15 BEST Watches Having Seiko NH35 (Reliable + Cost-Effective!)
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15 BEST Watches Having Seiko NH35 (Reliable + Cost-Effective!)

Using a third-party movement is quite common in the horology world. Even the uber-famous Rolex Daytona started production in the 60s with a Zenith caliber within. Today, a few brands are making movements for other companies to use, one of the largest being Seiko. 

Based in Japan, Seiko is a leader in affordable watches and markets its own movements to other companies. Seiko also produces perhaps the most widely used caliber on the planet, the NH35. Used in everything from dive watches to military-issue tool watches, the NH35 is reliable, cost-effective, and reasonably accurate. 

About the Seiko NH35

The cal. NH35 is one of the most popular calibers on the planet, and with a price tag of around $50, it’s easy to see why. While Seiko is the main manufacturer of the movement, particular segments within the company produce this specific movement, primarily Seiko Instruments Inc. and Time Module Inc. The movement is produced in Japan and Malaysia. 

Within the Seiko family of movements, the “NH” calibers are known as “Basic Mechanical Movements”, whereas the “NE” calibers are known as the “Premium Mechanical Movements”. The NH35 is, therefore, accessible to most, but that does not mean that the self-winding movement is poorly produced.

Featuring both hand-winding and a hacking upgrade, the NH35 was a natural upgrade from the Seiko caliber NH25A. Rated at -20 / +40 seconds per day under normal conditions and beating at 21,600 bph, the movement is a solid entry-level movement. Functions include central hours, minutes, seconds, and a date feature – usually at 3 o’clock. 

History of the Seiko NH35

The initial date when production started is unclear, but records show it started between 2011 and 2012. The caliber is a natural progression from the caliber NH25A but can also be found in Seikos as the caliber 4R35. 

Compared to the NH25A, the NH35 has three more jewels which would increase its lifespan and reliability. Both are equipped with a 41-hour power reserve, but only the NH35 features hand-winding and hacking. 

The NH35 is a natural progression with more technological features but is not really more accurate than its predecessor. This is why many enthusiasts believe both options are great and that deciding between the two is a moot choice.

15 Best NH35 Watches

1. Dan Henry 1970

Dan Henry 1970

First on the list is a dive watch from Dan Henry, a small company that makes heritage and vintage-inspired watches. The 1970 Automatic Diver Compressor was produced in limited numbers; only 1970 were built. Versatility is the name of the game, and the consumer is spoilt for choices.

Two sizes are available, 40mm and 44mm, while there is also a date/no-date option as well (the 44m only comes with the date option). Some dive purists believe that if you need to know the date while diving, you’re probably screwed. 

Four colors are available as well, orange, black, white, and blue, while the 44mm is only available in grey. The color is mostly featured on the internally rotating bezel, a classic dive watch feature. With a depth rating of 200m, the 1970 is a great dive watch, and priced at only $290 is a steal if you like the vintage feel that Dan Henry provides. 

2. Unimatic U1-D

Unimatic U1-D

Another limited edition, this time from a small company called Unimatic. Limited to only 600 pieces, the watch, along with the other utilitarian watches in their lineup, are all made in Italy. With a sleek case, tight edges, and a true 40mm case size, the U1-D is very wearable compared to other dive watches

A matte brush finish on the case pairs quite nicely with a nato strap, doubling down on the utilitarian approach of Unimatic itself. A large crown that does stick out from the guards is somewhat reminiscent of the Rolex Submariner 6538, and when paired with the subtle undertones of the watch, it makes for an under-the-radar watch, which I am a big fan of. 

Unfortunately, at the time of writing this, the watch has been sold out on the site, but you’ll be sure to find one for sale on the second-hand market. 

3. Deep Blue Diver 1000 II Aqua Blue

Deep Blue Diver 1000 II Aqua Blue

This watch doesn’t have a reference, but its ‘Item Number” is listed as “DIVER40OAQUABRACELET” – which almost tells you everything you need to know already. This 40mm sleek diver has an aqua dial somewhat reminiscent of the Seiko SPB299. 

A 330m or 1000ft water resistance ensures the watch lives up to the dive watch moniker, but it also features a helium escape valve at the 10 o’clock position. Unlike some other dive watches, you have an exhibition caseback, allowing you to see the caliber NH35 in all its glory. 

For a price of $398 (currently marked down to $199.00), the watch offers great value as a tool watch. The pop of color from the dial makes it a bit more interesting than other utilitarian designs, but the technology remains true. 

