In this Guide
Dive watches are an essential tool for any aquatic adventure. They keep you on time and informed while you’re below the surface, and provide serious style and street cred when you’re out of the water.
However, with the wrong dive watch, things can go wrong in a hurry. Poorly-made dive watches leak, or have shoddy timepieces which don’t give you accurate readings when you need them.
Dive watches have also become a major fashion icon. While that’s good for your wardrobe, it’s a dangerous proposition for serious divers. Many watches that have “dive” in the name don’t actually have the specs to earn the title. For the average shopper, it can be pretty hard to tell the difference.
That’s why we created this guide! We’re your diving experts, and we went on a comprehensive search for real divers’ dive watches!
We looked for the best combinations of rugged construction and sleek looks, at a variety of price points. We also chose a range of styles and features, to suit different divers’ specific needs and preferences.
We put together in-depth reviews of all our favorite models below. We’ve compared features, specs, and aesthetics for each piece, so you can quickly figure out which is your ideal choice!
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Men’s Dive Watch Reviews
Our least expensive recommendation comes from one of the great dive watch makers, Seiko. This is one of their most affordable models.
It has all the key features you need, in a sturdy, simple package that you won’t be afraid to knock around the block. It’s an excellent option for people who don’t have a lot of money to spend, but don’t want to skimp on quality.
It’s solar powered. This model will collect ambient light at all times, to make sure it’s fully-powered when you need it.
Previous buyers said it charges extremely quickly, and provides noticeable results in the luminescence. Both the hands and hour markers are luminous.
We think they’re surprisingly bright, especially for the price. They also last at least a couple of hours, long enough for most casual divers.
It’s waterproof to 200m. It’ll take you down as far as diving without mixed gas can get you, which is more than enough for most casual divers.
It has a day and date display right on the face. Previous buyers were also pleased to find that they could choose between languages for the day display.
It’s an analog design with quartz-movement. Since it’s not digital, it has a nice classic look, and the solar power means that unlike classic watches, you never have to worry about running out of battery!
It’s linked to a thick, sturdy rubber band with a buckle clasp. Many previous buyers complimented the look of the strap, with its contoured design and simple aesthetic. We particularly like the links, which flex and allow for a more comfortable fit over the course of the day.
The bezel rotates, so you can set a timer for yourself up to 60 min. It’s nice and thick, which makes it easy to manipulate. We also like that it makes definite clicks between settings. That’s a sure sign of quality, and it’s reassuring every time you use the bezel.
It’s relatively inexpensive, but it’s built ruggedly. The casing is stainless steel, and the Hardlex crystal front protects the face. Previous buyers said it’s very scratch resistant, and maintains a nice shiny finish for years.
The combination of price and sturdiness makes this a great “beater” watch. It looks much more expensive than it is, and you won’t have a heart attack if something happens to it.
It’s covered by a 2-year warranty.
Some buyers found the rubber band a bit uncomfortable. They said it was somewhat stiff and rough, and wished it could be softer. Since it’s rubber, it will get more supple over time.
Buyers had mixed feelings about the luminosity. Many praised it, but some were a bit disappointed that it didn’t last as long as they hoped (more than a few hours). We’d say that it’s very impressive for the price, but it certainly won’t compare to a $400 model.
It doesn’t have any extra features besides the time, date, and bezel timer.
This Seiko is a more distinctive alternative to the one we’ve recommended above, at a comparable price. It has a funky, two-tone bezel which instantly makes the watch stand out as a diver’s.
We love the classic chronograph dials on the face, as well as the Pepsi red and blue aesthetic. This one’s a great choice for people who want to stand out from the pack without breaking the bank.
It has an instantly-recognizable look. While most dive watches stand out to some degree thanks to their thickness and overall size, this Seiko has the classic red and blue contrast bezel that defined the original dive watches. It’s sure to stand out from the plain stainless steel pack.
It also has some classic touches on the face. This one has chronographic mini-dials for 24-hour time, along with independent 60 second and 60 minute timers. The knobs for both timers, as well as the winding knob at the crown, have screw-down caps to protect the internal components while you’re in the water.
