The 8 Best Dive Watches of 2022

Stay safe or make the ultimate style statement with a certified dive watch

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A dive watch was an essential safety item that helped divers calculate their no-decompression limit in the past. The advent of digital dive computers has made traditional dive planning somewhat redundant, yet many divers like to wear a watch as a backup in case of computer failure. After all, as a professional freediver and underwater photographer Fred Buyle says, they are “the strongest, most durable, and most water-resistant watches you can get.”

For non-divers, high-end dive watches represent the pinnacle of watchmaking excellence and effectively broadcast wealth and success. Certain standards must be met by a certified dive watch, including a unidirectional bezel, a luminous display that can be read even in total darkness, and water resistance to at least 100 meters. Buyle recommends a water resistance of 200 meters so that the watch is “usable for any kind of recreational diving with a significant safety margin.” 

Dive watches are not the same as dive computers, although we have included our favorite computer below for reference. If you decide to go this route, the manager of Ocean Leisure watersports store, Dave Glanfield, recommends opting for one with air integration since it “makes diving so much easier, having all of your information in one place.” Whatever your requirements, here are the best dive watches currently on the market.

Best Overall: Victorinox Swiss Army Men's I.N.O.X. Pro Diver Watch

Victorinox Swiss Army Men's I.N.O.X. Pro Diver Watch

Amazon

What We Like
  • Anti-reflective sapphire crystal for unbeatable clarity

  • Choice of dial colors and strap materials

  • Five-year manufacturer’s warranty

What to Consider
  • Expensive for some, not exclusive enough for others

  • Some collectors prefer mechanical watches

The Victorinox Swiss Army I.N.O.X Professional Diver is neither the most expensive nor the most technical watch on this list. However, we chose it as our overall winner for its ability to provide utilitarian reliability at a mid-range price. The 45-millimeter stainless steel case allows for an easy-to-read display, enhanced by luminous hands and hour/minute markers. Made of premium quality sapphire crystal, the glass has a triple anti-reflective coating to eliminate glare both on land and underwater. 

With a water resistance rating of 200 meters, the watch is powered by Swiss quartz movement for absolute accuracy. Use the unidirectional bezel to time your dive and the date function to fill out your logbook when you get home. There are several dial colors to choose from, including black, blue, white, and gray. Similarly, strap styles ranging from stainless steel to rubber or paracord. The advantage of rubber is that it can be easily adjusted to fit over various wetsuits and rash guard thicknesses. 

Water Resistance: 200 meters | Crystal: Sapphire | Band: Stainless steel, rubber, or paracord | Warranty: Five years

Best Runner Up: Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman Automatic Watch

Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman Automatic Watch

Hamilton

What We Like
  • Originally designed for US Navy frogmen

  • Water resistant to 300 meters

  • Anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass

What to Consider
  • High-end price tag

  • Must be worn regularly to maintain movement

If you’re looking for a statement piece that evokes the adventurous spirit of the sport’s early pioneers, the Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman is an excellent choice. Initially created for the frogmen of the US Navy and featured in the 1951 movie “The Frogmen,” the watch turns heads with its 42-millimeter stainless steel case and black, blue, or black/red face. The luminescent display meets International Organization for Standardization (ISO) requirements for dive watches, while the water resistance rating is an impressive 300 meters. 

Other features include a unidirectional bezel, a date display, and sapphire crystal glass that cannot be scratched by anything other than a diamond. The crystal is also treated with an anti-reflective coating for superior readability underwater. The watch’s H-10 automatic movement gives you a power reserve of 80 hours and eliminates manual winding. Choose yours with a stainless steel or silicone rubber strap and enjoy the peace of mind afforded by a two-year international warranty. 