4. Marathon General Purpose Mechanical (ref. WW194003BK-0101)

Marathon General Purpose Mechanical (ref. WW194003BK-0101)

Many watches have a military theme. Some even have military characteristics and complications used by officers in the field. Marathon actually has legitimate experience in the world of making military-issued watches. Based in Canada, the company is known for making robust tool watches, such as this General Purpose Mechanical or GPM. 

Built to strict military specs, the 34mm case is finished in high-impact composite fibreshell – which is not only quite light but extremely durable. For added functionality, the luminous material used is Tritium and MaraGlo™, giving both the hands and the case a bit of thickness. Usually a sore spot for watches, but with a rugged military watch, it’s quite fitting.

5. NTH Devilray Blue

NTH Devilray Blue

When looking at the NTH Devilray, it is clear the engineers had one thing in mind – create the ultimate diving watch. 500m or 1640ft of water resistance, which is more than 99.9% of us will ever need to be paired with a double-domed and anti-reflective sapphire crystal, means the watch is certainly capable from a diving perspective. 

The watch is quite large, measuring 43mm in diameter, but since the lug-to-lug is rather compact at only 46mm, the watch wears a lot smaller. The not-so-subtle use of bright colors and contrast on the dial ensures legibility is always a breeze, and when paired with the X1 Grade LumiNova, you will always be able to read the time.

6. Nodus Sector Dive

As mentioned, most of us will probably never go deeper than the deep end of a swimming pool. Watchmakers knew that, more often than not, their clients just needed a watch sturdy enough to handle a tad of depth, so the skin diver was created. The Nodus Sector Dive features all the characteristics of a classic skin diver. 

This American-made timepiece comes in at 39mm wide and only 12.5mm thick, which is relatively small compared to contemporary dive watch sizes. The watch also features the ‘Explorer Dial’ from the Crown, as the dial features 3-6-9 hour markers. 

Various dial colors are also offered, ranging from white to red (RedTide) and even a soft green (SeaFoam). It is worth noting the movement within is the cal. NH38, which is simply a no-date version of the cal. NH35.

7. Unimatic U2-FN

Unimatic U2-FN

Moving from the United States back to Europe, we meet the Unimatic U2-FN. This Italian-made field watch is designed with a utility-first approach and offers an extremely legible and no-nonsense dial. 

Finished in Black DLC, the dark tones of the case matches the dark hue of the factory strap. The case boasts a water resistance of up to 300m or 984ft, and at only 38.5mm in diameter, the watch isn’t incredibly large and will be perfect for smaller wrists. 

Unfortunately, the watch was only produced 250 times, so you won’t be able to purchase one from the Unimatic site. As luck would have it, you can still purchase this field watch with sporting cues on second-hand watch marketplaces.

8. Raven Airfield

From the field to the sky, we stumble across the Raven Airfield, an aviation-inspired wristwatch that does not boast a size larger than 45mm – rejoice! Sized appropriately at merely 40mm, the Airfield was designed to be a no-frills tool watch for you to use whilst cruising at a high altitude. 

Whether or not you will be using the watch to that extent depends entirely on you, but in a poetic sense, it’s nice to know that a watch could work in the environment it was designed for. 

The Airfield also comes in various dial configurations, namely different colored seconds hands (a subtle touch) but also different dial colors as well. You can also purchase a day-date and a no-date option powered by the cal. NH36 and cal. NH38 respectively. 

A brushed and polished case mated with a ceramic bezel insert and a three-link bracelet creates a sense that the watch is truly focused on utility above all else. An exceptional watch priced at $420. 

9. Spinnaker Fleuss

Spinnaker Fleuss

Feeling a bit bored by the finishing options of other brands? Are you looking for more than just a “pop of color” on the dial? Well, how about the Spinnaker Fleuss, a dive watch with more options than you could list on a Sunday dive?

Options include limited editions featuring half-open dials, bi-colored bezels, different dial colors, and everything in between. The watch isn’t all show and no go; the watch features a respectable 150m or 492ft water resistance with a modern 43mm case. 

Overall, the style can be described as ‘neo-vintage’, taking some inspiration from older divers and simply elevating that to fit contemporary tastes. For instance, the bezel is covered with high-resistance glass, unlike modern ceramic that perhaps doesn’t fit what some would believe to be a “true dive bezel”. 

10. Boldr Venture

Boldr Venture

Titanium is an interesting case compound. It’s lighter than steel and more durable, so this finishing material is usually reserved for high-priced pieces. Boldr has taken this lightweight titanium and designed the Venture around it. 

