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Best Under $500
Orient Ray II Men’s Dive Watch
Best Under $1000
Tag Heuer Aquaracer Blue Dial
Best Luxury Choice
Rolex Submariner
Best For Women
TAG Heuer Aquaracer
Orient Men's 'Ray II' Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel Diving Watch, Color:Silver-Toned (Model: FAA02005D9)
Tag Heuer Aquaracer Blue Dial Mens Watch WAY111C.BA0928
Rolex Submariner Automatic-self-Wind Male Watch 116610
TAG Heuer Women's WAF1414.BA0823 "Aquaracer" Stainless Steel Dress Watch
Orient Cal. F6922 Automatic
Swiss Quartz
Rolex Caliber 3135 Automatic
Swiss Quartz
Water Resistance 200m
Water Resistance 300m
Water Resistance 300m
300m
Diameter 41.5mm
Diameter 41mm
Diameter 40mm
Diameter 28mm
Best Under $500
Orient Ray II Men’s Dive Watch
Orient Men's 'Ray II' Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel Diving Watch, Color:Silver-Toned (Model: FAA02005D9)
Orient Cal. F6922 Automatic
Water Resistance 200m
Diameter 41.5mm
Best Under $1000
Tag Heuer Aquaracer Blue Dial
Tag Heuer Aquaracer Blue Dial Mens Watch WAY111C.BA0928
Swiss Quartz
Water Resistance 300m
Diameter 41mm
Best Luxury Choice
Rolex Submariner
Rolex Submariner Automatic-self-Wind Male Watch 116610
Rolex Caliber 3135 Automatic
Water Resistance 300m
Diameter 40mm
Best For Women
TAG Heuer Aquaracer
TAG Heuer Women's WAF1414.BA0823 "Aquaracer" Stainless Steel Dress Watch
Swiss Quartz
300m
Diameter 28mm

Want to review more options?

In this article, we’ll be sharing our reviews of the best dive watches for every budget.

Plus we’ll be covering everything you need to know about dive watches so you’ll be able to make an educated decision on which is the best dive watch is for you.

So let’s dive in!

What Is a dive watch?

Simply put, a dive watch is a watch that is waterproof enough to withstand the pressures of depth when scuba diving.

Technically speaking, to be classified as a dive watch the watch must have a depth-rating of at least 100m, a dial that is visible in complete darkness, a unidirectional bezel with markings at least every 5 minutes, and an indication in the darkness that the watch is running (e.g. second hand glows in the dark).

Plus it needs to be shock-resistant, anti-magnetic, and corrosive-resistant in seawater. All of this means that a dive watch is incredibly reliable, rugged, and legible.

Traditionally, a dive watch is used to keep track of the amount of time you’ve been diving by setting the bezel. (We’ll cover more on how to use a dive watch later on). Some of the more advanced models also feature a depth gauge.

A dive watch should not be mistaken for a dive computer, which provides a diver with vital information about the dive such as decompression limits and ascent rates.

So now you’re probably thinking…

What is the point of a dive watch? 

Well from a practical point of view, modern dive computers have made dive watches almost obsolete.

Although it’s never a bad idea to have a dive watch as a backup in case your computer fails.

But in all honesty, you don’t really need a dive watch for scuba diving.

However…

If you’re looking for a hard-wearing, reliable and stylish watch that’s fully waterproof, then a dive watch is the ultimate accessory.

OUR PICK
Tag Heuer Aquaracer Blue Dial Mens Watch WAY111C.BA0928
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the Best Dive Watches

Best Dive Watches Under $500

If you’ve ever looked into buying a dive watch you’ve probably stumbled across some scarily high prices. While it’s true that dive watches are not the cheapest of accessories, there are still some fantastic options for those on a budget.

Although these budget dive watches may not have all the fancy features and design of the higher-end options, they still serve their purpose as a rugged and reliable dive watch.

Oreint Ray II Best Dive Watch Under $500

Water Resistance: 200m
Movement: Orient Cal. F6922 Automatic
Diameter: 41.5mm
Strap Material: Stainless steel

If you’re on a budget and you’re looking for a classy dive watch that’ll still get the job done — this is the watch for you.

