Diving is fast becoming one of the world’s most popular activities, with more people picking up their snorkel or even an oxygen tank. As a result, the increase in the manufacturing of diving equipment is skyrocketing, with more and more functional designs that can be integrated with your everyday wear.
Despite the rise of more advanced dive computers and gauges that have become standard for dive setups, the classic dive watch is still a functional and fashionable piece of gear for any diver.
You’ll need maximum accuracy and reliability from a diving watch, especially if you’re deep below the waves. You’ll also want a very stylish timepiece, something you can wear at the office or at home, straight out of the water. Just because you’re a diver, that doesn’t mean you won’t want something that complements your life above ground.
But what are the best scuba diving watches currently available? What gadgets and gizmos can you get with a diving watch that will enhance your diving session in a way that is consistently safe and dependable? How much can you expect to shell out for a high-quality diving watch?
Well, divers and timekeepers, we’ve got the answer to all of those questions, with our list of the best scuba diving watches currently on the market.
We also have a buyer’s guide that will help you keep track of which essential features you need for a watch, along with some frequently asked questions from diving enthusiasts. Let's dive in!
Our first watch is one that comes in a very elegant and sophisticated design - if you’re wearing this at the office, your work colleagues will never suspect that it can also be worn at the bottom of the deepest lagoon.
Coming at a 2-pound weight and operational depth of 660 feet, you won’t go far wrong with the Citizen Men’s Promaster Diver Watch.
The band of the Citizen watch is manufactured from water-resistant polyurethane with a buckle strap at the back for optimum security when attached to your wrist.
This will be especially important when you’re navigating sharp underwater rock faces which might catch on your timepiece.
The stainless steel front also has a mineral glass shield, highly durable materials that can withstand the additional pressures of deep diving.
The face will be able to take a battering and still give you a clear readout, coming with an illumination option.
Our next watch is probably the cheapest on our list, but that doesn’t mean that it sacrifices functionality.
With a mineral crystal case, a unidirectional bezel in the watch face and a date display, this watch is extremely reliable and accurate despite everything the ocean has to throw at it - introducing the Casio Analog Sport Watch.
First, we should mention the price. For just a few dollars, you’ll be able to own a timepiece that can function perfectly up to 300 feet below sea level. It has a resin face, which is very resilient to high pressured water volumes.
The date and display are made from Japanese quartz bazel, which means that it will maintain an accurate time even after multiple knocks. This is a great watch for diving, surfing, snorkeling, sailing and any other high activity water-based sport.
Up next is our most expensive watch on this list, but it comes with some of the most high-end features that a watch can possess.
It includes GPS, so you can plot your journey underwater from the entrance to the exit point, giving you a supra-degree of visibility when charting dark waters - introducing the Garmin Descent Mk1 Watch.
The first thing that most prospective watch buyers will want to know about is the built-in GPS.
Well, you can locate your precise location and set the direction for where you want to go, easily tracking your journey even when you're in the deep water. This is ideal for new divers who might not know their diving area that well.
The watch also has different modes: a standard watch mode that can last for up to 19 days and a smartwatch mode that can last 20 hours.
This watch can withstand intense pressures in the water as well as high impact blows during such sports as surfing or water skiing.
Our next watch is one that features masterly craftsmanship, with a mineral dial window and Japanese quartz movement that makes for precision timing in the most intense environments imaginable.
The analog timepiece gives a clear readout, with a backlight that enhances visibility - introducing Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Watch.
This watch really lives up to its namesake, using technology that gets energy from light rather than batteries.
The polyurethane strap has a stainless steel buckle, so you can rest assured that when it snags on unseen outcrops of underwater rock, you won’t break or lose your watch.
This watch can resist water up to 1000 feet, making it a great timepiece for deep divers. No matter where you are, above or below the ocean, you can be sure that the time and date will be pinpoint accurate.
Our final underwater timepiece is one that is particularly designed to maximize the safety of the individual, the manufacturer knowing how much a diver’s life can rest on knowing just how much oxygen they have left in the tank.
The mineral glass face can withstand even the hardest pressures and still function - introducing Seiko Prospex PADI Dive Watch.
This watch can only function up to 200 feet below the surface, which is less than some of our other watches, but for the price, it is still very reasonable.
It is also very lightweight, which makes it a welcome addition to anyone who is monitoring any excess kilos on their gear load.
Best Scuba Diving Watches Buying Guide
When buying a new diving watch, it’s hard not to want something with every single function possible, because it’s what James Bond had on his high-tech watches and who doesn’t want to look like James Bond?
However, you might end up with more features than you need and having to pay a hefty price tag for them.
It is important to know, before you buy a diving watch, what kind of diving you’ll be doing and whether your watch is suitable for that kind of diving. Also, you’ll be wanting to consider how your watch will enhance your everyday above-water life too.
What Material Is Your Diving Watch Made From?
Most diving watches are made from non-corrosive material. Stainless steel, titanium, silicone and rubber are some of the optimum materials for diving watchmakers. This is because they combine durability with functioning under high pressure, as well as being waterproof.
You’ll also be looking at what the watch face is made from. Crystal gives you that added underwater resilience, can take a few high-impact knocks on its face and is resistant to scratches.
You’ll also want the band of your watch to be a lot wider than usual to fit over equipment such as a hand-mounted flashlight or your wetsuit, which will add a few inches.
Is it ISO 6425 Standard?
For the uninitiated, an ISO Standard is whether your watch will still work in deeper waters. The components of a watch are finely-crafted and tuned, so you won’t want them going out of balance when you’re underwater.
Most dive watches should be certified to operate at least 100 feet under the surface of the water.
How Accurate Is Your Diving Watch?
The whole purpose of having a diving watch is that it’ll be able to tell you how long you’ve been under the water with the highest level of accuracy.
If your watch does not work in these high pressures, then it can mean the difference between life and death, causing you to run out of oxygen and panic, which will increase the likelihood of drowning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Get A Stylish Diving Watch?
Your priority for a diving watch should be safety and accuracy, as those are the main things you’ll need when you’re in uncharted, dark waters. However, that’s not to say that you can’t have a watch that makes you look good in the office environment.
A lot of the watches listed above have been designed for above and below water use, so they aren’t too garish or cumbersome and can be integrated into your everyday wardrobe.
Most of these watches are sleek and subtle, so you won’t find yourself having to tailor your fashion to suit it or having to swap it out for an ‘everyday’ watch.
What Luxury Features Can You Get On A Diving Watch?
As you’ve seen from one of our watches above, probably the most high-tech feature is the GPS tracker.
Digital diving watches have all the functions of a traditional watch combined with the digital applications of the smartwatch to create a device that will basically give you the underwater spatial awareness to rival a dolphin.
These location trackers are perfect for plotting your route below the waves, especially handy if you’re involved in competitive underwater swimming too.
Our Final Say
As you have seen, newer models of diving watches have far exceeded the capacities of the conventional diving watches of yesteryear. However, these older models still exist for a reason - they are extremely reliable.
Think about what kind of diving you want to be doing and seek out those watches that will enhance your diving experience. However, the most fundamental things you’ll want from a diving watch will be precision and the ability to function correctly at increased depths.