While premium dive watches used to cost an absolute fortune, the market is a lot friendlier to wallets these days! If you know where to look, you can find some stellar timepieces for a fraction of the cost you’d imagine having to pay.
In this guide, we’ll introduce you to all the best dive watches under $500. We’ll explain how to find the real gems in this price range, and tell you why our picks stand out from other mid-range timepieces.
Keep on reading to see which reasonably-priced dive watches made our cut, and to learn which is the best one for you!
In This Guide
- Best Dive Watches Under $500: Our Reviews For 2019
- 1. Seiko Prospex Men’s Diver Watch (SBDC033)
- 2. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster (BN0150-28E)
- 3. Seiko Prospex PADI Solar Dive Watch (SNE435P1)
- 4. Phoibos Men’s PX002C 300M Dive Watch
- 5. Orient Men’s Ray II Automatic Dive Watch
- 6. Tauchmeister Automatic 1000m Dive Watch
- 7. Neymar 44mm Men’s 1000m Diver Watch
- 8. Seiko Prospex “Samurai” Diver’s Watch
- 9. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Quartz Dive Watch
- 10. Luminox Men’s 3001 Quartz Navy Seal Dive Watch
- 11. Invicta Men’s 15145 Pro Diver Stainless Steel Watch
- Buying Guide
- What’s Next…
Best Dive Watches Under $500: Our Reviews For 2019
|1. Seiko Prospex Men’s Diver Watch Mechanical Self-Winding (SBDC033)|
Excellent Performance & Style
|2.. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Watch With Date (BN0150-28E)|
Substantial Class, Quality & Accuracy
|3. Seiko Prospex PADI Solar Dive Watch (SNE435P1)|
No Splurge Dive Pride
|4. Phoibos Men’s PX002C 300M Dive Watch|
Can Take a Lot of Beating Underwater
|5. Orient Men’s Ray II Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel Diving Watch|
Has a Hacking Feature
|6. Tauchmeister Automatic 1000m Dive Watch|
Rugged & Sporty
|7. Neymar 44mm Men’s 1000m Diver Japanese Automatic Sport Stainless Steel Watch|
|8. Seiko Prospex “Samurai” Diver’s Watch|
Great Mechanical Dive Watch
|9. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Quartz Diving Watch (BN0190-07E)|
|10. Luminox Men’s 3001 Quartz Navy Seal Dive Watch|
Rugged & Stylish but Ideal for Shallow Diving Only
Our top dive watch for under $500, the Seiko Prospex is a stellar timepiece that we think provides phenomenal value. Not only is it a classy looker, but it’s accurate enough to compete with much more expensive options. Get this if you’re after the absolute best for $500 or less.
It’s elegant, sharp, and refined. The watch face is simplified compared to the Samurai, and it loses the textured background for a plain, smooth finish. The combination of brushed and buffed finishes on the case is simply superb for this price.
It makes a big statement. At 45mm, the Seiko Prospex is as big as dive watches get. If you want to make sure everyone in the room takes note of your timepiece, this is the one to get!
It’s built better than a lot of $750 dive watches, not to mention the competition in its own price range. It’s extremely rugged. It also demonstrates exemplary quality control!
It’s accurate and low-maintenance. Like the Samurai, it’s accurate to within a few seconds and generally stays powered without any hand-winding needed.
It’ll cost you right around $500, so this is hardly the most budget-friendly of the bunch.
It’s by far the best under $500, but you can certainly find better dive watches. Have a look at our guide to the best dive watches under $1000 if you want to see how this one compares to more expensive options!
This one’s not the best choice for folks with smaller wrists. If that’s you, you’ll probably want to stick with the Samurai instead.
The Citizen Promaster is our least expensive recommendation in this price range. It costs around half as much as our top pick (the Seiko Prospex, reviewed below) but offers substantial class, quality and accuracy.
It’s very accurate. It’s powered by a solar cell and quartz movement, rather than an automatic movement that needs adjustment.
It’s low-maintenance. As long as you leave it in the sun for a stretch now and again, it’ll keep on ticking with near-perfect accuracy for years. This is a great choice for folks who are more concerned with practicality than prestige.
It’s solid. This is a rugged, well-made watch that feels much more substantial than cheaper options.
It looks great, assuming you like a more intricate face design.
It’s perfect for folks who prefer smaller dive watches. This isn’t tiny by any stretch, but it’s less massive than your average 45mm case. It’s good for anyone with smaller wrists, or those who are looking for something that won’t stand out too much with formal wear.
