What is the most famous watch in the world? Easy: it is the Rolex Submariner. The Submariner dive watch is the most iconic reference of this category, invented only 70 years ago: if we consider watchmaking history, it is a very recent addition. Yet, since the timid beginnings in 1953, when watches were water resistant to just 100 meters, and it already seemed like a lot, this type of timepiece has made great strides, becoming an absolute favorite among horology enthusiasts. So, let’s see what the best dive watches have in store for us in 2023 to determine what is the best diving watch for us, as we review 29 Best Dive Watches for 2023.
03/12/23 Update: Introducing our updated article – 29 best dive watches for 2023!
A brief history of the diver watch
The first experiments with diving watches – or better, water-resistant watches – date back to the early twentieth century. The first underwater watch was possibly the Omega Marine, introduced in 1932 and tested at 120 meters of depth, but it was highly impractical. Instead, the first “standard” divers watches were presented in 1953. The first were two timepieces that would become iconic: the “professional” Blancpain Fifty Fathoms timepiece, which the French Navy commissioned, and the Rolex Submariner, which was instead an independent project tailored to scuba enthusiasts.
Both timepieces shared those features that would later become standard in Swiss-made divers watches: excellent water resistance, thanks to a screw-down case back and crown; an automatic movement to avoid twiddling the crown too much; a rotating bezel marking time intervals for diving; and a generous dose of lumen to allow the watch to be consulted in low-light conditions.
Since then, in a few years, the technical features improved exponentially, so much so that a modified Rolex was taken to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest place in the seas, withstanding the test admirably and securing its place as a professional dive watch. Today, diver watch models, many of which were never used for their original purpose, are widespread, making a fine showing on the wrists of their fans who appreciate them for their sporty styling and reliable, rugged qualities.
What are the best watches for diving?
Although modern amateur and professional divers no longer use a diving watch to assist them during their deep descents, preferring to rely on an electronic dive computer, they very often continue to carry a traditional watch as backup equipment.
And even if you are not a water diver, but what is known as a “desk diver,” you too have preferences for what to wear on your wrist. So we have rounded up an assortment of different mens diver watches so that you can find among them the one or ones that most tickle your fancy for your “adventures,” in whatever environment they take place!
Best Quartz Dive Watches
1 – Casio MDV-106 Duro
Casio is known for several other models, but this one is extraordinary in its “ordinarity”. This watch costs very little (we’re talking about $50) and has technical features that put far more prominent timepieces to shame. What’s more, it has an exceptional testimonial – Bill Gates, who uses it in everyday life, making it one of the cool, low-budget dive watches.
The Casio Duro is large (44 mm) and rather heavy, surpassing 100 grams in weight. And, as is usual at Casio, it is well made, with quality details, and offers a sturdy and reliable performance – its movement has a truly remarkable precision, even among quartz watches. In short, if you are looking for the best budget diver watch, the Duro offers a water resistance of 200 meters at an excellent price. However, we advise you to invest a few tens in a more comfortable strap than the one supplied with the watch: you won’t regret it.
2 – Citizen Promaster BN0150-28E
Citizen is one of the largest watch manufacturers in the world, and among its range of watches, it offers several models aimed to make the best budget dive watch. We, therefore, chose this model, which in its 44 mm case houses an EcoFrive movement that recharges itself in light, allowing for a potentially several dozen years’ life of your timepiece.
The dial is large, well readable even in low light, and protected by a mineral crystal with anti-reflective treatment – this 200m diving watch is a bargain, as it costs about $180. Economy-wise, it is possibly one of the best diver watches for the practically minded.
3 – Victorinox I.N.O.X. Pro Diver
The company that makes the famous multitool offers a line of watches that do not look bad by comparison, and this reference is proof of that. This is a large, solid 45mm quartz dive watch built like a small tank – and the quality shows at first glance.
The construction and finishing are impeccable, and you can see the care with which the company has made this timepiece. For one thing, the sapphire crystal has received a triple anti-reflective treatment to ensure the dial is clearly visible. To close, the price: you can find this excellent 200m diver watch with a silicone strap for around $450.
