Best Dive Watches – The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

Dive watches are arguably some of the most influential watches of all time. In fact, it’s likely that when someone thinks of watches in general, the first one that pops into their mind is a dive watch that we’ve all seen before, the classic Rolex Submariner. While the popular Rolex diver is very well respected among watch enthusiasts, and to some, the best dive watch on the market, the hefty price tag can be a little daunting. Especially so if you’re looking for the best dive watch on a budget. 

Luckily, since dive watches have become so popular, many different brands have created various interpretations of their own dive style watch, at price points across the board. Today we’re going to be looking over the best diver watches for every budget, no matter how much you’re looking to spend. But first, how is a dive watch different from every other watch?

What is a Dive Watch?

Dive watches have many key features that distinguish themselves from other styles of watches. One important thing to note is there is a huge distinction between a dive watch and a dive style watch.

By technical definition, a true dive watch must be able to withstand underwater depths of at least 100m and completely satisfy ISO standard 6425 requirements. The exact requirements are important, but only if you plan to actually go diving with this watch, as they’ll make sure the watch is up for the job. With that said, just because a watch isn’t ISO 6425 certified, doesn’t mean it isn’t a great watch. In fact, some of the best value dive style watches aren’t certified and are perfectly suitable for everyday wear, even while swimming

Now that we’ve got some technical jargon out of the way, it’s important to know that it’s incredibly common nowadays for watch companies and enthusiasts alike to use the term dive watch interchangeably whether or not the watch is a true ISO certified dive watch. I’ll be doing the same throughout the rest of the article, but I’ll be sure to specify which watches you can actually dive in, and which are better suited for just flopping around the pool in your floaties while eating a frozen burrito, if that’s your thing. 

Key Features of Dive Watches

There are a few key features that categorize a dive watch. These are going to make up the basis of our evaluation on these watches along with whether or not they’re worth the cost. They are as follows:

Water Resistance Rating (WR)

The water resistance rating of a watch measures the depth at which it can be submerged and not face any water damage. This is usually indicated on the dial or on the back of a watch, often measured in meters.

Keep in mind that not every company is as rigorous with their water resistance testing, and thus should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. For example, you can expect that a water resistance rating from a well-known and trusted brand like Seiko is usually more accurate than a random Chinese manufactured brand with no heritage or history. Also, note that the measured water resistance on a watch is measured at the time of being manufactured and is not permanent. Many things, such as opening the watch, damage to the watch or crystal, not sealing the screw-down crown, etc, can affect the water resistance and make it potentially unsafe to use your watch in the water. With that said, I’ll be giving you my own insight on the water resistance of each of these dive watches in this list. and what their WR rating is suitable for (washing hands, swimming, diving, etc.).

Dive Watch Dimensions and Legibility

Since dive watches were designed to be worn when diving (duh!), they tend to be on the larger side, averaging somewhere between 40mm – 44mm. These dimensions aren’t absurd by today’s standards by any means. In fact, many modern and fashionable watches can often be found around these sizes.

The added size and bulk of the watch not only helps make them more durable but also usually allows for larger dials and hands, making the watch easier and more legible to read. This is especially helpful when underwater. With that said, with all the variety of dive watches available these days, they can come in all sizes across the spectrum, with many smaller sized options as well.

The dimensions of a watch are something that often comes down to personal taste. People with smaller wrists may prefer a smaller watch, but that’s not always the case. Dive watches can look great on women and men alike! 

What is Lume on a Dive Watch?

A very common term you’ll hear thrown around a lot when it comes to dive watches or any other tool watch made for any physical activity is the lume. What is lume, exactly? Lume is the short term for the luminous phosphorescent glowing solution applied on watch dials, and sometimes watches hands. Basically, lume makes your watch glow in the dark.

Lume on a Panerai Dive Watch
Source

Lume is “charged” by direct light, and is usually rather undetectable until it gets darker in the room, which is when you’ll see a (usually green) “glowing” effect wherever the lume has been applied on the watch. Usually. lume is applied in the hour markers and hands of a dive watch This helps make the watch more legible in low-light situations.

