The 5 Best Dive Watches Under $1,000

July 19, 2022
by Jack Lyons
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When diving, it's important to keep track of how long you've been underwater.

However, many watches on the market just aren't capable of functioning underwater without becoming damaged or broken.

That's where dive watches come in handy.

These ultra-tough watches are designed to cope with everything that diving can throw at them.

They have great water resistance, can be read in dark conditions, are shock-resistant, and can't be damaged by saltwater.

A dive watch will keep perfect time no matter how deep you dive and can be trusted to always be accurate.

Such functionality comes with a price tag, however.

It's not uncommon for dive watches to cost thousands of dollars, and this price point can be too much if you're on a budget or just want to see if a dive watch will work for you.

In this article, we will look at the best dive watches under $1000.

We will assess which features are integral to a dive watch and which are a good extra to have.

We will also answer some of the most common questions about dive watches.

Let's begin by looking at some dive watches!

Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Men's Watch

Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Quartz Mens Watch, Stainless Steel, Two-Tone (Model: BN0191-55L)

This dive watch from Citizen is available in three different colors, covering both black and blue dials.

It has a Japanese-quartz movement for precision and is water-resistant to 200 meters.

The bezel features bold numbers and has markers for all sixty minutes around the interior.

You can also set the date on this dive watch, and its classic style makes it suitable for use outside of the water as well as under.

The watch also comes in an attractive scuba tank style case, making it ideal for a gift. 

We loved the presentation of this watch as the box it is packaged in is truly spectacular.

The watch looks great for its price point, too.

The watch is a good and solid weight without being heavy, and although the strap can be adjusted by yourself, it is a little intricate, so getting adjusted professionally might be a better option.

The dial lights up brightly in the dark and the watch holds up as expected underwater.

Pros

  • Three stylish options - choose from black or blue dials and a steel or material strap
  • Quartz movement - the watch will remain accurate and doesn't need winding
  • Water-resistant - resistant to depths of 200 meters
  • Stylish case - the presentation case makes it a good choice for a gift

Cons

  • Poor second hand - although the hours and minutes are accurate, the second hand can be misaligned

'Mako II' Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel Diving Watch

Orient Men's Hand-Winding Automatic Watch - Japanese Stainless Steel Wrist Watch for Men with Date Display - Luxury Mako II Collection - Water Resistant 200 Meter Diving Watch - 41.5mm Case Diameter

Orient does a good range of lower-priced dive watches, and the Mako II is one of the most impressive.

It's available in three different designs, but we prefer the blue-face version with the two-tone bezel.

This one has a blue bezel with the first fifteen minutes colored red, and the bezel can be moved along 120 notches, allowing for accurate movements.

It's an automatic watch, so no winding is required, and it also displays the date and day of the week.

It's water-resistant to 200 meters and is made from stainless steel.

This watch looks and feels great. It has a very solid construction for its price class and seems like it will last for years.

It can run a little fast, so like many other automatic watches, it will need the occasional adjustment.

This can be a little tricky at times as the crown (the dial on the side of the watch that changes the time) can be stiff and difficult to operate.

The dial is easy to read and bright, and the water resistance is as expected.

Pros

  • Three different designs - designs include a two-tone bezel
  • Bezel with 120 notches - you can be more precise when rotating this bezel
  • Water-resistant - the Mako II is resistant to depths of 200 meters
  • Day and date - as well as telling the time, it also displays the day and date

Cons

  • Stiff crown - the crown can be very difficult to turn, making it difficult to adjust the time

Wave Master Automatic Dive Watch

PHOIBOS Wave Master PY010 300M Automatic Dive Watch Black

This dive watch from PHOIBOS uses a Seiko caliber NH35 automatic movement, which is known for being a reliable and accurate watch movement that doesn't break the bank.

The dial is made from sapphire crystal and has an anti-reflective coating to make it easier to read in all conditions.

The watch is water-resistant to 300 meters, so it should stand up to any recreational dive you wear it for.

The bezel has 120 notches, so you can be more accurate, and the watch also displays the date. 