Quartz movements like this are both accurate and practical, but they don’t have the prestige of automatic movements.
It’s more of a technical model than something refined and elegant like the other Citizen. Size aside, this one might not be ideal for the boardroom.
The lume isn’t as good as Seiko models.
This Seiko special edition is our recommendation to those looking to show off their dive pride without splurging on one of the super expensive PADI-endorsed models.
We think the look of this one is really remarkable. It takes the traditional two-tone aesthetic of dive watches and tones it down to suit a more elegant package. It’s distinctive enough to be recognizable as a true diver’s watch without being too much to wear at that important meeting or event.
It’s sized to suit just about everybody, too. This one measures in at 43.5mm, which is right in the middle of most options.
It makes a big statement on smaller wrists, without looking too small on larger wrists.
It’s practical enough to satisfy any diver, with 200m water resistance and superb construction quality for the price. It ought to last for years and years of daily wear.
This is fairly expensive for a solar/quartz timepiece. As we’ve noted in our reviews above, something like this is extremely practical but isn’t quite what the aspiring watch aficionado may want.
The two-tone look won’t be for everyone.
A sleek and stylish watch that will not fail you under water, this one from Phoibos is a mixture of quality and performance. The case is made from 316L stainless steel material. It has a nice heft to it that will make you think you are wearing something more expensive rather than something that you got for only below $500.
For its price, this watch has an expensive look to it. The sapphire crystal embedded in it elevates its look, so you can use it not just for diving but as an all-around watch as well.
It has one of the most precise bezel clicks we have seen and can compete with more expensive models.
It has taken a lot of beating underwater but even so, it still managed to hold up well. Thanks to its quartz material, it really is impervious to a lot of damages.
This dive watch can offer up to 300m of water resistance.
The strap has a great fit. It feels comfortable and can be adjusted to fit your wrist. It also has a good quality.
Although the quality is good, the watch itself has been crafted in China. We have yet to find issues with the workmanship but this might put off some people.
A recipient of Japan engineering, this watch is guaranteed to provide you with the reliability you are looking for in a dive watch. It has a water resistance capability of up to 200 meters, so it’s a more ideal choice for shallow diving. If you want something for deep diving, this isn’t for you.
Unlike other dive watches, it has a hacking feature. A hacking feature means you can stop the second hand the moment you pull out the crown. This is great for people who often have to do signal referencing and to make way for more effective synchronization.
The size of the case is just right. It doesn’t feel and look too clunky. The black bezel also has a high visibility.
Under water, you can easily see the hour markings because it contrasts with the dark color of the face.
The lumes are of good quality. They recharge easily even with just a little bit of sun exposure. You can get a good glow all night.
It could use some improvement on the manipulation. There is some resistance but not too much that it diminishes its performance.
A dive watch with a rugged appeal, this has a sporty look that will fit your outdoor lifestyle. It is perfect for deep diving as it can be used for as deep as 1000m. With an excellent seal and fit, this is the watch that professional and novice divers alike can use.
We like how we can easily dress this dive watch up or down. It works with casual outfits as well, so it can work as an everyday watch.
The bezel is tight and accurate. It’s also good that you can rotate it to be adjusted to the 8 and 1 o’clock positions, so you can check your time for days.
It has a nice weight to it. It doesn’t feel too heavy but it doesn’t feel flimsy as well even if it’s a watch that isn’t too expensive. Since it’s not too heavy, it is easier to wear under water.
The construction is solid and sturdy. It can bring you more hours of underwater diving.
It features a helium release valve, so you can use this even for deeper diving at extended periods of time.
It might not be great for everyday wear because you will have to constantly reset it.
This is one of the most wearable diver watches in this list just because it has a classic style that will not become dated overtime. It’s also ideal for deep water diving and can provide waterproof functions for up to 3000 meters. Ideal for both recreational and professional diver, this watch is a must-have no matter what your diving style is.
It has a slimmer profile and doesn’t feel as clunky as the other dive watches out there. It’s suitable for both male and female divers. There is a stainless steel and rose gold option for a more feminine touch.
The helium escape valve is a nifty feature for deep water divers. It protects the watch for heavy pressure when diving deeper.
The quality is comparable to dive watches over $500. It has a good build and even after a lot of torture, it still managed to hold its ground.
We can’t say anything bad about the accuracy either. It remains accurate and doesn’t require re-calibration for a long time.
We also like the wrist band. It’s easily adjustable and has a secure fit.
We find the watch a bit on the heavy side. If you prefer something more lightweight, this isn’t for you.
