Best Microbrand Dive Watches

“In Today’s episode, you can expect a wide range of different microbrand dive watches, ranging from the Baltic Aquascaphe, all the way to the Aquastar Deepstar.”

Best Microbrand Dive Watches

  1. Baltic Aquascaphe
  2. Baltic Aquascaphe Dual Crown
  3. Dan Henry 1970
  4. Halios Fairwind
  5. Lorier Hydra
  6. Unimatic U1 Classic
  7. Farer Endeavour Titanium
  8. Monta Oceanking
  9. Aquastar Deepstar


Microbrands have become one of the fastest-growing aspects of the mechanical watch market, in some cases even surpassing the big players in the watch industry. Most of these brands use their online presence and their websites as their main source of distribution, allowing them to reduce third-party costs by interacting directly with the customer. I personally like this development in the watch industry. The increased level of competition in the watch business means that the big players have to get more creative and innovative to stay relevant. This in turn equals more great options and more value for us watch enthusiasts and customers. 

But because of the relatively low barrier of entry, it seems that every day a new Microbrand is popping up, be it on your Instagram feed or on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. I’m sure it wasn’t long ago since you got the latest ad of some new brand, trying their best to stand out in this competitive market. Maybe you are not able to keep up on which brands are delivering on their promise and which are just blowing hot air in your direction. And this is totally understandable. So, for that reason, I wanted to give you some guidance and have therefore created this series in which I will feature my favorite microbrand watches each week. I choose each model and brand based on their value for money and the innovation they bring into the watch industry. And, today, we are looking at 9 of the best microbrand dive watches.

And if you are interested in more Microbrand watches, I recommend checking out the Microbrand topic overall, to get some additional inspiration and context.

So, let’s dive (haha…) straight into today’s episode, in which you can expect nine of my favorite microbrand dive watches.

Baltic Aquascaphe ($685)

Image credits: Baltic

First up is the Baltic Aquascaphe. A watch that was featured by many watch blogs, magazines, and YouTubers, and gained a lot of respect within the watch community. Inspired by the vintage dive watches of the 60s, the Baltic Aquascaphe is designed to pay tribute to past times, while simultaneously catering to the needs of modern dive lovers.

With its sapphire bezel insert and clean dial, the watch features a unique combination of vintage and contemporary aesthetics. But the watch doesn’t just look like a diver. With its 200 meters of water resistance, this watch is highly capable of accompanying you on your next dive trip, as well as on other nautical adventures.

The Baltic Aquascaphe features a brushed stainless-steel case, which measures 39mm in diameter, 12mm in thickness, and 47mm from lug to lug. Compared to other dive watches, this is rather conservatively, meaning that people with slim wrists will enjoy this dive watch to the fullest. On top of the case sits the unidirectional, sapphire bezel, which features faux-patina-colored markers. The vintage-inspired bezel hugs the grainy black dial, which features faux-patina hour markers, luminous hands, as well as a white minute track that is quite prominent and runs on the outer rims of the dial.

For the movement, Baltic chose the automatic Miyota 9039 movement. This self-winding movement has a power reserve of 42 hours and is perfect for you if you are looking for a vintage-inspired dive watch that originates at around the same time as the iconic Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, but you don’t want to spend more than $700.

Specifications: Price: $685, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic Miyota 9039 movement, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire

Baltic Aquascaphe Dual Crown ($649)

Image credits: Baltic

And because it was so much fun last time, here is another watch from Baltic. Namely, the Baltic Aquascaphe Dual Crown. But I think the name is a little bit misleading. It’s not that they just added another crown to their original Aquascaphe model. They actually revived a very famous dive watch concept of the 50s and 60s, the dual-crown super-compressor case, and applied it to their modern watchmaking principle. Most of you are probably familiar with the history of those watches, but for those of you that aren’t, let me enlighten you. Very popular in the 50s to the 60s, super compressors featured not one, but two crowns on the side of the case. With the upper crown you were able to rotate the inner bezel, while with the bottom crown, you could adjust the time, like with any normal crown. And now, after decades of abstinence, I’m happy that brands slowly start bringing that concept back to life, and acknowledge this past era of glorious watchmaking.

