When it comes to premium dive watches, a thousand dollars can get you a heck of a lot more than it used to!
Gone are the days when you had to spend a full month’s wages to get something high-end…
Here’s the deal:
While you’ll have to be a savvy buyer to navigate the affordable end of the premium spectrum, you can get an absolutely stellar dive watch for well under $1K.
How, you ask?
In this guide, we’ll show you all our favorite dive watches for under $1000 and teach you all our tricks for finding premium gems for less than a grand!
Our current #1 recommendation is the Davosa Ternos Professional, which is Swiss-made, has a large (but not too large) 42mm face, and comes in near the higher end of the budget range.
In This Guide
- Best Dive Watch Under $1000: Our 2019 Reviews
- Buying Guide
- What’s Next
Best Dive Watch Under $1000: Our 2019 Reviews
|1. Davosa Ternos Professional|
Tops in Luminosity, Accuracy & Water Resistance
|2. Seiko SUN065 Special Edition PADI Kinetic GMT Diver Watch|
Stellar Look, Feel & Function
|3. Marathon WW194026 Swiss-Made Military Automatic Diver’s Watch With Tritium|
Rugged But Low in Depth Rating
1. Davosa Ternos Professional – Editor’s Choice
This Davosa Ternos timepiece currently ties with the Marathon model below for our top pick under $1000. It’s about the same price, and has comparable build quality and accuracy. The main difference is in looks and feel.
Get the Davosa if you want a top-notch dive watch with a relatively large case.
At 42mm, it’s still large but not as massive as the Seiko or Pantor. This is a good size for most folks, though anyone with smaller wrists or a penchant for the unobtrusive will want to look at the Marathon instead. It’s big enough to stand out without being over the top.
The whole thing is Swiss-made. If you know anything about watches, you’ll know that that’s a byword for quality! It has a top-notch automatic Swiss movement, stellar construction quality throughout, and an overall feeling of luxury that’s rare for this price.
The materials here are standouts as well. It’s made with a ceramic bezel, flawless stainless steel case and band, and a non-reflective sapphire crystal face. Even if you’ve never had the chance to wear high-end watches, you’ll notice the difference. It’s quite immediate.
It’s a great timepiece. It ticks our boxes for fantastic luminosity, accuracy, and water-resistance, with a 500m depth rating that means it’s as practical as it is fashionable.
It’s covered by a 2-year warranty and has a spotless record for reliability.
There aren’t any real downsides to the Davosa, aside from the price. Even that is a bargain, considering that it’s still well under $1000.
The only quibbles you’ll find are aesthetic. This may or may not be too simplified a watch face for your taste. Likewise, the 42mm case may be larger than you prefer. In these cases, the Marathon is the better choice. However, it’s not better in any measurable, qualitative sense. It’s simply a matter of preference!
2. Seiko SUN065 Special Edition PADI Kinetic GMT Diver Watch – Best Value
Our most affordable pick in this price range is Seiko’s PADI Special Edition dive watch. It’s been on the market for a while now, and that means you can now get it at pretty steep discounts. Considering that it’s still premium by any measure, that’s great news for you!
We suggest this to folks who like the navy/red color scheme and want something with that look in the premium range.
It’s a Seiko. As far as we’re concerned, that’s shorthand for “value for money!” Seiko watches consistently outperform and outclass others in their price range, and even many more expensive timepieces. This one is no exception. It offers tremendous bang for your buck.
It’s a stellar timepiece, with an accurate Japanese quartz movement and kinetic power system. We’ve found that it keeps time extremely well, even over extended use. It’s a lot more accurate than anything else in its price range. We love that it has a power reserve indicator, too!
It looks great. While the Seiko is good in all sorts of departments, looks are where it really stands out. It’s a big watch, with a 47.5mm diameter that’ll catch any eye. The color scheme and PADI marking immediately sets this one apart as a true diver’s watch, too!
