20 BEST Dive Watches Under $2,000 (Most Value for Money!)
In the vast world of watches, there are specific styles that can be classified according to their intended purpose. The ‘Dive’ watch is one of the most popular amongst these styles, mainly because of its sheer versatility and robust nature.
But, because of the endless options and price points to choose from, dive watches that fall between $1000 to $2000 often get missed, as they’re part of neither entry nor high-end range.
And although the term ‘luxury’ can be subjective, I would not classify dive watches within this range as luxurious. I would, however, consider this price bracket when searching for a well-made dive watch with impeccable specifications that can be passed down to the next generation. ‘Quality’ is the right word when describing these.
In this article, I have listed some of the best dive watches you can find between $1000 and $2000. But before we get to the list, there are a few things we need to understand about dive watches:
What is a Dive Watch?
Essentially, a dive watch is designed to be worn underwater, specifically for underwater activities. Due to the several variations of water-based activities, you can find many dive watches today with different specifications made for specific use.
A dive watch is used to record dive times, ensuring that they resurface before their oxygen runs out. While such watches were the only tool capable of providing such functions in the past, modern professionals typically rely on electronic dive computers, with mechanical dive watches worn as a reliable backup. This is why automatic dive watches are still in demand and are not seen as obsolete relics of the past.
While professionals may use dive watches to record dive time, the general masses see these instruments as the ultimate do-it-all sports watches that can be worn during scenarios where sturdy and reliable watches are required.
The first water-proof watch was released as early as the 1920s by Rolex. However, the first dive watches that met current professional specifications were released in the 1950s by brands such as Blancpain, Rolex, and Zodiac. These early iterations are considered pioneers of the dive watch design format, as their features are still in modern dive watches today.
Characteristics of a Dive Watch
There are certain general characteristics that make a dive watch, and they include:
- Water Resistance – adequate water resistance, with a helium-release valve (for saturation diving), which protects the watch from damage during depressurization.
- Bezel – unidirectional rotating bezel with markings that record dive time.
- Crown – screw-down crown enables extensive water resistance.
- Lume – enables the watch to be read in dark settings.
- Strap – will typically feature an on-the-go diving extension, which allows the diver to adjust the strap over the diving suit.
- Build – dive watch should ensure adequate robustness (suitable materials, case proportions, etc.).
- Movement – accurate, tried and tested, workhorse movements are essential.
20 Best Dive Watches Under $2000
While Tissot is generally considered one of the best gateways into the world of heritage-rich Swiss watch brands, the Tissot Seastar 2000 Professional is a way for the brand to flex its watchmaking abilities within its dive watch lineup.
The Seastar 2000 Professional houses an auto Powermatic 80 movement with an impressive 80-hour power reserve. With Tissot’s custom-decorated rotor, this incredible workhorse movement can be seen through an exhibition caseback.
With a whopping water resistance of 600m (with ISO 6425 certification and a helium escape valve), the watch sits on the larger side, with a case diameter of 46mm, a thickness of 16.3mm, and a lug-to-lug of 51.6mm, making this suitable for medium to larger wrists. You also get generous lume on both the handset and the applied markers, a domed sapphire crystal with AR coating, a ceramic rotating bezel, a date function, and a gradient greenish-blue dial with a wave pattern.
Before developing this watch, the brand asked its fan base what they wanted to see in their ideal dive watch. The response led to the much-anticipated release of the new C60 Trident Pro 300.
Christopher Ward is one of those brands that has gained tremendous popularity among collectors, leading to one of the most passionate fan bases I have witnessed for a watch brand of its caliber.
While the Trident has generally been regarded as a fan-favorite contemporary dive watch from CW’s offerings, the C60 Trident Pro 300 is the latest evolution within the Trident family. The watch comes in a 40mm ‘Light-catcher’ stainless-steel case with 47.45mm lug-to-lug and a slim height of 11.3mm.
You also have extra options of 38mm and 42mm case sizes, as well as different dial colors, to choose from. Additionally, you get a unidirectional rotating bezel with a zirconia (ZrOC) ceramic bezel, sapphire crystal, marine-grade stainless-steel bracelet with micro-adjustments and quick-release, and an exhibition caseback through which you can see the Swiss Selita SW200-1 automatic movement.
With 300m of water resistance and a price tag of $1,050 on the brand’s website, this watch is hard to beat in terms of what you’re getting for the price!
This German brand, founded in 1925, is globally recognized as one of the pioneers of the B-Uhr style watches during World War II. In fact, I would regard them as one of the few brands today that develop their Pilot watches in their ‘purist’ form, emphasizing function over form.