And the Baltic Aquascaphe Dual Crown is a prime example of this effort. The watch features a black PVD coated stainless steel case, which measures 39mm in diameter, 11.9mm in thickness, and 47mm from lug to lug. And if you compare the proportions of the normal Aquascaphe to that of the Dual Crown, you can see that they are nearly identical. And this goes to show that Baltic runs a straight line when it comes to their designs, which, in my opinion, is something not every microbrand can say for themselves. But as cool as the twin-crowned case may be, the dial puts one up on that. Fittingly to the black case, the dial with its internal bezel is also kept in pitch black, resulting in a very cool-looking all-black look. The only things that aren’t black, are the luminous dive markings of the internal bezel, the luminous hour and minute markers, as well as the oversized index hands.

But as with other things in life, sometimes you have to take a look at what is behind the curtain. In the case of the Aquascaphe Dual Crown, it is an automatic Miyota 9039 movement, which features hacking seconds and provides 42 hours of power reserve.

To sum it up, if you are looking for a cool-looking watch, that, with its 200 meters of water resistance, is perfectly capable of accompanying any sort of nautical activities, such as diving, swimming, and many other things, this watch is perfect for you.

Specifications: Price: $649, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 11.9mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic Miyota 9039 movement, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire

Dan Henry 1970 ($290)

Image credits: Dan Henry

As the seasoned reader of this blog surely knows, the next watch on this list made a lot of appearances on Horologisto. Of course, I’m talking about the Dan Henry 1970, which admittedly, was featured in quite a lot of articles that I’ve written over the past few months. But it’s not because I’m uncreative or lazy, it’s just that for its price point, there aren’t a lot of microbrand dive watches that can compete with the Dan Henry 1970.

And for those of you that are now asking who and what Dan Henry is, let me give you a quick overview. The person that founded the Dan Henry brand, is, you’ve guessed it, a guy named Dan Henry. Dan Henry is an avid collector of vintage timepieces, who, as of today, has over 1500 vintage watches in his collection, some of them are considered to be among the most iconic and sought-after timepieces of the last century. After realizing that most watch enthusiasts out there would never be able to afford the prestigious watches he collected, he launched his own brand, which offers vintage-inspired watches, at a very reasonable price point.

And the Dan Henry 1970 dive watch is a perfect example of that philosophy. The watch features a twin crown, super compressor case, that is made from black-PVD coated stainless steel, and measures 40mm in diameter, 14.8mm in thickness, and 45.7mm from lug to lug. Fitting well into that vintage narrative of the super compressor dive case is the vintage-inspired, black dial, which features an inner bezel with typical diver markers, oversized hour markers for better legibility, and vibrant splashes of orange color, which can be found on the second’s hand, as well as on the inner bezel. Thanks to its screw-down crown, the watch is water-resistant up to 200 meters, making it perfectly capable of going on a diving adventure.

Inside of the watch beats the automatic Seiko NH35 movement, which, considering the watch’s $290 price tag, is a very nice choice, and will make you happy.

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

Halios Fairwind ($775)

Image credits: Halios

The next watch on this list, the Halios Fairwind, was already featured in another part of the microbrand series, but since it offers great value, looks great and is an awesome microbrand dive watch, I had to include it here as well. The brand Halios and its founder Jason Lim, received a lot of positive feedback from the watch community, countless blogs, and YouTubers. And I personally think that their success is not only due to the great value that they offer, but also due to the passion that Jason Lim brought into this. Because before building his own watch brand, Jason, for many years, was an avid watch enthusiast and collector himself.

And his passion for watches can clearly be seen in a wide array of their timepieces. But the one that stood out the most for me, was the Halios Fairwind. The Halios Fairwind features a well-proportioned stainless-steel case, which measures 39mm in diameter, 12.4mm in thickness, and 48mm from lug to lug. I just want to add, that I love the approach microbrands take with the sizing of their dive watches. Unlike more popular and established brands, microbrands tend to focus a lot more on the needs of the customers in their particular niches, and, obviously, those people want smaller watches. Love it! What I also love is the awesome dial and bezel combination. The highly legible, navy-blue dial features luminous applied indexes, luminous baton-styled hour and minute hands, as well as an orange-tipped second hand, which gives the dial the needed visual variety. Hugging the dial, is the navy blue, diver bezel, which, thanks to the sapphire glass, has this cool glossy look to it.

The watch is powered by an automatic Sellita SW200-1 movement, which provides approximately 40 hours of power reserve.

For a price of just $775, you will get an awesome dive watch with 200 meters of water resistance, and you will support a cool microbrand, that is driven by the passion of its founder. What more could you want?