Excellent lume should be a given on anything in this price range, but sadly it’s not. The Seiko is the least we think you can pay for something that’s legitimately bright.
The look, feel, and function are all stellar for the price. It’s legible, classy, and accurate–everything we look for in a premium dive watch! The sapphire face and stainless steel case are perfect examples of Seiko build quality crushing the competition in their price bracket.
It’s covered by a 3-year warranty.
The 24-hour markings won’t be for everyone. Most dive watches either have both 12 and 24-hour markings, or simple notches. This one is definitely an oddity in that department.
Its water-resistance rating is the lowest of the models we’ve recommended in this guide. Having said that, most folks aren’t realistically going to go down further than 200m anyway.
The band isn’t especially high-end. It’s the same as Seiko’s cheaper models. Most of the pricier models we recommend include stainless steel bands. However, the Seiko band is extremely comfortable, so you may end up preferring it.
You won’t want this one if you have even remotely smallish wrists, or a preference for sleeker designs. It’s a big, chunky watch.
Our top dive watch recommendation for under $1000 is this Marathon timepiece. It’s as top-notch as the Davosa, while having a look and feel all its own.
We suggest this as a premium alternative for those who prefer a more intricate look as well as a smaller overall case size.
It’s every bit as premium as the Davosa. We won’t go overboard discussing the Marathon’s pedigree, since it’s pretty much identical to the Davosa’s. The Marathon is built entirely in Switzerland, from the movement to the band. It’s stainless steel and sapphire crystal, with the only difference being stainless steel instead of ceramic on the Marathon’s bezel.
All in all, it’s as good as they get under $1000 (and even beyond!).
It’s a lot more compact than the Davosa, which makes it an excellent choice for folks who find the average dive watch a bit clunky. The Marathon is only 36mm, so it’s significantly smaller than the other models we’ve recommended in this guide.
It’s an excellent choice for folks who want something high-end that can be unobtrusive enough for the boardroom as well as the boat.
It’s got a lot more going on on the face, too–perfect for the detail-oriented person. You’ve got both 12 and 24-hour markers, plus all the increments you could possibly want. That’s not even mentioning the date window!
This would seem like too much to look at, but we think the complications actually don’t overwhelm with such a small volume.
It’s a mil-spec watch, built to US military standards and specifications. That’s not something the average buyer really needs to worry about, but it does mean you’re getting rock-solid construction quality and precision like no other. This thing is built like a tank, and ought to last practically forever.
As with the Davosa, there’s nothing to complain about with the Marathon, aside from the fact that it’s pricier than the Seiko and the Pantor. It’s premium in every regard. The only downsides will be aesthetic, if there even are any for you! If you’re looking for something larger, the Davosa will obviously be a better fit. Likewise, if you don’t like complicated faces, that one’s simpler aesthetic will be more appealing.
The depth rating is technically lower than the Davosa’s, but we’re pretty sure you won’t need anything beyond the Marathon’s 300m anyway.
This Pantor timepiece is our midrange choice for less than $1000. It’s pricier than the Seiko, but still considerably less expensive than the Swiss-made models we’ve recommended below.
We suggest it as an affordable alternative to the Seiko for folks who want a sleeker, classier look. It’s the nicest 45mm watch we currently recommend!
The Seahorse is made by Pantor, which is a Chinese company, but don’t let that temper your expectations! It’s powered by a Japanese movement, like the Seiko. It features similar sapphire face and stainless steel case construction. It’s also made to a standard of quality that puts a number of Swiss and Japanese manufacturers to shame! This is far and away the best dive watch under $750, from a quality standpoint.
While the size is about on par with the Seiko, the Seahorse looks much different. It’s simpler, classier, and less “scuba”-y. Sure, it’s recognizable as a dive watch, but it drops the PADI aesthetic for a simplified face with a few different color schemes.
