Dive watches are often an overlooked piece of equipment. Most divers know they need a dive computer, but many newer divers aren’t exactly clear on the importance of dive computers. This is mostly because of our over-reliance on dive computers.
Dive watches though are incredibly important. Knowing how to use them in conjunction with decompression tables could save your life one day. You don’t want to get just any old cheap watch though.
As with your other equipment, it’s always good to go with something that is built to last. So, let’s take a look at five awesome dive watches under $300.
Best Dive Watches Under 300
Stuhrling Original Men’s Automatic Dive Watch
- WATER-RESISTANCE 200 meters with screw down crown with rubber gaskets, 316L Surgical Grade Steel...
- ROTATING Unidirectional bezel, Adjustable Solid stainless steel triple-row Removable link Bracelet
- Miyota/Citizen,3 Hz,21 Jewel Automatic Self Wind Movement Designed for accuracy,and longevity
- PROTECTIVE scratch-resistant Krysterna Crystal, Made to Withstand the Pressures of Diving
- Higher than average BPH, -21,600,3 Hz,- Accuracy is better on movements with higher BPH
We’ve talked about Stuhrling before. They’re great watches with plenty of options for divers on a variety of budgets.
This specific watch is a few steps above their most basic pro diver in terms of both craftsmanship and design. It’s got all the necessities for a dive watch, plus a few extras such as a magnified date tracker.
With a depth rating of up to 200m (656ft), this is a good choice for recreational divers looking for a solid dive watch.
- You can choose either black or blue for the bezel and watch face. But, we like both. The white numbers on the bezel and notches on the watch face stand out very clearly against both colors. This is important for lower light situations so you don’t have to strain to see the number.
- This has a Miyota movement mechanism. You can read more about the technical specifications of the Miyota movement. The main thing you need to know is that it will stay wound and powered by the natural movement of your wrist. It will also store reserve energy to keep the watch ticking even when you are not wearing it. This is in contrast to manual watches which require you to regularly wind them up to keep them moving.
- This watch uses Krysterna Crystal. This makes it more resistant to impacts which can be a big positive for divers since there is always the chance you can accidentally hit your watch on rocks or metal pieces of gear. Krysterna Crystal is also scratch-resistant so you can wear it for everyday use without worrying about minor scratches making it difficult to see after a while.
- The main issue we’ve found with this specific model of watch is that it begins to lose significant time over the course of a few weeks. This is an issue with almost all watches to varying degrees. But, you want a watch that only fast or slow by seconds, not minutes.
Neymar Men’s 1000m Dive Watch
- 44mm*52mm watch case, brushed and polished 316L stainless steel case with DLC black with 120-clics...
- Band 22mm, push-button buckle, brushed first-class finish
- Seiko automatic movement with date indicator
- Watch total weight 250g .Water Resistant 100ATM
- Swiss BGW9 blue color luminous hands & markers(Warm tip: This form is suitable for men over 160...
Neymar isn’t a well-known brand. This doesn’t mean they should be discounted though. They are a Chinese manufacturer based in the Shenzhen area. They’ve been in the business for over 20 years and produced their first line of dive watches in 2015. They’ve even been featured in magazines such as GQ.
What we love about this watch specifically is the level of detail that went into designing it. The watch has all of the features necessary for a good dive watch and then some.
It’s made for recreational divers all the way to technical divers and even commercial saturation divers. It also comes in a wide variety of color variations so you can find the exact watch you want.
- As we mentioned in the description, this was designed specifically with divers in mind. It has a Swiss BGW9 lumination around all of the notches on the face and, equally as important, around the numbers on the bezel. Many watches we see ignore the bezel completely when it comes to illumination which can make it hard to read.
- This specific model has a helium release valve making it a great option if you are a commercial saturation diver. If you don’t know, a helium release valve will keep your watch from blowing out in different pressure environments. You can find out more about the technical specifications of a helium release valve. The important part is that it will allow you to work in a variety of environments.
- This watch is rated to a depth of up to 1,000m (3,300m). This makes it a good option for divers who are looking to go past normal recreational limits. This includes commercial saturation divers as well as tech divers.
- The main issue we have with this watch is that it isn’t ISO depth certified. You can read the specifics of an ISO depth certification. The main points are that the ISO requires every single watch to be tested before it can be sold with a certain depth rating. It must be tested to 125% of the rating it is to be sold with. This means, if it is being sold with a depth rating of 200m (660ft), then it must be tested to 250m (820ft) and pass before it can be sold. Non-ISO certified watches only test a few watches in each batch. This means there is a higher chance of failure with some watches. Not entirely a deal-breaker as standardization of manufacturing should help with quality control. But, it would be great if it were ISO certified so you would know for sure that it will hold up at depth.
Momentum M50 Series Men’s Dive Watch
- Pressure tested to 500m/1650ft, the M50 is designed to keep up with any abuse it is put through
- Comes standard with sapphire crystal, ensuring scratch-proof legibility for years to come
- Includes a glow in the dark superluminova dial, allowing for optimal readability at any time of day
- Featuring a high quality Japanese quartz movement, and a 10 year battery to ensure maximum longevity
- A favorite of military, police, and fire personnel across North America, including Vancouver's ERT
We’ve talked about other Momentum watches prior to this. We’re big fans. Momentum is a Canadian brand manufactured in Vancouver.
They specialize in watches made for active users such as surfers, mountain climbers, and divers. Their M50 series is prime for divers looking for quality and durability in a stylish package.
These are great watches both above and below water with all of the necessary features that divers will need including a bright luminous face and rotating bezel.
It’s made completely from stainless steel including the band which makes it resistant to corrosion. You will still need to wash it after a saltwater dive.
