The 10 Best Dive Watches Under $500 (Our Favorite Tool Watch)

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The dive watch has been an essential men’s timepiece ever since Sean Connery’s Bond paired one with his dinner jacket in Dr. No. So in this article, we’re rounding up 10 of our favorites. And to keep things affordable, these are the best dive watches under $500.

Divers are a necessity for sportsmen and style enthusiasts alike. After all, their utilitarian features have become classic design mainstays even for gents who stay on dry land.

That being the case, the dive watches here were chosen based on functionalities distinct from each other and for aesthetic variety.

“Just show me the watches!” 

If you’d like to see our 10 choices for the best divers under $500 at a glance before perusing the details, here they are:


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What’s the best dive watch?

Mercedes Gleitze may have famously worn a Rolex Oyster when she swam across the English Channel, but it was the Aqualung watch, developed by adventurer Jacques Cousteau in 1942, that provided the prototype of the first commercially obtainable dive watches

Scuba divers today use special computers to achieve the purposes dive watches were originally built for. However, they still wear divers as a contingency plan, so modern watch models still meet the International Standard Organization’s prerequisites.

Since they must meet these prerequisites, true divers offer a high level of quality regardless of its price. If a watch does not meet these qualifications at minimum, you’re looking at a “dive stylewatch at most:

  • Water-resistant at no less than 100 meters. In fact, many watch manufacturers suggest wearing dive watches resistant at 200 meters for professional diving.
  • Can manage elapsed time. Scuba divers must carefully time their descent and ascent to avoid decompression sickness. The time management tool often comes in the form of a unidirectional rotating bezel, now a classic watch design feature.

All the divers on this list meet these criteria, so let’s get to the fun part: Figuring out which dive watch is best for you.

The following features are not required by the ISO, but are common considerations in dive watches:

  • Luminescence and backlighting. Great for night sports or a dimly lit date night.
  • Movement. Quartz movements and automatic movements are incredibly accurate, while solar movements last for ten years before needing a new battery.
  • Screwdown crown and caseback. This helps with water resistance.
  • Strap. For style, this roundup features a variety. For practicality, make sure you size the strap so it fits when you’re wearing a wetsuit if you plan on wearing it diving or snorkeling.
  • Analog vs. digital. If you’re in it for the street cred, go for analog to appease the purists. 

If these watches can handle deep-sea conditions, trust that they can handle anything that your next guys’ camping trip can throw at it!

So let’s get to it, fellas!

So what’s the best dive watch under $500?

Depending on your needs, the answer is one or more of the following 10:

Orient Ray II

If you want classic, then the Orient Ray II with a stainless steel band is for you. 

The three-piece band has a beveled middle section that features a subtle difference in the steel finish. This is literally the kind of delicate artistry you find in watches that cost hundreds of times more. 

Orient Ray II

This diver is highly revered, garnering respect from even the snobbiest watch buyers, and is the closest to a Rolex Submariner for under $200.

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The luminescent markers on the face combined with the prominent Arabic numbers on the bezel top off the design highlights. 

It very much excites me to know that you can get a watch this classy for under $200.

Functionally, the Orient Ray II has a unique hacking feature that allows you to stop the second hand, and lumes that glow all night from just a bit of charging under the sun.

DETAILS of the Orient Ray II

Case Diameter41.5mm
Band Material TypeStainless Steel
Band Width21mm

Orient Mako II

In the interest of finding a piece for every man, I decided not to choose between the Ray II and the Mako II. After all, every William needs a Harry, and the Mako II is the more modern, less ornate answer to the Ray II.

Orient Mako II

Classy but not stuffy, this dive watch is the modern, more practical cousin of the Orient Ray II.

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This simpler watch features a smaller three-piece stainless-steel band, with a flat unbeveled middle piece and only one steel finish. The face features Arabic numbers at 12, 9 and 6 and the bezel features smaller numbers than the ones on the Ray II.

The Mako II has a lighter bracelet feeling and a slightly heavier case feeling and aesthetic.

In the tradition of Orient, this is an impressive and practical sports watch, equally as notable as the Ray II.

DETAILS of the Orient Mako II

Case Diameter41mm
Band Material TypeStainless Steel
Band Width21mm

Citizen Eco-Drive Professional Divers Watch

Do you have a lot of LL Bean and REI in your closet? Well then, Paul Bunyan, the Citizen Eco-Drive Professional Divers is your watch.

