Best Dive Watches

Updated April 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

19 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
234 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best dive watches

Last Updated April 2020

If you enjoy scuba diving, you know how important it is to have the right gear. While your fins, mask, and wetsuit are obviously crucial, a high-quality dive watch can also make your excursions a little easier.

Dive watches are constructed specifically for underwater diving. Nearly all models have a water resistance of at least 100 meters, so you’re able to dive without worrying about your watch being damaged underwater. Dive watches are also designed to be clearly visible underwater, which lets you track your dive time and keep an accurate dive log.

Choosing a dive watch can be a daunting task, however, because there are just so many options. You have to choose the depth rating that best suits your usual dives, the best band and casing materials, and the other features that you need to get the most out of a dive watch.

With our buying guide, you can take a deep dive into all the information you need to find the best watch for your next underwater adventure. Want to make your shopping even easier? We’ve included some specific dive watch recommendations to help get you started.

If you dive regularly, you should have your dive watch serviced at least once a year by a professional to make sure that it’s in proper working condition.

Key considerations

Water resistance/depth rating

The most crucial feature in a dive watch is water resistance. Some watches are marketed as waterproof, but they’re not designed to be fully immersed in water. A dive watch has to be able to withstand the water pressure that it will be exposed to on deep underwater dives.

The minimum water-resistance or depth rating for any timepiece marketed as a dive watch is 100 meters. But most divers prefer a watch with a water resistance of 200 to 300 meters. Even if you don’t usually dive that deep, you’re better off choosing a watch with a higher depth rating just in case you decide to go a little deeper on occasion.

Band and casing material

Dive-watch bands should be made of durable materials that won’t break down when exposed to saltwater or freshwater. In general, most dive watches feature bands made of silicone/rubber or stainless steel. Both materials are lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and easy to clean. Some divers prefer the look of stainless steel over silicone or rubber bands, but a dive watch with a silicone or rubber band is typically more affordable.

You can also find some dive watches with a titanium band. It has a look similar to stainless steel, but it’s lighter and resists corrosion better. A dive watch with a titanium band is usually more expensive, though.

When it comes to the casing for a dive watch, you can usually choose between stainless steel or titanium. Both are durable materials, but titanium is generally considered superior if it fits your budget.

EXPERT TIP

Check your dive watch’s crown regularly to make sure that it’s not loose. If the crown is loose, water can creep inside the watch.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Rotating bezel

Nearly all high-quality dive watches have a rotating bezel that rotates in one direction. The bezel allows you to keep track of your dive time by setting the start marker over the minute that you begin your dive. It’s best to choose a watch with a unidirectional bezel because you don’t have to worry about an accidental bump spoiling your dive time’s accuracy.

Screw-down/screw-in crown

A watch’s crown is the piece that you use to wind it, change the time, and/or set the date. Many dive watches feature a screw-down or screw-in crown. The crown operates like a screw that must be turned in or out to make adjustments. This can be an important feature in a dive watch, because it prevents water from getting into the timepiece’s inner workings.

Luminescent numerals and hands

In order to easily read your dive watch, choose a model with numbers that are clear enough to read at a distance of approximately 10 inches. Remember: the deeper you go, the darker it gets. For this reason, many dive watches feature luminescent numerals and hands — so you can read them in the dark when you’re deep underwater.

Depth gauge

Some dive watches are equipped with a depth gauge. It allows you to keep track of how deep you’re diving and eliminates the need for carrying a separate depth gauge.

EXPERT TIP

A dive watch should fit comfortably over the cuff of your wetsuit. Watches with a metal bracelet are usually the easiest to size right because you can add links if it’s too small.


Staff  | BestReviews

Accessories

Wetsuit: Seavenger 3mm Neoprene Wetsuit
When you’re diving in cold water, you definitely want a wetsuit to help keep you warm. We love that this suit from Seavenger is available in both male and female sizes and offers flat stitching that adds to its comfort.

Dive fins: WildHorn Outfitters Topside Hydro Fins
To move more smoothly underwater, you need a pair of dive fins to swim efficiently. These fins from WildHorn Outfitters offer shoe-like sizes that make it easy to find the right fit, and they’re available in three different colors, so you can find a good match for your wetsuit.

