top of page

Guides - Top Diver Watches to Buy Under $500


Diver under water
I know, most of us will not use our watches for this

Nowadays, it is hard to find someone who uses a diver watch during underwater adventures, as there are more advanced tools for that purpose. Still, the diver category continues to be the most popular for offering watches with purposeful design, ruggedness, and versatility.


Before you start reading this guide, we recommend you click here and take a look at our post covering the history of diver watches. However, if you are a veteran enthusiast, you can skip the lesson and get started.


What Makes a Good Diver Watch

It's important to know some key factors to evaluate when looking for a high-quality diver watch:

  1. Water resistance: The primary and most crucial feature of a good diver watch is exceptional water resistance. Keep in mind that there is a difference between the informed resistance and how deep you can actually dive using your watch, so if you plan on using yours to scuba in the Caribbean we recommend you choose a watch that is ISO 6425 certified.

  2. Rotating bezel: An essential characteristic of diver watches is a unidirectional rotating bezel, typically marked with minute graduations. This feature allows divers to track elapsed time underwater accurately. Even if you are using a diving computer it is a good idea to have a watch as backup in case of problems.

  3. Luminescent Markings: High-quality luminescence, often using materials like Super-LumiNova, ensures that the watch remains readable in the dark depths. This feature is essential for maintaining safety and readability during underwater activities where natural light may be limited or nonexistent.


Recommended Diver Watches Under $500


1. Casio MDV106-1AV

Casio Duro
One of the most popular watches from Casio
  • Movement: Casio 2784 Quartz

  • Materials: Stainless steel case, resin strap, mineral crystal

  • Water Resistance: 200 meters

  • Dimensions: Case 44mm, Thickness 12mm, Lug width 20mm, Lug-to-lug 48.5mm

  • Average Price: USD 50



Why it's great:

If you missed it, go back and read the price again. For around $50 I don't think there is a better watch out there that doesn't come from AliExpress. You can buy a new bracelet, replace the mineral with sapphire glass, and it would still come out incredibly cheap. This is not a small watch, but the short lug-to-lug makes it wearable even if you have medium sized wrists. Considering it comes in different colors, there is no excuse to not have a Casio Duro in your collection. Just stay away from the 40mm version, as it is simply crap.


Where to buy:

Amazon US / Casio US


2. Citizen Promaster Diver BN0151-09L

Citizen promaster
This is a proper beater
  • Movement: Citizen Eco-Drive E168

  • Materials: Stainless steel case, rubber strap, mineral crystal

  • Water Resistance: 200 meters

  • Dimensions: Case 44mm, Thickness 11.6mm, Lug width 20mm

  • Average Price: USD 215




Why it's great:

You might be wondering why we didn't recommend the automatic version. Well, we see this watch as a proper tool for folks who are frequently near water, such as sailors, divers, or other 'aquatic' creatures, who can benefit from the practicality of the eco-drive movement.


The bezel is very nice to operate, the lume is terrific, and legibility is great. Citizen could have skipped the date window on this one, but overall it is a killer package for the price.


Where to buy:

Amazon US / Jomashop


3. Orient Kamasu RA-AA0001B19A

Orient Kamasu
A cheap classic for good reasons
  • Movement: Orient F6922 Automatic

  • Materials: Stainless steel case and bracelet, sapphire crystal

  • Water Resistance: 200 meters

  • Dimensions: Case 41.8mm, Thickness 12.8mm, Lug width 22mm, Lug-to-lug 47mm

  • Average Price: USD 240



Why it's great:

The Orient Kamasu has reigned supreme in the world of entry-level divers for a while. With 200 meters of water resistance, sapphire crystal, and a reliable automatic movement, it is easy to understand why.


It is not perfect, obviously. The bezel and crown are hard to operate, and the bracelet is subpar. However, with good specs, a versatile look, and an attractive price, it is hard to beat this one.


Where to buy:


4. Tissot Seastar 1000 40mm

Tissot Seastar
A versatile beauty
  • Movement: Swiss caliber F06.412 Quartz

  • Materials: Stainless steel case and bracelet, sapphire crystal

  • Water Resistance: 300 meters

  • Dimensions: Case 40mm, Thickness 10mm, Lug width 20mm

  • Average Price: USD 450




Why it's great:

This watch has a classic look that allows it to be dressed up, a feature not always found in divers. The 40mm case also enhances its versatility, making it a great option for smaller collections.


The screw-down crown and caseback enable it to achieve a 300m water resistance, well beyond what most of us will need. While the quartz movement may be a turnoff for some, it is the only way to get a Tissot for under $500.


Where to buy:


5. Seiko Prospex Sea SRPE03

Seiko turtle
The distinct case shape of the SRPE03
  • Movement: Seiko 4R36 Automatic

  • Materials: Stainless steel case and bracelet, sapphire crystal

  • Water Resistance: 200 meters

  • Dimensions: Case 45mm, Thickness 13.2mm, Lug width 22mm, Lug-to-lug 47.7mm

  • Average Price: USD 450




Why it's great:

Seiko has a lot of options around $500, but the SRPE03's unique case shape and waffle pattern dial make it stand out from the crowd. This model also offers a ceramic bezel, sapphire crystal, and a screw-down crown and case back. To round up the package, the watch follows ISO standards, allowing you to take it scuba diving without concern.


Where to buy:

 

If you want to learn more about the history of diver watches, take a look at this post.

Comments


bottom of page