Despite being designed for divers, and having a slightly sporty look, you could very easily dress the Ray II up just as well as you could dress it down. If you just take a glance — you would think that this watch costs
hundreds more than its actual value.

The illuminated hands are easily legible thanks to their sword-like shape. Another thing to take note of — the lumination punches well above its weight, and shines equally as bright as higher-end watches. Plus the second hand has a bright red tip — making it super easy to read.

The new Orient Ray II’s feature an F6522 caliber 22-jewel automatic movement and a unique hacking feature that allows you to stop the second hand. Not many dive watches under $200 contain a hacking and hand-winding movement that is in house.

One thing that you may find annoying about the Ray II is the small hard- to-grip crown. You’ll end up having to use your fingernails to screw it down.

Corners were cut to create a budget diving watch, but for a name brand — the value doesn’t get better than this.

Pros
  • Sleek & classic design suits many styles
  • Very easy to read
  • Strong & long-lasting illumination
  • Very affordable
  • Available in 3 different colors
Cons
  • Crown is hard-to-grip

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seiko prospex padi dive watch

Water Resistance: 200m
Movement: Seiko Automatic Caliber 4R36
Diameter: 44mm
Strap Material: Stainless Steel

Within the well-known range of diving watches from Seiko, the Prospex Special PADI Edition Samurai dive watch stands out for its modest price tag, reliable performance and, unique design.

It’s reliable and robust. Powered by Seiko’s automatic and mechanical 4R36 movement, a 24 jewel movement with a 41-hour power reserve.

The combination of a vintage-inspired design with a bright and bold colorway creates a unique, yet timeless, aesthetic that effortlessly attracts compliments.

With PADI being the most trusted authority in scuba diving, and Seiko holding the same title for dive watches, it’s easy to understand why this dive watch is considered one of the best you’ll find for under $500.

Pros
  • Timeless & unique design
  • High-quality craftsmanship
  • Hard-wearing
  • Easy to read in low visibility
  • Great value for money
  • Can switch to a rubber strap
Cons
  • A little larger than other dive watches

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Tissot Men's Seastar 660/1000 Stainless Steel Dive Watch

Water Resistance: 300m
Movement: Swiss Quartz
Diameter: 45.5mm
Strap Material: Rubber

The Tissot Seastar 1000 is the perfect balance of high performance and elegant design, all for under $500.

Not only does the Tissot Seastar 1000 look great, but the high contrast design helps make this dive watch super easy to read, even in low light.

If we’re being picky, we could say that the date window is a little too small. But having the additional 3 sub-dials more than makes up for this.

The unidirectional bezel is made from ceramic, rather than steel, which resists corrosion and helps keep this dive watch surprisingly lightweight.

If you’re looking for a stylish and functional dive watch under $500 then you can’t go wrong with the Tissot Seastar

Pros
  • Elegant & modern design
  • Comfortable rubber strap
  • Lightweight
  • 3 sub-dials
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Larger than most dive watches
  • Date window is a tad small

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Invicta-Stainless-Steel-Pro-Diver-Dive-Watch

Water Resistance: 200m
Movement: NH35A Japanese Automatic
Diameter: 40mm
Strap Material: Stainless steel

At less than $100, the Invicta Pro Diver is by far the cheapest dive watch on our list. But don’t let that put you off, this simple dive watch is surprisingly reliable and hardwearing.

This budget dive watch offers accurate timekeeping and superb water resistance. Plus the classic design looks great with pretty much every outfit. It’s an excellent option for those on a super tight budget.

Pros
  • Very cheap
  • Reliable timekeeping
  • Durable & long-lasting
  • Classic easy to read design
Cons
  • Clasp is a little weak
  • Quite basic

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Luminox Navy Seals Budget Dive WatWater Resistance: 200m
Movement: Swiss Quartz Automatic
Diameter: 43mm
Strap Material: Silicone

When a dive watch is endorsed by the US Navy, you just know it’s going to be a good one!

Designed to be almost indestructible, the Luminox Original Navy Seals Dive Watch is accurate, reliable, and surprisingly comfortable. With a simple, high contrast design, this watch is one of the easiest to read on our list.

