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10 Best Dive Watches Under $500 2024 Full Review

Seiko5 Sports SRPD53 Banner for Best Dive Watches Under $500

A Diver is a rather poetic watch. Simple, robust, a screw-down crown, a good number of meters of water resistance, and a splash of colour, and you’ve got a certified classic.

These watches offer tremendous value, especially when you consider the ones at this price point. I like to believe there’s a diver for each and every one of us, so let’s take a look at the best dive watches under $500 that made our top ten list.

The Top Picks

There is no denying the fact that Seiko was going to be prevalent on this list, and it’s even less surprising that Seiko takes first place.

The 5 Sports range offers exceptional value for a watch priced below $350, and there are more variations and configurations than you can count.

Hot on its heels is the new Seastar 1000 from Tissot.

Sure, it has a quartz movement within, but the new finishing methods used combined with the black (or blue) dial create a perfect everyday diver.

Beating 4th place ever so slightly is the Orient FAA02005D9 (Orient Ray II) for being a classic diver offering a day/date complication without the use of a cyclops and also beating 1st place’s water resistance rating. 

10 Best Dive Watches Under $500 

#1: Seiko 5 Sports SRPD53

  • Size: 42.5mm
  • Movement: Caliber 4R36
  • Case and Strap Material: Stainless steel with matching bracelet 
  • Water Resistance: 100m

The spiritual successor to the SKX range, the Seiko 5 Sports range is truly the most versatile option on this list.

With several different dial and bezel configurations, you’re bound to find one for yourself. Perhaps the best thing about the 5 Sports range is the low price of entry, coming in at south of $400 for an automatic diver from a company with heritage! 

Seiko Watch SRPD53K1 Automatic
Pros:
  • Available in several colour configurations
Cons:
  • Could have a more accurate automatic movement
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#2: Tissot Seastar 1000 40mm Black/Blue Dial

  • Size: 40mm
  • Movement: Swiss Quartz Movement F06.412
  • Case and Strap Material: Stainless steel with matching bracelet 
  • Water Resistance: 300m

Tissot is the entry point for most in the Swiss luxury watch market, and with the recently updated Seastar 1000, it’s more tempting than ever.

Brushed and polished elements blended perfectly to create dimension around the case and bracelet; the latter of which is claimed to be one of the best at the price point. 

Tissot Seastar 1000 40mm Blue T1204101104100
Pros:
  • Offers a timeless design and wrist-friendly case size
Cons:
  • Not offered with an automatic movement at this price point
Shop now on Goldsmiths

#3: Orient Ray II FAA02005D9

  • Size: 41.5mm
  • Movement: Caliber F6922
  • Case and Strap Material: Stainless steel with matching bracelet 
  • Water Resistance: 200m

The Orient Ray II is offered with a blue or black dial and a wearable 41.5mm case measuring 47mm lug-to-lug.

This hits all the markers of a solid diver, a time-lapse bezel, a day/date function, and a screw-down crown offering 200m of water resistance.

The kicker? If you look hard enough, this is available at $250.  

ORIENT 200 Meter Diving Watch
Pros:
  • Extremely cost-effective
  • Not as bulky, so, can be worn in various environments
Cons:
  • Finishing might not be up to par with others on the list
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#4: Zelos Hammerhead v3 300m Bronze

  • Size: 44mm
  • Movement: Seiko Caliber NH35
  • Case and Strap Material: Bronze with rubber strap
  • Water Resistance: 300m

If you like to be a bit different, perhaps something in bronze would suit your taste. Usually reserved for those with heavier wallets, the Zelos Hammerhead breaks the mould coming in below $500.

The unique design of a bronze case matched with an emerald green dial is something to witness and is surely a change from the regular blue or black dial options we see daily. 

Hammerhead V3 Bronze Emerald Green
Pros:
  • Offers 300m of water resistance, a co-leader on the list
  • Offers a unique design not seen elsewhere
Cons:
  • It really is 'just' below $500
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#5: Citizen Promaster Dive ORCA

  • Size: 46mm
  • Movement: Eco-Drive J250
  • Case and Strap Material: Stainless Steel with rubber strap 
  • Water Resistance: 200m

The Promaster hardly needs an introduction, but to those who do not know, the Promaster is the no-nonsense diver offering from Citizen as seen with the massive 46mm case.

This particular reference draws inspiration from the massive Orca whales.

Citizen Watch Promaster Diver Orca Eco-Drive
Pros:
  • Offers robustness like no other
  • Powered by the ultra-reliable Eco-Drive movement
Cons:
  • The style and 46 mm case size reserves the watch for a select few
Shop Now on Citizen

#6: Citizen Promaster Dive 37mm Rose Gold-Tone

  • Size: 37mm
  • Movement: Eco-Drive E168
  • Case and Strap Material: Stainless Steel with Rose Gold-Tone Coating and Polyurethane band 
  • Water Resistance: 200m

If wearing an orca on your wrist isn’t your idea of fun, why not go for something more subtle, like a rose gold-toned Promaster?

A smaller size of 37 mm steel case that is toned to gorgeous rose gold and matched with a light silver dial and pink polyurethane band. Will your girlfriend actually wear this? I’m not making any promises.  

Citizen Promaster Dive 37mm Rose Gold-Tone
Pros:
  • Offers the same utility as a regular Promaster in a more aesthetic package
Cons:
  • It's still rather thick
  • No sapphire crystal is available
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#7: Seiko Prospex Sea SRPE93

  • Size: 45mm
  • Movement: Caliber 4R36
  • Case and Strap Material: Stainless steel with silicone strap
  • Water Resistance: 200m

Another Seiko, huh? Priced at $370 the ‘Turtle’ SRPE93 is perhaps the closes to the ‘next level’ of horology on the list.

