It maybe shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that dive watches as we know them today are barely 100 years old. That’s because we weren’t doing much deep sea diving before the early 20th century, nor were men all that used to wearing wristwatches (it wasn’t until the First World War that the wrist watch even caught on since before that period they were generally considered women’s jewelry). Yet, despite the relatively short history of the dive watch, this type of timepiece has come to be considered one of the most popular sports watches out there.
Almost everyone can name off the more famous models; the Rolex Submariner, Omega Seamaster, and Blancpain Fifty Fathoms – but there are many, many more options out there. Whether you’re looking for a more affordable dive watch, one that is maybe more obscure, or a bonafide piece of history – we have them all here in our roundup of the best dive watches. Take a scroll through and see which of these timepieces you’d trust deep beneath the surface.
Seiko 5 Dive Watch
When it comes to attractive and affordable dive watches, it is hard to beat the Seiko 5. This automatic self-winding watch from the Japanese maker has a classic stainless steel case, black unidirectional bezel, large luminescent markers, and water resistance rated down to 100M. And to top it off, it features a viewing window on the back of the case.
Aulta Acuatico Automatic
While most dive watches go for a dark, high contrast face this one from Aulta boasts a white on white look with an aqua colored second hand for a highlight. It is run by a Miyota 8215 self-winding automatic movement with a 40-hour power reserve and is water resistant down to 200 meters. A solid watch for the summer.
Casio G-Shock Frogman
While our preference most definitely lies with automatic watches, this digital timepiece from Casio is hard to pass up. It features an aggressive, rubberized body and strap as well as an easy to read LCD display. An easy pick for guys looking for something capable and rugged for daily use.
Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter
This watch is an evolved version of the old-school divers that came out in the late 1950s. More than just prominently displaying the time in a tough, water resistant case it boasts functions like a depth meter, a rapid ascent alarm, and anti-reflective marine crystal for legibility under water.
Tag Heuer Diver Professional
More than just being an attractive and capable watch, the Diver Professional helped save the very company that made it. By the late 1970s Tag Heuer, along with all other Swiss watch makers were struggling to stay afloat after Quartz movements had upended the industry. In an attempt to find some foothold in the market, Tag Heuer tried something they hadn’t before – sports watches. Specifically a diving watch (one that looked similar to the Submariner). The combination of great looks and quality build made it a hit – enough so that even Dalton’s Bond sported one in The Living Daylights.
Oris Aquis Date
Small details can make a big difference. Take for instance the orange indices and hands on this dive watch from Oris. While they only make up a small portion of the Swiss-made automatic sports watch run by the in-house Oris Calibre 733, they’re easily the most stand-out part of the hefty 43mm timepiece.
Oris Divers Sixty Five
This diving watch from Oris is a near re-make of the original released back in the 1960s. It features a black dial with Super-LumiNova markings on the indices and hands, a domed sapphire crystal, and an in-house 733 movement. Depth rating on this one isn’t as robust as most contemporary divers, clocking in at only 100-meters.
Sinn UX Hydro
One of the reasons that dive watches have such big luminescent markings on them is because legibility underwater can at times be difficult. This one of a kind watch from Sinn not only employs large Super-LumiNova markings on the hands and indices but an oil-filled case that eliminates fogging and refractive light on the crystal. To top it off, this watch is rated to a wildly deep 5,000 meters – many times deeper than any person has ever descended.
While Breitling is mostly known for aviation watches, their diver is well worth considering. This thing is rated to an impressive 2,000-meter depth, has a rubberized rotating bezel, is easily legible and has a rugged overall construction.
Bell And Ross Diver Automatic
Inside of the square case, this watch features everything you’d expect out of a proper diver. It is rated to 300 meters, features Bell and Ross’ in-house Calibre BR-CAL.302 movement and large, rounded Super-LumiNova markings along with a screw-down crown.
Tudor Heritage Black Bay
We understand that there is a strong argument for putting Tudor’s Pelagos on this list, but we can’t help but love the Black Bay a bit more. It is a supremely handsome watch that comes in on the more affordable end of the luxury timepiece spectrum. It also is rated to 200 meters and since the company is owned by Rolex, you can trust that the watch comes with top of the line build quality.
IWC Schaffhausen Aquatimer Automatic
First released in 1967, this watch from IWC has remained among one of the most striking and respected in the diver’s watch category. It features a clean face, an interior rotating bezel, and a striking mint-green minute hand and indices on the bezel. The watch is also rated to 2,000 meters, features a quick-change bracelet system, and boasts a 30120 Calibre self-winding movement.
Panerai Luminor Marina
This timepiece looks nothing like a diving watch; it doesn’t have a rotating bezel, screw down crown, or those classic big luminescent dots. This is all because this watch was based on the Italian watch maker’s first timepieces made for the Royal Italian Navy on the eve of WWII. Dive watches have come a long way since then, but this easily legible diver paired with a 30ATM depth rating still makes this a solid pick.
Omega Seamaster 300
This watch is just about as iconic as they get. Worn by the likes of James Bond, George Clooney, and John Hamm, it has a certain timeless cool to it that can’t really be summed up just by rattling off the technical specs. But, of course, when it comes to the nitty gritty Omega has it covered. This watch is rated to 300 meters, features a titanium case with a domed sapphire crystal, anti-reflective treatment, and a clean face with angular luminescent indices.
Rolex Submariner Automatic Black Dial
There may not be a more popular timepiece in the world. Originally released in 1953, the Submariner has remained one of the most coveted watches on the market. Its 40mm stainless steel case, dark black dial, and large round luminescent dots are instantly recognizable both on land and up to 300 meters below the surface.
Glashutte Original Sport Evolution Panorama Date
One of the things that make this watch from the German brand so interesting is its panoramic date. Rather than just having one disk under the dial with numbered dates, it has two – making the date that much more legible. Of course, this 42mm diver has more to offer than just its unique date window. It also offers up a bezel covered in sapphire crystal, 200-meter water resistance, and an in-house movement.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm
The thing that sets this timepiece apart from others on this list is its unique vibrating alarm. More than just having a cool feature, the watch boasts a handsome look that can just as easily dive under the sea as it can be worn with a suit.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms
While this watch was released around the same time as the Submariner, it doesn’t quite get as much shine. To be honest, we’re not sure why. It has a handsome, clean face along with a beefy luminescent bezel covered in sapphire crystal. All of this glass produces a bold, almost brash look that is easily legible under the water.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore
We’ll admit that this is a bit of an odd pick. The Royal Oak is usually thought of as more of a fancy rich guy watch and less of a diver. But with that being said, the Royal Oak Offshore Diver is surprisingly capable. It boasts a rotating inner bezel, water resistance to 300 meters, and glare-proof sapphire crystal.
Ressence Type 5
Out of all of the watches we have on this list, the Ressence Type 5 is easily one of the more ‘out there’ picks. It features a totally unique face that is encased in titanium and domed sapphire crystal filled with oil to reduce glare. Its 25 gears are powered by a customized 2824/2 base movement that drives a ROCS 5 module and displays an hour, minute, runner hand and even the interior oil temperature.
Best Dive Watches Under $500
Looking for a solid diver that won’t break the bank? We put together a comprehensive list of the best dive watches under $500 just for you.