But the most impressive feature of this dive watch is the tritium gas tube illumination system which allows the hands and hour markers to glow brightly and consistently for 25 years without having to absorb light.

If you’re looking for a solid dive watch that will last you decades, then the Luminox Original Navy Seals dive watch is a great choice.

Pros
  • Unrivaled illumination
  • Very strong & long-lasting
  • Comfortable & lightweight
  • Surprisingly affordable
  • Easy to read
Cons
  • Not very stylish

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Seiko SKX007K2 Dive Watch

Water Resistance: 200m
Movement: Seiko Automatic Caliber 4R36
Diameter: 42mm
Strap Material: Stainless Steel

Seiko has always held a unique place in the watch market for its affordable and high performing dive watches, and the Seiko SKX007K2 is no exception.

The case diameter is 42 cm and is stainless steel. It comes with date and day functions, and the glass is Seiko’s Hardlex Crystal. The clock is easy to read and legible at any time of the day — thanks to Seiko’s fantastic illumination technology.

At a weight of ~7-ounces — it has just the right amount of heft for durability, but not too much to be excessively bulky.

A common caveat of this Seiko is the bracelet. Although it’s very comfortable, the clasp is rather thin which makes it more prone to breaking. However, this can be easily avoided by switching to a leather or rubber strap.

Regardless of the clasp, the Seiko SKX007K2 is still an impressive dive watch for under $500.

Pros
  • Smooth bezel movement
  • Impeccable illumination
  • Lightweight & comfortable
  • Reliable & accurate
Cons
  • Clasp is weak

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Citizen Promaster Dive WatchWater Resistance: 200m
Movement: Light Powered Quartz
Diameter: 44mm
Strap Material: Polyurethane

Reliable, cheap, and handsome. The Citizen Promaster Diver is another excellent watch for divers on a budget.

With a high contrast design, anti-reflective mineral crystal, and a sturdy silicone strap, not only does this dive watch look great but it’s also incredibly comfortable and easy to read.

But the feature that makes this timepiece stand out from others on our list is the light-powered battery. This innovative watch converts any light, whether natural or artificial, into energy. Thanks to this impressive feature, you know longer will need to worry about batteries, and you’ll always be able to trust the Promaster Diver to keep ticking when you need it.

If you’re looking for a budget dive watch that’s reliable, comfortable, and looks great, then the Citizen Promaster Diver is a great choice.

Pros
  • Comfortable strap
  • Solar-powered battery
  • Stylish & legible design
  • Cheap
Cons
  • Date window is quite small

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Best Dive Watches Under $1000

As the price increases, so does the quality of the design and the materials. Plus you’ll find these mid-range dive watches offer a few more advanced features than the lower-end models.

For a balance between style, functionality, and price, these are the best dive watches under $1000.

Sieko Prospex 1968 Dive WatchWater Resistance: 200m
Movement: Seiko Japanese Automatic Quartz
Diameter: 51mm
Strap Material: Stainless Steel

First up, we have the classic Seiko Prospex 1968 SBDC061 dive watch. It’s simple, elegant, and extremely comfortable.

This dive watch is a reincarnation of the classic 1968 model, but with greatly enhanced specifications that incorporate the latest advancements in Seiko’s technology and craftsmanship.

Each of the 3 LumiBrite hands has a distinct shape making it easy to read the time under any circumstances. Plus the dual-curved sapphire crystal provides exceptional clarity and enhanced durability.

The Prospex 1968 SBDC061 uses Seiko’s well-known 6R15 automatic movement. Common to this price range, the 6R15 is a 3 Hz movement with a power reserve of approximately 55 hours, offering hacking, hand-winding, and in this version, magnetic protection up to 4800 A/m.

In terms of looks, functionality, and longevity, the Seiko Prospex 1968 SBD061 is one of the best dive watches you’ll find for under $1000.

Pros
  • Classic & elegant design
  • Easy to read in all conditions
  • Reliable & accurate movement
  • Durable & comfortable strap
Cons
  • We couldn’t really find any!