Water Resistance: 300 meters | Crystal: Sapphire | Band: Stainless steel or silicone rubber | Warranty: Two years

Best Budget: Casio MDV106G-1AV Classic Watch

Casio MDV106G-1AV Classic Watch

Amazon

What We Like
  • Expensive looks at an affordable price

  • Water resistant to 200 meters

  • Three-year battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Scratches can’t be buffed out of mineral crystal

  • Limited one-year warranty

The ocean-inspired Casio MDV106G-1AV Classic is widely acknowledged as one of the best-performing dive watches under the $100 mark, making it ideal for buyers on a budget. Despite having fewer bells and whistles than its more expensive peers, it meets all ISO requirements with a unidirectional bezel, luminescent hands and hour/minute markers, and a water resistance rating of 200 meters. It also looks much more expensive than it is, with a smart black dial that contrasts handsomely with the gold bezel trim. 

The 44-millimeter stainless steel case features a screw-down crown paired with a black resin strap. Although less durable than the metal options offered by other brands, a significant benefit of this strap type is that its pin fastening allows for a guaranteed fit right out of the box. The watch’s mineral crystal glass offers better scratch resistance than the standard acrylic glass usually used for budget watches, while the accurate quartz mechanism has three-year battery life. 

Water Resistance: 200 meters | Crystal: Mineral | Band:  Resin | Warranty: One year

Best Under $500: Luminox Navy SEAL Chronograph 3581

Luminox Navy SEAL Chronograph 3581

Luminox

What We Like
  • Designed for military divers

  • Exceptionally durable CARBONOX case

  • Constant luminosity for up to 25 years

What to Consider
  • Strap is only available in rubber

  • Some may find the chronograph display too complex

With a water resistance of up to 200 meters and powered by impeccable Swiss quartz movement, the Luminox Navy SEAL Chronograph 3581 is the ideal choice for military-approved quality for under $500. The large 45-millimeter case is a natural statement maker made from Luminox’s trademarked CARBONOX carbon compound for exceptional strength, durability, and lightness. The all-black case, dial, and unidirectional bezel just look cool—with standout white markings enhanced by Always Visible technology. 

Developed to provide Navy SEALs with a way to keep time in complete darkness, the brand’s innovative luminosity promises a constant glow in all conditions for up to 25 years. In addition, the watch sports three different chronograph dials and a date window. The display is protected by hardened mineral crystal glass for excellent scratch resistance at a lower price than sapphire crystal. Finally, the strap is rubber with an easily adjustable pin fastening. All watches come with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty. 

Water Resistance: 200 meters | Crystal: Mineral | Band: Rubber | Warranty: Two years

Best Under $1,000: Seiko Prospex King Turtle Dive Watch

Seiko Prospex King Turtle Dive Watch

Amazon

What We Like
  • Automatic movement with the option for manual winding

  • Range of strap and dial styles to choose from

  • Extended five-year warranty

What to Consider
  • Unique turtle shape may not be to everyone’s taste

  • Shorter power reserve than some automatic watches

If you have a little more room in the budget, the Prospex King Turtle Dive Watch from the Japanese brand Seiko is another popular choice. Named for its distinctive turtle-inspired shape, the Turtle Dive Watch is a stylish watch designed to appeal to marine life enthusiasts and signify membership in the diving (and Seiko) community at a glance. The stainless steel case measures 45-millimeters and boasts a ceramic unidirectional bezel with a water resistance of up to 200 meters. 

The black dial features LumiBrite coating on the hands and indexes for perfect visibility even in complete darkness. It’s also protected by top-of-the-range sapphire crystal, enhanced by a magnifier and anti-reflective coating on the inner surface. Automatic movement with the option for manual winding and a power reserve of 41 hours eliminates the need for battery changes, while the stainless steel strap is kept secure by a three-fold locking clasp. The Seiko King Turtle is also available with a rubber strap or limited edition dial designs. 