Dive mask: WildHorn Outfitters Seaview 180° Snorkel Mask
A dive mask keeps water from getting in your nose and mouth and allows you to see more clearly when you’re underwater. We love this mask from WildHorn Outfitters because it features a detachable snorkel and doesn’t fog up. It’s also available in several colors and offers a mount for your GoPro camera.

Dive bag: Athletico Mesh Dive Duffel Bag
To keep your dive gear organized and make it easy to lug, you’ll want a mesh dive bag that dries quickly. One of our favorites is this bag from Athletico. It’s made of 600D poly mesh for durability and offers both handles and a carrying strap.

Dive watch prices

Dive watches can vary in price based on their materials, depth rating, and special features. Most models cost between $20 and $1,500.

Inexpensive: The most affordable dive watches have a depth rating of 100 meters or less. They usually feature a silicone, rubber, or resin band and case and don’t offer many special features. You’ll typically pay $20 to $50 for watches in this category.

Mid-range: Mid-price dive watches usually have a depth rating of 200 to 300 meters. They can feature bands and cases made of silicone, rubber, resin, or stainless steel and may have a few special features like a depth gauge. They generally cost between $50 and $500.

Expensive: The most expensive dive watches feature either a particularly high depth rating or incredibly high-quality materials. You can find stainless steel watches with depth ratings of 300 to 1000 meters in this category, as well as titanium watches with a depth rating of 200 to 500 meters. These watches typically cost between $500 and $1,500.

EXPERT TIP

Never wear your dive watch at a depth beyond its water-resistance limit. The increased pressure can ruin its inner components.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Rinse after use. Because it’s regularly exposed to seawater and sand, your dive watch can get dirty in a hurry. Always rinse your watch as soon as possible after each dive, whether you’re diving in saltwater or freshwater.
  • Clean your watch regularly. Give your dive watch a more thorough cleaning following the manufacturer’s instructions on a regular basis. In most cases, you can clean the watch exterior with a microfiber cloth to remove dirt and smudges or a soft-bristled brush for residue that’s more tenacious.
  • Wear it for diving only. If you’re a serious diver, it’s best to wear your dive watch only for diving. Don’t wear it when you’re swimming in a pool, taking a shower or heading out to brunch. Random bumps and everyday wear could hinder dive watch performance when you really need it.
  • Handle with care. Be careful when setting up your scuba tank not to accidentally bang your dive watch against any hard surfaces. You can damage both its external and internal components.

Other products we considered

With so many dive watches to choose from, we couldn’t possibly include all the models worth checking out on our shortlist. The Seiko Men’s SKX175 Automatic Dive Watch is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a dive watch that’s made entirely of stainless steel. It’s water-resistant up to 200 meters and features an attractive navy blue, white, and red dial and bezel design.

Need a watch that goes deeper? We also like the Pantor Seahorse Automatic Dive Watch. It’s water-resistant up to 1000 meters — and the screw-down crown keeps water from getting inside to keep it in perfect working order.

Dive watches aren’t necessarily just for divers. Not only do they have a sporty, rugged appearance that many people like, but you can wear a dive watch for swimming and bathing without worrying about it being damaged.

FAQ

Q. What type of diving is a dive watch suitable for?
A.
It depends on the watch’s depth rating. A watch that’s water-resistant for up to 200 meters is suitable for scuba diving. For deep-sea diving, you’ll need a watch that’s water-resistant up to 1,000 meters.
 

Q. Is a dive watch’s water resistance permanent, or does it change over the life of the watch?
A.
Most watch manufacturers don’t guarantee a watch’s water resistance permanently. As the watch gaskets get older and lose their shape, a watch may not be able to function at the same depth as it initially did. To maintain your watch’s water resistance as long as possible, rinse it after every dive, and clean it regularly with a soft cloth to remove sweat, dirt, and other grime. Don’t wash your watch under running water, though. Instead, immerse it in a sink or basin in still water — and always make sure the crown is pushed down when you wash it.
 

Q. Does a dive watch include warranty protection?
A.
Nearly all dive watches offer some type of warranty coverage. Some only provide warranty protection for a year, while others offer up to five years. Keep in mind, however, that nearly all warranties only cover problems that arise due to faulty materials or workmanship. If you misuse your watch or don’t care for it properly, any damage that results won’t be covered by the warranty.

The team that worked on this review
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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