It has all the features we liked on the SNE107P2. Just like the cheaper Seiko, this one’s rated down to 200m. It’s also solar-powered and illuminated.
It charges whenever there’s sunlight to work with, and both the hands and markers light up. It has a scratch-resistant outer face, and stainless steel casing. Just like its cheaper sibling, this one is an analog system with quartz movement. It also comes with the same ribbed strap.
At 43.5mm, it’s just slightly bigger than the 42mm SNE107P2. That gives it more wrist presence, with a footprint that’s more traditionally dive-sized.
It’s covered by a 3-year warranty. That’s a whole extra year over the SNE107P2, for nearly the same price.
It doesn’t have a weekday display. There’s just a number for the day of the month. The chronographic displays also make the face a bit more elaborate. If you like a stark, clean face, this isn’t the watch for you.
One previous buyer reported a faded bezel. That’s certainly possible with any colored components, but we couldn’t find any other reports of fading. We’d caution against using cleaners or other chemicals, which might have been responsible in this case.
Just as with the SNE107P2, some buyers of this one didn’t like the band. The major complaint was looks, and we found that most buyers who switched bands replaced the rubber with a nato band.
Some people had a hard time with the screw-down caps on the timer knobs. They’re not covered thoroughly in the manual, and they can take some time to get used to.
One of our favorite midrange dive watches combines the simple, classic look of the SNE107P2 with a classed-up, stainless steel band and casing. It has the same diving chops as the cheaper Seikos, but adds some executive visuals.
We love the kinetic drive system in the SKA371, as well as the automatic quartz movement for accuracy. Plus, it looks much more expensive than it actually is!
It’s just as diver-friendly as our other recommendations. It’s rated and tested to 200m. The hands and markings are also luminous below the surface, or in darkness above water.
The biggest difference between this model and the cheaper Seiko’s is its Kinetic drive system. The first two models we looked at are solar-powered, while this one runs on the power generated by you simply moving around! So, unless you leave it in a closet for months on end, it’s pretty much impossible to run out of juice.
You can also hand-wind it, if you have kept it in storage for a while. Previous buyers said it works extremely well, and they rarely (if ever) needed to wind their units.
The Kinetic system also has some really smart features to compensate for the drawbacks of traditional quartz systems. Since the Kinetic drive doesn’t run out of power easily, it doesn’t slow down over time. It also has an “auto-relay” feature, which automatically resets the ticker to make sure it’s always on. That combines with the perpetual calendar to make sure you’ve always got the right date.
Buyers say it’s incredibly accurate. They said they only needed to reset it for daylight savings times. Aside from that, it was off by mere seconds on the year.
Aside from the drive system, most of the casing features are the same as the other Seiko’s. It’s all stainless steel, with a Hardlex dial window. It has a unidirectional bezel, and side adjustment knobs which lock down for diving.
In terms of the face, the SKA371 looks a lot like the SNE107P2. It has a clean, simple dial with a small date marker around 3:00. It’s a good choice for people who like an uncomplicated watch, which just shows the essentials and is easy to glance at!
The main upgrade on this model is the all-stainless look. This one has a stainless steel bezel, and a thick, rugged stainless band. The band is a pretty familiar link-style, but previous buyers said the Seiko version catches hairs much less frequently than other link bands they had used.
Overall, it looks fantastic. Previous buyers were very impressed with the look and feel of the metal, especially at this price.
The band has a super-secure clasp, with a fold-over buckle and two safety buttons to keep it from unlinking by accident.
It’s covered by a 2-year warranty.
The kinetic system does make a slight sound as it works, a lot like the orientation-sensor in your smartphone. However, most previous buyers said they got used to it and didn’t really consider it a problem.
It doesn’t have a lot of extra timekeeping features. There’s a basic 60 minute timer, but aside from that, not much. There’s no weekday marker, and none of the chronograph dials from the SSC031.
