Best Dive Watches Under $1,000

“You don’t have to spend $8,000 for a Rolex Submariner or $14,000 for a Fifty Fathoms, to have a real dive watch on your wrist.”

Short list of the best dive watches under $1000

  1. Baltic Aquascaphe ($705)
  2. Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale ($790)
  3. Doxa Sub 200 ($950)
  4. Squale 1521 ($1,000)
  5. Certina DS PH200M ($980)
  6. Lorier Hydra Series II ($499)
  7. Unimatic U1-FM ($600)
  8. Dan Henry 1970 ($290)
  9. Seiko SRPH11K1 (Around $600)
  10. Seiko SRP777 ‘Turtle’ ($495)

Introduction

Dive watches. For everyone ranging from the most passionate watch collector to the absolute watch newbie, dive watches are a very popular field of watches. Now you may ask, but dive watches are designed with the intention to be used in the deepest of waters, so why should someone take this tool, that was built to withstand this enormous amount of pressure, out on the street? Don’t those watches belong on a real diver’s wrist?

See, the thing is this, people enjoy the thought of having a rugged tool, which in theory would be able to master those challenges with ease. For me personally, just the thought of all those tiny gears and springs, working flawlessly, while being under the relentless pressure of the ocean, makes me want to buy another dive watch. Yes, you heard right another one. I too am very fascinated by the dive watch sector and own a few of them (but by far not enough).

Image credits: Bond movies

But there are more factors that contribute to the success of the dive watch concept, other than how they are made. First, there is the design aspect. Since dive watches require a very high level of legibility underwater, dive watches tend to have some of the cleanest dial designs and are usually kept very minimalistic. And for the second point, don’t forget the level of coolness and badassery that dive watches are associated with. I mean just think of James Bond’s Omega Seamaster, or Steve McQueen’s Rolex 5513. By the way, if you are a James Bond fan, I wrote an article covering every (!) watch worn ever by James Bond. Check it out here.

As you can see, there are many reasons to get a dive watch. So, whether you enjoy wearing your diver behind a desk or actually plan to do some underwater exploration with it, I got you. I’ve rounded up ten of my favorite ocean-going timepieces on this list of the best dive watches that can be bought for $1,000 or less. And as always, I’m trying to include some not-so-well-known brands, so that even the most knowledgeable enthusiast will still get to see something new. But enough with all the talking, let’s get started!

Baltic Aquascaphe ($705)

Image credits: Baltic

First up is the Baltic Aquascaphe. Featured by many blogs, magazines, and YouTubers, this watch definitely deserves its spot on this list.

The Aquascaphe features a well-proportioned, 316L stainless steel case, that measures 39mm in diameter and 47mm from lug to lug. The case houses an automatic Miyota 9093 movement that will provide you with 42 hours of power reserve. Topping off the polished case is a double domed sapphire crystal, making this package perfect for rough conditions.

Being a real dive watch, after all, the watch features distinctive design features that are typical for diving watches. First, we have a simple, highly legible dial that bears only minimal markings on it. And this is quite important so that you can immediately see what time it is and how much time you have left with oxygen, even when you are 200 meters below the surface. The minimalistic dial is complemented by a 120-click unidirectional bezel that is made entirely from black sapphire glass. The screw-down crown enables the watch to have a water resistance of up to 200 meters. And to make the package perfect, you either have the choice between a tropical rubber strap or a “rice bracelet”, which is made from stainless steel.

Overall, for the price of just $710, this watch will make an excellent tool on your wrist. The classic design, the automatic movement, the strap choices, and the sapphire bezel is definitely worth your money.

Specifications: Price: $705, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic Miyota 9093 movement, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire

Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale ($790)

Image credits: Yema

Moving on to our second pick of the day. The Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale. Yema is a French watchmaking company based in Besançon, France. The brand was founded in 1948, by Henry Louis Belmont.

The Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale is a military-grade, rugged and durable watch, which was designed by French navy personnel to withstand the harshest conditions out on the high seas. The Navygraf features a 316L stainless steel case, which measures 39mm in diameter, a height of 12.15mm, and a lug to lug distance of 45mm. Equipped with the automatic in-house YEMA2000 movement, the watch provides 42 hours of power reserve. The matte blue dial features exclamation mark-shaped hour markers, a distinct signature of the 1970’s vintage Navygraf model. The golden Navygraf inscribing underlines the heritage of the watch. Topped off by a sapphire crystal, the Navygraf is water-resistant up to 300 meters or 990ft for my American readers.

Specifications: Price: $790, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 12.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Automatic in-house YEMA2000 movement, Power Reserve: 42 hours, Crystal: Sapphire

Doxa Sub 200 ($950)

Image credits: Doxa

Unveiled at Baselworld 2019, the Doxa Sub 200 features a case made from 316L stainless steel, housing a Swiss-made automatic movement decorated by Doxa. At a diameter of 42 mm, the Doxa Sub 200 is topped off by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating and the distinctive look of the past era, which the watch pays tribute to. Waterproof to a depth of 200 meters (656ft), this watch features a unidirectional rotating sapphire bezel. To ensure maximal legibility in the dark, all of the elements providing dive-relevant information, have a Super‑LumiNova luminescent coating. The watch comes either on a 316L stainless steel bracelet or a rubber strap. The Doxa Sub 200 can be bought for $950 directly from Doxa’s website.

Specifications: Price: $950, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 14mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic Swiss-made movement, Power Reserve: 38 hours, Crystal: Sapphire

Squale 1521 ($1,000)

Image credits: Squale

Back in the 1970s, the Squale 1521 was considered as one of the most influential diving watches of that era and to this day continues to be a reliable tool on the wrists of real divers. Designed to be an elegant yet robust watch that could endure the harshest conditions that professional drivers may face, the 1521 features an automatic Sellita SW 200-2 movement, which is housed in a case made from blasted 316L stainless steel. Details like the simplistic and clean dial, the bright orange minute hand that will tell you in the blink of an eye how much diving time you have left, the uni-directional bezel, and water resistance of up to 500 meters, all make this watch predestined for it to be used deep under the surface.

Specifications: Price: $1,000, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 500m, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW 200-2 movment, Power Reserve: 38 hours, Crystal: Sapphire

Certina DS PH200M ($980)

Image credits: Certina

The Certina DS PH200M with its distinctive vintage looks features a 316L stainless steel case, which measures 42.8mm in diameter and 11.9mm in height. Inside the watch beats the Powermatic 80 caliber which features an entirely new balance spring made of Nivachron™, making this watch more resistant to magnetic fields and more shock resistant. Inspired by the vintage era of dive watches, the DS PH200M has a glossy blue dial with diamond shape hands, imprinted Super-LumiNova hour and minute markers, and a date window on the 3 o’clock position. Adding to the vintage vibe is the slightly domed rotating bezel, made from glossy ceramic. Certina presents the watch on a blue NATO strap.

Specifications: Price: $980, Case Size: 42.8mm, Thickness: 11.9mm, Lug-to-Lug: n/a, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.611 movement, Power Reserve: 80 hours, Crystal: Sapphire

Lorier Hydra Series II ($499)

Image credits: Lorier

Back in the 1960s, a kind of dive watches burst onto the scene: the Twin-crown Super Compressors. Used by brands from Longines to JLC, the distinctive two-crown design was visible everywhere. And to pay tribute to this past era, the Lorier Hydra Series II features the same twin-crowned 316L stainless steel case, which we saw back in the 1960s. What is not the same as in the 60s, is the modern automatic Miyota 9015 movement, which provides around 42 hours of power reserve. Waterproof to a depth of 100 meters (330ft), this watch features a rotating internal bezel. To ensure maximal legibility in the dark, the hands, hour markers, and internal bezel have a Superluminova BGW9 luminescent coating.