While the case might seem large, the snug lug-to-lug 47.7mm makes for an easy-wearing experience. Great finishing methods matched with value and you have what I believe Seiko set out to be from the beginning.

SEIKO Turtle SRPE93 Prospex 45mm
$495.00 $371.20
Pros:
  • Wears rather comfortably for a 45 mm watch
  • You're sure to be a crowd favourite at your next watches and coffee
Cons:
  • The 4R36 movement isn't the most accurate on the market
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02/18/2024 06:32 pm GMT

#8: G-Shock GA-2100

  • Size: 44.4mm
  • Movement: Tough Solar
  • Case and Strap Material: Stainless steel with matching bracelet 
  • Water Resistance: 200m

I firmly believe everyone should own a GShock. Why? Well, it’s a phenomenal watch!

This full metal option was recently released to the praise of fans all across the world and while the rose option might be a tad too expensive.

The steel option falls within the $500 range. All the complications and all the looks without looking like you’re trying too hard.

#9: Seiko Prospex Sea SNJ025

  • Size: 47.8mm
  • Movement: Solar Caliber H851
  • Case and Strap Material: Stainless steel and plastic case with silicone strap
  • Water Resistance: 200m

This is the last Seiko, I promise. It was nicknamed the Arnie because Arnold Schwarzenegger wore it while acting in the Predator movie.

arnold predator getty seiko scaled 1
Arnold wearing the Solar Calibre in the movie Predator – Source

A unique design that you won’t see anywhere else paired with a size that certainly restricts the watch to a select few – like me. I happen to like Arnie, and I’m taller and bigger than him. My SNJ025 looks perfect on me. 

#10: Nodus RETROSPECT III 

  • Size: 42mm
  • Movement: Seiko Caliber NH35 
  • Case and Strap Material: Stainless steel with matching bracelet 
  • Water Resistance: 200m

Perhaps Arnie isn’t vintage enough for you. In that case, the aptly named RETROSPECT III it’s designed to evoke the watches from the 50s and 60s, and it’s a home run.

The main attraction is the sloping DLC bezel insert, creating a look you might find on the Breitling SuperOcean, but for 10x the price.

Despite the slim case and compelling design, the watch features a robust 200m water resistance thanks to the screw-down crown. 

Nodus Retrospect III - Nebula Blue
Pros:
  • Various iterations and configurations are available
Cons:
  • Some will look down upon you as your watch uses a third-party movement
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How to Choose the Right Diver? 

When it comes to taking the plunge on your first diver, you might be overwhelmed and be met with way too many options. You should be asking yourself a few questions about choosing the perfect diver for under $500:

  • Size: Divers can be large; I mean, they’re meant to withstand the depths of the sea. Most of them might only withstand your shower; however, the size remains. Choosing options that suit your wrist size and demeanour is key to finding the correct diver. Remember that the rotating dive bezel usually takes much of the available real estate, making the dial appear smaller.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms X Fathoms - Example Image for the Best Dive Watches Under $500 Article - Credit - Monochrome Watches
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms X Fathoms – Source
  • Design: Going hand in hand with size is design. You should love the look of your watch, even down to the dive extension on your bracelet. With newer finishing methods and materials being used, there is a diver for all of us out here. Pick one that suits you. If you only wear suits, the Arnie ain’t going to cut it.
  • Capabilities: For most, 100m of water resistance is enough. But whoever wanted to be part of ‘the most’? If you like the romantic idea of your watch being a bit brute, go right ahead and buy that utilitarian option. However, going for a’ desk diver’ is perfectly fine if you only like the look and that’s all you’re after. The watch is yours, after all, and no one else’s .

FAQs

Is a dive watch an everyday watch?

Any watch can be an everyday watch if you’re keen on wearing it. Some might be a tad too large or ‘out there’, but if you’re a large or ‘out there’ person, it certainly won’t look out of place. Even a 50 mm G-Shock is a fan favourite to many across the globe. So, yes, a dive watch can be an everyday watch as long as you understand the nuances that come along with the watch. 

What are the benefits of a dive watch?

Utility, price, and robustness. Think of a diver as a super reliable vehicle that keeps running well past 200,000 miles. It wasn’t designed to parade around Monaco, and it was designed to be used.

A diver is usually incredibly legible and filled with usable features. The price point of many divers is not so heavy on the wallet, and they will probably outlast you. And possibly your kid. 

What is the purpose of a dive watch?

To tell the time, first and foremost. Then, tell the time while you’re 300 feet underwater. Then, to still work when you resurface, and then work while you’re at the office on Monday. The diver is a ‘one watch does it all’, as long as it’s not too big. Historically, however, the dive watch was exclusively used by those who worked at great depths underwater. 

Diving Photo - For the Best Dive Watches Under $500 Article

How long does a dive watch last?

If it’s a mechanical diver, it might last until the movement completely wears out one day. Ten, twenty, thirty years. A quartz option might last two years before you need to change the battery. 

Is it OK to shower with a dive watch?

Yes. If it can handle 50m of water pressure, it can handle the shower, here is a handy table with rating guides that I recommend you save:

Water Resistant Chart - For the Best Dive Watches Under $500 Article

Final Thoughts

I firmly believe the Diver should be your first watch. Chances are you’ll keep it for life, and if you do end up becoming a collector, it simply becomes your beater.

For under $500, the Seiko 5 is still one of the best to consider, with the Tissot Seastar 100 coming in a close second. These watches offer exceptional value and embody the idea of a watch doing what it was designed to do – work. 

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