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Six Good Men's Dive Watches for the Money in 2017
The Best Dive Watches Under $500
When I'm diving, time has no real meaning. Fish watching, reef gazing, and exploring in the water make me feel far away from the rest of the world.
I find a good diving watch doesn't just help me to know how long I've been under the water, it also looks great in any environment. Indeed, sports enthusiasts and businessmen alike find the bold style of diving watches refreshing. Their ruggedness and look also make them a practical option for collectors.
Over the years my spouse and I have owned many diving watches. Below I'll discuss not only what to consider when purchasing a diving watch but also my favorite men's quality diving watches for various depths.
What to Look for in a Men's Diving Watch
1. Know How Deep Your Watch Can Go
The thing to look for is depth. If you merely engage in snorkeling, shallow dives, or other types of surface water play, you can easily make do with a watch that offers water resistance for shallower depths.
Also keep in mind that watches claiming to be "waterproof" are not necessarily good for diving. These watches can handle exposure to water on a daily basis or immersion in shallow depths, but diving requires a watch that can really handle the pressure.
A watch with 100M is adequate for minimal depths. However, if you are interested in deeper diving, look for a watch that offers at least 200 to 300M. This range gives enough flexibility for even serious divers; however, it's always good idea to be on the safe side and go with something a bit more than what you'll need.
2. Watch Materials and Casing
Water resistance is determined by the materials the casing is made from and how the casing is attached. Watches whose backs are screwed down or completely sealed will give you more resistance than those whose backs just pop in.
I spent about $200 once on what I thought was a good watch that had a pop-in back and after my fifth dive it started to leak. From that point forward I always made sure to wear a watch with a screw in back.
3. Best Diving Watches: Finding a Quality Watch Band
A quality watch band can be really important. I have always noticed that cheap watches around $30-$50 tend to break down much more quickly when exposed to the elements over time, both in the band and the watch face. There are three kinds of band materials you want to look out for with watches:
- Rubber is quite comfortable and also inexpensive. These bands are very flexible and can be adjusted easily. Rubber is a much better choice than silicone because it has a slower rate of degradation.
- Stainless Steel. Metal bands are usually made of stainless steel or titanium since these materials don't rust or corrode. Stainless steel is a popular choice, but if you have a bit more money to spend I would recommend a titanium band.
- Titanium is more lightweight than stainless steel so it can be more comfortable. Keep in mind that metal bands will not expand when your wrist swells, so it is of utmost importance that the band be sized properly.
4. Underwater Visibility
Unless your snorkeling, you won't be able to rely on having very much natural light to help you read the watch. You'll want to make sure, then, that you find a watch that will be easy to read in the darkness of the lower depths. I suggest finding a watch that has luminous markers, numbers, and dials. Alternately, a watch that has high contrast between the dials, the markers, and the numbers will also be easier to read underwater.
5. Some Other Key Features
Diving watches come with a host of other features that you may or may not find useful. I personally like having a depth indicator and water temperature feature. Many watches come equipped to keep track of your average and maximum depths and to display a low-charge warning.
How deep do you dive?
The Best Under $500 Men's Diving Watches of 2017
A Good Under $50 Men's Diving Watch for Beginning Divers
1. Casio Men's AMW320D-9EV
My favorite in this category is the Casio Men’s AMW320D-9EV Ana-Digi Alarm Chronograph Dive Watch. The gold colored face is very elegant, making it great both for diving adventures and the office. I also really like the digital time readout at the bottom of the watch, which helps you quickly get the information you need. It has a 100M water-resistance so it's good for swimming, snorkeling, or low-depth diving.
Overall, it's one of the better values you'll find for the money and is a great watch for beginning or casual divers.
A 200M Water-Resistant Men's Dive Watch—Excellent Value
2. Seiko Men's SKX173
If you're willing to spend a bit more, then I highly recommend the Seiko SKX173. Its luminous hands, markers, and bezel make it extremely easy to read while underwater and it's extremely comfortable to boot. Like the Casio above, this watch looks good in a semi-formal dress environment and is also very rugged, meeting ISO standards for scuba diving.
Seiko's been building a version of this watch for years. It's one of the more durable watches I've owned—and that's saying something! If you're looking for a watch that is versatile and looks great, then this is a good buy at under $300.
You might also like the Seiko Men’s Stainless Steel Automatic Dive Watch, which has a very classic sports watch look to it. It features an analog display that never needs winding. Even the more expensive TAG watch farther down on the list requires some adjusting every few months.
Two Great Men's Dive Watches for 300 Meters
3. Tag Heuer Aquaracer
The Tag Heuer Men's Aquaracer has been one of the best watches on the market for several years. My friends and I have put this version, released in 2011, through the wringer many times, and it has been a constant companion on my diving trips since I bought it. With water resistance of up to 300M it's good enough for even the most serious divers, and its luminous markers make it easy to read under the water.
The blue, silver, and white face along with the stainless band make it formal enough for a dress event, but casual enough for sport. It's built for rugged environments, with a screw down crown and shock resistance. It's the kind of watch that, if regularly maintained, can be handed down.
4. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Professional Diver Watch
On the more affordable end of the spectrum is this Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Professional Diver Black Rubber Strap Watch. Its strong, screwed-on back makes it a very sturdy and rugged timekeeping device.
This is a great watch for mixed gas diving. It looks similar to the Seiko but the hands are fatter and more luminous than most of the others on this list.
Good Men's Dive Watches up to 500 Meters
5. Invicta Men's Subaqua
My favorite here is the Invicta Men’s Subaqua Collection GMT Limited Edition Watch. Invicta always makes a good watch at a reasonable price. This watch is great because you can wear it while dressed casually or sporty.
The band is polyurethane with a stainless-steel insert on the outside that looks cool. This particular design gives you a more fashionable look than your average diving watch.
6. Victorinox Swiss Army Men’s Dive Master Black Dial Watch
Another option at this depth is the Victorinox Swiss Army Men’s Dive Master Black Dial Watch. I really like the anti-reflective sapphire crystal over the face—it can really take a beating. As far as durability, this one takes the cake.
For depth, it's water-resistant up to 1640 feet or 500 M.
Best Diving Watches - An Overview
Casio Men's AMW320D-9EV Ana-Digi Alarm Chronograph Dive Watch
Seiko Men's SKX173 Stainless Steel and Black Polyurethane Automatic Dive Watch
TAG Heuer Men's Aquaracer Stainless Steel Watch
Citizen Men's BJ8050-08E Eco-Drive Professional Diver Black Sport Watch
Invicta Men's 0777 Subaqua Collection GMT Limited Edition Watch
Victorinox Swiss Army Men's 241421 Dive Master Black Dial Watch
Overall, I like to first find something comfortable to wear and then move on to materials, depth, quality, and more. If you have something that you enjoy wearing, you're more likely to get good use out of it.
© 2014 JC Heppler