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The 16 Best Dive Watches in 2020

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The 16 Best Dive Watches in 2020

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Whether you’re just diving into a huge workload at your desk, or actually spending some time deep underwater, one thing is clear — a dive watch would be great to have on your wrist. You don’t need to be a diver to appreciate these high-performing, beautifully designed, and undoubtedly utilitarian timepieces for everyday use. In this Carry Smarter guide, you’ll get familiar with the basics of dive watches, what features to look for when buying a diver, and our picks for the best and most affordable options to help you take the plunge into the world of dive watches.

A Crash Course on Dive Watches

The purpose of a dive watch is to monitor how long you’ve been underwater, and more importantly - how much air you have left in your tank. They’ve been around since the turn of the 20th century and continue to be both fashionable and useful to this day.

The quintessential dive watch has an immediately recognizable look. They're larger (around 42mm), feature a rotating bezel, and rest on a metal bracelet or rubber strap. 

Dive watches are ideal for EDC because they’re built like tanks, they’re easy to read, and they look just plain cool.

4 Hallmarks of Dive Watches

Water Resistance: If you’re buying a dive watch, it should have proper water resistance. While most watches claim 50m of water resistance, that really means that it will survive hand washes and maybe a shower. When looking at dive watches, 200m (660 feet!) of water resistance is common ground. If you plan on having a watch that will stand up to swimming, showering—and of course—diving, be sure to choose something with a high level of water resistance.

Build Quality: Divers entrust their watches with their lives to be able to know precisely how much time they have underwater. For dive watches, reliable durability and construction are critical. Look for a dive watch with a well-built case, a strong crystal (mineral and sapphire are best), and a good strap or bracelet. A solid dive watch will last for decades if maintained, and you can easily buy an heirloom piece in the $200 range.

Movement: The slight bump in price from our Military Watch Guide opens up more options for the type of movement that powers the watch. Automatic movements are popular in the diver market as they don’t require a battery. Automatic watches “wind” from the motion of your arm, so they’ll keep ticking as long as you keep them on your wrist. Also seen in this class of watches are day/date features, adding to the utility of the timepiece.

Legibility: When underwater, it’s crucial to know exactly how long you’ve been diving. The bezel, a key component of the dive watch, tells you exactly that. The bezel’s “12 o’clock” dot can be rotated to match up with the minute hand to keep track of time. As the minute hand moves, you can see how many minutes have elapsed by reading the bezel number as opposed to the watch face. Higher-end watches feature unidirectional bezels that only rotate counterclockwise to avoid accidentally overestimating how much time is left. Dive watches usually have large, illuminated indices (the hour and minute markings on the face) that are easy to read. This illumination (or “lume” in the watch world) not only looks awesome, but it helps you quickly tell time when the lights are out.

With the features to look for in a dive watch in mind, here are some of our favorite examples for this year.


The 16 Best Dive Watches in 2020


Seiko Prospex SBDY047

Seiko Prospex SBDY047

Purchase
Key Features
Decorative blue wave dial
Day/date display
AR-coated sapphire crystal
Anti-magnetic
Specifications
Movement
Seiko automatic 4R36
Case Diameter
45mm
Lug Width
22mm
Water Resistance
200M
Reviews


Price
$$$$
Part of Seiko’s “Save the Ocean” campaign, this new “Great White Shark” edition of the classic King Turtle brings that models’ distinctive silhouette up to date in 2020 with an in-house 4R36 automatic movement that features a 40-hour power reserve, high bph accuracy, plus hacking and handwinding capabilities. Despite a case size of 45mm, its 13mm height and 47mm lug-to-lug measurement means it fits on a bigger spectrum of wrist sizes. The textured blue dial hides Seiko’s tribute to the animal this special edition was named after (try looking for the shark fin), and combined with the new sapphire crystal with magnifying cyclops optics, it creates a striking aesthetic for this limited edition timepiece.
Citizen Aqualand Diver Depth Meter Promaster

Citizen Aqualand Diver Depth Meter Promaster

Purchase
Key Features
Digital-analog display
Uni-directional rotating bezel
1/100 second chronograph
Time and depth alarms
Specifications
Movement
Quartz
Case Diameter
44mm
Lug Width
20mm
Water Resistance
200M
Reviews


Price
$$$$
Don’t let the colorful aesthetics and digital windows fool you—this is a serious dive watch that integrates a water sensor that automatically puts it in dive mode once it senses the watch has been submerged. From there you have full dive watch functionality that includes a maximum depth indicator, a depth alarm, a water temperature indicator, and even a rapid ascent warning. It wears nice enough as an everyday watch, but an extension mechanism on its stainless steel bracelet lets you easily fit this technical timepiece over a wetsuit when you do take it out for a dive.
Seiko Prospex SRPD09 Sepcial Edition