Best Automatic Dive Watches
1 – Davosa Ternos Professional 16155940
If you want to buy a divers watch with excellent features at a fair price, the Ternos Professional is right for you. Davosa offers a series of great value automatic watches with an excellent price/quality ratio. This “homage” has impressive features: 500 meters of water resistance, a blue ceramic bezel with a smooth and precise movement, a solid and comfortable three-link bracelet, and a finish comparable to the best Swiss dive watches.
It mounts an automatic movement based on the Sellita SW200, with about 40 hours of power reserve and a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment. It is possibly the best dive watch under 1000 as you can order it directly online for about $890.
2 – Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin ZO9212
Zodiac is returning to offering fancy models rooted in its history, and this Super Sea Wolf is no exception. Based on a 1960s skin diver, but with water resistance of 200 meters, this timepiece presents in its 40 mm case – making it easily wearable by all – like it came from an actual vintage time capsule.
The dial, with its retro design and sunray effect, and the enameled steel bezel might mislead you into believing it is an actual 60-years watch. Still, the new STP 1-11 movement, the sapphire crystal, and the anti-reflective treatment make it a modern timepiece with great aesthetic appeal. List price at about $1,100.
3 – MIDO Ocean Star 600 Chronometer M0266081104100
The Maison belonging to the Swatch Group proposes a timepiece with excellent technical features. It offers a chronometer-certified automatic caliber (based on ETA’s Powermatic) with 80 hours of power reserve and an impressive 600 meters of water resistance, making it one of the best diver watches of this roundup.
At 43.5 mm, the MIDO Ocean Star has a hefty wrist presence and offers impeccable legibility, even in low light conditions, thanks to the abundant covering of Grade X SuperLuminova. A perfect timepiece with great character, available around the $1,450 list price.
Best affordable dive watches
1 – Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB
Invicta may not enjoy an overwhelming reputation in the watchmaking world, but it sure knows how to build no-frills watches that get the job done, and this is the case with its Pro Diver. This is one of the best inexpensive dive watches mounting a Seiko NH35 movement in a 40mm case with a transparent mineral glass case back, and offering water resistance of a whopping 200 meters.
The finish is appropriate for the watch’s price, especially considering that the retail price -we’re talking $85 – is hard to beat. And for this expense, you take home an automatic diver watch with a steel case and bracelet for the price of a fashion watch with a quartz movement.
2 – Seiko SKX009K2 Stainless Steel
If there is one watch that has made history, it is this model produced by Seiko. It is sturdy, trendy, and used by many enthusiasts as a base for their modding activities. It is a rugged automatic watch made for divers (it mounts a reliable 7s26 automatic movement) with water resistance of 200 meters, tucked in a stainless steel case with a matching steel bracelet.
The timepiece mounts a Pepsi bezel in steel, framing a Hardlex crystal with scratch-resistant and anti-reflective treatment. A reliable watch ready for anything, this Seiko is available at a very popular price of $225, making it, if not the best value dive watch, one of the strongest contenders to this title.
3 – Orient Mako II FAA02001B9 Stainless Steel
Orient has always been a reference house for Japanese automatic watches, and this timepiece confirms the rule. The Mako II mounts a 41.5 mm steel case and bracelet, which encloses the in-house F69 caliber, which in addition to hacking seconds, is a day-date dive watch.
The Orient Mako II features a beautiful 120-shot steel bezel with unidirectional rotation and a mineral crystal, and offers a water resistance of 200 meters. You can buy it at about $165 which makes it a great choice among affordable dive watches.
Best high-end diving watches
1 – Rolex Submariner 41 mm 126610LN
The latest evolution of the world’s watchmaking icon is this model from the house of Rolex, practically a myth among high-end dive watches. Despite its resemblance to the model from 1953, this watch is a novelty. In its 41 mm case, it mounts the new automatic caliber 3235, which improves the power reserve to 70 hours.
