Best Affordable Dive Watches Priced Under $1,000

Best Affordable Dive Watches Priced Under $1,000

We Love an Affordable Watch That Makes a Splash

Updated October 25, 2018 

A good dive watch is a virtual necessity whenever you find yourself getting wet. Whether you’re actually going diving, or simply want to lounge in the backyard pool, a good dive watch should be able to keep pace.

Not all dive watches are made equally, and not all dive watches need to be overbuilt deep-divers, either. As I curated the watches for this list, I organized them based on water resistance ratings and then ranked them by price within their respective categories. This list will grow and evolve over time as new and notable divers get released.

See all the dive watches we have hands-on reviewed.

Let’s get going!

Criteria

We’re only calling out watches worth wearing and made to last. If it isn’t tough, it isn’t on this list.

Affordability

Maximum grey market price of $1,000. It’s up to you if you want to buy grey market, but we’re calling out what the street price is vs MSRP.

Quality

No junk, full stop. Mainstream and microbrands are present in this list, but random/ripoff brands, or brands with poor service/quality, are not.

Water Resistance

If it can’t get wet you won’t find it here. We only looked at watches that could survive and thrive in the water. All the watches here carry at least 200m / 660ft of water resistance.

Casio MDV106-1AV Affordable Dive Watch

Casio MDV-106-1AV “Duro”

Available on Amazon

Casio MDV106-1AV "Duro"

I reviewed the Duro in April 2018 and was blown away by how good of a watch it is relative to its price. As of today’s writing, the Duro is available on Amazon for under $50.

Technically speaking, there’s nothing particularly notable about the Duro: it uses a quartz movement, mineral crystal, and standard entry-level materials/construction. However, its level of polish rings in way above its cost of entry.

Casio has used an enamel dial on the MDV106-1AV that, under the right light, really looks great. It is easy to read and has acceptable lume on the hour markers and hands.

Casio could have priced the Duro at $150 or $200 and it’d still be good. At its current sub-$50 price, it’s great.

See also:

Movement

Quartz

Water Resistance

200m / 660ft

Model Number

MDV106-1AV

Price

$70

Size

44mm

Crystal Material

Mineral

Orient Mako II

Available on Amazon

Orient Mako II

The Orient Mako is considered one of the affordable diver darlings, with nearly every watch forum and watch blog having a piece or two about the Mako. We are no exception, having ourselves reviewed the Mako in late 2016.

Orient has since upgraded the Mako, giving it a significant design refresh while also giving it a more capable and feature-rich movement. Orient makes all their movements in-house: the original Mako was powered by the Caliber 46943 automatic movement, and the latest version uses Orient’s newish caliber F6922 automatic.

The hubbub about the new auto is deserved. While it’s pretty awesome that all Orient’s movements are mechanical (and made in-house), the caliber 46943 auto is a robust, if spartan, movement that lacked “basic” functions such as hand-winding and hacking. The new movement changes all that, finally bringing the Mako into the horological 21st century.

See also:

Movement

Automatic, Caliber F6922

Water Resistance

200m / 660ft

Model Number

FAA02002D9

Price

$160

Size

41.5mm

Crystal Material

Mineral

Orient Ray II

Available on Amazon

Orient Ray II

Wait… two Orient’s on this list? That’s correct, and both deserve to be here.

Admittedly, the Ray II isn’t much different than the Mako II mechanically. The difference lies in the aesthetics, with the Ray having a more open and “rounded” dial by comparison. Like the Mako II, the Ray II is powered by the caliber F6922 automatic movement that has brought both the Mako and Ray series of divers into the 21st century. Thanks, Orient!

Many people have called the Ray a Rolex Submariner homage, and while I certainly see the resemblance, the Ray is aesthetically different enough that it stands out on its own. If it had copied the date magnifying window, well, then it would have been a no-brainer… but that’s no the case, so let’s move on.

The Ray comes with a 120-click rotating bezel, allowing for precision measurement of elapsed time during dives, and excellent lume.

Both the Mako II and Ray II are great entry-level dive watches- which is best for you? I suppose you won’t know until you’ve got one or the other on your wrist 😉

See also:

Movement

Automatic, Caliber F6922

Water Resistance

200m / 660ft

Model Number

FAA02005D9

Price

$165

Size

41.5mm

Crystal Material

Mineral

Orient Mako Rubber FEM65003DW Looking Good

Seiko SKX007K

Available on Amazon

Seiko SKX007K Dive Watch

I haven’t had the chance to do a hands-on review of the SKX007K, but that will come soon. I have, however, been given opportunities to wear the 007. It’s what you’d expect from Seiko: well made, robust, and powered by a house-made automatic movement (in this case, the 7S26).

Many call the SKX the quintessential affordable dive watch. It has built and earned a global following thanks to what is, in my opinion, one of the best value propositions you can find in a dive watch: a robust and reliable automatic movement, an affordable price (as of today you can find the SKX007K on Amazon for around $220), and the utility to match its diver design.