When removing this watch from its packaging, we immediately noticed how heavy and solid it feels.

It has the weight and look of a watch that is priced a little higher than the Wave Master is.

We were impressed with the quality of the dial and how easy it is to read, even in direct sunlight.

The watch can run a little fast, but only by about 10 seconds per day.

The watch is thick, but the band is sized a little small, so it may not sit right on some thicker wrists.

It also performs well when underwater, making it a stylish watch both on land and at sea.

Pros

  • Reliable movement - the NH35 automatic movement is accurate
  • Water-resistant - resistant to a depth of 300 meters
  • Bezel with 120 notches - you can be more precise when rotating this bezel
  • Visible dial - the dial is easy to see in the dark and won't reflect the light

Cons

  • Small band - the provided band might be too small for thicker wrists

5053 Pro Diver Collection Automatic Watch

Invicta Men's 5053 Pro Diver Collection Automatic Watch

Invicta makes some of the cheapest dive watches available on the market, making them a suitable option for anyone who wants to try using a dive watch without committing a large amount of money to try one out.

The 5053 Pro Diver watch is water-resistant to 200 meters, making it suitable for most recreational dives.

The bezel is divided into three sections, with the first 15 minutes being marked minute by minute, the next 30 minutes colored red, and the final 15 being blue.

It is powered by an NH35A automatic movement and also features a date set on the dial.

For the price, this is a quality purchase. The watch feels heavy and solid and looks great on the wrist.

It can lose a few seconds each day, and adjusting the time can be difficult due to the stiff crown, but it performs better than many other automatic watches that cost more.

Resizing the bracelet is very simple to do and can easily be done at home. We found the dial easy to read and the water-resistance as expected.

Pros

  • Colorful bezel - the bezel is divided into three sections for easy reading
  • Reliable movement - the NH35 automatic movement is accurate
  • Water-resistant - resistant to a depth of 200 meters
  • Entry price - a good option for those on a budget

Cons

  • Stiff crown - the crown can be very difficult to turn, making it difficult to adjust the time

Promaster Aqualand Men's Watch

Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Aqualand Quartz Mens Watch, Stainless Steel with Polyurethane strap, Dive Watch, Black (Model: BN2029-01E)

This watch from Citizen offers several premium features but still retails at well under $1000.

It features a quartz mechanism that is powered by sunlight so no batteries or winding is required and it has an indicator to tell you when the power is running low.

As well as being water-resistant to 200 meters, it has a rapid ascent alarm, depth gauge, and auto-start dive mode. 

This watch is very heavy-duty and solid. If you have a thinner wrist or prefer a lighter watch to wear daily, it may not be the best choice for you.

However, we were impressed with the various functions of this watch and found that it remained powered for several days.

Pros

  • Depth gauge - works up to 70 meters
  • Water-resistant - to a depth of 200 meters
  • Solar-powered - no batteries or winding required
  • Bright dial - easy to see in even the darkest circumstances

Cons

  • Large dial - the dial might be too large and bulky for thinner wrists

Buying Guide

Best Dive Watches Under 1000

Before buying a dive watch, there are some features that you should look for and some details that you should keep in mind.

Take a look at our buying guide, and it will help you make your decision.

Water Resistance

This is the most important feature of a dive watch.

Without water resistance, your dive watch won't work underwater and it will just be a normal watch.

The International Standards Organization (ISO) defines a dive watch as being water-resistant to at least 100 meters, so this is the standard for dive watches.

It's possible to find dive watches that are resistant to much deeper depths, such as 200 or 300 meters, however.

Most non-professional divers will never go deeper than around 40 meters when they dive, so the standard 100 meters will be suitable for recreational divers.

If you're a more advanced diver that has the training to do technical diving, you may need something better than 100 meters.

Visibility Of The Dial

Water absorbs light and the deeper you go, the more colors of the light spectrum will disappear.

Red light disappears at only 15 feet! This can make reading a watch underwater almost impossible, so it's important that a dive watch can be easily read.

The ISO defines dive watches as being visible at a distance of 9.8 inches, even in total darkness.

