Diving watches are enjoying a bout of immense popularity, and for good reason. As the name suggests, diving watches are designed to resist moisture, meaning they are built to stand up to more than just desk diving. Combine these features with the current trend in more casual dress at both the workplace and leisure activities, as well as the traditional “one watch” tactic; these watches fit many a man’s wrist perfectly.

Diving Watches are Excellent Everyday Watches.

The most famous classic diving watch has to be the Rolex Submariner, which is unfortunately priced quite a bit higher than most consumers’ budgets. Luckily, diving watches come in a large variety from myriad manufacturers and price points. The cheapest divers come in at around a hundred euro – and for under a thousand you can get some serious quality strapped to your wrist.

Next we’ll present three different manufacturers’ diving watches, each with top notch price-to-quality ratios. These watches were chosen from the range offered by Suninen Jewelers’ in Finland.

Seiko

The Japanese Seiko watch and precision instrument manufacturer offers a robust range of watches that are a meeting point of technical quality and price. Specifically, the Seiko 5 range offers a fine route to the world of mechanical wrist watches for small change.

Seiko 5 SRP557K1
Seiko 5 SRP557K1

The Seiko 5 featured here is a so-called Coke Bezel diving watch with a steel casing, whose water resistance is rated at 100 meters. In short, this means the watch can be left on while showering, swimming and surface diving. The movement is a very reliable and proven 4R36 automatic built by Seiko themselves, which can also be hand cranked.

Seiko K-series watches are built outside of Japan. Watches built in Japan are distinguished by the J model marker.

The Seiko 5 features a day-and-date display in a single window, as well as a hacking feature that allows the watch to be stopped to set the time. Hacking is a useful feature when one wishes to set the watch to exactly the correct time, or to synchronize it with another.

The Seiko 5 is an excellent price-quality ratio diving watch.
The Seiko 5 is an excellent price-quality ratio diving watch.

The Seiko’s bezel is firm. The crown isn’t screw locked, but is protected on both sides by protruding teeth. The crown’s operation is comfortable, so setting the correct time, date and day is a breeze. The 3-fold clasp and steel bracelet of the Seiko is outstanding, considering the price point.

At under 300 euro, the Seiko 5 is in a category all to itself. If you’re looking for high quality on a tight budget, the sporty Seiko 5 is a grand choice.

  • Model: SRP557K1
  • Movement: 4R36 (automatic)
  • Frequency: 21,600 vibrations per hour
  • Power Reserve: ~ 40 hours
  • Casing: Steel
  • Dimension: 44mm
  • Watch thickness: 13mm
  • Glass: mineral (Hardlex)
  • Water Resistance: 100m (10 bar)
  • Bracelet width: 22mm
  • Bracelet: Steel, 3-fold clasp

Tissot

The Swiss company Tissot has a long history of quality watchmaking, with their Seastar 1000 model being the purebreed diving watch of this article. Easily legible and with a high luminoscity watch face, 300 meter water resistance, screw lockable crown, high quality rubber bracelet and a whopping 80 hour power reserve on the movement all combine to make the Tissot Seastar a highly attractive package.

Tissot Seastar 1000
Tissot Seastar 1000

The crown needs only a feather touch. The bezel works to exacting standards and the design makes for excellent gripability. It could even be said that moving the bezel wearing heavy gloves underwater would be possible. Not that we went so far to test it, of course!

The downward curvature of the rubber bracelet makes for an extremely comfortable wearing experience.
The downward curvature of the rubber bracelet makes for an extremely comfortable wearing experience.

Party due to the rubber bracelet, the watch is also light, at a mere 96 grams, allowing it to be virtually unnoticeable while wearing. The style language of the Seastar is practically made for casual and outdoorsy activities, being right at home while boating, at the beach or in the countryside. Switching the 19mm rubber bracelet for a leather one, the Seastar will make an excellent everyday watch. At about the 500 euro price point, the Tissot is a steady choice.

  • Model: T066.407.17.057.02
  • Movement: Powermatic 80 (automatic)
  • Frequency: 21,600 vibrations per hour
  • Power Reserve: 80 hours
  • Casing: Steel
  • Dimension: 42mm
  • Watch thickness: 12.4mm
  • Glass: Sapphire crystal
  • Water Resistance: 300m (30 bar)
  • Bracelet width: 19mm
  • Bracelet: rubber / silicone

Certina

Another Swiss entry, the Certina DS Action Diver Automatic is the most traditional diver of the lot, based around the legendary and tried-and-tested, highly reliable ETA 2824-2 movement. Of special note, Certina specifically mentions the watch to meet the strict requirements given to diving watches in the ISO 6425 Standard.

Certina DS Action Diver Automatic
Certina DS Action Diver Automatic

Traditional, in the case of this Certina, means all the positive aspects that are required of a diver. The bomb proof ETA movement, sturdy casing, readily legible watch face with bright luminosity, adequate water resistance (200m in this case), firm bezel, easily operable screw-locking crown, rounded off by a quality steel bracelet with a good clasp that needs both dexterity and a bit of strength to open.

The stunning blue of the watch face is surrounded by a highly legible orthodox bezel, that only turns counter-clockwise.
The stunning blue of the watch face is surrounded by a highly legible orthodox bezel, that only turns counter-clockwise.

The style of the Certina is the most versatile of the three divers presented in this article, owing to the pragmatism of its design. Changing to a leathern bracelet (remembering the 21 millimeter width!) the Certina becomes a very stylish business watch and with a Nato strap it transforms into a light sports watch. At just about the 600 euro mark, the DS Action Diver is the choice du jour for fans of the traditional diving watch.

  • Model: C013.407.11.041.00
  • Movement: ETA 2824-2 (automatic), with hacking
  • Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour
  • Power Reserve: 80 hours
  • Casing: Steel
  • Dimension: 43mm
  • Watch thickness: 12mm
  • Glass: Sapphire crystal
  • Water Resistance: 200m (20 bar)
  • Bracelet width: 21mm
  • Bracelet: Steel

Conclusions

Three different watches, three different manufacturers. If your budget is tight, look no further than the Seiko. If you are looking for more personality, the Tissot offers value for money with its style language. And if you’re on the market for a more traditional diving watch, the Certina is your surest bet.

Seiko, Tissot and Certina all offer value for money.

Tissot, Seiko and Certina - Three quality diving watches.
Tissot, Seiko and Certina – Three quality diving watches.

Just three diving watches is barely a scratch on the surface, but provide a glimpse into the vast array of good choices available on the market today. The watches presented above are all from manufacturers whose ranges offer a variety of models in different price ranges, so familiarizing oneself with the ranges and trying different watches on will surely yield the perfect candidate diving watch for all. If you happen to have deeper pockets, we highly recommend checking out what Oris has to offer.

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