Affordable Diving Watches For Under $500

Added by Edan Barak on Jul 22, 2015

"The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever." – Jacques Cousteau

Tick, tock.

When you're 30 meters underwater, exploring the world Nemo got lost in, the quiet is so heavy that you can almost feel the ticking of your watch, like a second heartbeat.

I know you've felt that absolute calm beneath the ocean's floor while flitting around from colorful coral to weird-looking clown-fish, losing the passage of time with each new discovery.

A good diver's watch will ensure you don't forget yourself at the bottom of the ocean, while still managing to look elegant and stylish. Here are a few important pointers you should really look out for when buying one:

Water Resistance: Obviously, your watch needs to be able to survive getting wet, but you also need to make sure it can handle the water pressure at the depths you’ll be diving. To meet ISO 6425 requirements, the watch needs to be rated at depths of at least 100m.

Type of Bezel: The bezel is the outer ring around the watch face that can be used to manually track the amount of time you’ve been in the water. ISO 6425 requires a unidirectional bezel, meaning it’s only capable of moving counter-clockwise so if it’s accidentally bumped, it won’t show that you’ve been in the water for LESS time, only MORE time. This is a major safety concern, so it should be non-negotiable when you’re shopping for a watch.

Luminous dials: It can be quite dark underwater, even with a dive light. Luminous dials ensure you’ll be able to see the hour and minute hands, at the very least.

All of the watches in this list meet ISO standards, so they're rated according to other factors such as value, additional depth rating, and optional features.

Whether your style is sporty or elegant, there’s no reason to spend more than $500 on a dive watch.

7 Luminox Evo Ultimate Navy Seal Quartz Chronograph

Depending on where you purchase this watch, it can easily run over $900; however, World of Watches offers it for only $424.95.

Water Resistance: 200m
Movement Type: Quartz
Crystal: Sapphire
Weight: 1.1 oz
Bezel: Stainless steel unidirectional
Display: Analog
Battery Type: Standard
Band: Rubber

Pros: The Luminox Evo Ultimate Navy Seal uses a unique type of illumination, called Tritium Gas, causing them to glow at up to 100 times brighter than standard watches. It is specifically advertised for military use on some websites, and reviewers have mentioned the watch holding up under extreme conditions, such as earthquakes and gunfire! The crystal is anti-reflective, ultra-scratch-proof Sapphire. As the title implies, the watch also has a chronograph function.

Cons: Like a few of the other watches on this list, it has a rubber band, which some customers don’t prefer. The face looks a little cluttered with all the numbers and chronographs and the date.

Purchase the Luminox Evo Ultimate Navy Seal from World of Watches.

6 Tissot Seastar 1000

The best price we found for the Tissot Seastar 1000 was at JomaShop for $439.

Water Resistance: 300m
Movement Type: Quartz
Crystal: Sapphire
Weight: 3.36 oz
Bezel: Stainless steel unidirectional
Display: Analog
Battery Type: Standard
Band: Rubber

Pros: The Seastar 1000 is a great looking watch, with a clear face that displays the 12 o’clock position in Arabic numerals, and all the other hours are marked with dots. It has the anti-reflective, ultra-scratch-proof sapphire crystal, and a stainless steel bezel with a black top ring. It comes in multiple colors and styles, though the price on these other varieties may be higher.

Cons: Again, it has a rubber band, which makes it look more sporty than dressy. The knobs on the side of the face are a little large and clumsy, so some reviewers have complained that they keep accidentally changing the time!

Purchase the Tissot Seastar 1000 from JomaShop.

5 Hamilton Khaki King Scuba Watch

At $499.95 on Amazon, the Hamilton Khaki King Scuba just barely makes it under our price point.

Water Resistance: 100m
Movement Type: Mechanical
Crystal: Sapphire
Weight: 3.36 oz
Bezel: Stainless steel unidirectional
Display: Analog
Battery Type: Automatic
Band: Stainless steel

Pros: This is the first mechanical, automatic watch on the list, which partially explains the higher price. It also has a nice stainless steel band, giving it more of a classic feel – it doesn’t look like a dive watch. The automatic battery means the watch recharges itself through the natural arm movements of the wearer.