But Laco also produces contemporary dive watches that exude quality in their looks and tactile feel. The Laco Squad Mojave 39 is one of the brand’s midsized offerings within their dive watch lineup, coming in at a 39mm stainless steel case with 47.5mm lug-to-lug and a 13mm of thickness.
Although you can choose between a few different case sizes (along with other colorways and strap options), the 39mm case seems to be the most versatile for most smaller to mid-sized wrists.
You also get a double-domed, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, along with a ceramic bezel and a screw-down crown that enables the watch to have 300m of water resistance. With all these features and the Automatic Laco 200 (Sellita SW200) movement, the Laco Squad should not be overlooked.
You can find this watch at Exquisite Timepieces for $1,130.
While Mido is well-known in the industry as a producer of some of the most attainable and capable chronometer-certified dive watches, the Ocean Start Tribute is not designed as a professional tool watch. But instead, it is intended as a casual desk diver with heritage-inspired design cues.
This model comes in a completely polished stainless-steel 40.5mm case, with a 47mm lug-to-lug and a height of 13.4mm, making this watch sit more on the elegant side.
Underneath the retro blue dial that’s covered by a domed sapphire crystal, you have the Automatic Mido Caliber 80 (base ETA C07.621) with an impressive 80 hours of power reserve and a Niavchron Balance-Spring that is designed to increase precision by reducing magnetic effects.
Another impressive thing about this watch is its polished multi-link bracelet, which is a welcomed feature, in addition to a folding clasp with a diver’s extension. With a price tag of approximately $1,150, this limited edition is worth considering as a vintage-inspired diver with modern capabilities.
5. Farer Leven Ocean Titanium
There’s something about Farer watches that makes them appealing to many, including myself. Farer is an independent British watchmaker founded in 2015 and has garnered a massive following ever since.
The Leven Ocean Titanium is a Compressor dive watch that comes in a 41mm marine-grade titanium case with 12.5mm thickness and a 45mm lug-to-lug distance. You get a double curved sapphire crystal on top of the case, with a flat sapphire caseback, through which you can observe the Automatic Sellita SW200-1 Elaboré, with a decorated rotor.
Although coming in a compact case, the watch offers abundant water resistance of 300m, with both hacking and hand-winding features. Matching the aqua-blue dial with orange accents, the timepiece is supplied with a quick-release rubber strap with a titanium buckle.
The Farer Leven Ocean Titanium retails at $1,175.
If I could describe the Unimatic Modello Uno with one word, I would simply call it ‘subtle’. Whether it’s the slim case, the sunken bezel insert, or the low-key brand logo above 6, you can tell that this watch is just plain cool!
This independent Italian watch brand was founded in 2015, but what it lacks in heritage, it makes up with its unique, industrial design.
The Unimatic Modello Uno is a no-nonsense, minimalist dive watch with superb specs! This Limited Edition of 500 pieces comes in a gray and blue colorway in a 41.5mm sandblasted titanium case with a double-domed sapphire crystal, making it nearly 45% lighter than a stainless-steel case.
Inside the watch, you get a Swiss Automatic Sellita SW200-1 movement with both hacking and manual winding. But what’s truly mind-boggling is that this watch, with up to 300m of water resistance, is only 11.3mm thick, making it an ideal everyday sports watch.
This watch can be purchased for $1,180 at Exquisite Timepieces.
When people think of watches by Hamilton, their mind immediately jumps to the brand’s iconic ‘Field’ watches. However, the brand also has a history of producing excellent dive watches.
The Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman Auto is the brand’s modern take on its original dive watch. While Hamilton does offer smaller case sizes, this model sits on the larger side, coming in a case size of 46mm, with its prominently iconic crown protector, a lug-to-lug of 51.3mm, and a thickness of 13.9mm. The brand describes this watch as ‘Hamilton’s most technically capable maritime-ready watch’.
The watch is powered by Hamilton’s H-10 Automatic caliber (based on ETA’s C07.611), modified to provide an impressive 80-hour power reserve, and comes with 300m of water resistance. Throw in a hard sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating, a unidirectional black bezel with applied indexes, excellent legibility, a khaki green rubber strap, and a solid crown guard, and this watch is built for action!
Not too long ago, the new Swiss microbrand, known as Serica, took over Instagram’s watch space by storm, largely thanks to their unique design (involving a ceramic bezel with a second time zone), combined with phenomenal specs and relatively attainable price.