It’s one of just three truly professional watches on this list that is water-resistant up to 300 meters.

Citizen Eco-Drive Professional Divers Watch

Designed for professional scuba divers, this is the truest dive watch on this list. Adventure-seekers love its combination of rugged qualities with innovative technology

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The molded polyurethane band includes an extender so you can wear it with or without a wetsuit. You can also get the Eco-Drive Divers with a titanium band, but I would suggest considering the Tissot Seastar instead if you’re going for that lustrous look (the metal strap is more suited to the Seastar’s decorative face).

Always the innovator, Citizen packed this watch with its proprietary Eco-Drive technology. It powers up using natural or artificial light and requires zero battery changes –seriously.

Function may follow form with the Eco-Drive Professional Divers, but it’s a handsome watch for the man’s man. 

DETAILS of the Citizen Eco-Drive Professional Diver

MovementEco-Drive Solar
Case Diameter48mm
Band Material TypeRubber
Band Width24mm

Seiko Prospex, Black Ion-Plated

Every dive watch in the Seiko Prospex line is top-notch and I encourage you to look into all of them. I cover this one specifically because of its unique black ion plating.

Seiko Prospex Special Edition SRPD11

The black-ion plating not only makes this timepiece more durable, but gives it a commanding style that compliments the blue gradient face and 1/4th blue bezel. This Batman-esque watch also runs on the 4R36 automatic caliber, which comes with Seiko’s proprietary Diashock system that absorbs shock to keep the movement accurate. Basically, it’s tough inside and out.

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This authoritative timepiece will make you seem as if you have the highest TSA clearance. Or you’re on a black ops mission. Or you’re Batman.

If you’re the all-black-everything kind of guy, or going for an all-black look on a particular day, this is a great watch to have. It adds a sophisticated playfulness to your suits and an architectural flair to casual outfits.

Like all the watches in the Prospex line, the large case stands out at 45mm. The ion-plating finish not only makes this diver look cool but that much more durable as well.

DETAILS of the Black Ion-Plated Seiko Prospex

Case Diameter45mm
Band Material TypeStainless steel, Black-ion plated
Band Width22mm

Seiko SKX007

Seiko truly makes some of the best dive watches in the budget range. The SKX007, SKX7 for short, with its trademark Hardlex mostly scratch-resistant crystal, is no exception.

Seiko SKX007 (Rubber Strap)

This watch is Seiko’s quintessential diver and its most popular, likely because it makes you look like a discerning collector!

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Stylistically, the SKX7 strikes a balance between the purely utilitarian feel of the Citizen Eco-Drive Professional and the fun superhero aesthetic of the Seiko Prospex, especially if you opt for the rubber strap.

One thing I want to point out about the SKX is that there are two models out there that are nigh impossible to tell apart: The SKX007K and the SKX007J. 

The J was designed specifically for the Japanese market and has a slightly sharper finish. The face features a “21 Jewels” mark and it’s marked as “Japan WP” on the back of the case, whereas the K model simply reads “WP.”

Japan tends to keep the best stuff for their domestic market, so if you can get your hands on a J model, it’s the one that watch collectors find most desirable!

DETAILS of the Seiko SKX007

Case Diameter43mm
Band Material TypeRubber
Band Width22mm

Victorinox Swiss Army Inox Professional Diver Watch

I received my first Swiss Army knife when I was a Boy Scout and felt unconquerable with it by my side. The Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Professional Diver Watch is like that.

Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Professional Diver Watch

Like the iconic Swiss Army knife, this watch is a multipurpose tool. It can survive being run over by a literal tank and offers a unique paracord strap option. 

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The INOX comes in all the standard strap options, but I recommend the tough yet noble paracord strap. Imagine wearing a parachute cord around your wrist like an adventure hero who needed to fashion his own strap during an epic journey!

This watch also comes in a variety of colors and finishes and features a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal – something mainly found in luxury watches

On top of being ISO approved, the INOX is also certified by the NIHS 92-11 Swiss standards, which means it can literally survive 64 tons of pressure. 

