Best Dive Watches
There are so many different styles of watches in the world that it can be hard to decipher which one you need. However, for divers or any people who enjoy underwater activities, the answer is very clear. Yet, what exactly is a dive watch? Per its name, it is a watch that is designed for underwater diving and has specific features that are optimized for diving. Not all watches can be diving watches as true contemporary models will be in accordance with the ISO 6425 standard. As you will soon find out, there is a lot that goes into making a superb diving watch and it goes beyond their waterproofness. But, beware; some of the models that will be presented to you today may be vastly beyond your budget.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research
- The band can be removed if you desire a different one
- Built with a stainless steel bezel that can be rotated
- The case is protected by hardlex crystal
Top 10 Picks
1. Seiko Diver Automatic
- The band can be removed if you desire a different one
- Built with a stainless steel bezel that can be rotated
- The case is protected by hardlex crystal
Not enough water-resistance for deep scuba diving
Seiko makes back-to-back appearances to close this list out and their Diver Watch is very similar to their Sea Urchin. One special note is the appeal takes a more conservative approach and if that is up your alley, you will appreciate this.Read more
Again, the crown does not screw down and the water-resistance is limited to 330 feet making it suitable for relatively shallow diving.
Much like with their Sea Urchin, Seiko’s Diver Watch integrates hardlex crystal for protection. The case itself measures 44 millimeters in diameter and is engineered from stainless steel.
This watch utilizes a self-winding mechanical movement that can be both manually hacked and wound. Plus, the markers and hands are luminescent and it features a 40-hour power reserve.
Even if you do not like the included rubber strap, you can remove it and install your own personal strap.
One thing is for sure; this watch is probably not going to turn any heads. It features a more casual style and could be exactly what you are looking for.
Ironically, the Seiko Diver has very similar limitations that can plague the Seiko Sea Urchin. Between the two of them, honestly, it could be a toss-up.
2. Omega Seamaster Ocean 600
- It has passed numerous tests by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology
- The indexes are coated to emit light and allow the bezel to glow
- The striking appeal of this watch is beyond words
It will be too expensive for most people
The minute you glance at the striking appeal of the Ocean 600 Diver Watch you will instantly be in-love. Beyond its unbelievable visual appeal, it also sports an absolutely incredible waterproof rating of 600 meters (or 2000 feet).Read more
As was just mentioned, this watch can endure waters down to 2000 feet in depth. This is by and large the most impressive water-resistance on this list and one of the deepest depths you will find, period.
There are different models of the Ocean 600 and the cases range from 39.5 millimeters, 43.5 millimeters, and 45.5 millimeters and are made of either stainless steel or 18K Sedna gold. Either way, the dials and bezels have been designed from ceramic.
Omega engineered their Ocean 600 watches with a self-winding automatic master chronometer and outside of time functions, it also displays the date. In addition, the indexes are coated with a Super-LumiNova so they can emit a blue glow.
For both comfort and functionality, the band on this watch has been made from rubber. As a bonus, the material has been coated with an anti-bacterial treatment to prevent odor build-up.
The bottom line is this is one of the most visually stunning watches you will ever see. All the colors (with orange and black being prominent) and materials combine gloriously to create a vibrant diving watch.
If you are not blown away by the Ocean 600 then there is something wrong with you. The price tag is immense, that is for sure, but for those of you who possess the funds the splurge could be worth it.
3. Tag Heuger Swiss
- It is water-resistant up to 660 feet
- The black face of the watch and the stainless steel band mesh perfectly
- Features functions for the date, hour, minute, second and as a chronograph
It is not an automatic
One of the few legitimate gripes that anyone could have with this next dive watch is that it is not automatic. Yet, due to its luxury style, functionality as a chronograph, and ideal water-resistance it still remains one of the best.Read more
Tag Heuer’s dive watch falls right into the ballpark of various other dive watches in terms of its resistance to water. It can withstand depths of water down to 660 feet making it ideal for professional marine activity.
The case is made of stainless steel and measures 44 millimeters in diameter. It features a fixed black carbide-coated titanium bezel and also sports a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal screen.