But, with proper maintenance, this watch should hold up to the test of time.
- One of the main things we really like about the M50 series is that it is rated to 500m (1,650ft). Unlike the Neymar watch above, this is ISO certified. You can rely on this watch to hold up to the depth it is rated for and even a little more. This is a good option for deep divers, including technical divers looking to push the limits.
- As we stated in the description, this watch combines both functionality and durability with style. There are many different design options you can choose from including different color schemes and band types. You can get stainless steel bands as well as nylon and rubber. There are also black, blue, and white face colors that come in different shades and styles. You can find the perfect watch for diving and still comfortably wear it to dinner.
- The M50 series has a sapphire crystal. This is one of the strongest crustal types and is highly resistant to scratching. It is also more durable than many other types of crustal making it more resistant to shattering if you accidentally bang the watch against metal or rocks. This is a major plus as diving can be a rough activity on watches, especially cave and wreck diving.
- The main drawback of this specific watch is the battery. When you finally need to replace it you will most likely have to send it to the manufacturer for a replacement. This watch uses a battery that is less common than many others and therefore unless you are fortunate enough to live in a major city with many options for watch repair, you may be sending it in. This can be a huge drawback if your battery dies before a trip.
Seiko Prospex Tuna Solar
- Precise Japan Solar Quartz Movement (Caliber V157)
- Stainless Steel Case and Band, Polyurethane Black Band
- Hardlex Mineral Crystal, Date Display, Lumbrite Hands and Markers, One Way Rotating Elapsed Bezel
- Case Size: 47mm Diameter, 12 mm Thickness
- Water Resistant - 200 M (Meets ISO Standards and Suitable for Scuba Diving), Screw Down Crown and...
We’ve said it before, Seiko is one of the best manufacturers of dive watches currently on the market. If you don’t want to spend thousands on a high-end watch such as the Rolex Oyster or the Omega Seamaster, Seiko is the way to go.
They are known for quality craftsmanship fine-tuned over almost 140 years of production. The Prospex is their high-end line of sports watches designed for adventure sports enthusiasts.
Their dive watches have been praised by divers around the world. They have incredible durability built into a stunning package that is well priced for people of all budgets.
This Prospex Solar is based on its classic Golden Tuna watch from the 1980s. It is designed to run on solar power which makes it a great option for divers who live in or frequent tropical locations or areas with lots of sunlight.
- Since the movement on this watch is solar-powered, you won’t ever have to replace a battery. This is a major plus in our book as battery replacement, depending on the watch, can be a huge pain. Of course, most watches you can simply take to be replaced at your local jewelers or watch repair. But, there are some, such as the Momentum above, which must be sent in to the manufacturer to be replaced. This can be a huge dealbreaker if your battery fails before a major trip and you have to get a replacement watch.
- The Prospex Solar has a one-way rotating bezel which is always a benefit. We are strong advocates of one-way bezel rotation. The reason for this is because of the risk of accident moving a two-way rotating bezel. If it doesn’t lock down, there is a chance you can rub it on something such as your equipment. This can throw off all of your calculations.
- This watch is rated to 200m (660ft) and is ISO certified. This means every single watch has been tested and you can guarantee it will hold up at depth. This is a good option for recreational divers looking for durability in a stylish package.
- The main issue we have with the Prospex Solar is that the bezel is not fully luminous. The face is luminous and is quite bright and easy to see. All of the notches are large and easy to make out in darker environments. But, the bezel does not have luminous numbers. This means you will need to flash your right to make out the numbers on the bezel in a darker environment such as a cave or wreck.
Seiko Prospex PADI Solar
- Featuring a Silver-tone Band, Silver-tone Case, Scratch Resistant Hardlex Crystal
As we mentioned above, the Prospex line is Seiko’s answer to the adventure sports market. They are made for skydivers, mountain climbers, and divers. The PADI Solar is specifically one made for dive enthusiasts.
This is a limited edition dive watch built for serious divers. There is a lower model PADI special edition similar to the Prospex Tuna above. But, this one is higher quality and solar-powered so you won’t have to worry about replacing the battery every few years.
As with other Seiko dive watches, this is made from high-quality stainless steel to prevent corrosion. You will still want to wash it with fresh water after each dive though.
- We like this over the lower model Seiko Prospex PADI dive watch. Mainly because it is solar powered so you don’t have to worry about batteries. But, we also like the stainless steel watch band better. The lower model PADI special edition is made with a rubber band. These can usually be much less comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. The stainless steel band will be more comfortable if you plan on wearing the watch throughout the day.
- The lumination is extra bright and easy to see, even in the darkest of conditions. It is a bright fluorescent green which we prefer over the lighter turquoise color luminescence. The notches on the face as well as the hands all light up. When diving in good lighting, the white notches against the dark blue of the face stand out well so everything is easy to see. The lumination also takes less than a minute to charge so it can easily be ready to go from the boat ride to the dive site.
- This has a uni-directional bezel which we always prefer over a multidirectional bezel. Unidirectional bezels are less likely to slip in the middle of a dive. Multidirectional bezels stand a higher risk of rotating and throwing off your calculations.
- While the luminescence is great, the one drawback is the bezel is not completely luminous. The numbers on the bezel are easy to read in good lighting but, they are not luminous. This means you will need to shine your light on them to see if you are in a dark environment such as a wreck or cave. We always prefer dive watches that are completely luminous around the bezel and the watch face.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to find a solid dive watch, but as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.
The above watches are durable, stylish, and purpose-built for serious divers. What do you think?
Have you used any of these watches before?
Maybe you have a recommendation for a watch we didn’t include?
Let your voice be heard and let us know in the comments section below.
Your thoughts could be valuable to your fellow divers.