Seiko Prospex SRPD09 Sepcial Edition

Purchase
Key Features
Decorative blue dial
41-hour power reserve
Uni-directional rotating bezel
Luminous hands and markers
Specifications
Movement
Seiko automatic 4R35
Case Diameter
44mm
Lug Width
22mm
Water Resistance
200M
Reviews


Price
$$$$
Nicknamed the “Save the Ocean Samurai,” this special edition timepiece features a black ion-plated stainless steel case, a graduated blue dial meant to mimic the shades of water in the ocean, and a two-toned bezel for an unmistakable look that’s backed with true dive watch performance. The screw-in solid caseback and screwdown offset crown ensure water resistance to 200 meters, while its uni-directional rotating bezel and Lumibrite treatment on its markers and Seiko Monster-style hands provide functionality and legibility in real-world dive conditions. Inside, an in-house 4R35 automatic movement keeps this tough beauty ticking without the use of batteries.
Orient Neptune

Orient Neptune

Purchase
Key Features
JIS Class 1 Diver
40-hour power reserve
Uni-directional rotating bezel
Luminous hands and markers
Specifications
Movement
Orient automatic 40N5A
Case Diameter
43.4mm
Lug Width
22mm
Water Resistance
200M
Reviews
No reviews yet
Price
$$$$
The Orient Neptune is an automatic dive watch running on the well-regarded in-house 40N5A movement, providing a value-packed option that pays homage to parent company Seiko’s iconic Marine Master 300M at a fraction of the cost. The obvious visual difference is the on-dial power reserve indicator, which immediately lets you know how much of the 40 hours of reserve charge you have left. A shock-resistant case structure combines with the screw-down crown and caseback to provide a rugged and resilient that’s smart-looking enough for the boardroom and tough enough for a serious dive.
Victorinox I.N.O.X. Professional Diver Ti

Victorinox I.N.O.X. Professional Diver Ti

Purchase
Key Features
Swiss-made titanium case
ISO 6425 certified
AR-coated sapphire crystal
Date display
Specifications
Movement
Swiss quartz
Case Diameter
45mm
Lug Width
23mm
Water Resistance
200M
Reviews


Price
$$$$
This timepiece pairs titanium’s light weight and corrosion-resistant properties with an anti-magnetic Swiss quartz movement for a robust offering in the dive watch category. The Victorinox I.N.O.X. Professional Diver Ti is an extremely durable and functional choice, passing the NIHS 92-11 (ISO 6425) standard for anti-magnetism, temperature tolerance, shock resistance, salt water resistance, luminosity, and finally, strap durability. On top of all that, it comes with a clear plastic magnifier attachment that goes over the watch face, case, and crown, for even more protection. It’s a dive-certified watch you need not worry about taking anywhere and everywhere.
CountyComm SR-35 Titanium

CountyComm SR-35 Titanium

Purchase
Key Features
Compact dimensions
Tough titanium case and bracelet
High contrast dial with a triple treatment of Super-LumiNova
Hacking seconds
Specifications
Movement
Seiko automatic NH-35
Case Diameter
40mm
Lug Width
20mm
Water Resistance
100M
Reviews


Price
$$$$
With a compact 40mm wide 6Al-4V titanium case , the CountyComm SR-35 presents a robust mid-sized dive watch option. It’s powered by a Seiko NH35 automatic movement, which give you high bpm accuracy, a 40-hour power reserve, a date complication, and hacking seconds. Up front, a fully functional bezel and an offset screwdown crown give you dive watch looks and functionality, while the simple matte black dial provides high legibility with its Super-LumiNova treated minute markings and contrasting orange accents on the logo and second hand. From work to the weekend, The SR-35’‘s compact size and clean lines make this an everyday timepiece you can take just about anywhere.
Orient Star Sports RE-AU0302L

Orient Star Sports RE-AU0302L

Purchase
Key Features
50-hour power reserve with on-dial indicator
Shock-resistant case
Classic looks with a sunburst dial
Date display
Specifications
Movement
Orient automatic F6N47
Case Diameter
43.6mm
Lug Width
22mm
Water Resistance
200M
Reviews
No reviews yet
Price
$$$$
The combination of classic and clean aesthetics with a sleek blue dial and bezel make the Orient Star Sports RE-AU0302L stand out among its luxury dive watch offerings. Satin-brushed finishing all over the 43.6mm stainless steel case sets off the sunburst blue dial, which features luminous capsule-shaped hour markers, a small date window, and a fan-shaped power reserve indicator. The in-house F6N47 automatic movement has an impressive 50-hour power reserve, meaning on a full charge, you can leave this watch for two days and still come back to it still strongly and accurately ticking. Housed in a 200m water resistant and shock resistant case, this is a sleek and sturdy timepiece that’s heirloom-worthy.
Tissot Men's Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80