A couple previous buyers reported poorly-made watches which broke or had loose pieces. We’d always caution to make sure you’re buying through an authorized dealer, not one of the shadier resellers. You can always verify if your seller is an authorized dealer on Amazon, and it’s a very good precaution to take with a dive watch.
The lume on the hands isn’t quite as bright or long-lasting as the solar powered models. However, most previous buyers were still very impressed by the illumination, especially at night.
This Citizen is the most technical of our recommendations–perfect for the engineer or general science buffs.
It’s a sophisticated, feature-packed diver with a full slide rule, chronographic mini-dials, and lots of technical markings to keep you up to speed. Many previous buyers said they took this on military tours, both in the Navy and Air Force.
It was rugged and technical enough to handle anything they could throw at it. We recommend this one for the detail-oriented diver who wants something that provides all the information you could want, without looking utilitarian.
Like a few of our Seiko picks, this one’s solar-powered. It doesn’t need a battery, so it’ll never stop ticking as long as you expose it to light every now and again. The power also illuminates the hands and markers for excellent visibility in low-light conditions. Previous buyers especially liked the blue illumination color, which really stands out from the usual pale green.
It has quartz movement for precise timekeeping. Previous buyers said it only lost a few seconds on the month, which is very impressive for a relatively inexpensive unit.
The casing is all stainless steel, with a scratch-resistant, anti-reflective crystal protecting the face. At 42mm, it’s dive-sized without being quite as bulky as some of the Seiko’s. This one comes with a stainless steel link band, as well. Previous buyers said it looked and felt both rugged and expensive. The band also has the same safety clasp that you’d find on the Seiko we just looked at.
It’s rated just as deep as the Seiko’s (200m). While this Citizen is not marketed specifically as a dive watch, it’s got the specs and build quality to compete with our other recommendations.
In addition to its scuba specs, this one has plenty of features to give it street-cred with the aviator crowd as well! It has a pilot’s slide rule built into the bezel. You can use it to calculate flight times, fuel consumption, and other aviation numbers. Even if you’re not an aviator, it helps make short work of dive tables, as well as taking the guesswork out of long drives in the car.
Previous buyers loved the slide rule, and said they found a whole range of uses for it. They said it was easier than doing equations on a smartphone, or trying to do mental math.
It also includes a GMT dual-time zone dial, so you can work in both 12 and 24-hour time.
The adjustment crowns screw down, so you can’t accidentally knock them out of place.
It has a low-charge warning box to let you know when the battery is run down. There’s also a low-power setting, so you can make sure your time stays accurate until you can get to some sunlight.
Citizen covers this model with a very impressive 5-year warranty.
The second hand isn’t illuminated.
Some people might find the watch face a bit busy. If you’re not going to be using the slide rule or the other chronographic features, this one might be overkill in the detail department.
A couple previous buyers reported wobbly/shoddy winding knobs which broke and had to be replaced. However, the vast majority of buyers didn’t have any issues.
This Seiko is the largest of our recommendations. Its big size and clean face make it a great choice for people who want a simple, rugged piece of diving equipment.
The all-steel build gives it a classy look, and provides excellent scratch protection, since there’s no paint on the bezel or edges. We also like the automatic winding function, which works a lot like the Seiko Kinetic system we looked at above. If you want a watch that just does the basics, but does them all very well, this is for you!
It’s very simple to use. While it doesn’t look utilitarian in a bad way, this Prospex model has a much cleaner look than the Citizen and some of our other recommendations. It has a simple clock face, with big outer minute markings on the bezel timer, and smaller markings inside the bezel on the clock face.
We especially like the big hour markers on the face, which provide a much larger nub for illumination than our other recommendations. We also love the date window, which combines the date and weekday in one box. It’s much cleaner and easier to navigate than other dive models.
It’s all stainless steel. Since the bezel is only painted inside the grooved markings, it’s much less likely to scratch or wear than our other recommendations. Just like our other favorites, this Seiko also has locking adjustment knobs. Overall, previous buyers were very impressed with the build quality. They appreciated the firm bezel clicks, as well as the overall fit and finish.
