Embrace the Overkill

15 Incredible Dive Watches Under $1,000


January 2, 2018 Watches By

Last Updated January, 2018:This post has been updated with new picks for 2018. Prices and links have also been updated.

Reality check: your watch doesn’t need to be submersible to 300 meters. Hell, Ahmed Gabr’s scuba diving record is 318 meters, and if you really think you’re in the running to beat it, odds are you’re using an actual diving computer, not an $8,000 Rolex Submariner.

To stand firmly by that argument, though, would be missing the point. We love dive watches because they’re overkill. They make great daily wearers because if they can handle 20 or 30 atmospheres of pressure, they can probably handle your day-to-day life. We love dive watches because our favorite world-saving lush wears one. We love dive watches because, in the horological hierarchy of tool watches and complications, dive watches are actually really approachable.

Want proof? For under $1,000 there’s a myriad of great divers, so much so that we had to narrow down this list to 15. There are divers here from watchmaking powerhouses in Japan and even Switzerland, though there are a few micro-brands thrown in for good measure. Every single watch has a depth rating of at least 200 meters, though claim to be able to go to depths well beyond human limits. Some are classy and understated, others are big and brash, but there are options to appease pretty much any watch lover with a $1,000 budget.

Seiko SKX007

Seiko SKX007
Seiko’s cheap dive watches have a cult-like following (see: the new Blue Lagoon, another great diver for under $1,000) for good reason: it’s hard to find a better value for the money for just a couple hundred dollars. The SKX007 looks great and comes in a reserved 42mm case, is ISO-certified wth a 200-meter depth rating and comes with an automatic mechanical movement.

Water Resistance: 200m

Citizen Promaster Diver

Citizen Promaster Diver
Cheap, reliable and handsome. Citizen’s Pro-Master Diver is an ISO-certified dive watch with a 200-meter depth rating as well as a solar-powered quartz movement — so you can spend more time in the sun, less time getting your watch serviced.

Water Resistance: 200m

Orient Ray II USA

Orient Ray II USA
Sporting a classic design, a 41.5mm case and a 200-meter depth raiting, the Orient Ray II “USA” (it was made with the input of US watch enthusiasts for US watch enthusiasts) seems to get everything just right, especially considering its sub-$400 pricetag. Sweetening the deal is an in-house automatic movement and a sapphire crystal, two features you’ll rarely see at this price point.

Water Resistance: 200m

G-Shock GFW-1000-1 ‘Frogman’

G-Shock GFW-1000-1 'Frogman'
The “Frogman” is the only digital watch to grace this buying guide, but it’s one hell of a timepiece nonetheless. Originally launched in 1993, the Frogman is the only ISO-compliant diver in G-Shock’s lineup. Aside from its shock-resistant build and time function, the watch also features a world-time function, a moonphase indicator and even a tide graph.

Water Resistance: 200m

Marathon TSAR Quartz Medium

Marathon TSAR Quartz Medium
Built to U.S. Military standards, the Marathon TSAR is a tough watch in a small package. Coming in at only 36mm, it’s the smallest diver on this list, but it’s still super tough and submersible to 300 meters. It also features tritium gas tubes for luminescence, which is a nice bright, colorful touch.

Water Resistance: 300m

Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 600

Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 600
Micro-brand Christopher Ward has been around since 2004 and essentially paved the way for the online micro-brand movement. Continuing to offer an incredible amount of watch for the money, the latest version of the brand’s stalwart Trident diver is water resistant to an impressive 600 meters, features a ceramic bezel, wave-shaped patterning on the dial and a Sellita 200-1 automatic movement. Oh, and you can even choose between either 38mm or 43mm case sizes.

Water Resistance: 600m

Halios Seaforth

Halios Seaforth
Halios has been making handsome and affordable divers in small numbers for years (and garnered a massive cult following in the process). Its latest watch, the Seaforth, comes boatsing a handsom design, a solid 200-meter depth rating, a Miyota automatic movement and SuperLuminova. Halios watches are made in batches and known to sell out quick, so be on the ready to order when they come back in stock.

Water Resistance: 200m

Unimatic Modello Uno U1-DN

Unimatic Modello Uno U1-DN
Unimatic is a small, Italy-based microbrand that’s been getting a lot of attention as of late for its limited runs of pared-down, modernist designs. This stealthy, all-black diver is no exception, but it has some deep-diving bona fides to back up its menacing look — a unidirectional rotating bezel, a Seiko automatic movement inside and a 300-meter depth rating.

Water Resistance: 300m

Deep Blue Deep Star 1000

Deep Blue Deep Star 1000
Boutique watch brand Deep Blue’s modus operandi is to make heavy-hitting dive watches at affordable prices; the fact that for $750 you can get a diver with a Swiss automatic movement (from Sellita) and a massive 300-meter depth rating is certainly a testament to that. Further, the watch features a helium release valve at nine o’clock, a 120-click ceramic bezel and a retro cushion case.
Water Resistance: 300m

Squale 50 Atmos Professional

Squale 50 Atmos Professional
Squale was once a small watchmaker and watch case producer (used by the likes of Heuer and Blancpain, among others) that relaunched in 2010 as a maker of affordable divers. The Atmos 50 is undoubtedly retro-looking, but it has an impressive 500-meter depth rating. The watch is powered by an ETA 2824 automatic movement that’s cased up in a matte stainless steel case.

Water Resistance: 500m

Alpina Seastrong 300

Alpina Seastrong 300
Alpina’s penchant for making affordable sport watches shines through here in this solid diver. The automatic movement is held in a chunky, squircle-shaped 44mm case and, despite the display case back, is water resistant to 300 meters.

Water Resistance: 300m

Orient M-Force Bravo

Orient M-Force Bravo
Though it’s a bit of a bruiser at 45mm, the Orient M-Force Bravo has the right amount of color to make it a fun accouterment to your summer excursions. It features an in-house movement from the Japanese manufacturer and a power reserve gauge, and in addition to being water resistant to ISO standards, it’s also shock-resistant and antimagnetic.

Water Resistance: 200m

Glycine Combat Sub

Glycine Combat Sub
Glycine is an oft-forgotten watchmaker with a long history (the brand was founded in 1914) of making rugged tool watches. Today, Invicta holds a controlling share in the brand, but Glycine still makes mechanical, classic-looking tool watches like the Combat Sub. It features a 200-meter depth rating, orange accents and an ETA automatic movement.

Water Resistance: 200m

CWC Royal Navy Diver

CWC Royal Navy Diver
The watch that userped the Rolex Submariner as the British Royal Navys dive watch of choice in 1980. Well, kinda — it’s a recreation of that watch, but aside from a swich from tritium lume to Superluminova (for health reasons) the watch remains mostly the same. It features a 60-click unidirectional bezel, an automatic movement from ETA and a depth rating of 300 meters.

Water Resistance: 200m

Seiko Prospex SPB051J1

Seiko Prospex SPB051J1
The SPB051J1 is a reissue of Seiko’s first dive watch, the 6217, which originally debuted in 1965. The new iteration is certainly bigger than the original at 42.6mm in diameter (versus 38mm of the 6217), but packs Seiko’s in-house R615 automatic movement and is water-resistant to 200 meters.

Water Resistance: 200m

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