The venerable dive watch has become an essential tool in every diver’s kit. If you want to be safe under the waves, there really is no substitute for a well made model. But the quality craftsmanship and unique design of these watches have transformed them into something much more. The dive watch has become a fashion choice and a status symbol as much as it’s a tool for professional divers, and countless manufacturers have decided to create their own takes on the standardized Rolex Submariner design.
If you were to just hop on Amazon and search for the top dive watches, you’d find an impenetrable sea of models listed. We’ve narrowed down the results to the 12 best dive watches of 2020 so you can shop easier.
- 12 Best Dive Watches
- 1. Citizen Watches Men’s BN0151-09L Promaster Pro Diver
- 2. Rolex Submariner Black Dial Automatic Watch
- 3. Garmin Descent Mk1 Scuba + GPS Freedive Watch
- 4. Casio Men’s Sport Analog Dive Watch
- 5. Invicta Men’s 8928OB Pro Diver Watch
- 6. Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Watch
- 7. Stuhrling Original Pro Dive Watch
- 8. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster Dive Watch
- 9. Seiko Men’s SKX009K2 Diver’s Watch
- 10. Orient Men’s ‘Ray II’ Japanese Diving Watch
- 11. Luminox Men’s 3051 EVO Navy SEAL Colormark Watch
- 12. Tissot Seastar 1000 Chronograph Men’s Watch
- Dive Watch Buyer’s Guide
12 Best Dive Watches
1. Citizen Watches Men’s BN0151-09L Promaster Pro Diver
The Promaster is one of the most popular lines of five watches that CItizen offers, and that's in large part because of how many great features they offer. Despite being one of the most affordable Promasters around, this watch manages to pack in a broad range of utility. The solar powered movement provided by the Eco-Drive system ensures that it will keep accurate time without needing a battery, and it will continue to tick along even if you haven't worn it for a while, unlike its automatic contemporaries. The bezel has a consistent and tactile click when moved, a sensation that can be felt even when you're wearing heavy frogman gloves. And despite its cheap price tag, it sports a sturdy albeit not top of the class build.
2. Rolex Submariner Black Dial Automatic Watch
Rolex's Submariner is the name to beat when it comes to the premier dive watches. Plenty of watches, arguably a majority, pull directly from the Submariner's design sensibilities, but the original is still the best and a serious power symbol. This is easily the most expensive watch on our list, but it's also a status symbol that's hard to match, and it still sports some of the best design in the industry. The unidirectional rotating bezel works exactly as well as you'd hope, and the elegant black, white, and silver design is understated but hard to look away from. It also sports some of the best water resistance in the industry and sapphire crystal glass protection to ensure it will last a lifetime.
3. Garmin Descent Mk1 Scuba + GPS Freedive Watch
Even the best divers watches have a tendency to be very traditional in design. Manufacturers have a system that works, and most of them stick to that script very well. But Garmin is raising the stakes with their GPS enabled smart watch. The Descent Mk1 the game for divers by bringing a whole new variable to the game. Not only does it include powerful GPS tracking and five different dive modes, but it also packs in all of the standard moment to moment tracking you'd expect from a dedicated fitness wearable. This dive watch may buck tradition, but it's a premium choice with a great review reputation and one of the best choices for spear fishing divers.
4. Casio Men’s Sport Analog Dive Watch
Casio is the best manufacturer around when you need high-quality products on the cheap. While this analog dive watch may not be the prettiest face on the block, it offers reliable functionality for right around $20. The black and white face is cleanly designed and easy to read, and the red marked rotating bezel is secure and works exactly as well as you'd hope. While the modest water resistance means you probably don't want to take it on your deepest dives, it's a highly competent watch that manages to deliver style and functionality at a fraction of the price of most of its contemporaries
5. Invicta Men’s 8928OB Pro Diver Watch
Invicta isn't budget priced in the same way that Casio's watches are, but they still manage to deliver a quality divers watch for well under a hundred bucks. And while it sticks to the standards set out by other trendsetters in terms of features, this watch has a unique design that's likely to grab your attention. The deep blue face has a nice gradient quality that really makes it stand out boldly, and the hands have a lot more personality than comparable watches. But it's the silver and gold design of the band that really stands apart from the rest of the crowd. Uniquely attractive watches like this rarely come at such an appealing price.
6. Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Watch
The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean isn't a cheap watch by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a worthy competitor to the trend defining Submariner that costs roughly half the price. And with its stylish and stately design, you'll feel like James Bond wearing it. This is undoubtedly a luxury watch first and foremost. It will look great everywhere from board meetings to high society events, but it also has the functional capability to help it succeed at practically any depth. Luminous hands and markers are complemented by a truly solid unidirectional rotating bezel, and the design itself is understated but classy. If you're just looking for a watch to take diving with you, this probably isn't the best model for you, but if you're looking to make a statement, you'll find few better options.
7. Stuhrling Original Pro Dive Watch
Stuhrling's dives watches are another affordable option that will treat you well. Priced at under a hundred dollars, they sport a classic approach to dive watch design in a huge range of different color schemes. That means that you're bound to find one that matches your style, and the affordable price tag means that you can easily pick up a few and change them out with your look. They also make use of the esteemed Miyota automatic movement to provide accurate results. The baton hands and indices on this mens dive watch are well lit to provide you with the time even in dark waters or the middle of the night, and the coin edged bezel provides you with a reliable means to track your time submerged.
8. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster Dive Watch
The Promaster is another Citizen dive watch that makes use of the Eco-Drive system, and that makes it one of the best models around if you want a low fuss model with a battery you'll never have to worry about. But it's got a pretty slick design that sets it apart from a lot of other dive watches on the market as well. The combination of white, black, and silver on this Citizen present a surprising amount of depth that's only underscored by the red lined minute hand. The mineral crystal that protects the face is also anti-reflective to present sunlight glare getting in the way of you reading the time.
9. Seiko Men’s SKX009K2 Diver’s Watch
Seiko watches are some of the best regarded watches available across the board, and their diving model certainly doesn't miss the mark. The SKX009K2 sports a cleaner and more utilitarian design than many of its contemporaries, but that's the best for real divers who need to be able to read the time at a glance. The mix of deep blue and red are distinctively bold, but it also makes reading the bezel underwater all that easier. It's one of the best options you can pick if you demand a mid-priced model that can actually perform out in the open waters.
10. Orient Men’s ‘Ray II’ Japanese Diving Watch
The Orient Ray II has held a reputation as one of the best watches for divers for years, and each review over the years has just built on this legacy. But being the best doesn't mean being ostentatious. A simple combination of black and blue on silver results in a rather muted look overall, but the black coin edged bezel is highly functional, and everything on this watch is eminently easy to read. It also comes in two black on black variants if you're looking to mix up your sense of style, and it sports an elegant Orient logo on its face.
11. Luminox Men’s 3051 EVO Navy SEAL Colormark Watch
The 3051 EVO is the next best thing to wearing real military issue gear on your wrist. Its stark black and white design might not make for the prettiest aesthetic, but it's a model that gets straight to the point. Polyurethane replaces the traditional steel used in many diving watches, but it's highly durable and resistant to damage. The unidirectional bezel is responsive to the touch, while the markers and the hands are remarkably bright and luminous. You'd probably be better off not wearing this with a power suit, but it's a no frills, professional choice for taking with you on your next dive and well suited to the aesthetic of a frogman.
12. Tissot Seastar 1000 Chronograph Men’s Watch
Chronographs aren't seen that often in diving watch designs, but Tissot has bucked trends with their Seastar 1000 that's both one of the best looking watches around but also one of the most utilitarian. The highly functional unidirectional bezel is complemented by three chronograph dials that track 30 minute, 1/10 of a second, and 60 second intervals. Add in add and split functions and you're left with a watch that will work just as well on the track as it will underwater. And all of that is wrapped within a truly gorgeous design that doesn't feel like just a replica of the Submariner.
Dive Watch Buyer’s Guide
Are you looking for the top dive watches of 2020 but you aren’t quite sure where to start? We’re here to share the most important features and the best qualities to look for so you can find a great dive watch with a rating that matches your specific needs.
What Makes a Diving Watch?
Let’s put the review qualities for the best diving watch aside and just focus on what a dive watch is. In addition to the obvious waterproofing, a traditional dive watch typically comes with one critical quality. These watch features include a rotating bezel. The best option here is a unidirectional bezel, as it allows you to track time spend underwater during a deep dive without the risk of knocking it out of place.
Other features are often more negotiable. The presence of luminescent hands and markers are especially common since you’ll often be trying to read them underwater, and some come with a helium escape valve. The helium escape valve ostensibly serves as a way to protect your dive watch from the effects of helium, but that helium dispersion is a pretty specific need and aren’t as necessary as many manufacturers make them sound.
A helium valve is probably something you don’t need to consider too closely when making a purchase. But the ultimate distinguishing point for a dive watch is going to be the unidirectional bezel and the general sense of style.
How Deep Should a Dive Watch Go?
One of the most prominent features when shopping for dive watches is how water resistant they are. After all, dive watches are intent to be used to dive, so it would seem that the best waterproofing would garner the best rating. Ultimately, it comes down to what you’re looking for.
Almost every diving watch is going to offer some level of meaningful water resistance. At minimum, most dive watches offer resistance at depths of up to 330 feet. While that may seem like a lot, these watches actually aren’t going to be appropriate for reliable dive excursions. Models with this rating of waterproofing are often quoted as being appropriate for just swimming and snorkeling, but the Professional Association of Diving Instructors rates them as tough enough for diving.
If you want to seriously use your watch for dive adventures, you’ll want to be sure to get a model that’s waterproof at depths of up to 200 meters or 660 feet. This rating has enough power to be used by practically any diver. While the best and most advanced models offer significantly higher waterproofing features, they probably aren’t going to be necessary to even the most serious divers.
Do Divers Wear Dive Watches?
For the most part? Yes. But while dive watches were once a necessity for divers, the share of people actually using these watches underwater are losing power. That’s because smart watches and computers like the Garmin Descent fulfill the functionality that you’d find in a dive watch more efficiently and add in a whole host of new features to boot. While diving models are still often worn as timepieces and are often used by divers to share an identity, they aren’t the best tool around like they once were. More often than not, a best in class diving watch is as much a status symbol as a practical tool.
There are plenty of reasons for buying a diving watch, but whether you intend it as a serious diving tool or a status symbol, the models on our list represent some of the best options in 2020. We hope you find your perfect model soon.