Specifications: Price: $775, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 12.4mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW200-1 movement, Power Reserve: 40 hours, Crystal: Sapphire

Lorier Hydra ($499)

Image credits: Lorier

Moving on to the Lorier Hydra, yet another twin crown super compressor diver that was inspired by the 1960s. I wasn’t joking when I said that microbrands jumped on this trend of creating vintage-inspired dive watches. But hey, I’m not complaining, I actually love this trend. Such a cool thing to see when small brands take some risks to compete with the bigger fishes in the pond. And in case of the Lorier Hydra, taking this risk paid out for Lorier. Lorier (pronounced lor-yé) was founded in New York City and is run by Lorenzo and Lauren Ortega, a couple who is aiming to create vintage-inspired mechanical watches at very good prices.

And the Lorier Hydra definitely fits into the narrative of a cool, vintage-inspired, mechanical watch. The watch features a super compressor case made from brushed stainless steel, which measures 39mm in diameter, 11.5mm in thickness, and 47mm from lug to lug. As with the other super compressor watches on this list, the bezel of the Lorier Hydra is not placed on the outside, like your typical dive watch, instead, it’s on the inside, and controlled with the second crown. But you knew that already, didn’t you? Speaking of the crown, the crowns are screw-down, enabling the watch to be water-resistant up to 100 meters. But as cool as those compressor cases may be, we can’t forget the stunning dial and bezel of the Hydra. Kept in a rich navy blue, the dial features white hour and minute markers, the Lorier-typical hands, as well as a date window on 6 o’clock.

The Lorier Hydra is powered by the automatic Miyota 9015 movement, which is a solid movement, considering the $499 price tag of the watch. And if you then add the great finishing quality and the great design of the dial and bezel, this watch offers tremendous value for your money.

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 Classic (Approx. $755)

Image credits: Unimatic

Coming up next is a watch from Bella Italia. The Unimatic U1 Classic (UC1 for short). A watch from a brand that most of you will be very familiar with. Unimatic. Known for creating good-looking, minimalistic timepieces, which also boast some impressive specs, this Italian brand is a rising star within the watch industry. Their watches are usually sold out within minutes, and they maintain collaborations with various brands, the most famous one being Hodinkee, with whom they created 3 different watches, that were sold out within a very short time, and are now being resold on the grey market platforms for more than 3.5x the initial list price. I think that should give you an idea of how hyped Unimatic is at the moment.

And the Unimatic U1 Classic embodies the Unimatic spirit to near perfection. As part of the new Unimatic permanent Classic series, a series of 4 watches, that, unlike other Unimatic releases, aren’t limited, the UC1 features a brushed stainless-steel case, which measures 41.5mm in diameter, 13.6mm in thickness, and 49mm from lug to lug. Now from personal experience, I can tell you that the 41.5mm case of the Unimatic U1 wears quite large. Just something to keep in mind, if you have slimmer wrists or don’t enjoy a bigger-sized watch. But if you don’t really care about that, the watch has a lot to offer. Take for example the dial and the bezel, both of which were designed to be very minimalistic and understated. They only feature the most necessary diving-related markers, like the luminous minute and hour markers, and the luminous index hands. And that minimalistic approach to design is exactly what made Unimatic the success that they are today.

The Unimatic U1 Classic diver is powered by the automatic NH35A movement, which beats at 21,600 BPH, and provides around 41 hours of power reserve.

To sum it up, if you are looking for a minimalistic designed dive watch, that is capable of enduring water pressures down to 300 meters and have 640 euros (Approx. $755) to spend, the Unimatic U1 Classic will be a fine choice.

Specifications: Price: 640 euro (Approx. $755), Case Size: 41.5mm, Thickness: 13.6mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Automatic NH35A movement, Power Reserve: 41 hours, Crystal: Sapphire

Farer Endeavour Titanium ($1,370)

Image credits: Farer

Next up is the Farer Endeavour Titanium. I hope you aren’t getting tired of those super compressor dive watches, because here comes another one. I promise this will be the last one for today, I really do. But it would be a shame not to include this awesome diver from Farer into this list of the best microbrand dive watches. Because it certainly belongs here.

The Farer Endeavour Titanium features a twin-crown super compressor case, which measures 41.5mm in diameter, 12.5mm in thickness, and 45mm from lug to lug. The case is made from marine-grade II titanium and is coated in matte black DLC, which gives this watch a very cool blacked-out look. Suiting the pitch-black case is the light-absorbing matte black dial, which features polished steel hour markers, an internal unidirectional bezel, oversized hour, and minute hands, and a second hand with the Farer typical “A” tip. The case is topped off by a double curved sapphire crystal, which enables the watch to have a water resistance rating of up to 300 meters (990ft).