It’s true that the movement used is rather utilitarian – it offers day/date display, but its accuracy and lack of hacking leave it trailing behind other more capable movements – but the 7S26 won’t let you down when it counts. Spartan, yes, but what else can you expect from an entry-level diver?

The case is ISO certified and resistant to 200m / 660ft- plenty capable for swimming, snorkeling, etc.

Sadly, the SKX007K is no longer in production but is still found easily on grey-market sites such as Amazon.

See also:

Movement

Automatic, Seiko 7S26

Water Resistance

200m / 660ft

Model Number

SKX007K

Price

$275ish

Size

42mm

Crystal Material

Hardlex

Dan Henry 1970

Available on DanHenryWatches.com

Dan Henry 1970 - 44mm

The Dan Henry 1970 was a surprise to me. When I first received it, I was unsure of what to expect. Dan Henry was a brand I was unfamiliar with- I reached out to them at the request of a reader. I was entering uncharted territory and was excited to see how it’d turn out.

As you can see, the 1970 is a vintage-styled timepiece that brings a modern feel to vintage aesthetics. The dual-crown case features an inner chapter ring that rotates (as opposed to an externally-mounted bezel). It comes on a very comfortable silicone band that’s paired to a  classic dial that can be found in either orange or grey coloring.

Notably, the 1970 does not have a screw-down crown. However, in the numerous instances I’ve worn it in the pool and at the beach, it’s remained moisture-free.

Inside is a Seiko NH35 automatic, a great starter automatic that hacks and hand-winds. It’s a good movement that has found a good home in the 1970. You can get your 1970 in a 40mm or 44mm case.

See also:

Movement

Automatic, Seiko NH35

Water Resistance

200m / 660ft

Model Number

1970

Price

$270

Size

44mm

Crystal Material

Sapphire-coated mineral

Seiko SARB017 Alpinist

Available on Amazon

Seiko Alpinist

Also found on my “best mechanical watches” list, the Alpinist is a capable “Jack of All Trades” watch that is seemingly comfortable anywhere… including below the surface.

Its dual-crown design features a rotating inner chapter ring (that’s what the 4 o’clock crown is for), while the main crown screws-down for maximum water resistance. While it isn’t a dive watch stylistically, it sports 200m of water resistance and is perfectly fine in a pool or for shallow-water use (snorkeling/etc.).

Powering the Alpinist is Seiko’s own 6R15 automatic movement, which is a great movement at the price-point it’s found in. It hacks, hand-winds, and features a 50-hour power reserve. One gap on the Alpinist compared to other watches: lume. While the Alpinist does have lume, it’s not nearly as bright or long-lasting as some of the more dive watches on this list. Still, if you want a watch that is as comfortable at the office as it is in the pool, the Alpinist is a great choice.

Note: the Alpinist was discontinued at the beginning of 2018. Get yours now before they become hard to find.

See also:

Movement

Automatic, Seiko 6R15

Water Resistance

200m / 660ft

Model Number

SARB017

Price

$500 ish

Size

38.5mm

Crystal Material

Sapphire

Scurfa Watches Diver One Blue

Scurfa Watches Diver One

Available on ScurfaWatches.com

Scurfa Watches Diver One Blue

Back in the summer, I received an email from a reader asking if I had any plans to review a watch from Scurfa Watches, a microbrand based out of the UK. Always keen to see what my fellow commonwealthians are up to, I ordered one direct off their site and eagerly awaited its arrival.

Whenever I review a microbrand watch I expect to find a small defect or two in its manufacture, but this is not the case with the Blue Diver One model I received. In fact, the Diver One is exceptionally made, with quality as good or better than many “big name” watch brands… yet it only cost $250.

The Diver One can be had in several different color schemes, but it’s the blue that is my favorite. The strap, bezel, and dial all come in the rich blue and the finish on all three sections is excellent. The blue theme continues, with blue lume that charges fast and lasts a long time.

Best of all, the Diver One is made by an actual pressure diver. Scurfa Owner, Paul Scurfield, is a pressure diver that is regularly found underneath the waves at the deepest of depths. On his wrist is one of his own watches- you don’t get a better endorsement than that.

See also:

Movement

Quartz, Ronda 515SM

Water Resistance

300m / 990ft

Model Number

Diver One

Price

$250

Size

40mm

Crystal Material

Sapphire

Steinhart Ocean One Vintage

Available on SteinhardWatches.de

Steinhart Ocean One Vintage

Here’s something a bit different (and a watch you won’t find on the usual “dive watch lists”): the Steinhart Ocean One Vintage. If you’re a WYCA reader, you may recall Auke’s review of a different version of the Ocean One (review here). While not the same watch as the Vintage I’m recommending here, the Ocean One Auke reviewed is powered by the same ETA 2824-2 Elaboré-grade automatic movement.