The 5303-1 is a part of the brand’s dive collection, offered in a 39mm case size, lug-to-lug of 46.5mm, thickness of 12.2mm, and with a double domed sapphire crystal. The 300m of water resistance is made possible with a screw-down crown, which you can choose to have at either the standard left (9 o’clock) or on the right-hand side (destro).
The watch is powered by the Soprod Newton P092 automatic movement, which boasts a high-end shock-resistant system and a chronometric accuracy of -4/+4 seconds per day.
Everything about this watch is unique, from its unconventional bezel design to its luminescent indexes. It’s no wonder this watch is still considered highly collectible by enthusiasts. This reference can be found on Serica’s website for $1,200.
This French brand dates back to 1948, with the original Yema Superman of 1963 supplied to the French Air Force. The Yema Superman 500 comes in an impressively compact stainless-steel case, especially considering its 500m of water resistance, coming in at just 39mm diameter, 48mm lug-to-lug, and 13.4mm thickness (although you can opt for a larger 41mm case).
Inside the watch, you have Yema’s new automatic in-house caliber YEMA2000, offering an accuracy rate of +/- 10 seconds per day and a 42-hour power reserve. This new movement is also claimed to have improved shock resistance by the brand. The slim aluminum bezel is equipped with Yema’s proprietary bezel-lock system, ensuring that the bezel stays in place even in the most turbulent of conditions.
Protecting the blue dial is a double-domed sapphire crystal, giving the watch a timeless, retro-diver look without compromising durability. Super-LumiNova BGW9 Grade A treatment on applied markers, hands, and bezel ensures optimal legibility in dark environments. The brushed stainless steel bracelet, with polished center links, comes with a diver’s extension and secure lock system, making it both elegant and practical.
The Yema Superman 500 retails for $1,249 on the brand’s website.
This wouldn’t be a ‘Best Dive Watch’ list without mentioning Squale. The Swiss brand, founded in the 1950s, supplied its robust dive watches to the Italian Navy in the 70s.
The Squale T183 case is made of forged carbon, making it one of the few dive watches to be built with this lightweight yet tough material (especially in this price range). Coming in at 42mm case size, with 49mm lug-to-lug and a rather substantial height of 15.5mm, this watch falls on the larger size within the dive watch spectrum.
But with 600m of water resistance, these overall case dimensions are not surprising. Covering the black dial, you have a flat, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, with Super-LumiNova C3 lume applied on the hands and rectangular applied indexes, providing an impressive glow in the dark. Powering this well-built and sporty, all-black timepiece is the Automatic Sellita SW 200-1.
The orange accents on the strap and dial, along with the different shades of black on the case, bezel, and dial, give this watch a sporty look, giving it that everyday versatility while also giving it saturation-dive capabilities.
The watch retails for $1,375 at Exquisite Timepieces.
11. Seiko “Ice Diver” U.S Special Edition (ref – SPB265)
Among other things, Seiko is well-known for its dials and dive watches. But the Seiko Turtle SPB265 is still a relatively unique offering by the brand, especially in terms of its fusion of a Grand Seiko-ish dial in a dive watch format.
This watch comes in a 42.7mm stainless-steel case (with hard coating) but wears quite compact on the wrist, thanks to a lug-to-lug of 46.4mm and a thickness of 13.2mm. You have a domed sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating on the inner side, fitted above a wave-patterned greenish-blue dial. The inspiration for this dial design is from the shifting light colors reflecting off glacial ice – very Seiko!
Seiko’s in-house Automatic 6R35 movement is powering the watch, featuring both hacking and hand-winding and a power reserve of 70 hours. The watch can dive up to 200m and comes with excellent legibility, thanks to Seiko’s proprietary LumiBrite on hands, indexes, and the gray bezel.
You can find this watch at Exquisite Timepieces for $1,400.
When most think of the Rolex Submariner and the Blancpain Fifty-Fathoms as the ‘original’ dive watches that paved the way for the contemporary dive-watch format, a third brand from the same era is often forgotten – and that is Zodiac. This Swiss brand, founded in 1882, released its first dive watch for the public in 1953, around the same time as the release of the first Rolex Submariner.
This modern reinterpretation comes with green and orange accents, making it an excellent casual summer diver. The watch comes in a 40mm case diameter, 13mm of thickness, and a lug-to-lug of 49mm, making it quite wearable for most wrists.
