The dive watch: that rugged, manly man’s tool meant for exploring the harrowing depths on the ocean, all while maintaining precise time and mechanical craftsmanship. This image, perhaps solidified by everyone’s favorite drunken, brooding secret agent, is why the high-end dive watch has become a go-to casual timepiece for quite some time now.
But, it’s a little asinine to think we need the engineering of something like the Rolex Submariner — a 300-meter dive watch, COSC certified and costing thousands of dollars — in our daily lives, when it’s likely to spend more time paired with a suit or on a watch winder than it will in the ocean blue.
That said, there’s merit in wearing a chunky dive watch on a daily basis; thanks to those big cases meant to withstand meters upon meters of abyss, few other timepieces are as inherently tough and can take the same beating. And if you forget to take your watch off when doing the dishes, it is kind of nice knowing it’s beyond prepared. The best part? You don’t have to spend a lot to get a great diver. Just $500 ought to get you something more than capable of daily wear and tear, while maintaining a classy-enough edge to feed those 007 fantasies.
Citizen Promaster Diver
Citizen’s Promaster Diver is a 200-meter dive watch that’s ISO certified and packs a solar-powered Eco-drive quartz movement — perfect if you’d rather spend time in the sun than getting your watch serviced.
Seiko Prospex SBDC033 “Sumo”
Originally a JDM favorite from Seiko (fortunately now available stateside), the SGDC “Sumo” utilizes the brand’s in-house 6R15 automatic movement and houses it in a chunky 45mm case good for a depth rating of 200 meters.
Most dive watches tend to be bulky, stainless steel monsters (not that it’s a bad thing), but if you’re looking for restraint, Marathon’s TSAR still has an admirable depth rating (300 meters) while only coming in at 36mm in diameter. The TSAR is powered by a quartz ETA movement, features a dial indicating all 24 hours of the day and uses Tritium gas tubes for super bright (and rad-looking) lume.
Bulova Acutron II “Snorkle”
Bulova’s reissue of the cushion-cased, Acutron diver of the ’60s and ’70s is incredibly faithful to the original, down to the 200-meter depth rating (though the original denoted it as 666 feet) and orange countdown bezel. This new version uses Bulova’s excellent Precisionist quartz movement, which has a smooth, sweeping seconds hand in favor of the “dead beat” seconds hand of most quartz timepieces.
Steinhart Ocean One
If the handsome, old-school looks (admittedly an homage to the Rolex MilSub) weren’t reason enough to pay the Steinhart Ocean One’s considerably price of entry, its automatic ETA 2824 movement ticking inside should make a convincing argument.
Deep Blue Juggernaut III
200 meters of depth resistance is plenty enough for your beach trips and skin dives, but should you be wanting for more, the Juggernaut III from boutique outfit Deep Blue gives you 500 meters of depth resistance, along with a Ronda quartz movement, a ceramic uni-directional dial and a wave-patterned dial for a light styling flourish.
Orient M-Force Delta
If your eyes are bigger than your wrists, perhaps think twice about the massive 49.5mm Orient M-Force. But should you be so daring you’ll be met with one hell of a value: an ISO-certified automatic watch (with hacking seconds, to boot) boasting 200 meters of water resistance and a 40-hour mechanical power reserve gauge, a complication rarely seen on watches in this price range.
Scurfa Diver One
Even on a list full of watches that offer amazing value for money, coming in at under the $200 mark (thanks Brexit), the Scurfa offers everything you could possibly want in a cheap, everyday diver, with 300 meters of water resistance, a Ronda quartz movement, a 120-click unidirectional bezel all in a handsome, 42mm case.