Within the various styles of watches, the dive watch stands out as one of the most popular—regardless if it’s ever used for scuba diving. Sporty in design, robust in construction, and highly water-resistant, many watch wearers turn to diving watches as their daily timepiece. While there are plenty of expensive dive watches out there made by top-tier timepiece brands, there are also a host of affordable ones to suit smaller budgets. So with that in mind, here are some of the best dive watches under $2,000.
Seiko Prospex SRP777 ($495)
When it comes to high-quality dive watches at an accessible price point, no other company does it quite like Seiko. Seiko has a long history of making great dive watches, introducing its first diver in 1965. Since then, the Japanese watchmaker has continuously added new dive models to its catalog to the delight of Seiko fans everywhere.
It’s a challenge to pick the best dive watch from Seiko’s expansive collection, however, the Seiko Prospex SRP777, inspired by the vintage Seiko 6309 from the 1970s and 1980s, checks off all the boxes for an affordable diving watch. Priced at less than $500, the Seiko Prospex SRP777 sports a 44mm cushion-shaped case with a winding crown at 4 o’clock, a black dial with day and date indication, a black unidirectional dive bezel, and black silicone divers strap. What’s more, the ISO-compliant Seiko Prospex SRP777 runs on an automatic movement and offers a water resistance rating of 200 meters.
Squale 50 Atmos Blue Ocean 1521-026 ($899)
Founded in Switzerland but now operating out of Italy, Squale’s history began with producing specialized diving watch cases for a variety of brands in the mid-20th Century. Squale eventually branched out into making its own line of dive watches and today, Squale diving watches enjoy a cult following among those who know the brand.
The Squale 1521 range offers 500-meter water-resistant professional dive watches in a variety of case, dial, and bracelet combinations. We particularly love the Squale 50 Atmos Blue Ocean 1521-026 BLR version, fitted with a striking sunburst blue dial and bezel, polished stainless steel case measuring around 42mm, and a leather strap (but it can also be paired with a rubber strap or steel mesh bracelet). The dial is particularly vibrant thanks to the glossy blue finish, which is punctuated with a bright orange minute hand. Retailing for $899, this is by far one of the best Swiss-made automatic dive watches you can get at a relatively accessible price point.
Doxa Sub 200 ($990)
A brand favored by scuba divers and desk divers alike, Doxa became particularly popular in the decades that followed the launch of the now-legendary SUB300T in 1967 with a bright orange dial and bezel to indicate decompression times. Even the father of SCUBA, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, often wore an orange Doxa on his wrist during underwater adventures. Today, Doxa is focused on releasing contemporary versions of its famed vintage dive watches.
The new Doxa Sub 200 collection features a vintage dive watch design but of course, executed to meet today’s standards. The watches include 42mm stainless steel cases, domed sapphire crystals, coin-edged rotating dive bezels, and a choice of beads-of-rice bracelets or rubber straps. As its name suggests, the Sub 200 is water-resistant to 200 meters deep and Doxa has fitted the watches with automatic movements. While the Sub 200 is offered in a multitude of hues, such as black “Sharkhunter,” blue “Caribbean,” and yellow “Divingstar,” the orange “Professional” colorway is the most Doxa of them all. With a price tag of $990, the Sub 200 offers one of the best values in the Swiss-made dive watch space.
Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression Automatic Black ZO9276 ($1,395)
One of the first dive watches to hit the market in 1953, the history of the Zodiac Sea Wolf is often overshadowed by the more expensive Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and Rolex Submariner, which made their debut that same year. The history of Zodiac watches is closely linked to the development of dive watches, yet the brand disappeared in the 1980s due to the Quartz Crisis. Thankfully, Fossil purchased the brand around two decades ago and Zodiac is now on a mission to re-establish itself as a leader in the dive watch niche with a diverse collection of Super Sea Wolf models.
Zodiac unveiled the Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression Automatic Black ZO9276 last year, an all-black version of its popular diver. The watch features a 40mm steel case and steel bracelet, both PVD-coated in black to achieve its stealthy style. The pops of turquoise on the dial are a welcomed accent and the watch really comes alive in the dark as the luminous accents glow bright blue. Water-resistant to 200 meters, powered by an automatic movement, and fitted with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal, the Zodiac ZO9276 packs quite a punch for $1,395.
Oris Divers Sixty-Five ($1,900)
Oris is yet another Swiss watch brand that likes to remind the watch enthusiast crowd of its history of making divers, having introduced its first dive watches in 1965. In 2015, Oris introduced the Divers Sixty-Five collection as a tribute to those inaugural diving watches and today, the lineup is home to an impressive assortment of retro-inspired timepieces.
This particular model of the Oris Divers Sixty-Five (ref. 01 733 7707 4055-07 5 20 45) is especially handsome, bringing together a 40mm stainless steel case, a black dive bezel, a blue dial with creamy colored luminescence, and a brown leather strap. Vintage in aesthetic yet modern in execution with features such as a domed sapphire crystal, an automatic time and date movement, and a water depth rating of 200 meters, the Oris Divers Sixty-Five slides in just under $2,000, retailing for $1,900—and worth every penny.
What do you think of our selection of the best dive watches under $2,000? What are some of your favorite affordable diving watches? Share your feedback with us in the comments section below.
I have two one was my dads purchased in DC 1976 and mine in 1993 both still work and look like new.
I have a Seiko Divers watch with a orange face. The orange band perfectly matches the watch.
Take a look at the Helm line of watches especially the Komodo.
A very good cross section of watches for under the 2k mark, well thought out, what’s the chance of divers under the 1k mark 🙏
The Oris Aquis is a way better watch than the 65, but because of the integrated bracelet, you guys went with the one that could sell straps….
I love the Aquis. We have straps for the Aquis and we have new strap models for the Auquis in the works as well.
Rado Captain Cook is a fantastic choice under 2k$
I wasn’t familiar with the Captain Cook but I just had a look and they’re awesome!
I’m a professional diver with over 50 years of international diving experience. Your selection of dive watches, as you state, includes fashionable pieces that will probably never be used in the water. Originally designed to compute bottom time and decompressing schedules, accuracy and environmental durability were the primary parameters of a good dive watch. Seiko’s watches have embraced function over fashion and continue to be the choice of working divers. Technical diving operations now rely heavily on dive computers but no professional diver would jump without a reliable back dive watch in the event of a computer failure. In my experience the fashionable watches get left on the boat and the solid, dependable watches continue to be used to insure diver safety. Thanks for a nice article on the state of the art for a watch style with a proud history.
I’d love to know more about which watches are used by the pro’s, unless it’s primarily Seiko as you already mentioned that brand. I’m guessing there are a couple more out there? I’m really curious if any divers watches that are the real deal include tritium luminescence bc that’s what I’m l looking for…. Or is this not a desirable technology for a diver watch?
Thanks so much,
That’s a good listing. I had not looked at the Zodiac watches, some nice looking watches there.. Take a look at Christopher Ward dive watches. They have ones up to 1,000 meters well under the $2,000 mark. And 600 meters under $1,000.
Yeah! I love Christopher Ward watches!