A dive watch is a timepiece designed to be used in diving. Dive watches are intended to be water resistant and durable, so that they can be worn while diving, and normally have divers’ watches or divers’ bezels, a screw-down crown and case back and the ability to display depth.
This type of watch was introduced in the 1930s for use by divers who needed an accurate timepiece to make decompression calculations.

Is it possible to buy quality but cheap dive watches? You might think that the best dive watches will cost a fortune, but there are affordable dive watches. While the suggestions in this feature include the best dive watches under 1000 dollars, the buying guide is relevant to purchasing any diver watches.

Popular Choice

Sealion Pro Dive Watch PANTOR

★★★★★Pantor Sealion Pro 42 mm Men’s Dive Watch

Top PickMost Popular

Tango Quartz Diving Watch RAYMOND WEIL

★★★★★RAYMOND WEIL 43mm Tango Quartz Diving Watch for Men

Best Value

Instinct GARMIN

★★★★★Garmin Instinct 1.76 ounces diving watch for men


RAYMOND WEIL Tango Quartz Diving Watch


RAYMOND WEIL 43mm Tango Quartz Diving Watch for Men

General Impression

This Raymond Weil Rated to 984 feet (300m), this watch can go the distance. The face features extra dials to measure seconds, minutes, and depth. The added dials give it a technical feel; they’re set into a blue dial offset by silver-tone hands. Hands and markers are luminous for low light conditions.


BRAND: Raymond Weil
MODEL: Tango Quartz
SEX: Men’s
WEIGHT: 16 ounces
MOVEMENT: Japanese Quartz
MATERIALS: Synthetic sapphire, stainless steel case, bezel, and band.


  • Excellent depth rating
  • Extra dials for added functionality


  • Expensive, but worth it

GARMIN Instinct


Garmin Instinct 1.76 ounces diving watch for men

General Impression

Smart watches and water don’t generally mix well together but Garmin Instinct proves it’s possible. While it’s not suitable for deep dives, you sure can take it with you on your next snorkeling adventure. This rugged watch has a built-in GPS, 3-axis Compass and a barometric altimeter. In addition to the GPS, it also has a connection to global navigation satellites like Galileo and Glonass. It monitors your heart rate, activity, and stress levels right from your wrist.


BRAND: Garmin
MODEL: Instinct
SEX: Men’s
WEIGHT: 1.76 ounces


  • Long Lasting battery
  • Transferable data through app
  • 12 different styles and 32 different colors


  • Reported altimeter issues

PANTOR Sealion Pro Dive Watch

General Impression

Simple, stylish, and waterproof! The Pantor Sealion Pro Dive Watch has a stainless steel case and a black rubber strap that fits nicely on the hand. The dial comes in a beautiful blue, green, and black color with 20 layers of Super-Luminova on the markers. It’s a professional diver’s watch with Automatic Helium Valve at 9H. A slightly more expensive option, however a well worth one, especially with all the features.


BRAND: Pantor
MODEL: Sealion Pro
SEX: Men’s
WEIGHT: 4.06 ounces
MOVEMENT: Japanese Automatic
MATERIALS: Anti reflective sapphire, stainless steel case, rubber strap


  • 20 Layers of Super-Luminova
  • Simple and stylish


  • Silicone strap is not great quality

LUMINOX Evo Navy Seal Blackout

General Impression

Black is always classy and the Luminox Evo Blackout is in a class of its own. This stylish watch features a black carbon reinforced Polyester case with a black rubber strap. The dial is also all black with luminous hands and markers and black numerals. Do note, that while it may look rugged, this watch is not the best for more serious and demanding adventures.


BRAND: Luminox
MODEL: Evo Navy Seal Blackout
SEX: Men’s
WEIGHT: 1.06 ounces
MATERIALS: Mineral, Plastic case, rubber strap


  • Stylish and sleek
  • Carbon-reinforced polyester case for extra durability


  • Water resistance inaccurate

CITIZEN Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Watch

General Impression

This watch is solid, hefty, and rugged. The design draws on classic features treated to a modern interpretation. The markers and hands are chunky and feature light blue luminosity making them easy to read. The minute hand is orange, and the hour hand is white, giving you instant contrast in low light situations.