There is a chronograph feature and there are three sub-dials for 60 seconds, 30 minutes, and 1/10th of a second. Additionally, it sports a black dial with index hour markers, luminous silver-tone hands, and Swiss-quartz movement.
Being made of stainless steel, the band is both durable and highly appealing. Also, it measures seven inches and can be adjusted to adapt to smaller wrists.
According to a few users, the photos of this watch just do not do it justice. As impressive as it looks online, it is even more stunning in-person and is a luxury style watch through and through.
Some users may prefer an automatic movement watch over a Swiss-quartz movement and that is one of the few aspects that could scare people off here. Of course, so could the price but the quality of the watch is the reason for that.
4. Glycine Combat
- It is water-resistant up to 660 feet
- The blue coloring on the face reflects superbly in direct light
- Users have raved about the build quality
- It still may be too overbearing of a color scheme for some users
Despite the fact that this appears to be a watch that is much too flashy, it maintains a strong balance while still being a wonder to look out. But, it also sports the go-to features needed for a diving watch such as 660-feet water-resistance and a rotating stainless steel bezel.Read more
While you can’t go too deep given the 200-meter water-resistance rating, it is still suitable for diving granted you do not go any deeper than that.
The case itself is made of silver-tone stainless steel and features a screw down crown. However, the bezel is also noteworthy as it is uni-directional and designed with blue coloring that reflects sufficiently in direct light.
Both the blue dial and the gold-tone hands blend very well and Arabic numerals indicate the hour markets. In addition, there are minute markers around the outer rim, functions for the date, hour, minute, and second, and also an automatic movement.
The gold accent of the stainless steel bracelet is quite appealing as there is literally a strip of gold down the middle of it.
As one user pointed out, this is not too flashy and instead is a nice blend of blue and gold. Overall, very few people will not be appealed to the visual design of Glycine Combat Watch.
Perhaps you prefer a watch with greater water-resistance or a different color scheme? That is fair enough but truth be told, the indecisiveness ends there as this is a brilliant watch top to bottom.
5. Casio Frogman G-Shock
- The integrated world time functionality allows you to choose up to 31 time zones
- It is solar powered
- Several users have praised the build quality and durability
- Does not have as bright of a backlight as the 200 series
The Frogman G-Shock Solar Watch from Casio happens to be one of the most rugged and highly-functional dive watches on the market. It may lack the appeal of a flashy watch but few can compete with its insane durability and plethora of design features.Read more
Due to the screw lock back, the Frogman G-Shock Watch is safe from moisture while you are diving or swimming. Overall, it can withstand depths of down to 200 meters.
As you can tell from the pictures, this sports a rugged design and it starts with the case. Not only is it designed of stainless steel and resin, the dial also features mineral glass and the entire case is shock-resistant.
There are a plethora of features integrated into this watch including a dive time with increments of one second up to 24 hours, the ability to switch to up to 31 different time zones, an auto-calendar up to the year 2099, multiple alarms, and a Tide graph.
One reviewer, in particular, commented on the resin band and claimed it to be very comfortable. Not too many others have had negative comments about the band.
To be honest, Casio designed a watch that is more aimed towards functionality and durability. While it is far from unappealing, it is also not flashy or sporty by any means.
Out of all the dive watches on this list, the Frogman G-Shock Solar Watch stands out the most. It is unlike any of the others thanks to its solar power, rugged and tough design, and digital interface.
6. Citizen Eco Drive Promaster
- Features a non-reflective mineral glass display
- The crown is logically placed to prevent it from digging into your wrist
- It converts light energy into electrical energy
It is much thicker than a normal watch
Citizen proves that you can make a high-quality dive watch at an affordable price. Their Eco-Drive is not going to break your bank but you would not know it when looking at its appeal and suitable design features.Read more
The Eco-Drive Promaster does not pull any punches as it meets the ISO 6425 standard for dive watches with its 666-foot water resistance rating.
