When it comes to dive watches, the under $500 price range is the ultimate in terms of value. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg and you get so much for the money! The best dive watches under $500 are certified diver watches with water-resistant depth ratings of 200 meters and deeper, unidirectional bezels, screw-down crowns, excellent readability and luminosity, mineral and even sapphire dial windows, high quality automatic and quartz movements, meticulous craftsmanship, and great style.
You can rely on them as backup timers to your dive computer when scuba diving. Plus with their cool and sporty yet classic and elegant style and rugged build quality, they are such good-looking timepieces and the most practical and versatile. Whether you love scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, or any other water sport and want a watch you can wear when engaging in these activities or are looking for something to wear in the great outdoors, the streets, or the office, a divers watch fits the bill.
Pro tip 1 - Size:
- The best dive watches are highly functional and take up a limited amount of space. With a budget of $500, you should be in the perfect range to fit your needs. For beginners, bigger dive watches can be convenient to locate certain underwater features on the screen.
Pro tip 2 - Style:
- If you want the most out of your dive watch, style should be at the top of the list. Shearwater dive computers are not only stylish but also highly functional and renowned within the dive community.
Pro tip 3 - Durability:
- With a budget above a couple of hundred dollars, you should have no problem finding a watch made of high-quality material. Carbon fiber, stainless steel, and strong, durable composite plastics are your best bet for the long and healthy life of your dive watch.
Scuba Diving Expert
How To Choose A Dive Watch Under $500 – Buying Guide
The most important feature to consider when buying a dive watch is its maximum depth rating. Dive watches have a water-resistant depth rating that indicates the depth equivalent of the water pressure they can withstand. It is important to note that this depth rating doesn’t translate to what depth below the surface the watch is capable of withstanding.
Most contemporary diving watches have a depth rating of Diver’s 200 meters or 300 meters. Dive watches that conform to ISO 6425, the international standard that regulates the standards for diving watches, are marked with the word DIVER’S.
Choose a watch labeled DIVER’s 200 m or 300 m and you can go recreational scuba diving, skin diving, snorkeling, swimming, and engage in serious surface water sports and professional marine activities with it on your wrist and it won’t be ruined. The only kind of diving it won’t be suitable for is saturation mixed-gas diving.
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Water-resistance is the most important quality of a dive watch. If you plan to dive with it, it has to be a waterproof watch to survive underwater. It has to have more than just basic water resistance. A dive watch should be able to withstand high levels of water pressure when diving without water pressure breaking the seals and damaging the sensitive components inside the watch.
Although ISO minimum water-resistance rating for diver watches is 100 m (330 ft), we recommend going for a 200 to 300 m (660 to 980 ft) water resistance rating to be on the safe side if you will be going underwater for scuba diving. Such highly resistant watches can withstand SCUBA diving and won’t fog up because they got moisture inside, even when submerged for a long time when scuba diving.
A dive watch should have quality water gaskets that form watertight seals. The case material has to be water-resistant, the crown and case-back screwed in and a sealant applied on the case to prevent water ingress at the most vulnerable points.
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If you will be going scuba diving with your dive watch, choose one with a strap that is long enough to go around the wrist with a wetsuit or drysuit on. Some dive watch packages include a divers extension strap to expand the strap length so it fits when wearing a diving suit.
As for the case, dive watches tend to be hefty being tool watches. They have large and thick cases. Their style is part of what inspired the oversized watch trend. Medium-size dive watches are available too. You want to choose a dive watch with a size you like, that fits properly on your wrist and is comfortable and a pleasure to wear. Choose a case size that is suitable for your wrist, depending on whether you have small or large wrists and depending on whether you love the large watch trend or prefer the classic medium-sized style. A hefty watch with a thick and large face may be too big, unbalanced, and uncomfortable on small wrists.
Check the weight too and choose a dive watch with a weight that you will be comfortable wearing. Choose too heavy a watch and it will weigh your hand down and hinder your comfort and activities underwater and on land.
Style may not be the most important determinant of what dive watch to choose but it is still important. You will want to spend your money on a dive watch that can withstand the kind of usage you want it for, has the features you need and want, and also looks good, suits your style and personality, and will be a pleasure to own and wear.
Dive watches are some of the most practical timepieces. You can wear them underwater, wear them to accessorize a jeans and t-shirt weekend look, and wear them with a suit. There are classic dive watches under 500 with the traditional dive watch style. There are dressy and elegant dive watches that look appropriate with an official suit on as well as with a wet suit on. There are medium-sized styles and there are large, trendy ones that stand out on the wrist. Whether you choose a sporty or dressy design is a matter of preference. You can also purchase different bands so you can dress the watch up or down to suit different occasions.
There are also gender-specific styles. The best men’s dive watches under 500 differ from the best women’s dive watch under 500 in terms of size and finishing. Women’s dive watches will be on the smaller side and may have feminine details such as sparkly bezels.
Related Review: Women’s Dive Watches
How do you intend to use the dive watch? For recreational scuba diving and other water sports such as snorkeling, surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, and kayaking? As an everyday beater watch? Have the how and where you will be using the watch in mind as you choose a watch so you can choose the best watch under 500 for the intended purpose.