The quality and finishing reflect the list price: absolute perfection at a premium price and sadly unobtainable from dealers anyway – it offers a standard 300 meters of water resistance for a street price starting from around $10,000. Is it the best dive watch? Not by a mile – but sure people admiring it at your wrist would not care.
2 – Panerai Luminor Submersible 42mm PAM00682
The retro appeal of this timepiece, which debuted as a watch for Italian military divers in WWII, has remained unchanged over the years, although its features have been modified. For example, it is a 42 mm diver watch, with the case shrunk to a more manageable (and wearable) size, and the caliber has become an in-house P9010, with two barrels and three days of power reserve.
The rubber strap solution is tantalizing and enhances its sporty character, and with a bit of change of strap, it can become (almost) elegant. 300 meters of water resistance for a watch rich in suggestions and appropriately priced for such a heritage: $9,600.
3 – Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Ref. 5015-12B30-NABA
The Fifty Fathoms (which went from 90 meters in the first version to 300 meters of water resistance here) is also a milestone in diving watchmaking, and this large (45 mm) and charming model evokes the splendor of its past. A dial dedicated to ensuring the best readability in all conditions and the bezel’s distinctive design reveals its legacy from at first glance.
However, it has a more luxurious character than its competitors, and shows it in its machined titanium case and the details and finishing. The FF mounts an in-house caliber 1315 with a power reserve of an impressive 120 hours. List price commensurate with its blazon: $15,700. While not the best divers watch, it is sure one of the most elegant.
Best value for money dive watches
1 – Tissot Seastar 2000 Professional Powermatic 80
Tissot offers excellent timepieces at a competitive price, and here we are dealing with a professional divers watch offering advanced technical features. Indeed, this is a large dive watch, at 46 mm in diameter, and a very lovely one to look at, with its sunburst blue dial decorated with wave patterns.
However, what’s under the dial is what makes the true difference: 600 meters of water resistance and a robust Powermatic 80 movement with several silicon elements that offer as many as 80 hours of power reserve – and it is competitively priced, too, at about $1,000.
2 – Certina DS Super PH500M
Certina is, perhaps unjustly, an underrated Maison: in its history it has created an impressive series of rugged watches, inventing the DS (Double Security) system, which anticipated the concept later used by Casio in its G-Shocks. And this modern timepiece has all the makings to please.
This Super PH500M echoes the design of the 1960s models, with the dial in vibrant orange, in a larger 43 mm case. Also, Certina has equipped the watch with a modern Powermatic 80 movement, a sapphire crystal, and obtained a water resistance of as much as 500 meters typical of professional dive watches. The list price is around $1,000.
3 – Christopher Ward C65 Super Compressor
A watch that seems to come out of the past for a Maison that has made waves in the market: Christopher Ward continues to offer beautiful, well-made dive style watches with a fair price concerning their quality, which is exceptionally high. This C65 follows the Super Compressor model, with a bezel inside the case driven by a specific crown.
It is not exactly a top divers watch, with its limited 150 meters of water resistance. Still, it represents a good choice for aquatic and sporting environments and is highly wearable, with its size of 41 mm. It mounts a robust Sellita SW200 workhorse movement and has a list price of about $1,050. We have talked in more depth about this watch in this article about the Ichnos Arcipelago Duemari, a watch from an Italian microbrand featuring a Super Compressor design.
Best 300m dive watches
1 – Laco Sport Watch Atlantik MB
If you like a rugged modern diver watch with an undeniable German vibe, you should check out this timepiece by Laco. The German company is famous for its Fliegers, but this diver – with its 300-meter water resistance – is also worthy of consideration.
It has a 42 mm case, so it’s very wearable, and a unidirectional ceramic bezel in shades of black with pleasing azure accents that make the timepiece handsome and easy to read. It mounts a Swiss ETA 2824 movement and is available at a list price of about $1,100.
2 – Maurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer
This Maison’s Aikon series has been well received by the market, with its style echoing the Royal Oak, and the company has decided to follow up with a diver’s version of this pleasing luxury sports watch. The Venturer takes the design of the Aikon and inserts a pleasant bezel with vintage elements for a modern and compelling design.
