Embrace the Overkill

15 Incredible Dive Watches Under $1,000


February 23, 2019 Watches By

Updated February, 2019: This post has been updated with new picks for 2019. 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.

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

Seiko SKX007

Seiko SKX007
Seiko’s cheap dive watches have a cult-like following (see the 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

Dan Henry 1970 Automatic Diver


Dan Henry is a small independent brand doing its best to offer classic vintage-style watches at affordable prices. This one is a little different from other dive watches on this list with its case that mimics super compressor watches of decades past. Here, that takes the form of a rotating inner bezel controlled by one of the two crowns, while the other crown performs the typical time-setting duty. The 1970s diver has a Seiko NH35 automatic movement, 200m of water resistance, and it’s available in a couple versions including case sizes of 44mm or 40mm wide.

Water Resistance: 200m

Orient Ray II USA

Orient Ray II USA
Sporting a classic design, a 41.5mm case and a 200-meter depth rating, 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 price tag. 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

Obris Morgan Nautilus


Obris Morgan is a little-known microbrand offering a sturdy dive watch with genuinely unique design and a very approachable price. For $379 you get a bronze case, a Miyota 9015 automatic movement, sapphire crystal, and 300m of water resistance. Then, there is that cool bezel that measures a a reasonable 41mm across, but is actually slightly wider than the case itself. This is a tool watch you can dive with, wear casually, and beat up without worrying about it too much.

Water Resistance: 300m

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

Baltic Aquascaphe


Baltic is one of our favorite boutique watch brands with a refreshingly simple and well proportioned take on vintage-inspired designs. Just see our enthusiastic review of the Bicompax 001 Chronograph for more about Baltic. The Aquascaphe comes boasting a handsome design, a solid 200-meter depth rating, vintage-style “box” sapphire crystal, a Miyota 9039 automatic movement and Super-LumiNova. Baltic watches are assembled in France and offer a remarkable value — and this Aquascaphe is available for pre-order with a rubber strap or cool beads-of-rice-style steel bracelet.

Water Resistance: 200m

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 masculine, military-themed diver is no exception, but it has some deep-diving bona fides to back up its tough-and-rumble look — a unidirectional rotating bezel, a Seiko automatic movement inside, and a 300-meter depth rating.

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

Squale 1521


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 1521 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

Deep Blue Master 2000


Boutique watch brand Deep Blue’s modus operandi is to make heavy-hitting dive watches at affordable prices; the fact that for $830 you can get a diver with a Swiss automatic movement (from ETA) and a massive 2,000-meter depth rating is certainly a testament to that. Further, the watch features a helium release valve at nine o’clock, a lumed ceramic bezel, and a 4mm-thick sapphire crystal.
Water Resistance: 2,000m

Yema Superman


Yema is an interesting brand from France that combines history, some solid specs, and value. The brand’s faithrul re-edition of a model issued to the French air force in the 1970s, the Superman, has turned out something of a hit. It has a thin bezel with a lock mechanism, making for an unusual look among dive watches, but offering pure diving specs with 300m of water resistance. A domed crystal is also true to its vintage inspiration, and inside is a Swiss ETA automatic movement.

Water Resistance: 300m

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 switch from tritium lume to Super-LumiNova (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 SPB051

Seiko Prospex SPB051J1
The SPB051 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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