Today, divers rely on digital dive computers to measure the important variables and give them the information they need for safe diving. Dive watches are mostly worn cool fashion statements but certified diving watches still serve their purpose as dive timers and can still be used for their intended purpose, as backups to dive computers.
If you want a backup timer that can tell you the amount of time you’ve spent underwater when scuba diving, ensure you go for a model with at least 200 meters water-resistant depth rating so it can withstand the water pressure at the depth you will be diving too, good luminosity and readability underwater, a unidirectional rotating bezel for measuring elapsed time, and a screwed-down crown and case back.
If you won’t be using the watch for scuba diving but will be using it as an everyday watch you can wear in the office, on the streets, in the great outdoors, and on the water when surfing, kayaking, fishing, sailing, etc, choose one with at least 100 meters water resistance rating, robust construction that can take a beating and a good looking timepiece that suits your style.
When looking for the best diver watch under 500, you’re hoping to get years of use out of it. The good news is that the best dive watches under 500 are overbuilt using high-quality materials, movements, gaskets, thick crystals and are resilient, durable, and capable of functioning well under adverse conditions. You can wear them when participating in sports such as golf, kayaking, fishing, hiking, bike riding, and in rough environments such as construction and rocky trails without worrying that your watch will break. You can use them as everyday beater watches and they won’t let you down.
An ISO-certified diver watch is a solid watch when it comes to durability, as ISO 6425 stipulates that a diver watch must be anti-magnetic, shock resistant, and resistant to corrosion in seawater. A screw-in crown and case-back are essential to protect your dive watch components in the face of intense water pressure. As for the dial window, sapphire crystal, and hard mineral glass are the optimal materials for scratch resistance and durability.
A reputable brand is also important. You won’t have to worry about durability if you choose among swiss dive watches under 500, top-rated men’s dive watches under 500 by reputable Japanese brands such as Citizen and Seiko, or even one by a micro brand as long as it has good dive watches under 500 reviews.
Q: Does Quality Depend on The Price Or The Cheaper Models Are As Good As The Original?
Dive watch manufacturers tend to match the quality of materials, features, and watch engines with the price tag. The price will reflect the quality of the dive watch you’re getting up to a certain point where you start paying a brand premium on luxury watches to enjoy prestige and exclusivity. The good news is that there is a reliable, high-quality dive watch at every price point.
The best dive watches under 500 represent excellent value for money. A nice balance of quality, features, and finish vs. the cost of the watch. Way below 500, some excellent affordable dive watches are elegant, readable, water-resistant up to the specified depths, and reliable as diving and everyday watches.
The best expensive high-end dive watches feature unparalleled skill in their engineering, designs that ooze style, and premium materials such as titanium, high-grade stainless steel, ceramic, and even adornments with precious stones. You also pay a premium for the vanity value of the brand.
Q: How Deep Can A Dive Watch Go?
How deep a dive watch can go depends on the water resistance depth rating printed on its dial. Watches that have a water resistance rating of 100 m (330 ft) are at the shallower end of the dive spectrum and can be used as free diving watches. They can also be worn when snorkeling, swimming, and when engaging in surface water sports.
Divers watch with a water resistance of around 200 to 300 m (660 to 980 ft) can go hundreds of meters below the surface and are suitable for recreational scuba diving.
There are some advanced dive watches capable of withstanding the immense water pressure thousand of meters or feet below the surface of oceans. The CX Swiss Military Watch set the Guinness record for the deepest diving watch in 2009. It has an incredible water resistance rating of 20,000 feet or 6,000 meters.
Q: How To Properly Care For A Dive Watch?
Let's start with what you shouldn’t do with your dive watch if you want it to last long and remain water-resistant. Do not expose your dive watch to sprays or strong chemicals, which can damage the watertight seals and the sensitive watch components. Avoid banging or scratching the watch and exposing it to strong magnetic fields.
Before you dive, make sure a screw-down crown is screwed down. If your dive watch has a push-in crown, make sure it is pushed in before going into the water. Do not operate the push-in crown while underwater.
Thoroughly rinse your watch in freshwater after each dive or lap in a swimming pool. As for cleaning, you can wipe with a microfiber cloth and scrub stubborn dirt using a soft toothbrush.
If you have a battery-powered dive watch, opening the watch back to replace the battery can compromise the waterproof seals. It is best to have the battery replaced at a repair or service center.
The rubber or plastic seals that make a diving watch waterproof deteriorate with time and dive watch maintenance is essential. Manufacturers recommend getting the seals and gaskets checked and replaced anywhere from every 18 to 36 months. If you take your dive watch underwater regularly, it will require servicing more often.
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Years ago, divers relied on dive watches to track their time below the water surface. Today, dive watches are mostly worn as style pieces rather than tools, but can still be worn opposite the dive computers to serve as backup bottom timers. To wear a dive watch diving and time a dive the old school way is to celebrate the heritage of dive watches.
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