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G Shock Dive Watch

Water Resistance: 200m
Movement: Japanese Quartz
Diameter: 45mm
Strap Material: Black Resin

If you’re looking for a serious dive watch that is pretty much indestructible then look no further than the G-Shock GFW-1000=1 Frogman.

This G-Shock dive watch is one of the few on our list that is ISO compliant, which means that it’s been rigorously tested for diving specifically rather than just high water resistance. So if you’re looking specifically for a watch to take scuba diving, rather than a style piece, then the G-Shock Frogman is a great choice.

In addition to the standard features you’d expect from a dive watch, the G-Shock GFW-1000-1 Frogman also offers you a seriously impressive array of additional features including:

  • Compass bearing
  • Countdown Timer
  • Stopwatch
  • World Times
  • Daily Alarms
  • Moon Phase Graph & Tide Graph
  • Dive Time Function
  • Depth

And if that’s not enough, Casio have also given this watch the blessing of Multi-Band 6 atomic timekeeping and solar power. So, you’ll never have to worry about the battery dying, and you can be confident the time will always be 100% accurate no matter where you are in the world.

There are no significant complaints with the dive watch. Although some users mention that the smaller numbers on the display can be hard to read and the bulky design really doesn’t suit a more formal occasion.

Pros
  • Shock resistant
  • Additional features
  • Rugged & long-lasting
  • Automatic backlight with afterglow
Cons
  • Bulky design
  • Can’t be worn with formal attire
  • Small buttons can be difficult to press

 

 

Marathon Quartz Dive Watch

Water Resistance: 300m
Movement: Swiss Quartz
Diameter: 36mm
Strap Material: Rubber

Imagine a beautifully designed watch for well under $1000 that meets the requirements for Mil-Spec, built to ISO 6425 standards, and trusted by the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. What could you ask for from a dive watch?

Marathon is known for its tough-as-nails diving and search & rescue watches.  Usually, their timepieces are big and rugged but this new entry to their diver line is designed specifically for those looking for a smaller, more stylish, option.

As the name suggests, the Diver’s Quartz Medium takes all the specs and aesthetics of Marathon’s larger 42mm TSAR and reduces it by 20% to create a stunning 36mm super-tough, mil-spec dive watch.

But don’t worry, a reduction in size does not mean a reduction in build quality or toughness. This little dive watch is as solid and rugged as they come. Absolutely nothing budges.

And with 30 ATM water resistance, sapphire crystal, screw-down crown, and tritium gas tubes, you’ve got a seriously cool and tough little dive watch.

Pros
  • Incredibly rugged & tough
  • Elegant & stylish design
  • Slightly smaller & less bulky than most dive watches
  • Strong illumination
Cons
  • Date window is very small so can be hard to read for some
  • May be too small for some

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Certin DS Action Diver Blue Dial mens Dive WatchWater Resistance: 300m
Movement: Swiss Automatic
Diameter: 43mm
Strap Material: Stainless Steel

The Certina DS Action Diver watch rocks a classic but sporty look while offering excellent performance for recreational divers.

Although Certina is not as widely known as most of the brands on this list, the DS Action Diver seriously impressed us with its quality, mechanical content, classic design, and, affordability.

As a true dive watch, it fulfills all the requirements of the ISO 6425 stringent standards. Its highly reliable and precise Powermatic movement features a power reserve of up to 80 hours.

All the elements are generously filled with white SuperLuminNova®, for powerful luminosity in dark conditions.

The foldover clasp features 2 small push buttons that allow you to extend the buckle by 1 or more millimeters. This cleverly designed mechanism offers additional flexibility for wearing the watch over a wetsuit, or if you’d simply prefer a loser fit.

If you’re looking for a great all-purpose dive watch for under $1000, then the Certina DS Action Diver is an ideal choice.

Pros
  • Classic & stylish design
  • Easy to read in all conditions
  • Adjustable clasp
  • Powermatic movement with 80 hours reserve
Cons
  • A little on the large side

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Tag Heuer Blue Dial mens dive watchWater Resistance: 300m
Movement:
Swiss Quartz
Diameter:
41mm
Strap Material:
Stainless Steel

Tag Heuer has been known for creating premium quality dive watches since the early 1980s. And the Aquaracer is certainly no exception.

