Developed to operate hundreds of feet under water, the dive watch has distinctly aggressive and masculine look to it. That may be why so many guys out there are so enamored by these timepieces. More than just telling time, it makes a statement. It has long been one of Bond’s watches, and is often the style that guys gravitate towards. The only problem? They can cost an arm and a leg.
Or at least most of them can. Head to any online watch shop and you’ll see these types of watches ranging from being worth a month’s rent to a very nice college education. Given that a good portion of us in our twenties and thirties are still trying to pay down the loans we took out for those four years in the halls academe, there is only a very specific price range of watches that is prudent to buy on the market. So, for us mere mortals we pulled together a list of 10 of the best affordable dive watches on the market, because you don’t have to be a millionaire or a British spook to sport a smart look on your wrist.
Invicta Pro Diver Chronograph
If a recognizable brand name is not something you’re worried about, this thick cheap dive watch from Invicta is worth your consideration. The 47mm stainless steel case features a big unidirectional rotating bezel with big Arabic numerals. The dial that sits under the scratch-resistant mineral crystal features just one Arabic numeral located at the 10 o’clock-position. The rest of the face is filled with a trio subdials, a date window, and luminescent indices. All of these mechanism – the subdials, the date window, and the main hands are driven by a ISA caliber 8371D quartz movement that can operate up to 660-feet beneath the ocean’s surface.
Citizen Eco-Drive Pro-master Diver Watch With Date
A kind of rip on the Seiko Tuna Can dive watch, this timepiece from Citizen has a really distinct and bulky look to it that stands out proudly on the wrist. And that’s not just because of big 43mm case size. The exterior of the case has recessed pocks along the bezel for easily gripping and rotating the black, unidirectional bezel. The polyurethane strap helps the watch stand out, too, though not as much as the pronounced dial and hands. Rather than featuring numerals, this dial has large luminescent indices that are pointed towards by a trio of large hands driven around the dial by a Japanese quartz movement. And yes, because it is a Citizen you’ll never have to worry about replacing the battery.
Orient Mako II Dive Watch
Part of the fun of having a nice inexpensive dive watch is putting something on your wrist that actually has a beating heart – a mechanical movement. Watches like this are often prohibitively expensive, but not this timepiece from Orient. It features a 22 jewel Japanese mechanical movement that can be both hand wound and run automatically. This tiny engine at the center of the watch drives the day-date window on the watch, as well as the trio of hands that rotate around the blue dial and its Arabic numerals. All of this is action occurs in a 41mm case with a water resistant rating of up to 660 feet under water.
Luminox Navy Seal Dive Watch
A little more enamored with watches worn by the likes of members of our armed services? This may be the one for you. The 43mm case on this blacked-out watch is made from a carbon reinforced polycarbonate which provides both shock protection for the watch and a stark canvas on which the white Arabic numerals on the bezel and dial. Dial markers on the watch make use of Luminox’s self-powered illumination system to glow a full 100-times brighter than others on the market – making it easier for wearers to read at night or when deep under water. The mechanism that drives the, a Swiss-quartz movement, is rated waterproof to 200m underwater.
Timex Intelligent Quartz Adventure Series
Our love for Timex watches is no secret. The brand has for a long time now produced quality timepieces well worth strapping on anyone’s wrist. This watch is no exception to that rule. Along with featuring three hands that indicate seconds, minutes, and hours, the watch has a depth sensor that measures up to 60 feet, and a function that reads the temperature. Of course, because it is a Timex watch, the watch also has an indiglo night light function for easy legibility when the sun goes down. It may not have its pinkies quite as high as other luxury watches we’ve written up, but it sure does a lot for not that much money.
Seiko Divers Automatic Deep Blue Dial
Don’t have a spare few thousand dollars laying around? Forget that Pepsi-dial Rolex watch and grab yourself this watch from Seiko. Sure, it won’t indicate to everyone you meet that you have way too much money to burn, but it’ll tell time (and indicate both the day and date) pretty darn well with its trio of hands driven by the automatic 7S26B self-winding movement. To top it off, the 42mm watch comes with a rubber dive style strap and has a waterproof rating down to 660 feet.
Bulova UHF Sea King
Another solid all-black affordable dive watch, this time from Bulova. Among the largest on this list, its case measures in at 49mm and features a big black unidirectional bezel with Arabic numerals. The watch has luminescent indices and one Arabic numerals located at noon with a date window set between 4 and 5 o’clock. That window and the trio of hands on the watch dial are driven by simple Quartz movement that can keep on ticking up to 1,000 feet underwater.
Deep Blue Nato Diver
The only watch on this list with a nato strap rather than one made from either steel or rubber. Its 44mm case is made from a durable 316L stainless steel that features not only a crown for winding the Seiko NH 36 movement, but a helium escape valve for those deep dives. Like most all others on this list the watch has a unidirectional bezel and a trio of large hands that point towards large luminescent indices on the dial.
Aulta Acuatico Automatic
This cheap dive watch’s 41mm case holds a mechanical Japanese Miyota movement that drives a trio of hands around the blue dial marked with luminescent indices. A date window is also located at the four o’clock marker, and a unidirectional bezel that is along the outside of the watch features white Arabic numeral markings. Made from a surgical grade stainless steel, the watch is good to go all the way down to 660 feet under water.
Maybe one of the most handsome picks on this list of inexpensive dive watches, the Tissot Seastar features a large, 44mm case that holds a trio of subdials, a date window, and large luminescent hands. All of those mechanisms are driven by the internal quartz movement that can tick along happily up to 1000 feet underwater.
20 Best Dive Watches
Not on a budget? Take a look at our roundup of the all-time best dive watches and pick up something that won’t crack under pressure.