Seiko’s Samurai is our recommendation to anyone looking for a true mechanical watch under $400. It’s the least we think you can pay for a truly great dive watch that ditches quartz for a real automatic movement.
It’s an authentic automatic. This is the least expensive mechanical dive watch we recommend at present. The automatic movement in this one is self-winding, so it’ll be powered as you walk around all day.
This kind of intricate, analog system is what you’ll be after if you’re looking to get into the watch side of dive watches, as well as finding a technical, practical timepiece.
It’s quite accurate. While most inexpensive automatics are all over the place in terms of timekeeping, this is accurate to within a couple of seconds on the day.
It’s rugged. No need to worry about sacrificing ruggedness for prestige here! The Samurai is like a little tank. And it’s very reasonably-priced.
It looks absolutely fantastic. Also comes in a rich, deep blue color option like this one below…
We’re also impressed by the excellent lume on this blue option! It stays legible well after dark.
The textured face won’t be for everyone.
This Citizen model is our affordable alternative for folks who want a bigger case size, as well as something more elegant. It has a simpler face design than the Promaster, plus increased volume to make more of a statement.
As with the Citizen Promaster, it’s extremely accurate. The low-maintenance solar cell and quartz movement tick right on the money and don’t require any winding or maintenance to stay calibrated.
It’s very well-made and should last for years. This might not have the finesse of a Seiko model like those below, but there’s nothing to complain about with the materials and build quality.
The watch face in particular looks much more expensive than it is. You could easily mistake this for a timepiece costing twice as much.
You can wear it just about anywhere, since it isn’t too technical for a business environment or dress clothes. Despite that, it has the same depth rating and construction quality of the more technical Promaster!
Like the Citizen above, this model’s solar-powered quartz movement won’t be as appealing to watch aficionados as the automatic movements in our pricier recommendations.
The Seiko models below do look better, and have overall better fit and finish. Having said that, you’re mostly paying more for the mechanical movements.
Still under $500 but has the style and performance of more expensive watches, this dive watch with a carbon reinforced PC case material and quartz movement is just the thing you need for professional or recreational diving.
It’s only intended for shallow diving as it can be used underwater for up to 200m only.
It isn’t called NAVY Seal for no reason. Like its namesake, this watch boasts of durability and performance. It can be exposed and subjected to rough usage without suffering from significant damage easily.
The self-powered illumination system of this watch ensures that it stays bright for a long time. There are micro gas lights integrated in the hands of this watch. That means it can light up without needing to be “recharged” or without the need for charging.
This is one of those less expensive watches that can last for a long time. Even after years, it’s still in perfect condition.
Unlike other Tritium watches, this one is not too large. It’s not as heavy either, great even for female divers.
We wish they improve the strap design. It’s probably practical for its purpose but it’s not the most flattering if you are using it as an everyday watch.
11. Invicta Men’s 15145 Pro Diver Stainless Steel Watch
This Japanese watch can give the more expensive watches out there a run for their money. Although it is one of the cheapest watches out there, with a price tag of only under a hundred bucks, it doesn’t leave a clue that it is cheap, so well-made it is. It is more suitable for shallow water diving as it is only water resistant for up to 100m.
It’s one tough cookie. The silicon band is strong and holds up well against a lot of abuse and adjustments. You can wear it as an everyday outdoor watch and it still won’t budge.
We like the readability of the face. Even at nighttime with the sun in full force, you can read the hands well. It is also quite luminous at night, although not as bright as the others with lumina technology.
It has a large face but not too heavy that your hands will feel tired right away after a few minutes of using it.
The watch is big and clunky, so if you are looking for something more compact, this is not it. The strap is also quite thick, so it might be difficult to bend it when adjusting it.
Know Where To Look
When it comes to finding the best bargains on dive watches, it’s all about knowing where to look! That mostly comes down to picking the right brands.
Citizen and Seiko will be your best bets for the under-$500 range.
These two makers have been cranking out high-quality, reasonably-priced timepieces for years.
Their best models in this price range can easily be mistaken for $1000+ pieces.
Avoid trying to find bargains on more expensive options, such as Omega or Davosa timepieces.
That’s asking for trouble with knock-offs. Be realistic! You’re not going to get a premium piece with a Swiss movement for this low of a price. Stick to the Japanese options that feel like Swiss timepieces instead!
Think About Your Preferences
There are lots of things that you can assess objectively when it comes to dive watches, such as the accuracy of the movement or the solidity of the case construction.
However, as with anything you wear, choosing the best one is largely a matter of finding what fits best with your individual aesthetic and your own personal lifestyle.