Housed inside the case is a COSC-certified Swiss Automatic STP 3-13 movement with 44 hours of power reserve. You also get 200m of water resistance, a sapphire crystal, and a butterfly deployant clasp on the 5-link bracelet. But unlike Rolex or Blancpain, you can buy this historically significant diver for just $1,495 at Exquisite Timepieces.
13. Marathon Large Diver’s Automatic (GSAR) – 41mm (SKU: WW194006)
If you’re looking for a serious tool watch, it doesn’t get any more serious than the Canadian watch brand Marathon. Marathon not only supplied the Allied Forces with timepieces in the 1940s but, according to the brand, its watches are now issued to US Army, Navy, NASA, Marine Corps, and Canadian Armed Forces, as well as several other government agencies.
The Marathon Large Diver’s Auto (GSAR) is part of the brand’s US Government Editions. These watches were first introduced in the early 90s and designed to meet Canadian Government’s Search and Rescue mission requirements.
The watch comes in a 41mm brushed stainless-steel case with a thickness of 14mm and a lug-to-lug of 48mm. However, you can also choose between 36mm and 46mm case sizes. You get 300m of water resistance, a Swiss Automatic Sellita SW200 with an Incabloc™ Shock Absorber system, and a sapphire crystal.
The watch features Tritium Gas Tubes and MaraGlo™, providing continuous lume to the wearer. With these specifications, along with the easy-to-grip bezel and the tank-like overall build – it’s no surprise that the Canadian SAR relies on these watches for their missions.
This model retails for $1,500 on Marathon’s website.
If I were to search for a suitable, affordable alternative to a Panerai, I would strongly consider Anonimo. This Italian watch brand, founded in the 1990s, is more than just a homage brand of Panerai.
The Anonimo Nautilo Sailing Edition is a reinterpretation of a dive watch designed by Dino Zei, the former CEO of Panerai before the brand was taken over by the Richemont Group, after which he joined Anonimo.
The Anonimo Nautilo Sailing Edition comes in a 44mm cushion case with 12.4mm thickness and 200m of water resistance. The case is made of stainless steel with black DLC-coating.
Covering the sun-ray dial is a domed sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating and a solid caseback made of hypoallergenic titanium. Powering this watch is the Swiss Auto Sellita SW200-1, which comes with 38 hours of power reserve. The watch also features a date window above 6, with a matching backdrop, which is a nice little attention to detail.
You can purchase this watch at Exquisite Timepieces for $1,599.
15. Longines Hydroconquest 39mm (ref – L3.7126.96.36.199)
The Longines Hydroconquest has always been a near-perfect dive watch, with the only complaint about it being the extended lug-to-lug distance. But Longines seems to have solved this issue with the release of the new 39mm variant, giving us three case sizes to choose from within the Hydroconquest line.
Founded in 1832, Longines is one of the oldest Swiss watch brands today, with several achievements under its belt (including developing one of the world’s first chronograph wristwatches).
Looking at the Hydroconquest 39mm, the case comes with a very wearable 47.75mm lug-to-lug distance and a height of 12.2mm, making this variation almost the same size as a Tudor Black Bay 58.
You get more than enough, 300m of water resistance, a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides, and a bracelet with a double safety folding clasp and diving extension. The Automatic caliber L888 is an exclusive movement developed for Longines by ETA, based on the ETA A31.L11 base. This movement extends its power reserve to 72 hours by slowing the beat frequency to 25,200 vph instead of the standard 28,800 vph.
With Longines’ monumental heritage and a price tag of $1,700 on Longines’ website, this watch is a no-brainer.
16. Mido Ocean Star 600 Chronometer (ref – M026.608.11.041.01)
The Ocean Star 600 Chronometer is Mido’s way of flexing its watchmaking expertise. While the previously mentioned Mido Ocean Star Tribute is more of a retro and elegant style dive watch, the Ocean Star 600 is Mido’s ultimate ‘tool’ watch.
This highly capable dive watch comes in a 43.5mm stainless-steel case size, with a thickness of 14.6mm and a lug-to-lug distance of 50mm, making it a suitable contender for medium to larger wrist sizes. The movement inside the watch is the COSC-certified Automatic Caliber 80 (base ETA C07.821), with a silicon balance spring, which is known to improve the movement’s accuracy and overall performance.
You also have a helium escape value that enables a whopping 600m of water resistance. The gradient blue dial, combined with the glossy ceramic bezel insert, adds a bit of elegance to this watch, making it well-suited for both formal and sporty occasions.
At around $1,700 on Mido’s website, you’re getting good value for money.