Tissot Men's Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80

Purchase
Key Features
Swiss-made automatic movement
80-hour power reserve
Water resistant to 300 meters
Hacking and handwinding
Specifications
Movement
Swiss automatic ETA 2724-2
Case Diameter
43mm
Lug Width
21mm
Water Resistance
300M
Reviews


Price
$$$$
Boasting an impressive 80-hour power reserve, the Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80 is a watch that made to keep on ticking, even if you leave it on your dresser over the weekend while you try other watches in your rotation. Not that you’d want to take this off anyway. Its 43mm wide case, contrasting color scheme, simple lumed dial, and black ceramic bezel provide the wrist presence this robust Swiss-made timepiece deserves. Inside lurks a Swiss-made ETA 2824-2 automatic movement that provides hackable seconds, handwinding capability, and magnetically-shielded accuracy. This tough beauty touts 300m water resistance—more than the usual for everyday dive watches—meaning it’s more than ready for whatever you throw at it.
Zelos Abyss 3

Zelos Abyss 3

Purchase
Key Features
Water resistant to 3,000 meters
Manual helium escape valve
Distortion-free double-domed sapphire crystal
Multiple case materials
Specifications
Movement
Swiss automatic Sellita 200
Case Diameter
43mm
Lug Width
22mm
Water Resistance
3000M
Reviews
No reviews yet
Price
$$$$
This professional-level dive watch from microbrand Zelos proves that the smaller manufacturers can more than hold a torch to the bigger names in this segment. The Zelos Abyss 3 comes with an impressive depth rating of 3,000 meters and a pressure rating of 4,300 pounds per square inch. This is thanks to its well-sealed 43 mm case that features a manual helium escape valve at the 2 o’clock position, matched with a C3-lumed screwdown crown at 4 o’clock. A Swiss Sellita 200 automatic movement powers the internals, while high double-domed sapphire crystal protects the dial and keeps it visible and distortion-free at any viewing angle. You have your option of a steel or bronze case, plus different dial and bezel colors, including an version that features a meteorite dial and bezel insert.
Oris Aquis Date Relief

Oris Aquis Date Relief

Purchase
Key Features
Special edition design with full stainless steel bezel
Water resistant to 300 meters
Distortion-free double-domed sapphire crystal
Relief indices
Specifications
Movement
Oris automatic caliber 733
Case Diameter
43.5mm
Lug Width
24mm
Water Resistance
300M
Reviews
No reviews yet
Price
$$$$
Inspired by the color of the stormy sea, the Oris Aquis Date Relief features striking aesthetics with its combination of a grey sunburst dial and polished silver accents. In a departure from the normal Aquis model, this version uses a solid stainless steel bezel that has the scale markings engraved in relief--hence the watch’s name. A transparent caseback showcases the Oris Caliber 733 automatic movement, which features their signature red rotor. The 43.5mm stainless steel case features integrated lugs, a screw-in crown, and a 300 meter water resistance rating, meaning this special edition watch is not just for casual dips in the pool—it actually has full dive watch performance.
Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53

Purchase
Key Features
Iconic design
Compact 40mm case
Bright C3 Super-LumiNova treated markings
Certified chronometer
Specifications
Movement
Fossil automatic STP 3-13
Case Diameter
40mm
Lug Width
20mm
Water Resistance
200M
Reviews
No reviews yet
Price
$$$$
The iconic diver design from Zodiac features 100% Swiss construction with a Swiss-made internals, namely Fossil’s STP 3-13 automatic movement. The sharp aesthetics, including the elongated lugs and nylon slip-through strap, give the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 an unmistakable link to its well-known and well-regarded heritage. The watch face features skeletonized hands and blocky indexes that are treated with C3 Super-LumiNova luminous paint. They lie protected underneath scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass and are framed by a vivid mineral crystal bezel that, combined with a contrasting chapter ring, creates a striking watch face. Its sleek styling combines with true dive watch performance that’s backed with 200 meters of water resistance and a chronometer certification for high accuracy.
Seiko 5 Sports SRPD53K1

Seiko 5 Sports SRPD53K1

Purchase
Key Features
“Pepsi” bezel
Homage to a traditional Seiko 5 design
Automatic movement with 41-hour power reserve
LumiBrite markings for low-light legibility
Specifications
Movement
Seiko automatic 4R36
Case Diameter
42.5mm
Lug Width
22mm
Water Resistance
100M
Reviews


