Diving is fast becoming one of the world’s most popular activities, with more people picking up their snorkel or even an oxygen tank if they take it seriously enough.
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.
When you are diving deep, there are certain devices that you can’t be without. A diving watch is one of them, not just because you’ll need to know how long you’ve been underwater, but because time is the best way of determining how much oxygen has been used.
You’ll need maximum accuracy and reliability from a diving watch, especially if you’re thousands of feet under the water. Having a watch that malfunctions under the increased pressure of being thousands of fathoms deep can mean the difference between life and death.
But, having said that, 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.
OUR TOP PICK
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.
- The powered light capability of this watch will be a must for those that plan on navigating the deep, deep waters where visibility will be extremely poor. This watch is perfect for deep divers who want to keep track of their oxygen usage.
- This watch can withstand up to 660 feet of water pressure without malfunctioning. These are the kinds of features that qualify this as a very reliable watch.
- The wider diameter makes for a very user-friendly watch, you should be able to wind this one even when you're a few hundred feet into the water.
- When it comes to build quality, you won't find a better watch than this - the high-grade of the timeface and the strap alone is worth the higher asking price.
- The price - this is probably the more expensive diving watch on our list and should only really be considered by frequent divers who want a reliable device for numerous dives.
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.
- The build quality makes it a great watch for use in high-level water sports. You won’t have to worry about this watch battering against your surfboard or plunging into 1000 feet of water - it will give you the right time all the time.
- The price - given the price, it seems surprising that Casio has gone to such lengths to include so many amazing features in this watch, but we aren’t complaining. Whether you’re an entry-level or experienced diver, you should consider this watch.
- The durable build quality equals an incredible reliable timepiece - take care of this watch and you’ll be using it for years to come.
- This watch can function perfectly well up to 300 feet depth, making it the perfect watch for medium-level divers.
- At 5 ounces, this is one of the heavier watches on our list. It might not appeal to divers who want to keep their overall equipment weight down.
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.
- The GPS option is great for anyone who is still getting used to navigating their particular diving patch or if they are exploring a new underwater location.
- The interface of this watch is very easy to use, displaying the time even in the murkiest water using LED illumination. This will appeal to deep-sea divers who want the guarantee of a well-lit timepiece to track their oxygen levels.
- You can log up to 200 dives on this watch, allowing you to upload your swims and track your progress online.
- You can also track your heart rate and your performance metrics on this watch, it is the ideal watch for anyone who craves precision accuracy.
- The price - this watch comes at the steepest price you can get, which might deter the occasional diver who wants nothing more than to track the amount of time they’ve been diving to monitor their oxygen levels.
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.
- The durability of the strap material will keep it firmly fixed to the wrist. The adaptable buckle means that it can be accommodated to the largest body types.
- The light and power options make this watch the most self-sustaining on our list, removing the hassle of having to locate the precise batteries before every dive.
- The bazel quality and the light means that it will tell the correct time before every use. You can batter and beat this watch as much as you like, it will never fail to tell the time that you set for it.
- The price - this is a moderately priced diving watch that gives you all the basic functions as well as a few luxury ones thrown in.
- Despite it hovering around the mid-price range, this still might be too much to spend for the casual diver.
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.
- The stainless steel case and strap make for a secure and comfortable attachment to the wrist, which is very important for active water sports like surfing and snorkeling.
- The watch itself is solar-powered, so you won’t have to worry about sourcing extra batteries for this watch. This is perfect for freedivers, who want to keep the technology to a minimum, relying instead on their senses and diving skills.
- The one-way rotating bazel is reliable and will give the correct time a few hundred feet under the water.
- The Seiko Prospex also has manual winding, which is great for automatic winding, making it another very self-sufficient timepiece.
- This watch does not operate at some of the depths of the other watches, making it not ideal for those who want to deep dive.
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.