There are plenty of dive watches at the lower end of the price range. Conversely, you can look at the higher end and find everything from Rolex to Omega to Blancpain. But, what about those of you who are willing to spend a bit of money, but not quite in the four and five-figure range? We’ve got you covered. There are plenty of dive watches that run around $500 or less. Let’s take a look at the top five watches in this price range so you can go on your next dive in style.
Best Dive Watches Under 500
- Solar-power bracelet watch with black dial featuring luminous hands and markers and three...
- 43 mm stainless steel case with Hardlex dial window
- Stainless steel bracelet with fold-over clasp and double-push-button safety
- Recharge by light satisfactory(i.e. 3.5 with 10,000 lux etc)
- Water resistant to 200 m (660 ft): In general, suitable for professional marine activity and serious...
We’ve mentioned it before in other articles about dive watches. Seiko dive watches are the best on the market right now if you aren’t looking to drop thousands of dollars. They offer some of the best quality watches at a range of prices suitable for most budgets. If you are a diver looking for a top-quality dive watch, you can’t go wrong with their Prospex line of watches. This specific model is an awesome balance of function and style. It is suitable for the needs of both beginners and advanced divers.
- This is a solar-powered watch which makes it the perfect choice if you do a lot of diving in tropical waters. This ensures you don’t have to replace the battery often which can be reassuring. You don’t have to worry about it failing you during a dive.
- This model is rated to a depth of 200m (656ft). This is an ISO rated watch which means that every single watch has been tested well past it’s rated depth. You can use this for most recreational dives. We wouldn’t recommend this for technical diving.
- One of the main things we like about this watch is how easy it is to read. The face is black and all of the dials white. The dials on the face are large and easy to read. This watch also has a bright luminous face as well as luminous notches on the bezel.
- The main issue we have with this watch is the bezel. It can be quite stiff and, occasionally, very difficult to turn. This makes it sometimes hard to use if you are setting it before a dive. It does mean the bezel isn’t going to move during the dive but can make it difficult to set.
- Quartz Movement, Case material: Carbon reinforced PC
- Case Bezel: Rotating 1-Way Diver, Case Back: Caseback with Screws, Crown: Double-Security Gasket
- Case diameter: 43 mm
- Polyurethane case, Black dial, Date function, Strap/Bracelet material Rubber / Silicone / PU
- Water resistance 200 m / 660 ft / 20 atm
Luminox has marketed this as being the official watch of the United States Navy Seals. There is no standard watch and Seal divers often use a variety of different timepieces. That aside, this is still a high-quality watch. It’s got one of the best illumination systems on the market. Hence where the name Luminox comes from. It’s one large and sturdy watch perfect for divers who need something that can take a beating.
- As we mentioned above, this is an incredibly durable watch. The body is made from polyurethane with carbon reinforcement. It’s a great option if you plan on doing activities such as cave diving or wreck diving which might be hard on your watch.
- The lumination on this is self-powered. This means it doesn’t need to be charged by lighting nor will you need to press any buttons to activate it. If you will be doing any night diving or other types of diving in dark environments, this is a good watch to consider.
- This is rated to 200m (656ft) depth which makes it a great option for recreational divers of all levels. We wouldn’t recommend this for technical divers going to extreme depths. But, if you are going to be diving to 40m (130ft) or less, you should be fine using the Luminox Navy Seal.
- The main drawback of the Luminox is the watchband. It is sized to 23mm which is a non-standard size with it comes to watch bands. This can make it a bit more challenging to find if you need to replace it. As a workaround, many people opt for the 22mm Zulu NATO style strap.
- Pre-Adjusted to Fit YOU - Send us your wrist size in Inches, and we will send you the watch with the...
- AUTOMATIC MOVEMENT - High Quality Swiss Made Automatic Self-Winding Mechanism 36 Hr Power Reserve -...
- BRACELET CRAFTSMANSHIP - Chamferred and beveled bracelet gives off chiseled 3D depth effect, Divers...
- WATER-RESISTANCE 660 Feet / 200 Meters with screw down crown and rubber gaskets, Suitable for...
- NO BATTERIES NEEDED: Automatic self-winding mechanical movement utilizes your natural movements to...
Sturhling is a newcomer to the watch manufacturing scene. They started in the early 2000s and have been going strong since. Since they are a bit newer, they don’t have the same reputation as other more established brands such as Seiko. But, this doesn’t mean their watches should be overlooked. They’ve become known for their stylish designs and top-level quality. The Depthmaster continues in this tradition as a top-quality dive watch. It’s perfect for both the dive boat and the boardroom.
- The Depthmaster has automatic movement. This means that it charges and moves based on the movement of your arm. The benefit of this is that you do not have to consistently wind it to keep it on track. Also, automatic watches will store extra energy so the watch will function even if it isn’t worn. Most automatic watches can keep time for a few days when not worn.