Many dive watches have high-contrast dials and numbers or are fluorescent, making them easier to read.

Watch Movement

Like any other type of watch, different movements power the watch and keep it ticking. 

Quartz watches have a quartz crystal inside them that powers the battery and makes the watch vibrate.

The frequency of this vibration keeps the watch ticking, and quartz mechanisms have the benefit of being both accurate and reasonably inexpensive. 

Manual watches have a mechanical mechanism that requires the user to wind the watch.

When you wind the watch, it adds tension to the mainspring inside the watch, and it's this spring that keeps the watch running.

As long as you remember to wind the watch, it will keep perfect time.

Automatic watches work on the same principle as manual watches.

They have a mainspring, too but do not require manual winding. Instead, they use kinetic energy to wind the watch.

There are also solar-powered watches that receive their power from the sun and keep energy stored in a battery, so they will still work even when in complete darkness underwater.

All three of these mechanisms are suitable for dive watches and can be commonly found.

If you opt for a manual watch, just ensure that you keep it wound before every dive.

Depth Gauge

This feature isn't on every dive watch, and you can use a dive watch without it, but it's a good feature to have.

A depth gauge is a sensor located on the watch that is affected and distorted by water pressure.

This distortion allows the watch to accurately assess how deep you are diving and represent that in a measurement of meters or feet.

Some other depth gauges work by allowing a controlled amount of water to enter a tubule, and the amount of water will represent the depth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that we've looked at some dive watches and some of their most important features let's answer some common questions about dive watches.

How Do You Use A Dive Watch?

Of course, dive watches tell the time, but they're used in a different way when underwater.

Dive watches have a rotating bezel on the outside of the dial, and this allows divers to mark their time underwater easily.

Just before diving, the diver rotates the bezel so that the zero marker lines up against the minute hand.

This means that the location of the minute hand in relation to the time markings on the bezel will quickly show how long you've been underwater.

As the bezel can only move forwards and not backward, if it does get knocked during the dive, it will overestimate your dive time instead of underestimating it.

Many bezels have more detailed markings or use a different color for the first 15 to 20 minutes, as this lines up with how long many divers stay underwater.

What Is The Difference Between A Dive Watch And A Dive Computer?

A dive computer shares many of the same functions as a dive watch.

It can accurately log the information you need during your dive, such as how long you've been diving and the depth of your dive, and can use it to say how much longer you can safely dive for.

Dive computers generally offer more information than a dive watch and are preferred by many divers for that reason, especially as some can now be worn on the wrist.

However, dive computers are only for diving, whereas dive watches can serve other functions, too.

Are Dive Watches Just For Diving?

No! Although dive watches are designed for coping with the harsh conditions found when diving, that doesn't mean they're only suitable for diving.

Dive watches have a classic style that means they can be worn out of the water and won't look out of place in the office or during your daily life.

Some models of dive watches have been seen on the wrists of major Hollywood stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio, and even James Bond has worn them on the big screen.

What Is ISO 6425?

ISO 6425 refers to the list of criteria a watch must satisfy to be considered a dive watch.

It's issued by the International Organization for Standardization, and any watch that is 6425 certified will have met the ISO standards.

These include criteria such as being water-resistant to 100 meters, having a diving time indicator such as a bezel, and having adequate readability at 9.8 inches in total darkness.

If you buy a watch that is 6425 certified, then you know you are getting a good dive watch.

Best Dive Watches Under $1,000 - Final Thoughts

Although a dive watch isn't an essential piece of equipment for a diver that already has a dive computer, it can be useful in many ways.

As well as keeping track of your time underwater, the stylish designs of dive watches mean they can accompany you out of the water, too.

Dive watches are a reliable, accurate, and aesthetically pleasing way to monitor your dive time.

In this article, we discussed some of the best dive watches available for under $1000 and explained the various functions and features you should look for.

We also answered some of the most commonly asked questions about dive watches.

We hope that the information has helped you decide and that you have many safe and enjoyable dives with your new dive watch!

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