It’s one of the largest dive watches on the market. At 46mm wide, it’s a fair bit bigger than the 42-43.5mm cases on our other recommendations. It’s thick, too, at 13mm. This one has a hefty wrist presence, so it’s perfect for divers who want a more masculine look, or for people who simply need something to suit larger wrists.
The markings and hands are all illuminated. They’re also slightly larger than average, which provides more space for light to project. Previous buyers were extremely impressed with the light from this face, especially compared to older editions of this model.
The automatic movement means that as long as you keep moving, the watch will too! It’s a similar system to the Kinetic movement in the other Seiko. According to previous buyers, it actually gets better with age. They said that while they noticed a few seconds of error the first few months, the margin became much less as the watch wore in.
Overall, we’re very impressed by the accuracy of this model. Other automatics at this price can be much less accurate!
It doesn’t have many features. While the aim of this model is clearly supposed to be simplicity, people who like more technical features, or additional dials for 24-hour time, etc. may be disappointed.
It only comes with a 2-year warranty. That’s not necessarily a bad policy, but it’s not as impressive as the 5 years covering the less-expensive Citizen.
If you have smaller wrists, this one might be too bulky for you.
This Hamilton is ideal for the working professional who likes to dive casually on the weekends. It’s dive-ready down to 100m, and it provides surprising ruggedness in a more refined package than our other recommendations.
Overall, this is simply a great watch, with a sapphire face, Swiss build quality, and an elegant but useful display. While it’s not quite heavy-duty enough for deep dives, it’s our favorite compromise between style and substance here.
It’s sleeker and more refined than other dive models. This one has a 41mm dial, as opposed to the 42-6mm cases on our other recommendations. That makes it much less obtrusive in an office or boardroom setting.
It’s also ideal for people with smaller wrists, or anyone who prefers a more minimal piece but requires the toughness of a diver.
It’s made in Switzerland, which is exactly where you look for a premiere watch. The Swiss action is smooth, and free of the ticking you’re used to from quartz models. Previous buyers were very impressed with the smoothness of the movement. They were especially pleased given that this is much less expensive than other Swiss pieces.
It has a large, easy-to-read day marker. While most of our other recommendations have day markers as well, they’re much smaller and harder to read quickly. There’s also a countering date marker at the bottom of the face.
Overall, aesthetics are hard to judge objectively, since they’re largely a matter of taste. However, we’re very impressed by how clearly the Hamilton presents a fairly large amount of information. It’s clear and legible without skimping on second, hour, date or day markers.
It uses a sapphire for the facing window. It’s the only one of our recommendations with a gem front, as opposed to the mineral crystal used in the cheaper options. Sapphire looks better, and is much more resistant to scratches than mineral crystal. The Hamilton also the only one of our recommendations with a domed window.
It has automatic movement. It’s very smooth, like any good automatic piece. Plus, it’s much more accurate than other automatic movers at this price point.
We especially like that the back of the case is transparent, so you can see all the components at work. Being able to watch the engineering finesse is half the joy of owning an automatic watch!
It’s covered by a 2-year warranty.
It’s not rated for quite as deep diving as the Seikos or the Citizen. This one is only rated down to 100m.
It’s fairly expensive. The Hamilton will run you over $400, which is more than twice as much as our cheaper recommendations.
Some buyers were disappointed that there’s no anti-reflective coating on the crystal. While sapphire isn’t quite as glare-prone as mineral faces, the dome shape does tend to reflect light slightly more than flat surfaces.
Previous buyers weren’t impressed with the luminescence on the Hamilton, especially compared to Seiko models. It’s definitely a weak point on an otherwise very strong contender.
All our recommendations above are rated for diving, and most of them are tested down to 200m. That’s more than enough for most casual divers, and is a good average rating to look for.
However, we know there are plenty of buyers out there who don’t fit the average mold! There are lots of people who want a diver-style watch, but don’t need quite the same level of water resistance or bulk. Likewise, there are quite a few serious divers out there who need something even more heavy-duty than the models we’ve looked at above.