DETAILS of the Victorinox Swiss Army Inox

Case Diameter45mm
Band Material TypeStainless Steel, Rubber, Leather, Paracord
Band Width22mm

Tissot Seastar 1000

If you combined the strength of the Citizen Eco-Drive Professional with the class of the Orient Ray II, you’d get the Tissot Seastar. 

With the stainless steel band version, you can literally go scuba diving, then head to a black-tie museum benefit without switching watches

Tissot Seastar 1000

This fancy diver has the sheen of a dress watch, but the durability of a professional divers watch with 300 meters of water resistance.

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The Seastar is Swiss-made, water-resistant at 300 meters, and even features a helium valve to depressurize the case during ascents from dives. 

Ironically, it has a relatively smaller case and bracelet that gives it a dressy, almost dainty, appearance. But that’s the fun in it. This is secretly a sturdy watch for a serious diver.

DETAILS of the Tissot Seastar 1000

Case Diameter43mm
Band Material TypeStainless Steel
Band Width21mm

Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW9400

If the INOX is a gentleman’s army on a heroic march, then this Rangeman is the army on a tactical mission. In fact, it may be a bounty hunter a la Han Solo.

Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW9400

The Casio G-Shock GW-9400 is the most rugged and tactical of the field watches, and it’s loaded with features. These include a 1000-hour stopwatch, 24-hour countdown timer, sunrise and sunset data, and a Triple Sensor which includes a compass, pressure sensor, and temperature sensor. At an imposing 53mm, this digital survivalist watch is as tough as it looks.

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The bulky design comes from the resin that shields the casing from vibrations and shock. To dry it off after a swim, I recommend removing the bezel and drying the case off separately. 

The Rangeman uses Casio’s Tough Solar technology, meaning it charges using artificial and natural light no matter how weak the source, with a 10-month battery life.

Finally, traditionalists forgive me, but this Rangeman has a digital face making for a practical appearance. This distinguishes it from most conventional dive watches.

DETAILS of the Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW9400

Case Diameter53mm
Band Material TypeRubber
Band Width22mm

Glycine Combat Sub

The Glycine Combat Sub is for the fashion-forward guy. More than any style-first watch on this list, I encourage Glycine owners to go crazy with the aesthetic options.

Glycine Combat Sub

This fashion-forward diver offers several style options. It’s the most visually versatile choice and is well suited for casual and formal situations.

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In every model, this watch sports a stoically masculine look due to its substantial lugs and unornamented numbers on the face.

This allows for say, a rose gold case, bright leather strap, or a two-tone stainless steel strap – qualities that may over-dandify the Seastar or clash with the rugged Eco-Drive Professional.

It’s a safe blank canvas for style!

Like the INOX, the Glycine Combat Sub has a sapphire crystal dial window, making it chic and durable.

DETAILS of the Glycine Combat Sub

Case Diameter45mm
Band Material TypeRubber, Stainless Steel, Leather
Band Width21mm

Bulova Precionist Chronograph

This watch is a bit of an editorial decision on my part. I love Bulova because even their vintage pieces that incorporate past trends always somehow still work today. I was ecstatic to find out they make a modern dive watch, and a great one at that.

Bulova Precisionist Chronograph

This maximalist chronograph has a frenetic multi-dial face, like a glitzy physics project on your wrist, and features 300 meters of water resistance.

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This watch is for two types of men: The glitzy guy or the proud science nerd.

With a case at 47mm, a curved sapphire crystal and moving dials spread all over its baroque face, the Bulova Precisionist absolutely begs for attention. It also makes an effective statement piece when worn with a minimalist monochromatic outfit.

Bulova partnered with NASA to perfect their accuracy technology, so it’s no surprise that this watch’s face also looks like a set of fashionable laboratory dials!  

DETAILS of the Bulova Precionist Chronograph

Case Diameter47mm
Band Material TypeStainless Steel, Leather, Leather-backed Nylon

What’s the best affordable dive watch?

Are you fancy or casual? All business or a man of leisure? The diver is truly essential, so it’s great that there’s such a wide variety.

As far as choosing the best one for you, it’s a reasonably safe and fun game since dive watches are high quality by nature and because so many are affordable.

I hope this helps you on your path to your first (or next!) dive watch.

If you have any questions or comments, hit me up on Twitter. You can also find join other readers on Effortless Gent’s Facebook page, or DM me on Instagram!

Scuba Diver Photo by Pia from Pexels