The quality of the case is certainly not indicative of the lower price. It is made of stainless steel and features a non-reflective mineral glass display. Also, it has a thickness of 12 millimeters and a diameter of 43 millimeters. But, it almost weighs one pound which is quite heavy for a watch.
Being built with a ratchet mechanism, you can hear the audible clicks as the clock turns. Also, it sports classic minute markings, up to 60 minutes of elapsed time, and ten-minute markings.
This band is rather unique as instead of stainless steel or leather, it is made of blue polyurethane rubber. Additionally, there is a stainless buckle clasp.
If you have a fondness for blue, it will not take you long to fall for this watch. Outside of its blue bland, the dial is light blue and will also alter its color under certain lighting conditions.
Not everyone is going to be able to afford a $5000 watch but you do not want one with cheap quality, either. But, the Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Watch is an unbeatable combination of affordability and quality.
7. Hamilton Khaki
- Built with a 38mm stainless steel case with a sapphire dial window
- Features a calfskin leather band
- Designed with a black dial with luminous hands
The band is stiff at first
As opposed to various other watches that are designed with a stainless steel band, Hamilton decided to go with black calfskin leather for their band and the appeal is worth it alone. But, this watch is probably not suitable for intense diving.Read more
Because this only sports a water-resistance rating of 100 meters, which works out to about 330 feet, you probably will not be able to perform serious diving.
In proportion with the rest of the watch, the dial is actually quite small. But, it is designed of stainless steel and features a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal screen.
This is a Swiss self-winding automatic movement watch and it sports a black dial with luminous hands and Arabic numerals to represent the hour markets. Also, there are minute markers on the outer rim and a date at the 3 o’clock position.
When you first wear the watch, the calfskin leather is quite stiff but this will lessen over time. Plus, there is a buckle closure that provides a secure fit.
It is up for debate, but this watch may feature the most visually stunning band of any watch on this list. Given that it is calfskin leather that is not much of a surprise.
The small dial of the Khaki Field Watch could actually be an issue for some people. However, if you can look past that, this is an elegant diving watch with a very impressive band.
8. Stuhrling Original
- The appeal is utterly stunning with the glowing blue and stainless steel
- Features a scratch-resistant hardened mineral crystal case
- Both the hands and indices have been coated to glow
One user noted the band dug into their skin
This is yet another case of an affordable diving watch actually being one of the best. While the overall durability has been brought into question by various users, it still is a stunning combination of appeal and functionality.Read more
To ensure that this is suitable for underwater use, the crown has been screwed down and sealed with rubber gaskets. The result is water-resistance down to 660 feet.
The entirety of the case measures 42 millimeters and per usual, it is made of steel. It is also built with a scratch-resistant hardened mineral crystal, as well.
Underwater, the hands and indices of the watch will glow for a short time because of their luminescent coating. Also, the bezel is uni-directional and the watch features a quick set date and blue dial.
This is a fully adjustable band that is comprised of solid stainless steel. However, one user did note that the band dug into their wrist.
Not even including the radioactive alpha emitter that allows the hand and indices to glow, this is a stunning watch. The glowing blue dial and stainless steel band combine to create a vibrant design.
Other top-of-the-line watches are a little more durable and comfortable than this watch but that certainly does not insinuate it is a bad product. Thankfully, its appeal and functionality make up for it.
9. Oris Diver 65
- Designed with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal case
- Features an automatic movement with a 38-hour power reserve
- Mixes a great blend of casual and retro
Solid straps, but not the best
For such an expensive watch, it is a little surprising that it is only water-resistant to 330 feet. Still, the watch itself is designed with an automatic movement and a 38-hour power reserve which is nice.Read more
Being able to only withstand depths down to 330 feet, you need to be a bit cautious when diving with this watch. Deep sea diving may not be feasible, though.
For specifications, this case measures 40 millimeters in diameter and 13.14 millimeters in thickness. It is also comprised of stainless steel and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal screen.
Again, this is designed as an automatic movement watch and features an analog dial type. Plus, it has Arabic numerals that mark each quarter position and a date display at the 6 o’clock position.
