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Which dive watch is best?

Are you a scuba diver looking for a watch that can keep up with your underwater adventures? It needs to be not only reliable but also equipped with the features and functions you need for your next excursion.

Dive watches boast water resistance up to 100 meters. As part of their rugged design, you’ll find most styles feature secure wristbands as well as crack- or scratch-resistant watch crystals. To facilitate use in low-light conditions, dive watches are also equipped with backlit faces, luminescent hands, and other illumination details.

Not sure which dive watch is best for you? Keep reading our buying guide, which includes shopping tips and a few recommendations, like our favorite, Citizen Men’s Dive Watch, which uses Eco-Drive technology to convert light into energy to run continuously without requiring a battery change.

What to know before you buy a dive watch


To be classified as a dive watch, the watch must be water-resistant to a depth rating of at least 100 meters (300 feet). With that said, that’s the bare minimum, and most divers gravitate to dive watches with a depth rating of 200 to 300 meters. Many experienced divers invest in performance dive watches, as they offer depth ratings up to 500 meters.

Band and casing material

Considering dive watches are exposed to extreme conditions and subjected to rugged wear, it comes as no surprise that they’re designed to last. Their watch bands are made of lightweight yet durable materials such as stainless steel, silicone, rubber, resin, or sometimes titanium. The casings are usually made of stainless steel or titanium, both of which are corrosion-resistant.

What to look for in a quality dive watch

Rotating bezel

Dive watches are equipped with rotating bezels, as they help you keep track of your dive time. Simply rotate them to set your marker over the minute you begin the dive. If you’re concerned about the bezel shifting during underwater activity, rest assured that they’re unidirectional for this reason.

Screw-down crown

The crown is a tiny knob used to wind the watch, change the time, or set the date. The vast majority of dive watches have a screw-down or screw-in crown, as they prevent water from seeping inside the watch.

Illumination details

It’s not unusual to dive in low-light conditions, which is why most dive watches have luminescent digits and hands. Some dive watches also have backlit watch faces, which can be set to glow indefinitely or are turned on with the press of a button. There are also some dive watches that have reflective detail around the bezel or band.

Depth gauge

Select watches help you track your dives with a depth gauge. While you’ll end up spending more on this feature, keep in mind the investment is also one in convenience. After all, if your watch doesn’t have a depth gauge, you’ll need to carry a separate gauge — when you’re trying to travel with as few items as possible.

How much you can expect to spend on a dive watch

Dive watches with a depth rating of 100 meters or less typically cost between $20-$50. Styles with a depth rating of 200-300 meters, many of which are stainless steel, cost between $100-$500. High-end styles featuring a depth rating of 500 meters can cost up to $1,500.

Dive watch FAQ

Are there any smart dive watches?

A. There are, however given their technology and advanced design, you’ll spend as much as $2,000 on them. Given their high prices, many divers who invest in smart dive watches often get them covered under their homeowners or renters insurance policies.

Can my dive watch be repaired if it breaks?

A. It depends on the nature of the damage. Contact the manufacturer to see what they’re capable of fixing at the corporate level with their watchmakers. To expedite repairs, some manufacturers will defer you to an approved local vendor.

What’s the best dive watch to buy?

Top dive watch

Citizen’s Men’s Dive Watch

Citizen’s Men’s Dive Watch

Our take: ISO-certified dive watch with Citizen’s signature Eco-Drive technology.

What we like: Water resistant to 990 feet and appropriate for scuba diving. Backed by a five-year warranty.

What we dislike: High-maintenance watch whose internal parts may require replacement according to a schedule.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top dive watch for the money

Casio’s Men’s Stainless Steel Dive-Style Watch

Casio’s Men’s Stainless Steel Dive-Style Watch

Our take: Despite being practical and affordable, this watch features a high-end design.

What we like: Water-resistant to 656 feet. Black stainless steel case and resin band are durable.

What we dislike: Can feel a bit heavy or cumbersome during underwater activity.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Invicta Men's Pro Diver Scuba Chronograph Watch

Invicta Men’s Pro Diver Scuba Chronograph Watch

Our take: Rugged design with features geared toward intense aquatic activities.

What we like: Water-resistant to 200 feet. Classy design with a scratch-resistant flame. 

What we dislike: Only one color option. Doesn’t have as many features as other dive watches.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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