An Eco-drive powered watch never needs a battery. The technology allows the watch to power via exposure to light. It’s similar to a solar dive watch, but it doesn’t need to be in full sun and in fact, it will power from artificial light too. A fully charged battery can power the watch for six months, but it works best with regular light exposure.


BRAND: Piscifun
INCLUDES: Pliers, sheath, lanyard
CONSTRUCTION: Anodized aluminum
GRIP: Grooved metal handle
CUTTING OPTIONS: Tungsten carbide cuts mono, fluoro, and braid
NOSE LENGTH: Moderate needle-nose
BEST SUITED FOR: Bass and sportfish angling


  • Excellent durability
  • Chunky, no-nonsense design
  • It is powered by light


  • Recorded bolts issues

BULOVA Precisionist Chronograph Watch

General Impression

Bulova pride themselves on precision and the choreography backs this up, but unfortunately, the dials can be hard to read. The face is quite busy and might be distracting for those who prefer a sleeker, more minimalist look. However, the presentation brooks no-nonsense, it looks like a serious watch for someone who knows what they’re about.


BRAND: Bulova
MODEL: Men’s 47mm Precisionist
SEX: Men’s
WEIGHT: 9.6 ounces
MOVEMENT: Japanese Quartz
MATERIALS: Mineral, stainless steel case, and band


  • Multi dial measurement
  • Precise


  • Time indicators are hard to differentiate

CASIO "Blue" Duri

General Impression

Casio is a staple when it comes to watches, and the “Blue” Duri is no exception. The stainless steel case with a blue dial and black resin strap, make this watch the perfect companion for both a fancy dinner and a deep dive adventure. It features a simple 3-hand analog look with an easy-to-read date. The markers are luminous which in combination with the anti-reverse bezel, truly shows a classy nautical look.


BRAND: Casio
MODEL: “Blue” Duri
SEX: Unisex
WEIGHT: 10.86 ounces
MATERIALS: Mineral, Stainless steel case, Plastic strap


  • Luminous markers
  • Best inexpensive dive watch


  • Water resistance inaccurate

SEIKO SKX007K Automatic Analogue

General Impression

This Seiko watch is made with a classic design, it’s thick, heavy and looks the part. The black and white design makes it easy to read, and it boasts good luminosity for low light conditions too. The bezel is easy to grasp and use. The watch is powered by the wearer’s movement, left unworn it will power down. The band is rubber but can be changed for a metal band if that is preferable.

Seiko dive watches have an excellent reputation and, as best inexpensive dive watches go, this one is great and our pick for the best dive watch under 500.


BRAND: Seiko
SEX: Men’s
WEIGHT: 3.2 ounces
MOVEMENT: Japanese Automatic Movement
MATERIALS: Hardlex crystal, stainless steel case, rubber strap


  • Classic, timeless design.
  • Easy to read.
  • Chunky, solid, and robust.


  • The bezel marks are painted

LUMINOX Scott Cassell Deep Dive Watch

General Impression

The black carbon case and rubber wristband give this Luminox watch a rugged, sporty feel. The white numerals on the bezel, white markers, and hands stand out well. The hands and markers are designed to glow for 25 years. The design might not suit more formal occasions or those looking for a more classic look.


BRAND: Luminox
MODEL: Scott Cassell Deep Dive Watch 1551
SEX: Men’s
WEIGHT: Japanese Quartz
MOVEMENT: Sapphire, CARBONOX case, rubber band.


  • Rugged carbon case
  • Easy to read


  • Design not suited for formal occasions

VICTORINOX Swiss Quartz Pro Diver Watch

General Impression

Victorinox Swiss Army is the same brand that delivers the iconic Swiss Army knives. The Swiss Army dive watch  design is both classic and sophisticated, easily paired with a wet suit or business suit.

The Swiss Army dive watch dial is clean and easy to read, and the crystal is scratch-resistant and anti-reflective. The Swiss Army dive watch markers and hands are treated with two colors of Super-LumiNova; the minute hand and bezel marker are blue, and the dial markers are green. This makes the watch easy to read at a glance in low light.