The Ocean One Vintage caught my eye because of its unique style and total lack of complications. Every other watch on this list so far has a date or day/date display, but the Ocean One Vintage snubs such complications and instead focuses on the time and the depth… and that’s it.

The rotating bezel – a standard on any self-respecting dive watch – is similarly minimally decorated, save for a splash of orange at the baseline indicator.

The Elaboré-grade movement is an oddity at this price point, and that is not at all a bad thing. The ETA 2824-2 is a workhorse Swiss-made automatic found in many watches, but few are of elaboré grade, which is more precise than the standard 2824-2.

This German-made watch is definitely different compared to what you’d normally find, and chances are you’d be the only person in many miles with one on your wrist. Check it out.

See also:

Movement

Automatic, ETA 2824-2 Elaboré

Water Resistance

300m / 990ft

Model Number

103-0294

Price

$470 ish

Size

42mm

Crystal Material

Sapphire

Hamilton Khaki Navy Sub Auto Strap

Hamilton Khaki Navy Sub Auto

Available on Amazon

Hamilton Khaki Navy Sub Auto

I’m a fan of Hamilton Watches – I like their style, affordability, and value. The Sub Auto is no exception, once again offering a terrific blend of style, affordability, and durability. The Khaki Navy Sub Auto rocks a 300m / 990ft WR rating and sports an automatic ETA 2824-2 movement. Combined with sapphire glass and great design and you’ve got one solid Swiss-made watch.

It’s rare to find a dive watch that is genuinely good looking, but thanks to an intricate dial and tasteful case, the Sub Auto manages to be just that. This good-looking diver is as at home in a board meeting as it is diving the depths.

Found for around $450 – $550 on the street, the Sub Auto is also good value. That’s a fair price to pay for a Swiss-made automatic from a major brand, let alone one as good looking and well-made as this.

When I reviewed the Sub Auto in July of 2018 I said it was “my new favorite dive watch”. That is still the case today: while there are many I like, it’s the Sub Auto I like most on my wrist.

See also:

Movement

Automatic, ETA 2824-2

Water Resistance

300m / 990ft

Model Number

H78615985

Price

$1,145

Size

42mm

Crystal Material

Sapphire

Citizen Promaster BJ8050-08E “EcoZilla”

Available on Amazon

Citizen Promaster Ecozilla

Is this not one of the most insane looking watches you’ve ever seen? Dive-styling notwithstanding, the Ecozilla is one serious dive watch. It’s serious about being a diver, and it’s serious about being noticeable. Wowza.

The BJ8050-08E, affectionately nicknamed the “Ecozilla”, is a 48mm wide monstrosity that can definitely go as deep as you’d want to take it… and then maybe even deeper than that. The photos don’t really to it justice; it’s hard to convey the size and scope of this thing without seeing it in person.

But, get over the looks and what you’ve got here is one seriously capable dive watch. It uses Citizen’s famous Eco-Drive movement, which uses light (any light) to charge its battery. Once fully charged, the Eco-Drive movement inside will run for up to six months in the absence of any light.

Be warned: the Ecozilla is a tall watch and you’ll likely smack it around on many things before you adjust to its companionship on your wrist. The watch can take it assuming you don’t pick a fight with a block of titanium… I’m bringing this up simply because you’ll likely destroy the thing the watch hits as opposed to the watch itself.

What a ridiculous watch. I love it.

See also:

Movement

Eco-Drive quartz

Water Resistance

300m / 990ft

Model Number

BJ8050-08E

Price

$425

Size

48mm (!!!)

Crystal Material

Mineral

Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80

Available on Amazon

Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80

A couple of years back some good friends of mine lent me the Tissot Seastar Powermatic 80, which was brand new at the time and was rocking the new Powermatic 80 movement that boasts a still-incredible 80-hour power reserve.

Tissot has released a new version of the Seastar, the Seastar 1000. This Seastar enjoys 300m / 990ft of WR, the previously-mentioned automatic movement with 80-hour reserve, sapphire glass, an exhibition caseback, and great style that is very much Tissot while still being immediately recognized as a diver.

The Seastar looks larger in photos than it is- it’s only 43mm, which is big but isn’t that big for a diver (the crown guards add to its visual heft somewhat). Aside from the date display at 6 o’clock, there are no other complications to clutter the face. Even then, the date display is tucked away between the Seastar branding and the 6 o’clock indice and fits right in.

Every Tissot I’ve reviewed has been great, including the older Seastar I reviewed, and this one is no exception.

See also:

Movement

Eco-Drive quartz

Water Resistance

300m / 990ft

Model Number

BJ8050-08E

Price

$425

Size

48mm (!!!)

Crystal Material

Mineral

About The Author

If it ticks or tocks, I want it on my wrist. I'm a fan of all things that keep good time, and I can't resist a great looking watch. WYCA is my way of appreciating the engineering and artistry that goes into affordable watches. My favorite watch is my Jazzmaster Auto Chrono, and the watch I wear the most is my Weekender Chronograph. I currently have 33 watches in my collection.

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