The following are some of the key aspects to consider when you’re choosing a dive watch:
Movement: Under $500, you’ll find that there are two types of movement available. Between $200 and $350, you’ll find mostly solar-powered quartz movements. These are extremely accurate, reliable, and perfectly suited to active lifestyles.
They’re also highly affordable! However, they lack the mechanical intricacy and prestige of automatic movements. From $350 to $500, you’ll find automatic movements, usually clones of Swiss mechanics made by Japanese companies.
These are typically very good, combining the prestige and intricacy of a mechanical movement with a wallet-friendly price tag. Which to choose? Quartz movements are the best choice for folks who want a classy, rugged watch that doesn’t require any fuss.
Automatic (mechanical) movements are the better choice for those looking to get into watches as more of a collector or enthusiast.
Size: Dive watches at any price come in a range of sizes (usually 36mm to 45mm).
Think about what’s the best fit for your wrist. How large do you want the watch to be? Do you want it to be unobtrusive enough to wear to work? How will it fit in with your various outfits?
Think about how much you want your watch to stand out, and how much you want it to blend in.
Color: Consider what kind of color scheme you want on your timepiece.
A classic scuba aesthetic is a red/navy pairing. Two-tone bezels are also available in black/gray or other options. Black and navy tend to be the most common options, so consider what fits best with your clothes.
Face Design: Since you’re going to spend a lot of time glancing at your wrist, you want to choose a face design that’s both attractive and helpful to you.
Do you want something with more information or less? Do you like an intricate display or something cleaner and more elegant? This is all a matter of personal preference, so simply choose what’s most appealing to you.
Which dive watch under $500 is your dream timepiece? Check out these winners…
The Citizen Promaster is our budget recommendation to those on a tight budget, who are looking for the cheapest high-quality option that’s out of the budget range.
It’s noticeably better than a $200 watch, without costing even close to $500.
It’s also the better of the two Citizen models in this review, for those who prefer a smaller case size.
The Citizen Eco-Drive Quartz is our suggestion to folks who are looking to keep their budget fairly low while still ending up with a big, bold dive watch.
It’s quite a bit larger than the Promaster and suits those with larger wrists. Its face also has a bolder, more elegant look that can easily pass for a much more expensive timepiece.
The Seiko PADI special edition is the obvious choice if you’re all about dive pride! Its color scheme and PADI endorsement instantly set it apart as a real diver’s dive watch. Plus, it’s simply a fantastic timepiece.
Having said that, this is at the pricier end of the spectrum for a solar-powered model. If you want the prestige of an automatic timepiece, you’ll want to spend a bit more for the Samurai or the Prospex.
The Seiko Samurai is our midrange recommendation, for folks who want an automatic movement without spending more than $400. It’s the next best thing to the Prospex model, and has a look and feel all its own.
If you’re into a more complex visual aspect, you might even prefer this one! We love the unique face design and the midsize case. This one’s the best under $500 for folks who don’t want a massive 45mm case.
Even though it’s the most expensive model here (and the closest to the $500 mark), we think the Seiko Prospex is the ultimate value, and therefore our recommendation to most buyers.
It’s built phenomenally well, provides lots of value, and has a classy aesthetic that could easily be mistaken for a timepiece costing twice the price. Get this if you want the best of the best under $500!
There are a number of candidates for the best dive watches under 500, but we think our top choice is the Seiko Prospex for its stylish appearance and excellent performance.
There are also ideal contenders for those on a tight budget. The durability of the Phoibos Men’s PX002C 300M Dive Watch is unmatched. It is perfect for rugged use.
For shallow diving, you can choose Orient Men’s Ray II Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel Diving Watch and the Invicta Men’s 15145 Pro Diver Stainless Steel Watch. These are perfect as beginner diver watches.
For deep diving, we recommend getting the Tauchmeister Automatic 1000m Dive Watch and the Neymar 44mm Men’s 1000m Diver Japanese Automatic Sport Stainless Steel Watch. They are built for more rigorous diving.
Invest in the Luminox Men’s 3001 Quartz Navy Seal Dive Watch if you have more money to spare. It’s still under $500 but it has a lot of amazing benefits including better illumination.
Now that you’ve read through our entire guide, you should be well on your way to choosing your new dive watch! You can learn more about any of the timepieces we’ve recommended here by clicking on the links in our reviews.
You can also check out our other dive watch buying guides, including our roundups of the best Seiko options, as well as the best for under $1000 and the best under $200. Find more reviews of the best dive watches here!