The quality and strength of the lume will determine the following:

  1. How quickly the lume charges.
  2. How long the lume lasts when it has been charged.
  3. Brightness.

Dive Watches Are More Durable than Most

Another common consideration when deciding which dive watch you should buy is the durability. Since they’re built for diving, it’s expected that you might knock them around a bit, accidentally scratching them on a boat, some coral, or maybe the glass bottle of the overly sweet wine cooler you bought last minute, because your father (or son) decided to drink all of your favorite beer.

Because of this, they tend to be some of the most robust and durable watches on the market, often making great everyday watches or “beaters”.

What is a Dive Bezel?

One of the absolutely essential features of a dive watch is the diving bezel. This is one of those features that makes a dive watch instantly recognizable and really sets it apart from every other style.

What is a dive bezel, you ask? The bezel is the little ring around the watch. It often has markings in increments of 5 or 10 minutes and you can twist it around to time anything you want, up to an hour. It’s traditionally used to measure how much time left a diver has before the oxygen in his tank runs out, thus the name ‘dive bezel’. This added functionality can really be used to time anything, from cooking to timing a lunch break at work.

Dive bezels are most commonly bidirectional, meaning, they only turn in one direction. This is so it’s harder to accidentally nudge while on a dive. Misjudging the amount of time you have left in your oxygen tank could be deadly! Some modern diver style watches, such as the Rolex Yachtmaster II, however, have a unidirectional bezel. This is an example of a watch that isn’t as suited for diving as it is just swimming around in a pool.

How to Use a Dive Bezel

  1. Grip.

    Get a firm grip on the edge of the bezel using two fingers, thumb and index.

  2. Twist.

    Twist the bezel around, usually counterclockwise, until the “pip” (a little white marking that only exists once on the entire bezel) is lined up with the minute’s hand.

  3. Count.

    Use the incremental markings to count down the minutes that have elapsed since you set the bezel and determine how much time has passed.

Screwdown crown

The final feature that sets dive watches apart from other watch styles is a screw down crown. The crown is the little knob, usually located on the right side of the watch, that you use to adjust the time, day and date settings on your watch. Almost every watch has a crown, but not every watch has the ability to screw it down. A screw down crown feature usually just adds an extra layer of water resistance the watch, helping prevent water from leaking inside.

Other Things to Consider When Choosing a Dive Watch

Now that we’ve gone over the features that are most unique to dive watches, here are a few criteria you may want to consider when purchasing any watch, not just the best watch for diving.

Quartz vs. Mechanical

One of the first and most important things to determine when buying the best dive watch for men or women is deciding between quartz or mechanical movement. They each have their pros and cons, but in short, quartz watches run on batteries, while mechanical watches run purely on the mechanics and machinery in the watch. Mechanical watches are much more coveted by watch enthusiasts as they take much more precise engineering and usually only a skilled watchmaker can service them. I wrote an entire article about the differences between mechanical and quartz watches.

Movement & Accuracy

Especially f you decide to go the mechanical route, this is where things start to vary across different price points. Since mechanical watches are powered simply by machined parts working in conjunction, they’re often at least a couple of seconds inaccurate by the end of the day. This is often where spending more money will get you a better bang for your buck.

Style

Of course, all the fanciest specifications and features in the world are worthless if you don’t like the aesthetic of the watch. In fact, I’d argue this is easily one of the most important aspects when choosing a watch. 

Dive Watch Bracelet or Strap

If a metal watch bracelet is your preference as opposed to a waterproof strap, (like NATO or perlon) it’s important to evaluate the quality of the bracelet you’re receiving. Cheap leather and NATO straps can easily be replaced, but a metal bracelet that curves exactly to the dimensions of the case of your watch can be tricky to find, and often the one that comes with your watch is the best option. But this is also where some watch manufacturers cheap out.

Price & Value

After you’ve considered all of the features of a dive watch and what to look for in any watch in general, the final main consideration is your budget and how much you’re willing to spend. It’s not always the case that spending more will get you a “better” watch, and what we’re going to explore in the rest of this article is how you can get the absolute best bang for your buck. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find the best dive watch on any budget, no matter how much you’re looking to spend. 

Before Going Diving with Your Watch, Always Do This…

Dive watches aren’t just for show. They were originally made with the purpose of actual diving in mind. Because of this, they all have a water resistance rating, which measures how far you’re technically supposed to be able to dive with this watch. However, over time, the gaskets and seals in even the most expensive dive watches can weaken. Oils can dry up and rubber seals can deteriorate, causing the water resistance of your watch to drop. An old watch that was once water resistant up to even 300 meters may no longer be water resistant at all.

