Underwater sports have become relevant over the last century, and more and more people are getting more involved in it. This large involvement wouldn’t have been impossible without the existence of dive watches which allow individuals to travel underwater for a long period of time while recording some important metrics like the amount of time spent underwater. Dive watches also allow the diver to know what time it is at a particular moment underwater, in order to carry out some predetermined activities related to the purpose of travelling underwater.
Modern day dive watches feature a lot of functions that give the diver or underwater traveller the power to do a lot more than could be achieved in the medieval times. There are some basic standards that a device must meet in order to qualify to be called a dive watch. These standards are summarised below:
- Must possess a running indicator. Something must be present on the dive watch to show that it is running at all times, even in total darkness.
- Must possess magnetic, shock, chemical and of course water resistance, and these parameters must be tested by qualified professional methods.
- Each strap must be able to withstand a 200N load, and the battery must have an indication of its EoL (End of Life).
These and more must a watch possess to be called a dive watch.
As is with many tech products, the most popular dive watches are very expensive and mostly out of the reach of those who want to just dive underwater while measuring their travel time. Fortunately, some companies have started producing affordable smart watches, so in case you stumbled on this article with the question “what is the best dive watch under $200”, your questions would be answered in the next few paragraphs.
The Top 3 Best Dive Watches under $200
Seiko is a brand known for producing cheap dive watches, and they didn’t become popular for producing just cheap low-quality devices; their dive watches last long and work in much the same way as the very expensive ones do, with the exemption of some high-end mechanisms that can only be present on dive watches over $1000. The Seiko Men’s SKX007K Diver’s Automatic Watch is one of the brand’s top dive watches, and it is arguably the best dive watch under $200.
The Seiko Men’s SKX007K Diver’s Automatic Watch has all the basics you would expect to find in a typical dive watch; the Japanese automatic movement mechanism which makes the dive watch keep on ticking on its own without any form of human intervention, thereby eliminating the need to wind the watch from time to time, something that’s not comfortable especially when a diver is underwater navigating the rough tides. This also makes the watch able to work without a battery as it derives its powers from the movement of your arms.
As you would expect, the Seiko Men’s SKX007K Diver’s Automatic Watch is water-resistant up to a depth of 200 metres, something not common to dive watches below $200. Coupled with this, the SKX007K is self-luminous; meaning it lights up all the way down in the water, so you don’t have to start fiddling around when you want to check the time underwater.
There are many more features of the Seiko Men’s SKX007K Diver’s Automatic Watch, but the most important ones are mentioned above.
- Water-resistant and luminous.
- Japanese automatic movement.
- Survives up to 200m underwater.
- Great design and steel casing.
- Straps are not very strong
Like the Seiko SKX007K, the Orient Men’s CEM65001B “Black Mako” Automatic Dive Watch features the automatic mechanism which gives the watch running power on every movement of the wearer/diver’s watch. It is designed with stainless steel and is scratch-resistant, meaning you don’t have to worry about retouching it for a long time after buying it.
The absence of a battery inside the watch makes it lightweight, and its sleek black dial is protected by a mineral crystal dial window which is useful in situations when the watch comes in contact with dangerous fluids.
It seems the water resistance limit is common for all sub-$200 dive watches because the Orient Black Mako can survive up to 200m underwater, like the Seiko SKX007K. It also features a unidirectional bezel with a 120-click system which allows you to measure every second.
The dial of the Orient Black Mako dive watch is properly laminated in order to provide the diver with enhanced legibility underwater. The watch has the tendency to gain minutes over a period of time, but that period is long enough for a sub-$200 dive watch.
- Protective mineral crystal dial window.
- Scratch-resistant stainless steel.
- 120-click unidirectional bezel with automatic movement.
- Water resistant and enhanced luminosity.
- Poor timekeeping after a long period of usage
Though Seiko and Orient are the major manufacturers of low-cost dive watches, there are some other brands that are worth mentioning. The Citizen Eco-Drive Men’s BN0151-09L Promaster Diver Watch combines the three attributes of colourful, beautiful and functional. It features a blue dial with luminous hour markers and a unidirectional bezel with a 50-click system.
Even though the Citizen Eco-Drive Men’s BN0151-09L Promaster Diver Watch uses the Japanese quartz movement which requires you to wind the watch, it still doesn’t need a battery since it draws it power from the light; it’s solar-powered.
- Water resistant & luminous.
- Colourful dial with hour markers.
- The factory straps don’t hold the watch firmly enough.
Diving is a serious thing to some people, while to some it’s just a recreational activity. If you’re willing to hit depths lower than 200m and intend to monitor yourself as you go, getting a dive watch isn’t negotiable. You would never go wrong by choosing any one of the best dive watches under $200 reviewed above.