BRAND: Victorinox Swiss Army Dive Watch
MODEL: I.N.O.X. Pro Diver Watch
SEX: Men’s
WEIGHT: 8.16 ounces
MOVEMENT: Japanese Quartz
MATERIALS: Anti-reflective sapphire, stainless steel case, bezel, and band.


  • Tough watch from a quality brand
  • Easy to read
  • Classic style


  • Stainless steel bezel gets stuck constantly

Buyer's Guide

Why buy a dive watch?

Very few divers today will dive using a dive watch and depth gauge to manage their dive profile, almost all divers will use a computer. Why then would you have a dive watch?

Back-up: Dive watches can provide a simple backup for your dive computer and provide a means of monitoring your ascent speed and safety stop in the event of failure.

Professional: Saturation divers have an obvious requirement for a diver’s watch, but other professionals do too. Dive instructors need to time skills, and many dive computers don’t have a means of timing in seconds. Course skills are taught in shallow water, and dive computers often do not fare too well in this environment, and the constant beeping can be annoying.

Ease: Regardless of the sport, if you spend a lot of time in and out of the water, having a waterproof quality timepiece makes life a lot easier.

Main Features to Consider When Buying A Dive Watch

A watch is an accessory, no different to jewelry or clothing. Keep your existing closet and personal sense of style in mind when making your decision. Ultimately, a watch’s role should be to compliment an existing closet and amplify your personal look. Some watchmakers have diving watches aimed at females, and we have a guide for the best women’s dive watches.

Cosmetics aside, there are standards, ratings, and some key features that you need to understand and consider to ensure that you are buying a timepiece fit for purpose.

ISO 6425

The ISO is the International Organisation for Standardisation, and the number 6425 governs dive watches. Note that the German DIN 8306 is the same. If a watch has this rating, you can be sure that the watch has a minimum depth rating of 300ft (100m) plus;

  • A unidirectional bezel that can be rotated to make a start time, which can be measured in at least 5-minute intervals.
  • Clear minute markings on the watch face,
  • Be luminescent enough to facilitate reading at a distance of 9.8inches (25cm) from the wearers face in total darkness,
  • Have a way of indicating it’s functioning correctly in complete darkness – the luminosity of a second hand usually achieves this,
  • Be magnetic, chemical and shock resistant,
  • Have a strap or band that has been tested using a force of 45lb,
  • Battery-powered watches will have an end of life indicator (EOL).

Gaining an ISO rating is voluntary, and it does cost the manufacturer, which means that dive watches are available without this rating.

The following are the features that you should consider when choosing a dive watch whether you are looking for the best budget dive watch or the best diving watch in your budget.

Water Resistance

The issue surrounding the term ‘water resistance’ causes a lot of confusion. It would be easy to assume that ‘water-resistant 200m’ would mean that you could dive with the watch to 200m. However, this is not the case. WR200 is suitable for skin diving or surface water sports but not scuba diving. Similarly, a watch rated to 10 bar of pressure might lead you to believe, again, that you could dive to 100m, but this is not the case.

To buy a watch suitable for scuba diving you need to look for something rated explicitly as a diving watch. Carefully read the makers descriptions before you buy.

Analogue / Digital

Analog watches have hands to tell the time, whereas digital watches display the time in figures. Some watches incorporate both. What you choose is personal preference, consider style but don’t choose style over ease of reading.

Watch Face

The face of the watch is referred to as crystal, but the materials are either acrylic glass, hardened glass, or synthetic sapphire.

Acrylic glass is resistant to breakage, but the material is easily scratched. Small scratches can be buffed out, but the material is not ideal for the rough and tumbles associated with the diving.

Hardened glass is a sound middle ground. It stands up better in terms of scratches and is not quite so brittle as sapphire. Sapphire is the most scratch-resistant.


The crown is the part used to wind and adjust. It needs to be waterproof. Traditionally the crown is at the side of the face, but it can be offset. Some find offset crowns more comfortable as they’re not felt when the wrist is flexed.


A bezel is the part of the watch that rotates around the outer edge of the watch face. Ideally, you want a bezel that will rotate in either direction. It should have a clear marker on it that you align with your minute hand to measure elapsed time.