The watch is powered by the automatic Swiss-made Sellita SW200-1 elaboré movement, which was customized by Farer to feature a beautifully engraved submersible wave textured rotor, which is visible through the sapphire glass open caseback.

There you have it, for a price of $1,370 you will get a highly capable and beautifully designed dive watch, from one of the world’s most respected microbrands.

Specifications: Price: $1,370, Case Size: 41.5mm, Thickness: 12.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Automatic Swiss-made Sellita SW200-1 elaboré movement, Power Reserve: 38 hours, Crystal: Sapphire

Monta Oceanking ($2,140)

Image credits: Monta

Moving on to Monta and their Oceanking. Monta is a fairly new microbrand, that came into the picture back in 2016 when they launched their first Oceanking model. Over the past 5 years, the US-based watch company managed to gain respect from a lot of watch enthusiasts and journalists worldwide.

The Monta Oceanking features a brushed stainless-steel case, which measures 40mm in diameter, 11.9mm in thickness, and 49mm from lug to lug. Compared to other watches in the 40mm size range, the Monta Oceanking will probably wear a little bit larger, due to the 49mm lug to lug distance and its stainless-steel bracelet. Case aside, the dial and the bezel are where the Monta Oceanking really gets to shine. Starting with the black dial, which features applied hour indexes, index-shaped hands, a date window at 6 o’clock, as well as a striking red Oceanking lettering just below the center of the dial, which, combined with its black ceramic diver bezel, reminds me a little bit of the Rolex Sea-Dweller or the Rolex Submariner.

Inside of the case beats the self-winding Monta Caliber M-22, which, basically, is a Sellita SW300, that was decorated and adjusted by Monta. So, it’s not really an in-house movement, but it also isn’t just your basic, run-of-the-mill movement, that they just threw in there. It’s the best of both worlds, let’s put it like that. But the care and attention that went into manufacturing this watch, don’t come cheap. Expect to pay $2,140, when you want to pick one up for yourself.

Specifications: Price: $2,140, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11.9mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 304m, Movement: Automatic Monta Caliber M-22 movement, Power Reserve: 42 hours, Crystal: Sapphire

Aquastar Deepstar ($3,590)

Image credits: Aquastar

And last one but not least, the Aquastar Deepstar. A watch that pays tribute to one of the most influential dive watches of the 60s, the eponymous Aquastar Deepstar. With its unique mono sub counter dial, the small running indicator, and identical proportions, the modern version of the Aquastar Deepstar retains almost all the same distinctive design aspects as its 1960s predecessor possessed.

The Aquastar Deepstar features a 316L stainless steel case, which measures 40.5mm in diameter, 14.8mm in thickness, and 51mm from lug to lug. The immense difference between the diameter and the lug-to-lug distance comes from the very long and straight lugs, that emerge from the brushed stainless-steel case. As mentioned earlier, the dial and the bezel of the Deepstar, are both nearly identical to its vintage counterpart. And those vintage influences can be clearly seen in the uncluttered mono sub counter dial, the small running indicator, the hour, minute, and second hands, the hour markers, as well as in the patented multiple dive decompression bezel. Add to that equation the highly domed sapphire crystal, the vintage tropical rubber strap, as well as 200 meters of water resistance, and you’ve got yourself the perfect vintage-inspired dive watch.

But it gets even better. The watch is powered by a Swiss-made, high-end, automatic La Joux-Perret movement, which was manufactured exclusively for the Deepstar. And like the Valjoux 23 movement of its predecessor, the new La Joux-Perret Deepstar movement, is also equipped with column wheel operated pushers, which make the new Deepstar equally practical, versatile, and refined as a modern Chronograph. All in all, a very cool watch. But please be aware that, with its 51mm lug to lug distance, this watch will have a very strong presence on your wrist.

Specifications: Price: $3,590, Case Size: 40.5mm, Thickness: 14.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 51mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic Swiss-made exclusive La Joux-Perret movement, Power Reserve: 55 hours, Crystal: Sapphire


And that’s it for today. Those are the best microbrand dive watches you can buy in 2021. If you think otherwise, please let me know in the comments below, and tell me about your favorite microbrand dive watch.


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