Do not get the wrong impression with the band as it is far from bad. However, it is not the highest quality band you will see on a diving watch and is more ideal for casual wear.
This really is a jack of all trades appeal as it can fit in with more formal looks but can also be very casual. Also, it has a retro-appeal that will warm the hearts of some people.
Granted the band could have been improved for a watch of this caliber, it still is an all-around fantastic design headlined by its case design and features.
10. Seiko 5
- The stainless steel band is well-built and durable
- A hardlex crystal is designed on the case
- It appears to be much more expensive than it is
Has mechanical traits which some users may not like
This next watch from Seiko has been dubbed the Seiko Sea Urchin and it actually looks and wears as if it is a much-more-expensive watch. It sure would have been nice if the crown screwed down for enhanced water-resistance but that just means you can’t dive as deep.Read more
Unfortunately, this watch begins a sort of a sour note. The crown is not screwed down so, at its peak, it could handle water depths of around 100 meters.
Seiko actually integrates their own personal version of hardened mineral crystal, called hardlex crystal. Past this, it is ideal for an average man’s wrist size at 41 millimeters in diameter.
One thing to note, outside of the uni-directional bezel and rectangle markers, is that this is a mechanical movement watch utilizing non-stem-winding and non-hacking elements.
There is a possibility that the 22-millimeter strap width will be too substantial for some users but no one can complain about the double lock clasp and stainless steel core.
If you are looking for a sporty dive watch, look no further than the Seiko Sea Urchin Watch. It is not overloaded with colors and features a classic black and steel appeal.
At the end of the day, there are only two features that may stop you from choosing the Seiko 5. Firstly, is the mechanical movement and secondly is the limited water-resistance.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
There are two extremely important characteristics of dive watches that you need to pay close attention to. The second one will be addressed later but the first is undoubtedly its resistance against water. A watch that can’t withstand water is not a dive watch, plain and simple. However, there are two critical components that allow dive watches to be submerged in water and they are its gasket and crown. Starting with the gasket, this needs to be integrated inside of the crown as it forms a seal between the stem of the crown and the movement of it. But, it needs to be a heavy-duty gasket as they can lose their elasticity over time.
For the crown, ideally, it will be designed to screw down into the watch. While you still can’t open it up to adjust the watch underwater, this provides the necessary seal and in conjunction with the gasket, the watch’s water-resistance. Now, not all dive watches will be rated the same and if you want to be safe for diving, it is ideal to look for 200 meters or more. Although, you can still theoretically dive with a less watertight watch just not as far.
Overall, the case and its components are the lifeblood of watches. For starters, outside of looking for a screw down crown, you want to ensure that the case as a whole is well-built. Typically, you will see most cases made of stainless steel. No matter what material it is made out of, though, it can’t be prone to leaking because that will kill a dive watch faster than anything. But, you also may want to glance at the specifications of the case. For example, take a peek at how thick it is, how large the diameter is, and how heavy the watch is. These types of measurements are really just a matter of personal preference as it depends on how lightweight and large you want the case to be.
But, you need also pay attention to the screen. Most of the time, designers will build their dive watch with some sort of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal screen and this keeps the watch looking sharp. However, a watch that sports a non-reflective mineral glass display can also pay dividends as you want to be able to easily see the screen.
The last section leads perfectly into this section as we are going to continue our focus on the case. However, let’s analyze the internal components of a watch’s case. Harping back on the topic of readability, it is more important than you may realize. In fact, the ISO has actually documented which components on a dive watch must be readable from 10 inches or further. This includes the elapsed time on the bezel, the time and an indication that the watch is running. To do so, many designers will add luminescent markers and glowing components.
However, and this is the second most important feature of these particular types of watches, the bezel needs to be uni-directional. The bezel is used on a diving watch to determine how long you have been underwater and this is crucial. The reason you want it to be uni-directional is that accidentally rotating it backward underwater can have ill effects and risk your air supply. Remember you are underwater and humans were not meant to breathe without oxygen; so the bezel is ridiculously important.