- This clasp on this is one of the best we’ve ever seen on a dive watch. Most watches, dive watches included, have only one point which they clasp. The Stuhrling Depthmaster has two points. First, it clasps down the normal way. Second, it has two retaining guides on either side of the clasp. So, if you accidentally brush the clasp against something mid-dive, it isn’t going to come loose and fall off.
- We are quite satisfied with the lumination on this watch. The bezel is completely luminous as well as the dials on the face. What we like about this is that many dive watches only have one notch on the bezel that is luminous. So, if you are in a particularly dark environment, you won’t be able to see the bezel. Having all of the notches on the bezel fully luminous is a major plus.
- The only major drawback we’ve seen is that the Divemaster seems to lose a bit more time than average. All watches lose or gain time. You want to look for one that loses or gains the least amount of time over a 24-hour period. This will ensure accuracy and also keeps you from having to reset it often. The Divemaster loses a bit more than average but is by no means inaccurate.
We discussed above the reputation Seiko has among divers. This is one of the best watch manufacturers out there if you are looking for a luxury level watch at a fair price. They’ aren’t the cheapest watches on the market. But, they manufacture watches that fit a wide range of budgets. The Black Ion Prospex is one of their upper-level watches. It also happens to be one of our favorites both for design and functionality and durability.
- One of the best features of this watch is how well the face is designed. The notches on the watch face are incredibly large and easy to see. The white notches contrast well against the gold and black watch face. Many dive watches have small notches or hard to see watch faces. This makes it difficult to read during a dive. Especially during low light dives such as night diving or cave and wreck dives.
- Seiko was the pioneer of automatic watch movements. One of the best aspects of the automatic watch movement in this watch is the reserve. It can store enough power to last for over 40-hours. This means you can go for almost two days without wearing it and it will still keep time.
- The Prospex Black Ion is made from high-quality materials. The case is made from stainless steel and the strap from silicone. One thing we like about this is that the strap is soft. Many other dive watches with silicone straps can be uncomfortable. After wearing them for long periods of time they can feel like they are digging into your wrist. They begin to dig into the skin. Not so with the Prospex Black Ion.
- The biggest drawback of the Prospex Black Ion is that the numbers on the bezel do not stand out well. The numbers are gold and the background of the bezel mostly black. The issue with this is when you are diving in low light environments such as caves, wrecks, or night dives. You will need to shine your light in order to read the watch in these situations.
- ULTRA-ACCURATE and reliable Japanese made automatic movement dive watch for precision time keeping
- EASY TO READ Swiss C4 Super luminescent baton-style hands and indices, collected in a coin edge...
- PROTECTIVE scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, automatic helium valve at 10H, made to withstand the...
- DIVER'S CHOICE automatic pro dive watches with high quality 42mm diameter 316L stainless steel case...
- WATER RESISTANT up to 30 ATM (300 meters/991 feet), dive watch suitable for snorkeling & scuba...
Our final watch on this list is a solid option if you are looking for an alternative to Seiko. Pantor is a relatively new brand of watches, launched in the mid-2010s. They are a brand of watches made for divers by divers. Their entire focus is on diving watches and other watersports. The Sealion is their top of the line dive watch. It is designed in the same fashion as the Seiko Turtle. Overall, this is a solid option if you want a traditional design with a cutting edge watch.
- One of the first things that stand out to us about the Sealion is the depth rating. This specific watch is rated to up to 300m (1000ft). Many of the other watches on this list are only rated to 200m (650ft). This makes the Sealion a great option if you plan on doing some deep diving. We recommend this for deeper recreational divers and low-level technical dives. If you are going to the upper extreme of technical diving, this may not be the best option for you.
- The Sealion sports a sapphire crystal. These are more resistant to scratching than mineral crystals. Mineral crystals are normally found in cheaper watches. They need to be replaced more often due to scratching making the dials unreadable.
- This watch utilizes a Japanese automatic movement. This means you are getting the same type of movement often found in Seiko watches. You won’t have to worry about periodically replacing a battery. This watch winds itself based on the movement of your wrist. It will also store a certain amount of reserve energy so if you aren’t wearing the watch it will still function.
- The primary drawback of this watch is that it is not ISO certified. This means that only a few watches in every batch manufactured have been tested. In order to be ISO certified, every single watch a manufacturer produces must be tested. If a watch fails, it is removed from the batch. Non-ISO watches have the potential for a higher failure rate among individual watches.
If you’re looking for the top of the line without having to shell out thousands, there are plenty of options. These are just some of the many available on the market. But, they represent what we feel are the best of the best. Do you have any experience with these watches? Maybe you have some recommendations we didn’t add to the list? Let us know what you think in the comments section.
This page was last updated on 2022-08-29. Affiliate links and Product Images are from Amazon PAAPI