This is a seriously impressive dive watch offering a premium quality fit and finish, excellent luminosity, impressive water resistance, a reliable and robust mechanical movement, and scratch-resistant sapphire glass.

All of this for under $1000, we had to triple check the price tag as we couldn’t believe you could find such an incredible dive watch at such an affordable price.

For superior visibility, the sapphire crystal’s interior is also anti-reflection treated on both sides. The stainless steel bracelet has been meticulously finished to ensure it sits comfortably on the wrist.

What’s more, this sophisticated watch features an integrated diver extension which allows it to be easily adjusted to wear over a wetsuit.

It’s sleek, sporty, and classy. Something that very few dive watches manage to combine which ensures that this sophisticated dive watch perfectly complements every outfit.

Boasting the classic aesthetic and superb functionality of a Rolex without the scary price tag, this is most definitely our favorite dive watch for under $1000.

Pros
  • Stunning design that complements every outfit
  • High-quality fit & finish
  • Reliable & robust Quartz movement
  • Excellent luminosity
  • Amazing value for money
Cons
  • That we couldn’t find any!

 

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Best High-End Dive Watches

The best high-end dive watches combine advanced features with seriously stunning designs.

Made from the highest quality premium materials and offering unrivaled waterproofing, these luxury dive watches are definitely worth the investment.

Seiko Prospex SBBN031 Men's Analog Japanese Quartz 300m Water Resistant Watch

Water Resistance: 300m
Movement:
Seiko 7C46 7-Jewel quartz
Diameter:
47.7mm
Strap Material:
Stainless Steel

First created in 1975, the fondly nicknamed Seiko Tuna is one of the most popular and sought after dive watches on the market.

Both the bezel and dial are elegantly marked to create a perfect balance between high visibility and refined style. The hands and markers have both been treated with Lumibrite for unrivaled luminosity in low light settings.

The Seiko 7C46 7-Jewel quartz movement is super-reliable and incredibly long-lasting. It also keeps the watch relatively lightweight and is more shock resistant than other automatic models.

When it comes to luxury dive watches, the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Quartz SBBN033 simply cannot be beaten. Not only are you investing in a top-quality dive watch but you’re also buying into a tradition of craftsmanship that dates back to 1975.

Pros
  • Super reliable & long-lasting
  • Stunning vintage design
  • High visibility display
  • Premium quality
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Quite large

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Omega Seamaster Diver WatchWater Resistance: 300m
Movement:
Swiss Automatic
Diameter:
41mm
Strap Material:
Stainless Steel

The Seamaster Diver 300M from Omega is another beautifully remastered classic dive watch. Originating in 1993, the Seamaster received a big overhaul in 2018 to incorporate the latest in Omega’s craftmanship and technology but it didn’t lose its classic aesthetic or reliable performance.

Not only does this dive watch look fantastic but it’s also reliable and hardwearing. Both the bezel and the dial are made from corrosion-resistant ceramic and there’s a helium escape valve to protect it from damage at depth. The Omega Seamaster is both super stylish and high performing.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Sleek & stylish design
  • Corrosion-resistant bezel & dial
  • Comfortable bracelet
Cons
  • Pricey

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Rolex SubmarinerWater Resistance: 300m
Movement:
Rolex Caliber 3135 Automatic
Diameter:
40mm
Strap Material:
Stainless Steel

We couldn’t put together a list of the best dive watches without mentioning the most influential dive watch of all time.

The Rolex Submariner made its first appearance in 1953 and has arguably been the inspiration for almost every dive watch ever created. Since the first model, the Submariner has been continually improved and updated but without ever losing its classic aesthetic.

Everything about this dive watch oozes quality and style. If you’re looking for the very best dive watch, and the price is not an issue, then the Rolex Submariner is hands down your best option.

Pros
  • Beautiful design
  • Top-quality materials & world-class engineering
  • Highly accurate & reliable
  • Superior water resistance
Cons
  • Most of us can’t afford it

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Best Dive Watches For Women

Although most dive watches aren’t specifically designed for men, they do tend to look quite rugged and masculine. And if you’ve got small wrists they’re probably not going to fit you right.