This is why I always suggest taking your watch to a watchmaker so they can perform a water resistance checked. This will avoid a situation where you damage your watch swimming, having not known that the water resistance wasn’t up to date.

Sometimes it’s better to buy a cheap dive watch such as the Casio MDV Duro that is so affordable, you almost wouldn’t care if it got damaged on a swim if it ever were to lose its water resistance rating. Speaking of which…

Best Dive Watches Under $100

CASIO MDV-106 AKA “The Duro”

The cheapest watch on our list of best dive watches also happens to be the only quartz watch. But that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. For under $50, you get yourself a very handsome dive watch with a reliable 200m water resistance rating. It’s perfectly suitable for swimming, showering, diving, etc, and with such an affordable price, it isn’t the end of the world if it were to somehow break.

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Coming in at 44mm, it wears rather large, but this is expected for watches of this style. Its biggest weakness is the included rubber strap.  While wearable, it’s not the most comfortable and feels rather dainty. It’s clear most of the money spent in manufacturing was on the watch itself, and not the strap, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Pick up a cheap rubber or nato strap as an alternative for just a couple of bucks, and you’ve got yourself a great budget dive watch under $50.

While not the most well-engineered wristwatch on this list, the Casio MDV-106 is my pick if you just want something to wear as a beater for the beach or rigorous aquatic or other physical activities. 

Invicta Pro Diver

Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB
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This is probably the most controversial pick on this list, mainly due to the fact that some of the other watches Invicta makes are terribly overbranded, oversized and overpriced. Don’t let their poor reputation as a brand fool you, as the Invicta Pro Diver offers some serious bang for your buck.

It’s very unapologetic in its stolen design cues from the classic Rolex Submariner. You could easily argue this is by far the best Rolex Submariner homage under $100, and might even get confused for one from afar by someone who doesn’t follow watches too closely. Up close, however, it’s not hard to tell this is an Invicta with the rather pronounced branding such as the disgustingly large “Invicta” lettering on the side of the watch. The unique (and kinda ugly) Invicta themed seconds hand and crown. Not to mention the logo isn’t really my favorite. It also has a cyclops which magnifies the date, but you either tend to love or hate the look of that. Personally, I don’t mind.

Showing off an honest 200-meter water resistance rating, this watch makes a great cheap dive watch for swimming. I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable at all taking it into the water (I’ve done it). With dimensions coming in at 40mm across, it’s a very wearable piece. Not too big and not too small, suitable for a huge variety of wrists.

The movement is surprisingly solid, featuring a Seiko NH35 movement known for being robust and having great longevity. Plus the additional upside of hacking and handwinding. It’s actually the same movement in some Seiko Watches in the $300+ range which is quite impressive considering what you’re paying for this piece.

There are, however, a couple of downsides that help justify the price of such an affordable dive watch. The mineral crystal is much less scratch resistant than sapphire crystals which you find in watches at in higher price brackets. The bracelet, while full stainless steel, is holo and a bit flimsy feeling. It can get a bit uncomfortable after extended wear. The hollow end links are almost expected at this price point, but a downside nonetheless. The lume is poor and takes a lot of direct sunlight before it starts working.

Variations and Colors

There are a couple of different color variations, so you can pick and choose depending on your preference. The Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB is your standard all stainless steel and black submariner homage. The 8928OB is a two-tone, 18k plated gold and stainless steel submariner homage with a blue face.  Ignoring the overbranding, it’s a great looking piece and has the quality behind it to make it worth looking at. The 8926 has a scalloped bezel similar to those on an Omega Seamaster and the 9094OB has a blue dial and bezel. The Pro Diver models 29176 and 29178 are newer additions and have jubilee bracelets. As you can see, there’s no shortage of variety, so you can have your pick.

This is one of the best and cheapest automatic dive watches for those of you looking to test the waters. For a dive watch around $75, it’s hard to beat. 

Vostok Amphibia

Vostok Amphibia ‘Scuba Dude’
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The Vostok Amphibia has an absolute cult-like following in the watch community, and for good reason. It’s a very affordable diver that was used by the Russian military, so you know it’s capable of taking a beating. They’re generally very water resistant, providing you can find this watch being sold by a reputable dealer. That’s one of the Vostok Amphibia’s biggest cons, they’re tough to source. Make sure you do your research on the seller before you buy, so you know you’re getting the real deal and buying a watch that hasn’t been modified or altered in any way, as that could affect the water resistance.