Specifications: Price: $499, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 11.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic Miyota 9015 movement, Power Reserve: 42 hours, Crystal: Hesalite

Unimatic U1-FM ($600)

Image credits: Unimatic

The Italian brand Unimatic has a reputation for creating good-looking, minimalistic timepieces, which also boast some impressive specs. And the Unimatic U1-FM is no exception to that. Coming in a 316L Stainless steel case, the watch is powered by a self-winding Seiko NH35A movement, which delivers 41 hours of power reserve. The black matte ultra-minimalistic dial is what attracts most people into buying this piece. And when I say ultra-minimalistic, I mean ultra-minimalistic. The dial literally only has hour markers, minimal branding, and hands. That’s it. And the black aluminum minimal bezel with a raised lume dot rounds off this look perfectly. If you are into minimalistic watches and are prepared to spend around $600, this watch is definitely for you.

Specifications: Price: $600, Case Size: 41.5mm with bezel, Thickness: 13.6mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Automatic Seiko NH35A movement, Power Reserve: 41 hours, Crystal: Sapphire

Dan Henry 1970 ($290)

Image credits: Dan Henry

The brand Dan Henry was founded by, you’ve guessed it, Dan Henry himself. Henry collected over 1500 vintage watches over the span of 30 years and managed to acquire some of the most iconic and sought-after timepieces of the last century. He proceeded to build his own watch brand which now offers vintage-inspired watches that offer a lot of value. And the Dan Henry 1970 is no exception to that. Featured in other articles on horologisto.com, the 1970 diver is a recurring guest. The watch features an automatic Seiko NH35 movement, which beats inside a vintage-inspired twin-crown compressor case. And to make it clear that, in the end, this is indeed a real diver, the watch is waterproof up to 200 meters and features a dial, which is reminiscent of those of 1970’s divers.

Specifications: Price: $290, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 14.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.7mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Seiko NH35, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: Mineral

Seiko SRPH11K1 (Around $600)

Image credits: Seiko

Introducing the Seiko Prospex SRPH11K1, which comes in a limited edition of 8000 pieces and can now be preordered. The SRPH11K1 is in a true Seiko-diver manner quite the hefty watch. The case measures 43.8mm in diameter, 13.4mm in height, and 48.4mm from lug to lug. The watch is powered by an automatic Seiko 4R35 caliber, which provides around 41 hours of power reserve. This Seiko is topped off by a Hardlex crystal, has a water resistance of up to 200 meters (656ft), and is delivered with a black rubber strap, that complements the black case and dial perfectly.

Specifications: Price: Around $600, Case Size: 43.8mm, Thickness: 13.4mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48.8mm, Lug Width: n/a, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R35 movement, Power Reserve: 41 hours, Crystal: Hardlex

Seiko SRP777 ‘Turtle’ ($495)

Image credits: Seiko

Ultra-rugged and heavy-duty come to mind when first seeing this watch. The Seiko SRP777 ‘Turtle’ basically is the quintessential dive watch. Featuring the tried and tested automatic Seiko 4R36 movement, the watch is reliable and offers 41 hours of power reserve. But what really makes this Seiko a Seiko is the case. Measuring a hefty 45mm (!) in diameter and 13.4mm in height, the case made from 316L stainless steel is designed in a typical Seiko manner. Complementing the rugger case is the simplistic black dial, the iconic Seiko hands, a unidirectional rotating bezel, and a silicone strap. With a durable design and a water resistance of up to 200 meters, this watch is made to be used as a tool, doesn’t matter if on or under the surface.

Specifications: Price: $495, Case Size: 45mm, Thickness: 13.4mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R36 movement, Power Reserve: 41 hours, Crystal: Hardlex

Conclusion

As this list demonstrated, you don’t have to spend $8,000 for a Rolex Submariner or $14,000 for a Fifty Fathoms, to have a real dive watch on your wrist. Of course, you will have to make some compromises, but in the end, for just $1000, you can get your hands on some very solid choices. Oh, and by the way, if you are interested in other watches under $1,000, I made a complete list of the best automatic watches under $1,000. Check it out, thanks!

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