The watch belongs to the category of 300 meter dive watches. It measures 43 mm but is quite slim at 11 mm thick. The dial is well readable and mounts a quick-release system for the bracelet, so you can change its appearance to make it more stylish. The list price is around $1,900 – we’d indicate it as our best dive watch under 2000.
3 – Longines Legend Diver
This 300 m dive watch is a re-release of the legendary Legend Diver is excellent news for those who love its fascinating historical design. In this case, it is a diver’s watch – with its improved water resistance – that you can also wear on elegant occasions.
Although the design echoes the original from the 1960s in full, Longines has modified the size (now at 42 mm) and movement, incorporating an ETA A31 with several technical improvements and a 64-hour power reserve. The list price is about $2,300, depending on the model.
Best 200m dive watches
1 – Casio G-Shock DW9052
Digital divers watches are quite common, and this Casio is a simple, rugged, inexpensive watch which is ready for anything – so that soldiers use it in virtually every army in the world. The Casio G-Shock DW9052 reflects and improves on its designer’s goal, offering 200 meters of water resistance, the ability to withstand a drop of 20 meters, and two years of battery life. In addition, it includes a wealth of chronograph and alarm functions.
In summary, a watch that is genuinely impossible to ruin and comes at a nominal price: about $45, which makes it possibly the best dive watch for the money, a “must-have” if you need a “whatever it takes” timepiece.
2 – Bulova Oceanographer “Devil Diver”
Based on a model from the 1970s, which it faithfully reproduces, the “Devil Diver” (666 feet of water resistance) is one of the coolest dive watches that knows how to captivate onlookers with its retro design made of contrasting applied markers and logo and good technical features.
Bulova mounts a sturdy Miyota 821D movement with 42 hours of power reserve inside its 44 mm cushion case. The green/black dial and bezel color combination seem tailor-made to get yourself noticed – but in a good way. The Double D is a 200m dive watch, a performance like the original, and is available at a list price of about $500.
3 – Seiko SRPE03 King Turtle
The King Turtle belongs to the Seiko watchmaking tradition, which has refined the concept of its Turtle, one of the world’s most popular diver’s watches, into a contemporary eye-catching version.
This timepiece mounts a bezel with a ceramic insert and a textured waffle-effect dial on its turtle case. It mounts an indefatigable Seiko 4R36 movement with a power reserve of about 41 hours. Despite Seiko’s recent price hikes, the list price remains appropriate: about $625 for a truly iconic model.
Most popular dive watches
1 – Vostok Amphibia
A watch that people tend to consider too little: this Vostok model, virtually unchanged over the years, represents the modern testament of traditional Soviet watchmaking. With its always distinctive and colorful design, it offers full-proof robustness thanks to an in-house automatic caliber 2416 with 31 hours of power reserve housed in a case measuring only 39 mm.
We cannot speak of a thrilling horological performance, but the appeal of this authentic piece of modern watchmaking history is undeniable. And more, it is an affordable dive watch: the list price of about $90 makes it virtually irresistible, making it one of the best diving watches you can buy, especially at this price.
2 – Seiko Prospex Captain Willard 42 mm SEI00408
This timepiece faithfully replicates the one worn by Martin Sheen in the masterpiece Apocalypse Now. It is based on a Seiko model widely used during the Vietnam War era, and is one of the best mens dive watches on the market.
Seiko has revised the Capt. Willard re-edition, especially in its materials and movement. Today its 42 mm case houses a caliber 6R35, and a sapphire glass protects its smoky gray dial, but the appeal of this timepiece remains unchanged. It offers a water resistance of 200 meters and comes with two NATO straps for about $1,100.
3 – Tudor Black Bay Fifty Eight
It is hard to pick the best mens divers watch, but this Tudor is a true charmer: it is a reissue of a suitably modified 1950s Tudor model that has won everyone over with its quality, overtly vintage style, and reasonable price, quite different from its Rolex “cousins.”