With that said, if water resistance is not something you prioritize, the watch has many different parts that are rather easily modified and interchangeable. The watch’s hands, dials, and even the bezel can be swapped out with parts from other Vostok Amphibia, providing they contain the same case size and movement. There’s a huge community built around watch mods and many great resources dedicated to how to mod the Amphibia, specifically.

The watch has a few quirks, such as the vintage style plexiglass crystal that’ll easily scratch, but can also easily be buffed out with some cheap Polywatch which can be had on Amazon for just a few bucks. The plexiglass was an intentional design cue, as it’s one of the features that help make the Amphibia so water resistant though it’s uniquely engineered design.

Another thing that might bother some is the rather “wobbly” screw down crown. To the unknowing, it can seem like a defect, but to no surprise, is yet another intentional design cue. 
It comes in a variety of different color and strap combinations, so you can have your pick and get a little funky.  

The Vostok Amphibia is great if you’re looking for a dive watch with a little flair and character. While not the most easily recognized brand in today’s world, anybody who is a big watch enthusiast will have nothing but respect for you with an Amphibia on your wrist, and the price of around $60 is ludicrous for the amount of watch you get.   

I wrote an entire article discussing how they make Vostok watches so affordable, here.

Best Dive Watches Under $300

Seiko SKX007/SKX009/SKX013

One of the most popular dive watches in the world, the Seiko SKX is an absolute must-have for most any watch enthusiast. This is the most essential dive watch from those just starting to build a collection, all the way up to collectors with dozens of Rolexes and other luxury watches. What makes it that good?

First of all, it’s actually ISO certified. This is a legitimate diver’s watch, one you can comfortably go diving in, all the way down to the water resistance of 200m, written distinctly in red on the dial. While not the most “classy” watch, It’s unapologetic about its identity as a tool watch.

With large lume dots that work better and glow brighter than some watches that cost literally thousands of dollars, it’s extremely legible. It’s also durable as heck.  This is the watch that just keeps on ticking, no matter how much you throw at it. And the 7S26 movement powering the watch is a tried and true that has gone decades for some SKX owners without ever needing a service. I wrote an entire article about how often you should get your mechanical watch serviced here.

The bezel is very legible, with indicators at every minute instead of every 5 or 10 like some other dive watches. The click of the bezel when turning it is smooth and satisfying. Even when compared to watches that cost thousands of dollars more, this bezel is one of the most satisfying feeling.

The Seiko SKX is not without its downsides, though. While it used to be king of the value divers, it lacks a few features that modern dive watches do better. The hardlex mineral crystal on the SKX is rather durable but doesn’t compare to the sapphire crystal on watches at higher price points. Not to mention, the lack of extra movement features such as hacking and handwinding make this a less desirable piece for some, while others may overlook those features completely.

The bracelet, while flimsy and rattly, has a certain charm once on the wrist. It doesn’t feel like a premium bracelet but somehow manages to be one of the few comfortable bracelets this cheap. The smaller jubilee links help the bracelet fold around your wrist nicely. The rubber strap option is an alternative, but in my opinion, it’s better to just get the metal bracelet and buy a better rubber strap seperately, as good ones are relatively affordable. 

There are three modern variations of the Seiko SKX. The SKX007 is your traditional “James Bond Dive Watch” style with a charcoal dial and black bezel. The SKX009 is a nautical navy and red. Some call this the “SKX Pepsi”. There’s also a smaller variation, the SKX013 which has a shorter diameter measurement of only 38mm, making it a lot more wearable for smaller wrists. It still maintains the same thickness of a 007, so it’s a relatively chunky watch and maintains good wrist presence and legibility.

Overall, the SKX family is well regarded as some of the best dive watches under 200 dollars that money can buy. It’s not the most “bang for your buck”, lacking modernized features that even some cheaper alternatives have, but the SKX has a particular charm that no other watch captures, and at this price point, an absolute steal. 

Orient Mako II & Orient Ray II

Orient Ray II
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The Orient Mako and Ray II dive watches are some of the absolute best value dive watches.