Don’t worry–we’ve got everybody covered! These two models are some of our favorite alternatives to the typical “dive watch” range:
If you’re looking for a dive-style watch but don’t do any particularly deep scuba dives, this Citizen should be right up your alley!
It’s waterproof down to 100m, more than enough for snorkeling, water sports, and casual scuba adventures. We like it because it has all the great features of a dive model in a smaller, more manageable package. It’s stainless steel, with a mineral face and a water-friendly canvas band.
On the face, there’s a simple clock layout, with a clean, linear date and day readout. It uses the same Eco-Drive system as the Citizen we’ve recommended above, so you’ll never run out of power as long as you’ve got light nearby.
Plus, it has the same illumination you’d find on a full dive watch. The 37mm case is far less clunky and bulky than a traditional dive watch. A great choice for snorkelers and more casual water adventurers!
If you dive regularly, and want our ultimate watch recommendation, have a look at this Citizen! It’s larger than any of the other models we’ve looked at, at a whopping 53mm.
It’s loaded with features, and built like a veritable tank! Just like the other models we recommended, it has a thick stainless steel case, and a mineral crystal window.
It’s attached to a unique synthetic band, which is a similar material to the Seiko’s, except with a smooth texture. This one has nice, big luminosity points, and colored hands which add a little classic “dive” aesthetic.
We also love the built-in depth gauge, which is an amazingly convenient feature to have right on your watch. For context, you’d usually have to have a dive computer to measure depth.
There’s also a gauge for the battery, so you know when you need to leave the watch in sunlight for a little while. While it’s by far the biggest and most expensive watch in this guide, passionate divers will want for nothing!
Which is the Best Diving Watch for You?
If you’re diving on a budget, the Seiko SNE107P2 is the best choice. It has all the important features you need on a dive watch, and it doesn’t skimp on sturdiness.
Even though it’s the cheapest model here, it has the same depth rating as our most rugged choice. Plus, the solar power source means there’s practically no maintenance cost. On the downside, you don’t get any extra features aside from time and date.
For something a bit less utilitarian, the Seiko SSC031 provides a much more distinctive aesthetic and more elaborate readout for only a slightly higher price. We love the classic two-tone scuba look, as well as the mini-chronographic dials.
This one’s also a bit closer to traditional “dive size” than the smaller SNE107P2. However, the bold colors might not be appealing to every buyer. It may also be a bit too flashy for your workplace, so this might not be able to serve your everyday watch.
If you’re looking for something more elegant, but want to keep a relatively low budget, the Seiko SKA371 is one of the most affordable options for a high-quality all-metal timepiece.
We love the sleek, simple look on this model! Previous buyers overwhelmingly agreed that it looked much more expensive than it was. It has a clean face similar to the SNE107P2, attached to a much less utilitarian band and casing. This one’s also powered by a Kinetic system, so it’s a good alternative for people who like automatic convenience, but don’t want to rely on light sources for power. As with the SNE107P2, though, this one doesn’t have a lot of extra features.
For the more detail-oriented diver, we recommend the Citizen NightHawk. It has an all-stainless band and case like the SKA371, but with plenty of features to satisfy all your technical needs. With a pilot’s slide rule, you can calculate dive table numbers, and make all your travel plans on the road much easier to figure out at the same time!
We also love having multiple time zones on the face. However, some less math-oriented divers might find the face on this model cluttered and confusing.
If you’re looking for a big, indestructible divers’ watch that’s simple but lasts forever, your perfect model is the Seiko SRP637K1. It’s a simple clock face with a date and weekday window, but the aesthetic is more refined and elegant than the Seiko SNE107P2 or SKA371.
Plus, with a 46mm case, this one’s bigger than either of those two. While it doesn’t have a wealth of features, this is a rugged, easy-to-read watch that will suit a frequent diver perfectly.
For people looking for the ultimate compromise between refinement and ruggedness, we suggest the Hamilton! While it’s not rated for super deep diving, it’s just as sturdy as our other recommendations.