Luckily, there are dive watches designed specifically for women that are much more feminine in both size and style.

invicta womens dive watch

Water Resistance: 200m
Movement:
Japanese Quartz
Diameter:
24.5mm
Strap Material:
Stainless Steel

First up, we’ve got the Invicta Women’s Pro Diver watch. Similar to the men’s version we reviewed above, this smart little dive watch is an excellent option for divers on a tight budget.

Providing a nostalgic nod to the classic nautical timepiece, the gold-tone Invicta Pro Diver features 23 karat gold-plating and water resistance to 200 meters. The small and elegant design looks great, whether you’re underwater, in the office, or heading out for the night.

Despite its compact size, the dial remains easy and clear to read thanks to the simple design and high luminosity markers.

If you’re looking for a stylish and reliable women’s dive watch for under $100 then you won’t find better than the Invicta Pro Diver.

Pros
  • Affordable for all divers
  • Elegant & classic design
  • Reliable & accurate
  • Scratch-resistant & anti-reflective
Cons
  • Clasp can be a little tricky to close

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Tag Heuer Aquaracer Lady Dive WatchWater Resistance: 300m
Movement:
Swiss Quartz
Diameter:
28mm
Strap Material:
Stainless Steel

Beautifully designed and highly functional, the TAG Heuer Aquaracer is one of our favorite dive watches for women.

The chic mother of pearl dial and polished steel bracelet make this Aquaracer ladies dive watch from TAG Heuer one of the most stylish on our list. It’s both classy and sporty, but without being overly flashy.

And if you’re not a fan of the pearl on this design, the Aquaracer lady is also available with a white or black dial.

But this dive watch has a lot more to offer than just it’s looks, the Aquaracer also offers a reliable calibre 9 movement, date window, and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Plus its luminous hands and markers are easily visible both at night and underwater.

The TAG Heuer Ladies Aquaracer is a sophisticated timepiece that’s built to last.

Pros
  • Beautifully designed
  • Reliable & accurate
  • Easy to read in low light
  • Comfortable fit
Cons
  • A little pricey

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oris womens dive watch

Water Resistance: 300m
Movement: Swiss
Automatic
Diameter:
36.5mm
Strap Material:
Rubber

Oris’ signature dive watch line, the Aquis, is popular for good reason. They’ve been long known as a solid and reliable tool. But with recent design refreshes, they’re now much more refined and wearable.

The Oris Aquis Ladies is a seriously stunning dive watch. Its sleek design is both elegant and functional.

While the price tag is steeper than the average watch, serious divers will appreciate the functionality and style of the Oris Aquis.

Pros
  • Sleek & stylish
  • Clear & easy to read
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable rubber strap
  • Long lasting
Cons
  • A little pricey

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Mometum Splash Watch

Water Resistance: 200m
Movement:
Japanese Quartz
Diameter:
38mm
Strap Material:
Rubber

The Momentum Splash series stands out for a few reasons. It’s clean, modern design is amazingly easy to read, and the comfy rubber straps fit snug even on smaller wrists.

In addition to choosing between 15 different colors you’ve also got the option to upgrade from standard mineral crystal to sapphire crystal for exceptional clarity and a completely scratch-proof face.

If you’re looking for a rugged and durable dive watch, that is still fun and stylish, then the Momentum Splash is a great choice.

Pros
  • Affordable for all divers
  • Rugged & durable
  • Easy to read & use
  • Available in 15 different colors
Cons
  • Not ideal for more formal occasions

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The Wildcard

garmin descent mk2 dive computerThe wildcard option we have to mention is the Garmin Descent Series. The Garmin Descent Mk1 was released in 2017 and switched up the dive computer game with the inclusion of smartwatch features.

Garmin built on the success of the Mk1 and released the Garmin Descent Mk2i and Mk2 in November 2020. It features a bunch of upgrades, including air integration, pulse oximetry, and an improved user interface.

We have included it as a wildcard because as a smartwatch, it is technically a dive watch… With a whole bunch of extra features! It is also one of the nicest looking dive computers on the market, with a rugged yet streamlined design that looks equally at home on the dive boat or in the office.