Water Resistance: 200 meters | Crystal: Sapphire | Band: Stainless steel or rubber | Warranty: Five years

Best Splurge: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller Watch

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller Watch

Amazon

What We Like
  • Waterproof to 1,220 meters

  • Helium escape valve for saturation divers

  • Superlative self-winding movement

What to Consider
  • Unrealistically expensive for most

For those in the market not just for a dive watch but for an investment piece that represents the pinnacle of luxury and can ultimately be handed down through the generations as a treasured heirloom, few watch brands are more iconic than Rolex. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller is a professional dive watch designed by saturation divers with a helium escape valve and a waterproof rating of up to 1,220 meters. The 43-millimeter case and strap are crafted from Oystersteel, an aerospace-grade alloy known for its long-lasting polish and corrosion resistance. 

The graduated, unidirectional bezel features a UV-impervious Cerachrom insert coated with a thin layer of platinum. Chromalight hands and hour markers glow blue in total darkness, while the date window is magnified by a Cyclops lens built into the sapphire crystal. Perhaps most importantly, the watch’s 3235 self-winding movement provides an impressive 70-hour power reserve and flawless accuracy even when exposed to electrical and magnetic interference.

Water Resistance: 1,220 meters | Crystal: Sapphire | Band: Oystersteel | Warranty: Five years

Best Solar: Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Quartz Men's Watch, Stainless Steel with Polyurethane Strap

Citizen Promaster Diver Watch

Citizen

What We Like
  • Solar-powered quartz movement

  • One of the more affordable options on this list

  • Range of colors and case materials to choose from

What We Don't Like
  • Mineral crystal is more easily scratched than sapphire

  • Warranty only valid in certain countries

Want the accuracy and cost-effectiveness of a quartz watch without worrying about replacing batteries? The Citizen Promaster Diver offers the perfect solution, with Eco-Drive technology that uses solar power to keep the watch running indefinitely—a particular bonus if you’re the kind of diver who loves planning remote liveaboard trips to exotic locations with plenty of sunshine. Otherwise, the watch is fully ISO-compliant, with a unidirectional bezel, luminous hands and indexes, and a water resistance rating of 200 meters. 

Although different color and case material choices are offered at varying price points, it's also comparatively inexpensive. The standard features a 42-millimeter stainless steel case with a black dial, green bezel, and black polyurethane strap and buckle. On all models, anti-reflective mineral crystal glass ensures the display is always easy to read and relatively well protected from scratches. A limited five-year warranty covers purchases within a specific list of territories. 

Water Resistance: 200 meters | Crystal: Sapphire | Band: Polyurethane | Warranty: Five years

Best Computer: Suunto D5 Dive Computer With Tank Pod

Suunto D5 Dive Computer With Tank Pod

Amazon

What We Like
  • Fully functional dive computer with day-to-day wearability

  • Includes modes for air, nitrox, mixed gasses, and freediving

  • Compatible with tank pod for air integration

What We Don't Like
  • Unnecessarily complex for non-diving purposes

  • Tank pod must be bought separately at a significant cost

If you came to this page looking for advice on dive computers rather than watches, this one is for you. The Suunto D5 is our top pick in this category for its easy-to-use design, sleek aesthetic, and clever capacity for air integration. It boasts a stainless steel unidirectional bezel with a maximum operating depth of 100 meters and a reinforced composite case. At 55-millimeters, the latter is larger than most dive watches, but unlike many computers, still wearable as an everyday watch on land. 

The backlit LED display shows all kinds of essential safety information, including dive time, remaining no-decompression time, depth, max depth, and remaining battery. It also functions as a digital compass for underwater navigation. If you exceed your safe ascent rate, it will alert you and count down your deep stop, safety stop, and surface interval requirements. It’s also compatible with nitrox and up to three mixed gasses, making it suitable for tech divers. Finally, you can recharge the lithium-ion battery and connect wirelessly to the Suunto app. 

Water Resistance: 100 meters | Crystal: Mineral | Band: Silicone | Warranty: Two years

Final Verdict

Although there are more expensive and sought-after dive watches, the Victorinox Swiss Army I.N.O.X Professional Diver watch is our top pick in terms of all-around performance, quality, and relative affordability.