17. Formex Reef
Formex is a relatively recent, independent Swiss watch manufacturer most famously recognized for its state-of-the-art case design, which includes a patented case adjustment system. But today, we look at their dive collection, known as ‘Reef’.
The Formex Reef comes in a 42mm stainless-steel case size, with 47mm lug-to-lug and a thickness of 11.4mm, along with a sapphire crystal with AR coating and water resistance of 300m. Powered by the self-winding Sellita SW300-1, this COSC-certified caliber comes with 56 hours of power reserve and makes it possible for this watch to have its special slim case.
You get a 120-click, smooth unidirectional rotating action with a durable and scratch-resistant Zirconium Oxide Ceramic bezel. The watch also features a new bezel mounting system which makes it possible to change bezel inserts without tools, along with a patented quick-release bracelet system.
Both of these are truly innovative features that enable ease of customization on Formex watches. Even the sunburst finishing on the dial and the markers are finished and applied in-house by hand.
With everything that’s included, the $1,850 on the brand’s website feels like a bargain.
18. Doxa Sub 300T Professional (ref – 840.10.351.10)
While the Doxa Sub 300T might seem like a playful take on a dive watch, don’t let the fun dial colors fool you. The first Sub 300T Conquistador was launched in 1968 (nearly 80 years after the Swiss brand was founded) as the first dive watch with a helium release valve intended for the general masses. And the Sub 300T Professional pays tribute to the ground-breaking original.
This model comes with professional specifications, capable of saturation diving up to 1,200m. The movement inside is a self-winding Swiss Automatic ETA 2824. With lug-to-lug of only 45mm, a case size of 42.5mm, and a thickness of 13.65mm with that boxed sapphire crystal, this watch works as a professional deep-diver or a casual summer watch, making this package appealing to many collectors.
The tonneau-shaped case with the orange dial, alongside the bead-of-rice bracelet (with diver’s extension), makes this watch unlike anything else on the market. With a price tag of approximately $2000 on the brand’s website, the Doxa Sub 300T proves that you can get a unique, highly capable mechanical dive watch with more than enough specifications without having to sell your house.
BALL is a highly underrated American brand with a long history of significant watchmaking. The Great Kipton Train Wreck of 1891 led to the inception of the BALL Watch company. The devastating train collision led Webb C. Ball to develop highly accurate timepieces designed specifically for railway engineers, following strict accuracy requirements.
The contribution of this company led to improved railroad timekeeping standards, making BALL one of the most important watch brands in American horological history.
The BALL Roadmaster Skipper Day Date comes with a COSC-certified, Swiss Automatic BALL RR1102-C (base ETA 2836-2) movement with a magnetic resistance of 4,800 A/m, 200m of water resistance and 5,000 Gs of shock resistance, making this a remarkably robust watch in its price category.
The watch wears well on the wrist, thanks to its 40mm stainless steel case, with 47.8mm lug-to-lug distance and a thickness of 13.2mm. You also get continuous glow in the dark, thanks to BALL’s micro gas tubes on the stainless-steel rotating bezel and dial.
Although the retail price of this highly accurate yet robust timepiece is approximately $2,550, the watch can be found at Exquisite Timepieces on sale for just $1,911.75.
Oris, the independent Swiss brand from 1904, produces some of the most unique and well-finished watches in its price category. Whether it’s the classic Big Crown Pointer Date or the heritage Diver 65 in bronze, there’s nothing quite like Oris in terms of its strong visual identity.
This Aquis Date model reference comes in a 41.5mm case size with a dark blue sunburst dial and a rubber strap. You get quite a few configurations to choose from, including movements, dial colors, case sizes, and a choice between a stainless-steel bracelet and a rubber strap.
The movement in this model is the Swiss Automatic Oris 733 (base SW200-1) that can be viewed, with the brand’s signature red rotor, through the see-through caseback. You also get 300m of water resistance (thanks to the screw-down crown), a domed sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating, a ceramic unidirectional bezel, a date function, and both hacking and hand-winding features.
Legibility won’t be an issue, thanks to the excellent Swiss Super-LumiNova BGW9 lume generously applied throughout the applied indices and the handset. This watch can be found at Exquisite Timepieces, starting from $2000.
If you don’t have ten grand to spend on a timepiece, but desire a watch that boasts incredible specifications, build quality, and a reputable brand that can be relied upon, you can then easily opt for these stunning dive watches, ranging between $1000 to $2000.
With the watches listed above, you get great, workhorse movements with great accuracy, sufficient water resistance for both casual and professional water activities, and excellent build quality that will ensure these watches a long life, even after daily wear and tear.