Cons: The Khaki King Scuba is only water resistant to 100m, the shallowest on this list. However, that does meet ISO requirements, if only just. Mechanical watches aren’t quite as accurate as quartz, so you will have to adjust the time fairly often. The price also hurts it in comparison to the other great watches available for cheaper.

Purchase the Hamilton Khaki King Scuba from Amazon.

4 Seiko SKX779 "Black Monster"

The Seiko Black Monster is a steal on Amazon at $399.

Water Resistance: 200m
Movement Type: Mechanical
Crystal: Hardlex
Weight: 6.56 oz
Bezel: Stainless steel unidirectional
Display: Analog
Battery Type: Automatic
Band: Stainless steel

Pros: The price is lower than most of the other watches. It’s another mechanical, automatic watch, which is highly desirable among watch enthusiasts. It has an attractive stainless steel band with a black watch face, hence the "Black Monster" name.

Cons: The Black Monster uses a Hardlex crystal, rather than a sapphire crystal. The difference is that sapphire crystals are more scratch-resistant, while Hardlex mineral crystals are more break-proof. It’s really a matter of preference, but hardcore watch enthusiasts typically choose sapphire. It’s also fairly heavy, and has been described as "chunky".

Purchase the Seiko Black Monster from Amazon.

3 Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Aqualand

At $375 from CreationWatches, this watch provides amazing value.

Water Resistance: 200m
Movement Type: Quartz
Crystal: DLC
Weight: 15.84 oz
Bezel: Stainless steel unidirectional
Display: Analog
Battery Type: Standard
Band: Rubber

Pros: The price is extremely reasonable – identical watches from other companies could easily cost double. The Citizen Promaster Aqualand comes with more diver-friendly features than any other watch on this list, which ultimately earned it the number one spot. It has a depth display to 50m, an automatic water sensor, a maximum-depth memory display, and a low charge meter. It has a DLC (diamond-like carbon) crystal, which provides excellent hardness and abrasion resistance.

Cons: It’s a beast of a watch, at 15.84 ounces. This may be a prohibitive factor for some people. All of the extra features make the face look a little cluttered.

Purchase the Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Aqualand from CreationWatches.

2 Victorinox Swiss Army Dive Master 500

Victorinox makes a wide variety of dive watches that could qualify for this article, but I chose the most impressive one, which is the Swiss Army Dive Master 500, available on Amazon for $455.

Water Resistance: 500m
Movement Type: Quartz
Crystal: Sapphire
Weight: 7.1 oz
Bezel: Stainless steel unidirectional
Display: Analog
Battery Type: Standard
Band: Rubber

Pros: The Dive Master 500 is so named because it’s water resistant up to 500m. The Victorinox name has a reputation for crafting high-quality timepieces, which will give you bragging rights among enthusiasts.

Cons: It’s extremely heavy, even with the rubber band. It is also quite thick, and many reviewers have said it’s hard to wear with a shirt with cuffs. Overall, it’s less stylish than the others, so it isn’t great as a daily-use watch.

Purchase the Victorinox Swiss Army Dive Master 500 from Amazon.

1 Invicta Reserve Subaqua Venom 5727

This unique watch is available on Amazon for $349.99, making it the cheapest on this list.

Water Resistance: 1000m
Movement Type: Swiss Quartz
Crystal: Flame Fusion
Weight: 15.84 oz
Bezel: Black ion plated stainless steel unidirectional
Display: Analog
Battery Type: Standard
Band: Stainless steel

Pros: Invicta is known for making stylish, unique watches, and the Subaqua Venom is no exception. Every online reviewer agreed that this watch turns heads. It’s water resistant to 1000m, which is an amazing feat of engineering, even if it’s highly unlikely you’ll be diving that deep. Also, look at that price!!

Cons: Invicta’s patented Flame Fusion is a synthetic crystal that is similar to mineral crystals. Watch snobs will complain, even if it behaves almost identically to organic mineral crystals. It’s an extremely heavy watch – the heaviest on this list – which could be an upside or a downside depending on your preference.

Purchase the Invicta Reserve Subaqua Venom from Amazon.

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