Price
$$$$
A homage to their iconic value diver, the SKX007, these new Seiko 5 Sports timepieces evoke the classic looks, but done up in more modern and vivid colorways. The SRPD53K1 features the traditional red-and-blue “Pepsi” bezel, combined with a deep blue dial. The same familiar Seiko 5 features are all here: Hardlex crystal, day and date display, see-through caseback, offset screw-down crown, unidirectional bezel, and LumiBrite treatment on the hands and markers. The 42.5mm brushed stainless steel case is rated for 100 meters of water resistance, while the in-house 4R36 automatic movement provides manual winding and a 41-hour power reserve—both make this a solid choice for an everyday diver-style beater watch.
Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba

Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba

Purchase
Key Features
“Batman” bezel
80-hour power reserve
Distinctive hybrid styling
Compact design
Specifications
Movement
Hamilton automatic H-10
Case Diameter
40mm
Lug Width
20mm
Water Resistance
100M
Reviews


Price
$$$$
Functional and stylish, the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba pairs a compact and easy-to-wear 40mm stainless steel case with an H-10 automatic movement that gives this timepiece a robust 80-hour power reserve. It combines the readability of a field watch with the functionality of a diver’s model. The black dial features lumed indices and field watch styled 24-hour markings, and is mated to a blue-and-black “Batman” bezel that sets off the blue minute markings and second hand. A 20mm black nylon NATO strap keeps the look sporty, and also features a hint of blue on its edges, completing the “navy” theme of the watch.
Deep Blue Daynight Scuba Tritium T-100

Deep Blue Daynight Scuba Tritium T-100

Purchase
Key Features
Swiss-made automatic movement
Water resistant to 500 meters
Distinctive lume thanks to tritium tubes
Luminous unidirectional bezel
Specifications
Movement
Swiss automatic Sellita SW-200-1
Case Diameter
45mm
Lug Width
22mm
Water Resistance
500M
Reviews
No reviews yet
Price
$$$$
The Deep Blue Daynight Scuba Tritium T-100 is meant to be a timepiece that you can take anywhere and in any conditions. The large and legible dial has a sunray wave pattern, and it’s framed by a luminous 120-click unidirectional bezel. The “Daynight” in the name refers to its all-conditions readability: markings on both the dial and bezel feature the Super-LumiNova treatment as well as 17 inlaid tritium gas tubes, making the watch glow in a distinctive combination of luminous orange, blue, and green when in low-light situations. The Swiss-made Sellita SW-200-1 automatic movement inside means you’ll never worry about batteries, while the 45mm stainless case that’s rated to 500 meters of water resistance makes the Daynight Scuba Tritium T-100 a solid and stalwart companion—be it on your everyday endeavors or out in the scuba depths.
Timex Navi Ocean

Timex Navi Ocean

Purchase
Key Features
Military-inspired design
Reversible, slip-through strap Included
Shatter-resistant hardened mineral crystal
Bi-directional rotating bezel
Specifications
Movement
Quartz
Case Diameter
38mm
Lug Width
18mm
Water Resistance
100M
Reviews


Price
$$$
While the Timex Navi Ocean is a little more fashion-forward than the rest on the list, it’s still a capable little watch. At 38mm, it’s on the smaller side for a diver, so it will accommodate a wide range of wrists. It’s clear that this watch is inspired by the military dive watches of the 20th century, but still holds its own as a modern timepiece. The steel case, black bezel, and black/tan dial will look excellent on a variety of straps, even though the reversible slip through strap it comes with is no slouch. The strap is both durable and water resistant—ideal for activities on land and in sea.
Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Red

Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Red

Purchase
Key Features
Vintage aesthetic
Domed sapphire crystal
Stainless steel buckle w/ safety deployment clasp
Uni-directional bezel
Specifications
Movement
Swiss automatic ETA 2824-2/SW 200
Case Diameter
42mm
Lug Width
22mm
Water Resistance
300M
Reviews
No reviews yet
Price
$$$$
Homage watches can bring about some strong opinions. Some dislike them for being unoriginal designs, while others see them as the only affordable way to get the look they want in a watch without having to shell out thousands for the original. Opinions aside, Steinhart watches put out some seriously great watches—in function and form—for the price. The Ocean One Vintage Red is based on an older Rolex reference that regularly sells for $25k+. Hence, the appeal of the Steinhart is strong. The watch is made in Switzerland and features an automatic ETA movement with hacking second and a power reserve of 40 hours. You’ll appreciate the premium features like a domed sapphire crystal, bracelet with solid end links, and sturdy unidirectional bezel.

Now that you know a thing or two about dive watches, how they could fit into your EDC, and examples of budget-friendly options, you’re ready to get your feet wet with a diver of your own. What dive watch is next on your list? What watches did we miss? We want to hear what’s on your wrist (or wishlist for now!) — leave us a comment below.

This post was updated on June 20th, 2020 with more recent product recommendations.

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