable of measuring dive time, depth, and calculating surface interval. They are typically oversized digital devices capable of displaying multiple metrics at one. Dive computers are not something one would typically wear when not diving. Dive watches, however, are versatile enough to be worn as a regular wristwatch.

Why do divers still wear a dive watch?

Some divers still buy dive watches as a backup for their dive computers. Some wear them because they like them or have become used to wearing them while diving.

What is the purpose of the rotating bezel?

A dive watch’s rotating bezel enables divers to quickly determine how long they have been under the water. To use it, rotate the bezel so the zero mark is aligned with the minute hand at the start of the dive. This will allow a quick reading of elapsed dive time by glancing at the minute hand.  Many dive watches will feature a different bezel color or distinguishing marks from 0-20 minutes. This is because 20 minutes is the typical halfway point of a dive.

Why do most dive watches feature a uni-directional bezel?

Uni-directional bezels are safety devices. If the bezel were to accidentally move, it could only rotate counter-clockwise, decreasing the dive time.

Qualities of the Best Dive Watches

Water Resistance

The most critical feature of a quality dive watch is the water resistance.  The very best dive watches will be ISO 6425 certified, which includes a minimum water resistance of 100 meters.  This same ISO standard includes requirements for pressure resistance.

Movement: Automatic vs. Quartz

 Historically, dive watches were automatic, as a failed battery while diving could result in disaster.  However, technological advances in recent years have extended battery life and reliability. Today, many very high quality dive watches use quartz movements. Quartz movements are virtually unmatched in their accuracy and ease of maintenance.  

Automatics require factory servicing every few years and typically have an accuracy tolerance in one day that equals that of a quartz in a month or more.  They also rely on being worn or kept in an automatic winder to maintain their time, typically having a power reserve of about a day before they will stop. While available starting in the $200 range, the very finest dive watches will almost certainly be automatic.  

Luminosity

A critical feature of a good dive watch is the luminosity of the hands, dial, and at least one index on the bezel. This allows the watch to be read in low-light and even no-light conditions, including murky water.

Bracelet/Strap

Dive watch strap materials can vary greatly. Many entry- to mid-level dive watches will come on a rubber strap. This is often longer than a strap found on a typical watch to allow the dive watch to be worn on the outside of a wet suit.

More expensive dive watches often feature a stainless steel bracelet, though this is often an option on entry- to mid-level dive watches as well.)  The best dive watches with a stainless steel bracelet will feature an expanding section, again to allow for the watch to be fitted over a wet suit. Look for solid end links and a firmly closing clasp in a quality stainless steel bracelet.

Dive watches are incredibly versatile and owners will often rotate between straps regularly.  They can be dressed up on a leather strap or down on a nylon strap.  The possibilities are nearly limitless.

The Top 5 Most Recommended Best Dive Watches

Now that you know what to look for a high-quality dive watch, it’s time to know what brands on the market are the most affordable. Below are the best dive watches with more than 4 stars satisfaction ratings.

Stuhrling Original “Specialty Grand Regatta” Swiss Quartz Dive Watch

The Specialty Grand Regatta is a beautiful dive watch offered at a very affordable price. Originally, this precious timepiece was sold at around $500, but now you can buy it at a discounted price. For less than one hundred dollars, you can have a stainless steel dive watch.

This product is one of the most recommended out of all the dive watches from Stuhrling Original because of its performance. It features a beautiful matte finish deep-sea blue dial that makes reading time easier and more accurate. It is protected by scratch resistant Krysterna crystal face.

This material is something unique to many of the manufacturer’s watches. This model is basically stainless in all parts of the watch. The center links are polished to a mirror finish while the outer links are brushed finish. Furthermore, this dive watch runs accurately with its battery-powered Ronda 515 Swiss quartz movement.

Like many other dive watches, it is water resistant to 200 meters and is suitable for diving and other water activities. You may also wear it for casual occasions or everyday use. Lastly, this dive watch also comes complete with a 2-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.

Pros

  • Krysterna Crystal that is harder than Sapphire crystals
  • Has push-button clasp that is the same as higher end brands
  • Ronda 515 Swiss quartz movement is always accurate
  • Sold at discounted and more affordable price

Cons

  • Heavier than other dive watches
  • Lack of instructional manual

Luminox Men’s 3001 Quartz Navy Seal Dive Watch

The Luminox brand has always been recognized for their self-powered illumination system. It has been listed among the best dive watches on different review sites because of this amazing technology at an affordable price. You can buy this watch for less than $200.

The self-powered illumination system is said to be a hundred times brighter than what other self-illuminating watches can offer. According to the manufacturer, it can provide luminescence for approximately 25 years. If you are fond of diving at locations where there is a little light source or no light at all, this is dive watch is a must-have.

To further help you during the dive, Luminox uses a unidirectional rotating bezel with 5-minute Arabic numerals. This helps to better monitor your time underwater. Other features people like about this product include the accuracy of the multi-jeweled Swiss quartz movement. It also has coin-edged detailing that offers better grip.

