Appealing to scuba-specialist and those just dipping a toe in the holiday pool. The best diver watches have a universal admiration that flows through their intrinsic craftsmanship and eye-catching design.
The majority of our readers might not be flinging themselves backwards off a boat anytime soon. Though, that shouldn’t stop them from admiring all a diver watch can offer. This style has been seen on the wrist of James Bond, and Steve McQueen, exuding a timeless masculinity that makes it a desired accessory in and out of the water.
What is a Diver Watch?
Without the wizardry of computing, divers in the past had to rely on other tools to monitor dive length and oxygen levels. Watches and water notoriously didn’t mix. That was until 1927 when Rolex launched the ‘Oyster’ timepiece—the world’s first ‘water-resistant’ watch and thus allowing divers to monitor their own time submerged.
In the 1930s, the Italian navy commissioned Panerai to make its version. That model became the Radiomir and could be submerged to 30 metres. This revolutionised the industry and spurred more watchmakers to introduce water-resistant dive watches.
The wider interest in diving as a recreational sport from the 1950s fueled the dive watch’s popularity. Now the best diver watches come with a ton of functions to help navigate those murky waters.
The Key Components of a Dive Watch
Importantly, to be called a dive watch, it must withstand travelling to 10 atm (roughly 100 metres). However, most modern watches will comfortably get you to 200-300 metres and should suffice for the hobbyist scuba diver or diving board jumper.
It’s hard to beat the clean face aesthetic combined with enlarged, easily distinguishable minute markers the dive watch delivers. Nice to look at, sure, but they are also a design note for divers, as the watch becomes easily readable in darker waters.
Another core element is the unidirectional rotating bezel that circles the watch’s face. Turning counterclockwise, it has markings at least every five minutes, allowing the wearer to track elapsed time underwater.
Aside from these dive watch fundamentals. Other features might be included depending on your budgets, such as a helium escape valve or a built-in deepwater sensor.
We have pulled together our list of the best diver watches available with or without all the extras. It covers a mix of budgets and brands, and there is sure to be a timepiece that appeals to your needs. So, let’s get started.
1. Seiko Prospex Solar Scuba Black Divers
Seiko launched Japan’s first dive watch in 1965. Since then, they have been crafting watches fit for men who take on adventure headfirst. The Prospex was nicknamed the “Sumo” when sold exclusively in Japan due to its size and robust nature. Now available in Europe, men can get their hands on this bold pick without making a sumo-sized investment.
2. Delma Cayman Bronze Dive Watch
Combining style and performance, the 1970s inspired this timepiece. The bronze colourway and black mesh strap make a sophisticated addition to any wrist. While under the hood, Delma delivers a Swiss automatic movement that won’t disappoint.
3. Omega Seamaster Diver 300m
Created to celebrate 25 years of the iconic Seamaster way back in 1993. This watch is still as timeless as ever and features Omega’s “Master Chronometer” automatic movement. Men can also benefit from additions like a helium escape valve and a minimum power reserve of 55 hours. It is a timepiece that will never go out of style.
4. Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80
Featuring a head-turning blue face reminiscent of ocean waters, Tissot didn’t stop there with the design notes. The transparent back is unique for a dive watch but only adds to the magic of this watch. Water-resistant to 300m, the screw-down crown and unidirectional ceramic bezel ensure it isn’t all style and no substance.
5. Tudor Black Bay Fifty Eight Stainless Steel Watch
This vintage-inspired watch has been created for a slender wrist, set in a 39mm steel case. The black domed dial is a tribute to Tudor’s first-ever dive watch. But, given a contemporary twist with pink gilded markings and numerals.
6. Victorinox Swiss Army Professional Diver
Embodying the brand’s rich history, this watch from Victorinox has been rigorously tested to deliver high performance in all circumstances. Swiss by name, and movement. It boasts excellent Swiss precision timing for high-level accuracy.
7. Seiko Prospex SPB143 Divers Watch
Built for sports lovers and adventure seekers, Seiko has reinterpreted its first foray into dive watches from 1965. A stunning charcoal dial offers higher visibility than the original model, while Seiko has worked hard to improve the comfort level when on the wrist.
8. Longines Diving HydroConquest Sports
A hardwearing pick, the HydroConquest features scratch-resistant sapphire crystal dial glass. Men can easily take it to 300m without any loss in performance, while the eye-catching green dial helps set it apart from its competitors.
9. Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin Automatic
Each Zodiac watch is intrinsically crafted in small batches in Biel-Bienne, Switzerland. A nice alternative to chunkier diver watches, it is a sleek 39mm diameter case combined with a 20mm strap. The matte black design makes it easily adaptable to any look, though, the rubber strap means men might favour including in a smart casual outfit.
10. Certina DS Action Diver Auto 43mm
Certina eloquently delivers everything required for the ISO 6425 standard. This marker ensures any watch hits the minimum 10 ATM fulfilment for depth. The DS Action is a nice sub-£1k timepiece for those in the market for a dive watch.
11. Ulysse Nardin Diver 42mm
Having been rigorously tested for water resistance and reliability, this diver is a sleek option for both in and out of the water. A prestigious watchmaking brand, Ulysse Nardin is a trusted name in the world of horology. Able to create high-achieving watches that deserve the loftier price tag.
12. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatic Men’s Watch
The Blancpain Fifty-Fathoms embodies the spirit of the brand’s 1953 model. When it was released, the original blew the competition out of the water, adept at going 200m below the surface. This has a vintage feel that might not be to everyone’s taste. But, we are big fans.
13. Alpina Men’s Seastrong Heritage Diver 300
A contrasting black and white dial offers a unique perspective to the traditional dive watch. The Alpina Seastrong boasts a 38-hour power reserve from its automatic movement, protected beneath a sapphire crystal glass case. It can go up to 300m beneath sea level and features a refined black bezel synchronising nicely with the black strap.
14. Bell & Ross Diver Automatic Men’s Watch
Bringing the diver watch up-to-date with an original shape, Bell & Ross have taken a contemporary swipe at a timeless watch style. Ordinarily synonymous with aviation watches, this is a refreshing change for the brand. It has all the hallmarks of a diver with some innovations, such as what they call an “ultra-resilient synthetic fibre” for the strap.
15. Oris Divers Sixty-Five Automatic
This Oris Diver’s Sixty-Five has a design emanating from one of the brand’s most iconic timepieces from that decade. Updated tweaks to the layout, like a 120-click unidirectional bezel, don’t distract too much from the watch’s timeless appearance. It’s an absolute classic.