Everything up until this point has been alluding to why dive watches are unique and the specific factors that make them function as dive watches. However, it really does not matter which type of watch you are talking about, albeit GPS watches, wristwatches, or even dive watches, the overall appeal of them is always going to come into play. Wearing a watch is a fashion statement no matter what it is designed to do. It should not be the primary reason you invest in a watch, but it is a nice perk.
Only you can decide what is appealing but to be honest, most all of the watches on this list are visually stunning. Watches with ideal color combinations and specific band materials (you may like the look of stainless steel over rubber, for example) can provide you with a sense of style which is certainly not a bad thing.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Now that the case has been analyzed in-depth, it is time to give some love to the band or the strap. First of all, you want the band to be comfortable as you are going be wearing it for extensive periods of time. Next, it needs to be well-built and able to withstand the rigorous nature of diving. This is why you will see so many straps made of rubber or stainless steel as these two materials can typically handle what the outdoor world has in store. As far as leather is concerned, it can be questionable due to the fact that it will stain easily and perhaps break down over time. Of course, no matter the design of the band, you need to do whatever you can in your power to prevent salt and other containments from causing corrosion or other damage. Once you have finished your dive, thoroughly rinse off the band with fresh water.
Other Factors to Consider
Here’s another one that should be considered with just about anything you buy, which will be repetitively used in multiple environments. The watch face, case, band, bezel, lugs, and crown if there is one, all have to stand up to whatever you’re into. And, that’s just the outside of the watch. The interior workings also need to be built to last as well. Of course, the construction, watertight properties, and strength of the case all factor into the life of the operation overall.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why Do Bezels Only Have the First 15 Minutes Marked Individually?
If you look at enough diving watches, you may begin to notice something peculiar about the bezel. Most of them will have the first 15 minutes marked individually and then all of a sudden quit marking them individually. It is almost as if the designers just give up after 15 due to the tedious nature of labeling them all individually. Clearly, that is not the reasoning behind it but what is?
One interesting explanation is that 15 minutes is the maximum amount of time a diver can spend at 130 feet below water. Past this, which is beyond the maximum depth for recreational diving, decompression stops will be necessary as the water pressure becomes too much to bear for humans. However, marking the first 15 minutes is not a requirement for diving watches but it is always fun to speculate on what their original purpose was.
q: What is the Difference Between a Chronometer and a Chronograph?
This concept has not been touched on but this really is a fantastic question and something you should be knowledgeable of. After all, there is a difference between a chronometer and a chronograph. The former is actually a watch that works in accordance with the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute certification. Basically, a chronometer has a movement that has been obtained after passing precision tests at different temperatures and altering positions.
Meanwhile, a chronograph, which is featured in some of the dive watches on this list, is a standard watch that displays seconds, minutes, and hours. In conjunction with this is a mechanism that is used to measure the elapsed time by the means of the central hand. While a chronograph is not a mandatory element of diving watches, it is a nice feature to have.
q: What Happens if the Watch Begins Fogging Up?
Let’s just come out and say this; if your watch begins to fog up inside of the screen then that is not a good sign. From your days growing up, you probably learned in science class that fog is made up of condensed water droplets. What happens is when the droplets are cooled to the point they can no longer hold the water vapor that is inside of them, fog appears. This means that if your watch is fogging up on the inside, there is most likely a sealing issue. Now, if the fog quickly dissipates after you clean off your screen then there is no issue. However, the issue becomes if the fogging effect does not go away.
Truthfully, the only thing you can do in this case is to either contact the manufacturer for further instruction or contact a local service center to see what they recommend.
q: What Are the Accuracies of the Different Movements?
Something that has not been touched on in-depth is the different type of movements that dive watches can have. For example, you may see mechanical, automatic, or quartz movement. In short, their accuracy is dependent on different variables. So, speaking for mechanical movement dive watches, the accuracy depends on the individual habits of the person wearing the watch. This can make it unreliable at times which is why you will see users prefer automatic or quartz movement.
Instead of being dependent on habits, a quartz movement watch will see its precision alter based on sudden changes of temperatures and also strong shocks. Because of this, they tend to keep a consistent accuracy more efficiently.