What puts them above other watches in this price range is simply better build quality and execution. The Orient caliber F6922 automatic movement that powers the watch has the added functionality of hacking and hand winding, while still being very handsome and durable dive watches. The newer iteration, aka the Orient Kano, also feature a sapphire crystal, an upgrade from most other dive watches under $300. 

This watch comes in a few variations, mostly due to aesthetic differences. The Orient Mako and Orient Ray dive watches are exactly the same in build quality, dimensions and even the movement contained inside. The only differences between each other are slight variations in the dial and bezel. Pick whichever you like the look of more, there’s no “better” option. Go with the Orient Ray II if you’re looking for a more traditional, Submariner homage looking diver watch. Of course, the Mako and Ray both feature a very appropriate 200m water resistance rating which I’d be more than comfortable swimming or diving in. Costing even less than the previously mentioned Seiko SKX, you’d be hard pressed to find a better quality dive watch for the same price.

Seiko 5 SNZH57

The Seiko 5 line of watches are known for being excellent entry-level mechanical watches, the SNZH being no exception. This model, in particular, has more of a retro diver feel than other models we’ve mentioned so far. In fact, it’s often compared to be the little brother of a much more expensive Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. Many even mod their Seiko SNZH and swap out the dial to look closer to one.

It’s a great affordable dive watch with 100m water resistance. While it doesn’t have as strong of water resistance like some other models, 100m is plenty for swimming, showering and especially washing your hands. Seiko is known for being extra thorough with their testing when considering water resistance ratings, so I’d trust it wholly. 

While it’s a fine overall pick if you love the aesthetic of a vintage style dive watch, or want to mod your own Seiko Fifty Fathoms style watch, not much would really make me pick this over the selection of other divers, such as the selection from Orient.

Citizen Promaster

Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster
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The Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive is a no-frills option for those of you who aren’t particularly interested in owning a mechanical timepiece. The Eco-Drive portion of the watch is strictly solar powered, no need to wear or wind the watch to power it like mechanical watches, nor swap the battery out like you would typical quartz driven movements.

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This is not a watch that has a lot of bells and whistles, but a functional, legible and accurate timepiece. This is a rather large watch with its 48mm case diameter, so not the most elegant or dressy dive watch either. It still looks half-decent and fits a pretty active lifestyle.

With its 200m water resistance rating, it can be used from anything from snorkeling to showering and swimming. Like most affordable watches, the included rubber strap can be considered a throwaway, it’s so uncomfortable. The date wheel is a bit small and hard to read, especially compared to the rest of the watch, but if you can overlook that, you’ve got yourself a very solid diver under 200. 

Phoibos Wavemaster PY009C 

Compared to some other brands we’ve mentioned like Seiko and Orient with tons of heritage, Phoibos is a newcomer in the watch market. People seem to be very intrigued by their logo, a crown-wearing octopus, displayed tastefully on the dial. This is a kinda neat alternative to having the brand name plastered across in plain text you tend to see from most other watches.  Overall the Wavemaster offers a ton of value in terms of specifications. The addition of the sapphire crystal is something not often seen in dive watches at this price point, and the bracelet is one of the best.

Best Dive Watches Under $500

Steinhart Ocean 39 & Steinhart Ocean 1

This price range is where you start to see huge improvements in build quality over previously mentioned wristwatches. The Steinhart Ocean 39 and Steinhart Ocean 1 dive watches demonstrate this perfectly.

Yet another set of dive watches taking design cues from the iconic Rolex Submariner, but without any garish branding or over complications. Everything on this watch, from the case, the bracelet, the movement inside and the anti-reflective sapphire crystal are of premium quality.

The brushed and polished surfaces are also done extremely well. It very much looks like a luxury watch and many watch enthusiasts will be shocked when you tell them how little you’ve paid for this piece in comparison to high-end Rolex or Omega dive watches.

A friend of mine, who owns many luxury watches, called my own personal Steinhart 39 a “baby Rolex”, which I find rather appropriate and funny.

The biggest variation between the Ocean 39 and Ocean One models are dimensions. The Ocean 39 wears 39mm lug to lug, while the Ocean One wears 42mm. It really comes down to personal preference, but I’ve found the 39mm to wear much better on my wrist. It’s sporty and masculine but still wears classy enough to pair with a smart sports jacket or to wear to a formal occasion. They have many variations of colors and even variations of styles, but I find myself always coming back to this classic Rolex homage design. 