What to Look For in Dive Watches

Movement

Movement refers to the engine that drives your watch. There are two main types to choose from: mechanical watches powered by gears and springs and quartz watches powered by a battery. There are pros and cons to both options. Mechanical watches are the most traditional option and are favored by many master watchmakers. They are often exquisitely designed, have exceptional longevity, and you’ll never need to change a battery. They can be automatic or manual; if you choose the latter, you will need to wind your watch each morning. They are also slightly less accurate than quartz watches. 

Quartz watches are more accurate, less expensive, and do not require winding. However, you will need to have the battery changed periodically. If you’re purchasing a dive watch as an investment, you should also remember that quartz watches are typically considered less desirable by watch enthusiasts. If you choose a quartz watch, freediver Fred Buyle recommends opting for a solar-powered version to “never run out of battery on a remote dive trip.” Some dive computers have rechargeable batteries. However, watersports expert Dave Glanfield warns that “in dive mode, some only run for a few hours. Be sure to charge them fully before you hit the water.”

Lume

Lume is the colloquial term for the luminous phosphorescent solution that makes the dial, hour, minute, and second hands visible on your dive watch, even at depths with minimal natural light. To be classified as a certified dive watch, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) stipulates that watches must, at the very minimum, be fully readable in total darkness from a distance of 25 centimeters and have a luminous, running second hand. The latter is essential because it enables you to check at a glance that your watch is still working.

Dive Bezel 

Before you dive, you should always set the zero mark on your bezel to measure your time underwater. The ISO requires that all dive watches have a unidirectional bezel that can only move in a counter-clockwise direction. As Buyle says, this “makes sure the bezel can’t indicate a shorter dive time by accidentally turning clockwise.” Essentially, it’s a safety measure meant to eliminate the risk of exceeding your no-decompression limit and suffering from the life-threatening condition commonly known as “the bends.”

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is a dive watch?

    Certified dive watches are designed to withstand the rigors of being worn at depth by scuba and freedivers. They must meet a standard set of requirements, including (but not limited to) water resistance to at least 100 meters, a unidirectional bezel, a running second hand, and a luminous display that can be read from a distance of 25 centimeters in total darkness. According to freediver Fred Buyle, a dive watch is also “a sign of belonging to a community” for divers and for non-divers, a way of “acknowledging the legacy of generations of divers and explorers, and somehow becoming part of the tradition.”

  • What materials are best?

    Dive watches are made from various materials, depending on the cost and target market. Watch cases need to be adequately water- and pressure-resistant and are typically made from stainless steel, plastic, or titanium at the higher end of the price spectrum. Cheaper watches have protective glass made from acrylic crystal, while hardened mineral crystal or top-of-the-range sapphire crystal are the more expensive choices. Strap materials also vary; expert Dave Glanfield recommends “a stainless steel or titanium bracelet, since rubber straps wear out surprisingly quickly.”

  • How do I know what type of dive watch is best for me?

    The best dive watch type for you depends on what you want from it. Will you use it for its intended purpose, i.e., for scuba diving or freediving? Perhaps a quartz watch with unrivaled accuracy is best for you, or a fully-fledged dive computer with the ability to not only measure time, but also depth, remaining no-decompression time, and air supply. Investing in a dive watch as a status symbol or family heirloom? Paying top dollar for style, watchmaker reputation, and premium materials is probably a priority.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Jessica Macdonald is a certified scuba instructor who has worked in multiple retail outlets selling dive watches and computers in the United Kingdom and South Africa. She interviewed two dive watch experts: world-record freediver and celebrated underwater photographer Fred Buyle and Dave Glanfield, manager of London-based watersports store Ocean Leisure. She also read countless industry articles and firsthand user reviews to create a shortlist of some 20 watches, from which her final selection was made.

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