The Best Dive Watches for Every Budget

Dive Watch

There are few more popular styles in the world of horology than the dive watch. Originally designed for underwater diving, these watches are built with a purpose in mind - and many watchmakers still strive to meet the ISO standard that certifies they're suitable for use underwater. These days, far more people wear them in all kinds of situations, and apart from a white or black tie event, you'd be hard-pushed to find a situation where a dive watch would be out of place.

A good dive watch should be water-resistant, durable, and look great at the same time. Whether you're taking to the water, or just doing some 'desk diving', here are some of the best diving watches around, no matter what your budget is.

Seiko SKX

This is the most affordable model on the list, but the Seiko SKX series compares well to more high-end, luxury choices. You're getting a lot of watch for the money (which can be as little as a couple of hundred dollars), with a quality automatic movement and ISO certification as a genuine diving watch. This robust watch can handle a lot of punishment, making it ideal as a daily beater or something to take to the beach or on holiday without worrying too much. Exhibiting the quality and attention to detail the Japanese are renowned for, the only downside might be brand perception. In actual fact, there's no shame in sporting this Seiko, and in terms of pure value you'll struggle to find better.

Omega Seamaster

If you're in the market for your first luxury diving timepiece, then the Omega Seamaster from this respected Swiss watch brand is an attractive option. With a rich history, this watch has had an important role in popular culture and has even appeared on James Bond's wrist in many of the films, not to mention being sported by royalty such as Prince William. The 300m Seamaster professional diver is perhaps the most recognizable, with its characteristic scalloped bezel and a range of dials, including Omega's signature wave pattern. Quartz versions are available, but if you're willing to spend a bit more you can get Omega's own co-axial movement. From around $2,000 and upwards, the Seamaster is an excellent 'entry-level luxury' option that's high quality, yet still relatively affordable.

Tudor Pelagos

While some may still see Tudor as 'the poor man's Rolex', this comparison isn't really fair, and Tudor has made real strides on their own away from parent company Rolex, as evidenced by the fact that this watch contains an in-house movement. The Pelagos is a great example of a dive watch that's functional, looks great, yet is still somewhat affordable compared to some other brands on this list. With its matte finish, robust titanium construction and understated looks, the Tudor Pelagos is definitely a tool watch so if you're using it for diving or with more casual wear it's an attractive option, but it's probably not versatile enough to be worn with formal wear, especially a suit. At around the $3,500 - $4,000 mark, these 500m water-resistant watches are good value for what they represent.

Rolex Submariner

The archetypal dive watch, the Rolex Submariner's influence can be seen clearly throughout the world of horology, and it has spawned many imitators over the years. This classic design has changed little since its beginnings in 1953, a testament to its simple utility and style. Functional as well as attractive, it's water resistant to 300m and has been used by many professional divers, though it's versatile enough to be worn casually or at work as well. There's a vast amount of choice when it comes to dial and bezel colors as well as the option of the iconic magnified 'cyclops' date window Rolex is famous for. The only downside is its popularity - if you want something no one else has, then look elsewhere. New models start at around $7,000 and can go up considerably higher, though secondhand options, while they hold their value well, can be found for a bit cheaper.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms

If you want a piece of horological history on your wrist and you're willing to pay for it, then the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is an excellent choice. Swiss manufacturer Blancpain can trace its lineage all the way back to 1735 and produces only a handful of watches every day. Arguably even more iconic than the Submariner and Seamaster when it comes to diving watches, the Fifty Fathoms was originally designed for elite French naval forces and was adopted by many other forces including the US navy, not to mention famously being worn by Jacques Cousteau. This large, very legible watch usually sports a recognizable black dial and bezel and has a certain class no matter how you decide to use it. If you're willing to spend five figures on your dive watch, then this classic timepiece should be considered.

Take your pick

There's no wrong answer when it comes to choosing your favorite from among these quality dive watches. Depending on what you're willing to spend and whether you're more interested in history and prestige, performance or looks, your choice will no doubt differ, but these timepieces are some of the best around at every price point and will make a fine addition to your collection.

Dive Watch