The Venture is a tool watch through and through. Covered with black PVD, the case is almost indestructible. The screw-down crown offers 200m or 656ft of water resistance and is located at the 4 o’clock position for increased comfort. 

You’ll also notice the dial is of the Tybe B variant. Type B displays the standard hour track on the outer edge of the dial, with a 24-hour indicator on the inner side. This was commonly used by field operators and pilots to aid in timekeeping during wartime. 

11. Zelos Swordfish 40mm SS

Zelos Swordfish 40mm SS

What makes a good dive watch? Ceramic bezel? Check. 200m of water resistance? Check. A compact size, around 40mm diameter and 46mm lug-to-lug? Check. Sapphire crystal? Check. Excellent lume? Of course, check. 

The Zelos Swordfish has all of these qualities. The Swordfish takes the spirit of a vintage dive watch and blends it with contemporary style. Larger hards for added legibility and a robust case appearance, but combined with patina-inspired lume. 

12. Bausele Field

Bausele Field

Military watches, as a theme, all have similar qualities. Robust, simplistic, and a dial that is designed for legibility. The Bausele Field watch ref. 31101 fits the moniker perfectly. A brushed metal case allows a soldier to avoid light reflection, and highly luminous hands and hour markers ensure legibility in the dark.

The watch was designed to meet the military specifications MIL-W-46374 for case construction, shape, and size. Sized at 38mm in diameter but only 45mm lug-to-lug ensures the watch will fit on most wrists, and the screw-down crown offers the watch 100m of water resistance. The movement within is the cal. NH38, a no-date version of the cal. NH35. 

Interestingly, that crown is filled with natural American soil from military forts throughout the United States. The crown cap is visible, so the wearer can see this soil. A poetic touch to a watch entirely designed to last you a lifetime, be it in the field or the office.

13. Phoibos Proteus 300M

Phoibos Proteus 300M

We’ve featured Titanium on the list, but what about Bronze? Bronze allows for patina you won’t find anywhere else, and reports claim that the patina you get on your individual watch will differ astronomically from someone else. 

Phoibos has joined this movement with the Proteus 300M. Various references are available; some even come in steel if you prefer an old-school approach. As the name suggests, the timepiece offers 300m or 984ft of water resistance with its 42mm X 49mm case. 

While the incredible lume on the dial might steal the show, upon close inspection, this robust watch has a few subtle touches. A lightning bolt for the seconds hand, a grain-finished dial, and a rather interesting company logo. Some of the bronze options were limited production models, but they certainly make for a conversation starter. 

14. Vario Empire Grey Tuxedo

Finally! A watch that wasn’t designed to push the boundaries of human exploration with you but rather to adorn your wrist at a black tie event. The name gives it away, and with an art-deco design, the watch lives up to the dress watch moniker. 

Powered by the no-date version of the cal. NH35, the cal. NH38, the timepiece is rather focused on luxury and appearance. Offered in various dial colors and strap options, there is a configuration to suit your need. 

The guilloché style center plate of the dial contrasts greatly with the black outer ring where the applied hour numerals are found. Priced around $350.00, the Tuxedo offers a lot of watch for the price. Even the hands are a design feature themselves, as they are extremely thin but also skeletonized.

15. RZE Valour 38

RZE Valour 38

We finish the list with another field watch, but one that pushes the boundaries of the design language slightly. Color options you won’t usually find in a tool watch like bright yellow or deep blue paired with a Titanium case coated in ULTRAHex. 

The coating increases the hardness of the watch quite a bit, which is exactly what you want from your tool watch. A type B dial is featured along with large hands filled with luminescence for added legibility. 

Unlike other titanium or bronze watches, the case back is also finished in lightweight titanium. This case back covers the cal. NH38, the no-date version of the cal. NH35. Sapphire crystal, 100m or 330ft of water resistance, and a 38mm case size makes this the perfect everyday watch for the working person, especially if they like a bit of color. 


Quite a range, huh? This journey has taken us all over the world, from Italy to Japan and then all the way to the States. The functionality and cost-effectiveness of the cal. NH35 makes it a no-brainer for most smaller watch companies, so it makes sense why it’s the most commonly used movement on the planet. 

This list of watches also showed us that the movement can be featured in petite 38mm dress watches to robust mil-spec timepieces meant to endure quite a hardship. The movement is a workhorse, and you cannot fault it for that. 

About Exquisite Timepieces

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