We like this one because it’s easy to match to your aesthetic. While you’ll have to be suited to a larger watch size, you can find a finish that matches your lifestyle and your fashion sense.
Another aesthetic upgrade: the Pantor comes with a classy stainless steel band instead of the plain silicone band that comes with the Seiko. It’s not just the inclusion of a metal band that’s the upgrade, though–this one is fantastic. The adjustable clasp and band are simply superb for the price.
It has very impressive specs, including 1000m water resistance and a Swiss-made lume that stays bright all night long.
We’ve seen a few buyer complaints online about this one having waterproofing issues. While we can’t verify that those folks were using authentic Pantor timepieces, it’s worth noting that this one isn’t as outstanding in the quality department as the Swiss-made options below.
Like the Seiko, this is a massive dive watch, at 45mm. If you want to keep things a bit sleeker, you’ll have better luck with either the Davosa or the Marathon.
Which of these dive watches is your best bet for under $1000?
The Seiko PADI Special Edition is the best bet if you’re looking for a bargain in this price range. It’s hundreds of dollars less expensive than the other models we’ve recommended in this guide, but reeks of class and quality far beyond its price point. However, it’s not as sleek or as flawless as the pricier options. It’s also only available in one color scheme, which probably won’t be for everyone.
The Pantor Seahorse is a nice midrange choice for people who are after looks and impressive specs without approaching the $1000 mark. However, it’s not as solidly-built or as precise as the Swiss-made models in this guide. Get this if you’re looking for something premium that won’t put you out more than $750.
The Davosa and the Marathon clock in at about the same price, so we’re recommending both of them as our “ultimate” dive watches under $1000. Which of the two is the best fit for you?
The Davosa is definitely the winner in the looks department. It has a touch more class and finesse, not to mention the simplified watch face. Plus, you have all those color options to choose from. It’s the better choice for folks who prefer a big dive watch.
However, if you’re after sheer ruggedness and are into mil-spec gear, the Marathon will be the better option for you. It’s definitely a busier, more industrial look, but the smaller case size keeps it classy and sleek! Get this if you prefer a smaller look or are trying to suit a smaller wrist size.
If you’re ready to find the very best dive watches under 1000, we’d recommend you try the Davosa for its gorgeous appearance and range of color options.
Keep Your Expectations Realistic
You can get some stellar, premium-quality dive watches for under $1000. That doesn’t mean you can have absolutely anything for this much money, though. Don’t plan on finding Rolex dive watches in this range!
Set your sights on makers like Omega, Davosa, or Marathon. If you try and find a bargain on a luxury maker at this price, you’ll almost certainly end up with a chintzy knock-off.
Stick To Reputable Makers
There are two real risks with buying dive watches in the $500-$1000 range. The first is that you might see an ultra high-end watch marked down to these prices, which is usually a red flag and a sign of a knock-off.
Then, there are a lot of pseudo-premium timepieces that are marked up into this range, but which should really cost around $300-$500. These are usually from lesser-known brands trying to up their prestige by raising their margins.
Of course, the safest way to steer clear of these two dangers is to stick with the models we’ve recommended here. However, if nothing in this guide strikes your fancy, look at other, similarly-priced options from the same makers. They all have plenty of other offerings for around the same price point which might be more up your alley.
Decide On Your Budget
All the models we’ve recommended in this guide clock in at under $1000, but there’s a fairly big price range between these models. Figure out how much you’re aiming to spend before you start considering specific timepieces.
Are you fine with anything under $1K? Trying to stay under $750? Think about how much you can afford to spend, and how much you can justify spending on your new dive watch.
We hope you’ve learned everything you need to know to confidently buy your dream dive watch for less than a grand. You can find out more about any of the models we’ve recommended in this guide by clicking on the links in our reviews, or in the comparison chart above.
That’s a simple, convenient way to check prices and specs–as well as to make sure you’re buying from a reputable vendor! See all the best dive watches for men here!