It’s watertight, durable, and still manages to be sleek enough to wear to dress occasions and to work. Plus, it has a superior sapphire crystal face which resists scratches better than mineral windows. We think it’s a great choice for people who want a timepiece that’s just as much at home in the boardroom as on the wakeboard.
How to Choose the Right Men’s Diver Watch
Think about depth:
All dive watches are rated to a certain depth, usually in meters. That’s how deep you can dive and be able to count on them holding up to water pressure. Beyond that depth, you’ll risk leaks, cracks, or worse.
Before you shop, make sure you have a good handle on how deep you’ll be diving on an average day. For most casual divers, 200m is plenty of water resistance. At 200m, you’re generally looking at $150+, and a larger “dive”-sized timepiece.
If you’re looking for something sleeker, or simply aren’t diving as deep, a 100m watch is a good compromise. That’s enough water resistance for snorkeling, water sports, and casual diving around reefs and coastlines. However, if you see yourself getting more adventurous, it makes sense to go for broke and get a 200m model.
You’ll find that many watches have “dive” in the name, but aren’t actually tested for diving. Make sure your watch has a real depth rating, and a test certification listed in the description.
Consider your budget:
Dive watches are available from around $50-$500+, as a general rule.
We don’t think much of dive watches under $100. They’re pretty lightweight, and if you look closely at the fine print, you’ll find that while they say “dive” in the title, they’re not rated for more than watersports or snorkeling.
If you’re looking for something dive-style on a budget, or just need something to handle those shallower depths without getting wet or fogged, we’ve included a Citizen model above that’s perfect for you. However, for serious divers, the 100m rating on <$100 models won’t be enough.
If you’re looking for a real diver’s watch, we’d recommend spending $150+. Beyond that point, the vast majority of models have 200m depth ratings, and sturdier build quality.
You’ll find that the more you pay, the more precise you can expect the timekeeping device inside your watch to be. More expensive watches have smoother action, less time discrepancy over the long term, and more elaborate chronographic features.
Look to also spend more money for extra features beyond basic date and time readings. Some handy extras are 24-hour time, additional time zones, slide rules, or depth gauges. You’ll also pay more for metal wristbands, as well as sapphire face windows.
Metal wristbands are much classier than nato or rubber, and they also last longer. Sapphire looks great, too, but the main benefit is that it’s much less prone to scratches than mineral faces.
Think about comfort:
When you’re choosing a watch, make sure you consider comfort. Think about the size and weight of the watch in relation to your wrist, to make sure it’s comfortable all day.
You’ll also want to make sure you know what kind of band you prefer. Common options are rubber, nato, canvas, or steel links.
Of course, you can always change the band, but there’s no point spending extra money on a stainless band if you’re not going to be keeping it. If you have especially large or small wrists, you’ll want to make sure to take that into consideration as you judge the size of the casing and the band.
While you can certainly buy a dive watch as a secondary time piece, most divers want to buy something they can wear all day, every day. That’s one less timepiece to keep track of. Plus, wearing your dive watch at the office or to the bar lets you show off your status as a diver wherever you go.
With that in mind, make sure your dive watch looks suitable for all the occasions you need it to. Think about whether you’ll be wearing it to dress events, or to the board meeting. You’ll also want to think about your general wardrobe.
On the other hand, if you’re a watch aficionado, and have a few different styles to choose from, you might not need a dive watch that suits every occasion. In that case, get something as rugged as you need, and don’t worry about trying to fit it under a nice shirtsleeve.
Plan for the long term:
A timepiece is something that should last for years, and be a constant companion. Dive watches are no exception. You want to make sure yours will last.
Look for stainless steel casing and sturdy construction, backed up by a warranty policy. Make sure any adjustment knobs at the crown of the watch lock into place, so you won’t have any water seeping into the casing. And, of course, make sure the band is secure. If it comes undone while you’re in the water, that’s a big investment sinking to the bottom of the sea!
Want to explore more great options? Check out all the best-selling models on Amazon!