See in the Dark

It’s no use having a watch if you can’t read it in bad visibility or low light, so your watch must have some luminosity to enable you to read the dial in poorly lit conditions. The best diver watches glow strongly, and some even have different colors of luminosity to assist reading at a glance.


Watches and their faces come in a selection of sizes. You’ll want something comfortable and, style-wise, something that fits your wrist size. Ladies might prefer smaller faces and less bulky straps if so, take a look at the best womens dive watches.

Strap / Band

The strap needs to be comfortable and robust, but it also needs to look good and suit your style. Think about how you will wear your watch too. If you like to wear if over your wetsuit it needs to be easily adjustable.

Rubber straps are softer than their metal counterparts; they’re flexible, durable, and easy to adjust.

Stainless steel or titanium straps are the usual metal options available. Titanium is more expensive, but it is lighter and hypoallergenic.


The movement of the action is how the watch keeps time. There are two options: quartz and mechanical.

Quartz watches need a battery to operate, whereas a mechanical diver watch works with the natural movement of the watch. Quartz watches are cheaper, but they do require a battery change.

Helium Release Valve

This feature is only necessary on watches rated deep enough to be used by saturation divers. The valve allows helium to be released. It’s an expensive feature and one that might not be necessary when looking for the best inexpensive dive watch.

Depth Gauge

Some watches incorporate a depth gauge. A depth gauge would provide a useful backup for your dive computer if you don’t have a depth gauge on your regulator console. Like a typical analog depth gauge, it should show both the maximum depth of the dive and your current depth.


How to use a dive watch?

If you want to be able to see the time without altering the display on your dive computer, then there’s no need to prepare your dive watch before diving. If you want to use your dive watch to monitor a dive’s elapsed time, then one of the last things you do before submerging is to set your bezel. Rotate it so that the marker lines up with the minute hand on the display.

How to use a dive watch bezel?

A watch bezel is a ring that rotates around the dial. Its purpose is to measure elapsed time. To set it you rotate the dial until the marker lines up with the minute hand. As the minute hand moves on, it ‘remembers’ your start point allowing you to calculate how much time has elapsed.

Why are bezel-less dive watches the best?

An external bezel is prone to collecting dirt, sand, and other debris. Instead, some manufacturers locate the bezel under the crystal. Crowns operate internal bezels.

What is the best watch for 1000 dollars?

In our reviews, we have selected ten watches that offer great value and features for under 1000 dollars. We have included a range of brands and styles so you can choose a cheap diver watch based on your style.

What brands are the best dive watches in the world?

There are many dive watch brands; we have featured a selection of the best dive watches in our reviews.

How does the bezel on a dive watch work?

The bezel on a dive watch allows you to measure time. You set the bezel by lining up the marker with the minute hand.

How to use dive watch bezel for decompression timing?

To use your watch bezel to measure elapsed time you first need to set it. Rotate the bezel so that the marker aligns with the minute hand. As the minute hand moves, you can read the elapsed time by reading where the minute hand points to on the bezel.

Where should I go to get a dive watch serviced?

It’s essential to use an authorized service center to service a dive watch. They are experienced and properly equipped to maintain your watch. Additionally – should your watch be under warranty – using an unauthorized service center will void that warranty.

Where can I buy dive watches?

Dive watches can be purchased a dive and sports stores, jewelers either in-store or online. Duty-free stores in airports and other locations often carry a small selection too. Ultimately, you will get the best divers watch selection online.


As always, we create our content with you, fellow adventurers, in mind. So, how’d we do? Did you find this informative? Did it help you make a decision? Did we miss anything? We’d love to hear from you below. Thanks for reading and we hope your next adventure is a great one!

David Stefanoski

David Stefanoski is an avid outdoorsman who loves to explore the deepest, most exciting crevices of nature and then write about them. From the maximum depth that a scuba suit can go, to the maximum heights that his legs will take him, David enjoys the outdoors in its warmest, sunniest days on the prairie, to the iciest, dampest little spots in Eastern Europe. After 15 years of trudging, his favorite outdoorsman activity is still chopping wood due to his large body size. He says it's like splitting toothpicks!

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