  • Features of a dive watch Explained

    At its core, your dive watch is excellent at telling the time. An obvious point – but essential! 

    The bezel allows divers to set the time of water entry so you can work out your dive time. This is also essential for safety as you can safely measure safety stop times. Some watches additionally feature stopwatches and timers.

    close up luminous dive watch faceAnother important feature of your dive watch is the water resistance rating, which is typically 100, 200 or 300m. 

    Dive watches are designed to be used underwater, where visibility can be limited. To assist divers, the watch hands are luminous. 

    Some dive watches which are designed for use at great depths by commercial or technical divers have a helium release valve, which increases functionality at depth.

    Five Main Components of a dive Watch

    • The Case – Usually a combination of scratch-resistant glass and stainless steel, this ensures your watch is waterproof and protects the delicate inner workings.
    • The Dials – The visible outer workings of the watch mechanism which allow you to read the time. Most traditional dive watches have an hour, minute, and second hands. Many feature glow-in-the-dark capabilities to make it easy to read at depth and in low visibility. 
    • watch mechanisms cogs and gearsInternal Mechanism – The moving parts behind the scenes that allow your dive watch to tell the time! Some watches have small viewing windows in the face so you can see the cogs turning, but in most watches, you won’t see this bit!
    • The Strap – Dive watches often have different straps than normal watches. It is common for them to come in the usual metal, leather, and rubber varieties – though rubber is the best suited to salt-water diving. Leather can get moldy when it gets wet and salt can easily corrode metal components. Additionally, dive watch straps are usually longer than normal watches or they feature an extension mechanism, to accommodate bulky wet and drysuits
    • The Bezel – The bezel is the rotating mechanism that surrounds the watch face. There are different varieties of watch bezel types. We go into more detail with these below.

    External Bezel

    An external bezel is the most common variation. They are fixed on the exterior of the dive watch. This means that they are more straightforward to manipulate, both in and out of the water. 

    However, they do come with certain disadvantages including:

    • Wear and tear from sand, salt, and other debris
    • Accidental moving of the bezel

    Some models, like those by Citizen, have developed fail-safes to circumnavigate these issues such as lockable bezels.

    Internal bezel

    internal bezel dive watchThe less common variation is the internal bezel. It creates a more sleek and streamlined dive watch. The bezel is manipulated by using a small crown on the exterior. They are more secure than exterior bezels but they are much more challenging to set, especially underwater.

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    Tag Heuer Aquaracer Blue Dial Mens Watch WAY111C.BA0928
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    How to choose the best Dive watch

    The best dive watch combines underwater functionality with a classic style that’s fashionable enough for everyday use.

    close seiko how to use a dive watch on wristThe first thing you need to consider is why do you want a dive watch? 

    For example, if you’re purely looking for a stylish timepiece rather than a tool you’ll take scuba diving, then you can ignore many of the more advanced features that tend to rack up the price.

    Secondly, you need to decide what factors are most important to you.

    These can be anything from:

    1. Style
    2. Functionality
    3. Size
    4. Budget
    5. Comfort
    6. Battery & Movement
    7. Brand name

    Considering your own personal style is essential. Dive watches range from rugged models to sleek devices that wouldn’t look out of place in the boardroom. You want a dive watch that you love to wear.

    Additionally, consider the size of your dive watch. It can help to try on a few to get the feel of the size and weight you prefer.

  • What To Look for When Choosing A Dive Watch

    Water-resistance & Depth rating

    When it comes to watches, the water-resistance ratings can be a little confusing. For example, if a 30m water-resistant watch cannot actually be taken to 30m. In fact, this simply means that it is splashproof.

    The depth ratings on watches are calculated by simulating the static pressure of the water column and not the dynamic pressure that it would receive during a dive.

    The general recommendation for a dive watch is that it should be waterproof to at least 200m. This ensures it will be waterproof in all situations.

    If the watch has a lower depth rating then it may be suitable for other water sports, but is not recommended for diving.

