Originally produced for military personnel and professional divers, this type of watch is useful for anyone who wants to spend time in the water without having to worry about their watch being ruined. And while there are plenty of designer dive watches that thousands of dollars, you can also strap a high-quality dive watch on your wrist that cost a few hundred.
With the variety of style in these watches, all you need to do is choose which one best suits your lifestyle. And remember, a few of them come in different colors and with different strap types, making them even more versatile to fit your wardrobe. You’ll also notice that some are self-winding, some are solar-powered, and some require a battery for their movement. With self-winding watches, the power reserve will tell you how long they can sit idly before you need to set the time again. While not a huge drawback, these types of watches will prove more convenient if you wear them on a daily basis.
Here are the 12 best dive watches under $500.
Orient Watch is a Japanese company that has been selling watches since 1951, their longevity being a testament to the quality of their designs and craftsmanship.
The Mako II is an automatic dive watch. Usually, automatic dive watches are quite expensive, but not this one. You can usually find it for less than $150. And at this remarkably low price, it has all the features of a perfect dive watch: a break resistant mineral crystal, a power reserve of about 40 hours, a 41mm stainless steel case, a dive timer bezel, and water resistance of 200m. Also, it has a link band that matches it perfectly.
It also features a date window, and if you don’t like the all-black bezel, you can opt for a blue bezel or one with blue and a little bit of red. The water resistance of the Mako II makes it perfect for water sports and boating as well.
Citizen Watch is a century old Japanese company that was founded in 1918. In 1993, it produced the world’s first atomic timekeeping watch, so not only has Citizen proven itself as a high-quality watchmaker but an innovative one as well.
Eco-Drive watches are driven by solar energy, meaning they are recharged through a built-in solar panel. Furthermore, this diver watch features a 44mm stainless steel case and is water resistant up to 200 meters. It also has a comfortable polyurethane strap. Its glass is of mineral crystal, which you would expect from a dive watch, and this model also costs less than $200. But, again, this isn’t a true dive watch, so don’t go too deep with it. You can snorkel, take it with you in the shower, or even swim with it with no problem.
Seiko is another Japanese company with a long history stretching all the way back to 1881. The Prospex dive watch is yet another high-quality model that speaks well for Seiko’s reputation. With an analog display, a stainless steel strap, a 45mm case diameter, and 200m water resistance, it is one of the best automatic dive watches available.
The Sumo also features hands and markers that have been coated in Lumibrite, making them easily visible in low-light conditions. The power reserve is about 50 hours. Though the SBDC033 costs a bit more than the other watches on this list so far, it is still a budget-friendly choice compared to other watches with the same qualities.
Jack Mason is a US-based newcomer to the field that has managed to make a name for itself among these centuries-old brands. This watch from its diving collection has a sleek and sophisticated design with a gray nylon strap, a 42mm stainless steel case, a date window, and a sleek black dial. It features Super Luminova markings and Miyoto quartz movement. Also, it is water resistant up to 300 meters and comes with a 10-year warranty.
This Swiss watchmaker specializes in military watches but also makes them available for private consumers. This Submariner military dive watch takes into account the meticulous requirements of the troops in the field. It is made of a durable 40mm stainless steel case, a screw-down crown, 24 jewel self-winding automatic movement, and two NATO nylon webbed straps in gray and black.
Like the one above, the Submariner features a date window and Luminova markings and hands to make it easily visible in all light conditions. It is water resistant down to 300 meters and is quite a value for your money considering it costs less than $300.
If you’re into all-black, this Seiko Prospex model is the perfect watch for you. The golden numbers on the jet-black background renders it a high aesthetic appeal. It features a stainless steel case, a date window, a dive timer bezel, a differently textured dial, the Calibre 4R35 automatic movement, and a silicone strap. Moreover, it provides water resistance up to 200 meters, a power reserve of 41 hours, and LumiBrite markers and hands to keep the time visible no matter what the lighting. Finally, it costs less than $400.
Coming from the maker of the iconic multi-purpose pocket knife, you know this diver watch is going to be useful to you. It’s also quite versatile, coming in a variety of colors (blue, red, or black), finishes (shiny or matte stainless steel) and strap materials (rubber, paracord, leather, and stainless steel). You can also get the watch in a variety of face designs.
The Victorinox Swiss Army I.N.O.X. professional diver watch is an extremely stylish watch that features Swiss quartz movement, 200m water resistance, and an anti-magnetic 43mm stainless steel casing. You’ll also enjoy the stylishly placed date window and a 3-year warranty. With all the functions you’d expect from a dive watch and the range of choices you wouldn’t, the I.N.O.X is quite at a deal at less than $400.
Tissot is yet another Swiss watch company that has a few years under its belt (EST. 1853). The Tissot Seastar 1000 is one of Tissot’s most popular products. It is an automotive dive watch with a water resistance of 300 meters. It features a 43mm stainless steel case, a steel link band, a beautiful blue dial, a date window at 6 o’clock, and a rotating diver timer bezel. It also features a Swiss automatic movement to keep your time in check under water or above it, luminescent markers and hands for easy visibility wherever you are, and an impressive 80-hour power reserve. It is one of the best dive watches that cost just below $500.
Casio is a 73-year-old company that was founded in 1946 and was one of the early pioneers of quartz watches. The G-Shock Frogman is quite a unique styled wristwatch. It is clearly different from the other watches on this list in design. First of all, it’s a digital watch and comes with some additional features that only a digital interface can provide, such as moon and tide data and a digital readout for the day of the week and date. It also has a backlight that you can turn on when you need to see the display.
Like some of the others, however, it features water resistance of 200 meters, solar-powered movements, and an anti-shock and durable resin casing (45mm). The band is rubber.
Luminox enjoys the prestigious status of being the providers of watches to the world’s elitist forces, including the US Navy SEALs. The unique feature of Luminox watches is that they can glow up to 25 years under any light conditions. Amazing, right?
This automatic dive watch is no less than the other remarkable watches by Luminox. It features a 45mm CARBONOX case, a date window, Swiss Ronda movement, a Swiss crystal that is scratch-resistant, a rubber strap that is stylishly black in color, and 200m water-resistance. If a watch can fulfill the requirements of airborne and waterborne soldiers, it can serve any other individual no matter what the circumstances are. And it still costs just below $500.
From its founding in 1904 to its production of watches for the Allied Forces in WWII, Marathon watches have successfully combined military durability with Swiss engineering, and the resulting product never fails to make loyal buyers.
This TSAR automatic dive watch is a remarkable contribution to the category of dive watches. Unlike most of the dive watches, which are either heavy (with the inclusion of stainless steel) or bulky, it is a delicate and sleek model in its design. It provides 300m water resistance and is powered by quartz ETA movement. Also, it features Tritium gas tubes for super bright visibility, a black rubber strap, and a dial that shows all 24 hours of a day. On top of all this, it costs only $450. Considered a collector’s item, each watch is engraved with a serial number. The Marathon TSAR comes with a warranty of 2 years.
This US-based watchmaker started in the mid-1850s and continues to be driven by a sense of perfection, precision, and innovation. Easily the most at home in an executive setting, the Acutron II automatic dive watch features a 42mm cushion case that renders it ultra-durable for everyday use. Also, it provides water resistance of up to 200 meters. Its orange countdown bezel gives it an aesthetically appealing look while the Precisionist quartz movement makes it very reliable. Its second hand moves in a smooth and sweeping manner. Finally, the cost of the Snorkel is extremely reasonable at around $250.