Glycine Combat Sub

Glycine Combat Sub
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At first glance, this may appear to be yet another submariner homage, however, that’s not at all the case. While the watch measures 42mm in diameter, it’s only 10.6mm thick, making it a very slim and comfortable pairing, even for those with smaller wrists. Its low profile gives it a completely different feel than other dive watches in this category. It has excellent build quality, being Swiss-made and with its sapphire glass and fantastic luminescence. There’s also an endless amount of variety of colors, hands, straps, and bracelets, so you can really choose the watch that fits your personality. 

Best Dive Watches Under $1000

Squale 50 Atmos Blue

The Squale 50 ATMOS is a very refreshing and unique dive watch in its appearance. It has a retro feel but with modern construction and top-notch quality. You’d expect exactly that from a brand with as much heritage and history as Squale.

It’s unique in that it’s a relatively large watch, but only wears 12.5mm tall, which is rather slim for a dive watch of this size. This particular model, a personal favorite, has a gorgeous sunburst blue dial that you really need to see in person to appreciate. It also has white and orange hands and plain as can be white hour markers, making this watch as legible as they get.

Squale has many different variations of dive watches, and while the Squale 50 atmos aren’t their most popular dive watch, behind the popular submariner homage, the Squale 20 Atmos, the 50 has a very distinct charm.

I’d encourage anybody who is looking for something a little different to take a look at this beautiful timepiece. It also has a 500m water resistance rating, so you know you’re getting a watch that even the most serious of divers could wear on their diving adventures without giving it a second thought or worry.

Best Dive Watches Under $2000

Oris Aquis

The Oris Aquis is highly regarded when it comes to mid-level luxury dive watches. It’s nothing particularly unique or unusual, but rather everything a classic dive watch should be.

It has a great build quality, an extremely legible dial, a quality bracelet and solid specifications for the price. It’s a rather large watch at 43.5mm, so small wrists beware. Its bracelet, while of extremely high quality, is integrated into the case, meaning it is NOT interchangeable for other watch straps of any kind. If you’re not looking to break the mold and you don’t care to play around, mixing and matching your watch with different strap combinations, the Oris Aquis is for you. It just gets the job done.  

Longines Legend Heritage Diver

The Longines Heritage Diver is a retro-inspired watch that somehow manages to always remain classic. The inner rotating bezel is located inside the watch, beneath the crystal, which is really what sets this wristwatch apart from others on this list. It’s a gorgeous and unique watch that has a lot of charm and character and you won’t regret picking one up. 

Best Dive Watches on the Market at Any Price (Over $2000)

Rolex Submariner

Probably the most iconic watch ever made. The Rolex Submariner is a piece that transcends the dive watch category and is the most popular luxury watch in the world.

Designed specifically for underwater exploration and diving, you’d be hard pressed to find a more suitable wristwatch for the task. Top of the line build quality, in-house Rolex movement and not to mention the classic appearance that has been replicated by so many other watches, even many of those on this list. There are so many different Rolex Submariner variations, they really deserve an article of their own, but just know if there’s a small aesthetic detail you don’t particularly like, there’s probably a Rolex Submariner model that doesn’t include it. An example of this is the date wheel and cyclops magnifier. While most models do contain these design cues, the Rolex Submariner “No Date” (Reference 114060) has no date wheel, as the name suggests, and gives the dial a slightly cleaner look. 

I could go on and on and write a small novel about the Rolex Submariner. It’s the grail of many and for good reason. If it fits your budget, and you don’t mind wearing one of the most common and recognizable luxury watches, the Rolex Submariner is a hard watch to beat.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay

Tudor is a brand that hardly needs any introduction. Being a sub-brand of Rolex, that speaks volumes of its quality right away. With the Tudor Heritage Black Bay or any Tudor model, for that matter, you’re getting Rolex quality at a much more affordable price point.

The main difference, branding aside, is the movement, an ETA movement as opposed to an in-house movement you’d find in Rolex models. This helps keep the cost of the watch down without sacrificing quality. There are a few slight aesthetic differences between the Tudor Heritage Black Bay vs. Rolex Submariner, most being very subtle. The Tudor Heritage Black Bay has a coin edge bezel as opposed to the serrated bezel edge of the Rolex Submariner. The Black Bay also lacks any crown guards, giving this watch a slightly more vintage feel.