     

    Visibility & Legibility

    If you plan on using your dive watch underwater then it’s essential that the dial and bezel are easy to read, even in low light situations.

    Look for a dive watch with a clean design and high contrast between the numbers, hands, and markers. Check that the watch has a strong illumination or backlight and that these will last a long time if needed.

    Having a scratch-resistant face is also important. While mineral crystal offers a good level of scratch resistance, sapphire crystal is lost

    Watch Material

    In general, the case of a dive watch will be made from stainless steel to withstand the high pressure when underwater. But if you don’t plan on doing deep dives with your watch, then you can opt for a lighter model made from titanium.

    For the strap, the choice of material will depend on your taste and preference. A stainless steel strap can look more formal but will add additional weight to the watch. Rubber or silicone straps help keep the dive watch more lightweight and can feel more comfortable to wear. Keep in mind that leather straps are not suitable for diving or snorkeling.

    But remember, the most important thing when choosing the type of strap is that it is extendable so it can be adjusted to sit over a wetsuit or drysuit.

     

    Frequently Asked Questions

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

    A dive watch is an analog device that allows you to keep track of the time spent underwater and does not provide you with any additional information about your dive.

    Whereas a dive computer is a digital device that can track almost everything about your dive, not just the time spent underwater. This includes vital information about your depth, decompression limits, ascent rate, and so much more.

    Dive watches are often smaller, and much more stylish, than dive computers. A dive computer will always be powered by batteries whereas a dive watch is usually automatic, hence why it’s a great backup!

    Before dive computers were widely available, dive watches were used in conjunction with decompression tables and depth gauges. Nowadays, dive watches are seen more as a fashion item.

    How do I use a dive watch?

    First of all – ensure your dive watch is set to the right time!

    The bezel of your dive watch will have notches indicating minute marks from zero to sixty. Just before your dive, rotate the bezel so that the zero indentation is on the minute hand. It is important that this happens just before your descent to ensure an accurate measurement. 

    When you come up from your dive, notice which number on the bezel the minute hand is now pointing at. This is your dive length. If your dive length was over an hour, add on 60 minutes to the time read on the bezel. 

    Well done! You now know how to use a dive watch! Easy, isn’t it?

    What does a dive watch bezel do?

    Dive watch bezels allow divers to set their desired bottom limits before a dive with a twist.

    Throughout the dive, as time passes, divers can glance at their remaining time in order to get a better idea of how long they’ve been under.

    All dive watch bezels only twist one way so that in the event one is moved backward giving more bottom time, a diver doesn’t accidentally overstay their limits.

    How Do I look after my dive watch?

    Like any piece of scuba diving equipment, maintenance is essential. 

    Saltwater can build up quickly around small components. This can cause rust and corrosion which can lead to leakages. As a result, it is essential to rinse your dive watch well in clean, fresh water after every dive. A small brush can help make sure you’ve got all the intricate bits!

    A microfiber cloth can help to dry and polish your dive watch. Though this is not vital to keep your watch in working order, it can help your watch to maintain it’s sleek finish.

    watchmaker dive watch maintenanceIf you have a watch with an internal bezel, you should check the crown is secure before each dive. A loose crown can result in water entering the dive watch and damaging the device. 

    To get the best from your dive watch, it is important to have it regularly serviced by a professional. If you dive regularly, once a year is recommended. 

    And lastly, avoid leaving the watch exposed to the sun for an extended period of time before a dive, as the sudden change of temperature could irreversibly damage the watch.

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    Conclusion

    If you’ve made it this far – congratulations you’re now a dive watch expert! As you can see there’s a lot more to a dive watch than just its classic appearance.

    Here’s a quick recap of our favorite dive watches:

  • If you’ve got any more questions on choosing a dive watch, let us know in the comments.We’re always looking to update our content to make it as useful as possible.

Alexa Worswick Administrator

Alexa Worswick is a PADI and SSI scuba diving Instructor, recreational freediver and freelance copywriter. She first learnt to scuba dive in the UK aged 15 and has since travelled and dived in multiple locations across 3 different continents. After quitting her marketing job in London in 2016, Alexa is now based in Indonesia where she can pursue her passion for the ocean fulltime. 

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