The glass that covers the black dial is a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating. This product also has a black strap bracelet and includes a 4-year battery life. It even has a one-year warranty from Luminox.

Pros

  • Amazing self-powered illumination system
  • Has scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
  • The battery has a 4-year battery life

Cons

  • Only offers one year warranty
  • Low-quality black rubber strap
  • Comparably lower quality than the first Luminox dive watches

Citizen Eco-Drive BN0151-09L Promaster Diver Watch

This list wouldn’t be complete without a Citizen dive watch. Their Eco-Drive BNO0151-09L Promaster Diver Watch is a gorgeous stainless steel watch with quartz movement. It is always accurate; wherever you are, you do not have to worry about being late.

Aside from this, it also allows you to monitor your time, as well as the amount of air in the tank while diving the depths of the sea. There is also a dark navy blue theme, which is clearly seen in its polyurethane strap and dial. The dial, with luminous hands and hour markers, are protected by anti-reflective mineral crystal glass.

The watch has a quartz movement powered by a solar power battery, which lowers the maintenance on the watch. The screw crown is located at a 4 o’clock position for easier access and adjustment of time and date. This model is an ISO Compliant Diver with an aluminum ring and unidirectional rotating elapsed-time bezel.

It is also water resistant to 200 meters. Because it is fashionable, you can easily wear it at work or any casual occasions. Always remember to store it in a place with a light source to ensure the battery will be charged. For this particular model, Citizen provides a 5-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Comes complete with a 5-year limited warranty from Citizen
  • ISO Compliant Diver
  • Analog displays show accurate time

Cons

  • Hard to recharge when the battery runs out
  • The mineral crystal is not as durable as the other brands
  • Low-quality polyurethane strap

Seiko SKA371 Kinetic Dive Silver Watch

Another brand that deserves to be on the list of the best dive watches is Seiko. Their SKA371 Kinetic Dive Silver Watch has a 4.6 out of 5 stars satisfaction rating on Amazon, recognizing its superior performance compared to the other brands. Although it is more expensive than others, rest assured this model will exceed your expectations.

The product has that luxurious feel because it has a stainless steel silver bracelet with a foldable clasp. Meanwhile, it also has a stainless steel case that measures 42 mm in diameter. It has a black analog dial window covered by Hardlex crystal, that is able to withstand the freshwater and saltwater even during a dive.

Because of the Kinetic quartz movement, this dive watch is always accurate. Whether you are diving deep into the ocean or staying on the surface, rest assured that your dive watch will be reliable.

There is also a push-button safety and screw down crown. The max power reserve is up to 6 months. The product might be a 2011 model, but it is still fashionable and stylish enough for all men’s wrists, divers or not. Lastly, it comes with a 2-year warranty if bought on Amazon.

Pros

  • Superior accuracy and performance of the Kinetic quartz movement
  • Glass made of Hardlex crystal
  • Has a date window

Cons

  • Battery life is only up to 6 months
  • Heavier than an average stainless steel watch
  • More expensive than the other brands included in the list

Casio MDV106-1AV 200M Duro Analog Watch

Casio is another brand of Japanese dive watch that is popular on the market today. Although this name is most commonly seen on pocket calculators, Casio is no doubt deserving of one of the best dive watch manufacturers.

Like others, it is also water resistant to 200 meters, suitable for diving and other water activities. It has a unidirectional bezel with a black insert and luminous markings for easier and more accurate reading in low light or no light conditions.

Aside from this, the dive watch also has a screw-down crown and screw-lock back to ensure everything is tightly secured. On the other hand, the stainless steel case is quite large, measuring 44 mm in diameter.

However, the lugs are short and curved, which helps secure the dive watch to your individual wrist. This model has a black dial with s starburst pattern and glass made of mineral crystal. The side has a polished mirror finish, while the back has a brushed finish.

There is even intricate design engraved on the back part to indicate that the case is aligned properly. You can have this Casio Duro Analog Watch for around $45 and use the included battery for as long as 3 years. Casio also provides a 1-year warranty.

Pros

  • A decent dive watch for a very affordable price
  • With luminous indexes, hands, and other markings for accurate reading
  • Gorgeous design, great for divers and non-divers

Cons

  • Only has 1-year warranty
  • Low-quality resin band
  • Mineral crystal glass is not as durable as sapphire crystal

Conclusion

The products in the list are all high performing and gorgeous. After all, they would not be listed here if they were not considered as the best dive watches by many reviewers and buyers. Some of them are really inexpensive while others cost nearly $200, but promise more durability and are from more reliable brands.

If you are an infrequent diver, you might want to settle for a cheaper, but still good, watch on the list. However, if you prefer a watch that offers superior accuracy and performance, Seiko and Citizen are the best dive watches to consider.

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