The Black Bay Fifty-Eight offers a 39 mm case, which fits any wrist, and mounts a Tudor manufacture MT5402 automatic movement with 70 hours of power reserve and chronometer certification. It reaches 200 meters of water resistance and is available at a list price of about $4,000, depending on the model, making it possibly the best dive watch under 5000.
The Microbrand offering
Diver watches have become a favorite hunting ground for many microbrands, which have launched some wonderful models capitalizing on the public’s interest in this particular segment. Here are some of our picks for the best diving watch.
1 – LIV GX-Diver 41mm
LIV Watches is a Miami-based microbrand that creates beautiful watches with great technical content and at a fair price. The design is excellent: the company has stylistic canons that do not chase other Maisons. This GX-Diver 41 mm is a timepiece with a sporty vocation, a beautiful three-dimensional dial, and visible markers framed by a smoothly flowing ceramic bezel.
The timepiece, with its 41 mm cobalt steel case, fits nicely on the wrist and offers 300 meters of water resistance. It mounts a robust Sellita SW200 movement and can be purchased at a list price of $750.
2 – Davosa Ternos Sixties “Seahorse” LE
Capturing the essence of the skin divers of the Sixties – sleek, simple and handy diving watches made for the amateur snorkelers and recreational divers of the era – the Davosa Ternos Sixties is the perfect all-purpose watch for every activity related to water. And in this Limited Edition adorned by a seahorse design on the back, made exclusively for the US market, it becomes even more precious and exclusive.
You can choose the red or the blue variant: they differ only in color combination, but share the robust DAV 3032 caliber with 42 hours of power reserve and a water resistance of 100 meters. Last, they come with two wristbands: a steel bracelet and a NATO strap.
3 – Monta Oceanking
Experts consider Monta one of the best manufacturers in the micro brand market, and this watch, virtually flawlessly made, is a testament to its reputation as a luxury manufacturer, making a truly high end diving watch. The Oceanking’s 40mm case is complemented by a beautifully crafted steel bracelet, and it mounts a high-end Sellita SW300 movement.
The bezel with ceramic insert also helps to validate the experience of being in front of a superior timepiece. In addition, it offers a water resistance of 300 meters and sells for a list price of about $2,150.
4 – Halios Fairwind
Halios is a manufacturer specializing in diver watches and offers a series of teasing watches for direct sale to the public. This model echoes the lines of 1960s skin diver watches, with a 39 mm case and thin bezel framing a pleasingly three-dimensional sectored dial.
It mounts a Sellita SW200 movement and offers a water resistance of 200 meters. Unfortunately, you will be lucky to get one. Production runs are very limited, and people buy them quickly – but trying is worth a shot! The price is about $775.
5 – Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Military
The German Maison is famous for its excellent quality homage watches, which have taken the world market by storm thanks to their superb value for money. However, even those who dislike the homage concept cannot but admit that these timepieces are finely made.
The Ocean One takes the lines of the Rolex MilSub, declines them in a sturdy 42 mm case with water resistance of 300 meters, and mounts a Sellita caliber SW200 with a 38-hour power reserve. You can buy it at a very competitive price of about $400 which makes it possibly the best dive watch under 500.
6 – Baltic Aquascaphe
Baltic is a company well-known to microbrand enthusiasts and offers a series of beautiful, well-finished watches in a decidedly vintage style. The Aquascaphe follows this trend and offers a perfect diver in a great-fitting 39 mm size.
It has a sandwich dial that is a tempting alternative to the usual and comes in several dial and bezel color alternatives (there is also a cool GMT version). The rice grain steel bracelet underscores its vintage character. 200 meters of water resistance for a list price starting at $700, depending on the model.
Whether it’s for exploring wrecks at great depths at sea or resting on your wrist when you’re relaxing on a poolside lounger, a diver’s watch knows how to captivate with its inexhaustible and timeless appeal.
Of course, we know that its function as a tool watch has somewhat lost its significance, and the dive watch brands know that as well, but the charm remains unchanged and confirms it to be a favorite among watch enthusiasts worldwide.