Want all the quality of Rolex without having to shell out a premium for buying into the Rolex brand itself? The Tudor Heritage Black Bay is the best dive watch for you. 

Breitling SuperOcean and Breitling SuperOcean Heritage

While there’s no doubt Breitling makes some of the most iconic and timeless aviation and pilot watches, their watches aren’t exactly known for their simplicity or class. The Breitling SuperOcean and Breitling SuperOcean Heritage dive watrches, however, are a couple of exceptions.

Dive Watches for Ladies

Watches all over the world are being heavily marketed to men, but if you’re a woman who likes watches, don’t let that intimidate you. Watches and watch dimensions are completely subjective.

While I may like wearing a larger, sportier watch, others prefer watches that have an extremely low profile and can fit under a cuff easily. With that said, try out watches that you find interesting, or have a look that you like, and don’t worry at all about what others have to say about how a watch “should” look on your wrist. Any of these options on this list will be a perfectly suitable dive watch for women.

With that said, here are some smaller dive watches for ladies who prefer smaller watches on their wrist.

Seiko SKX013

A watch I mentioned earlier, but is so good, I felt the need to reiterate myself. It wears 38mm in diameter and has curved lugs that hug the wrist nicely. The black dial and bezel also make the watch appear than it actually is. Lighter and brighter colors tend to have the opposite effect, making watches look larger than they actually are.

I think this watch looks great on literally almost anybody. It’s very affordable and looks great on a variety of straps, be it the included jubilee bracelet, a rubber or NATO strap, or even a leather strap, if you so choose. Plus, they’re one of the most affordable dive watches on this list, so a great option if you just want to get your feet wet in the world of watches.

Omega Seamaster

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean
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The Omega Seamaster is a dive watch staple. The name ‘Seamaster’ covers a wide variety of Omega’s styles, so you’re bound to find something that fits your taste.

This includes dive watches such as the Omega Aqua Terra, Bullhead, Diver 300m, Planet Ocean 600m, and the unique Plopfrof 100m. 

From the smaller 28mm 300m Quartz divers all the way up to the 37.5 mm Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean and beyond, there’s a wide range of sizes that are under 38mm, a relatively safe size for somebody with a smaller wrist.

Rolex Yachtmaster

Rolex Yachtmaster 37 Everose Gold Oyster
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The Rolex Yachtmaster can be considered the more luxurious version of the already luxury Rolex Submariner. They’re usually made with precious metals such as Rolex’s own Everose Gold or Oyster steel and Platinum. They offer sizes of 37mm, 40mm and 42mm.

The one downside when comparing the Rolex Yachtmaster vs. Rolex Submariner is the Yachtmaster’s lesser 100m water resistance rating, though that should be more than fine for most people’s everyday use, including swimming and showering.

Oris Aquis Lady Date

We spoke about the no-frills Oris Aquis earlier in this article, but a more suitable dive watch for ladies if you’re looking for a more wearable, smaller option, is the Oris Aquis Date Ladies version. You’re getting the exact same quality and heritage as the regularly sized Oris Aquis Date but in a more concise 36.5mm case. 

It also comes with a neat variety of options including a diamond-studded version which keeps the very legible and clean look of the original, but the diamond hour markers give the timepiece a slightly more luxurious look.

Longines Ladies Conquest

Longines Conquest Pearl Diamonds Ladies Watch
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Another brand we’ve mentioned earlier, but this time with a different model, the Longines Ladies Conquest or the Longines Hydroconquest 29mm. While it does have a larger 44mm variant, it has a much smaller 29mm for those of you with extremely slender wrists, or who prefer your watches on the much smaller side. Personally, I feel the 29mm size is too dainty for a dive watch, even for those with the most slender of wrists. But if it’s your thing, I certainly wouldn’t fault you for picking one up. I’d say the Longines Hydroconquest is one of the best small dive watches for ladies this size. You’d be hard pressed to find anything similar with this level of build quality.

4 thoughts on “Best Dive Watches – The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide”

    • Completely agree! A chronograph is an extremely useful function. The one issue is that many chronographs are not conducive to a higher water resistance rating, as pushing a chronograph pusher often lets water in, no matter the declared WR rating.

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