If you’re looking for a good dive watch that will function well in the water and look great on land, you can’t go wrong with Seiko watches. They are the perfect balance between higher-end dive watches made by brands like Omega and Rolex and cheaper dive watches from lesser-known brands. We’re going to take a look at what the best Seiko dive watches on the market are.
Why wear a dive watch?
If you’ve been diving for any length of time you already know the importance of having a dive computer. Especially, once you start getting into deep dives where decompression stops are necessary, they are indisposable.
A quick question. What would you do if your dive computer ever failed on you? Let’s say you’re at 55m (180ft), and the unthinkable happens. The screen on your dive computer goes out and no matter how many buttons you press or how many times you press them, it stays dead. What are you going to do?
Sure, you can rely on your dive partner. But, what if they began their descent just a few minutes after you? Or, maybe the formula their dive computer is using is different than yours. Relying on them may leave you a few minutes short on your decompression stops. Maybe nothing goes wrong. Or, maybe you catch a case of the bends.
What’s the solution to this? Having a dive watch and carrying a copy of the decompression tables in your BCD. You need to learn the formulas used to calculate decompression stops so that you can safely get yourself back to the surface. The same way thousands of divers before you did prior to the invention of modern dive computers.
This leads us to the next question. What makes Seiko so special?
The answer to this is twofold. First, there is an economical reason they are great watches. Second, there is a technical reason. Both combine to make some of the best dive watches currently on the market.
Let’s tackle the economic reason first. When diving first became a popular sport, dive watches were typically extremely expensive. Two of the first dive watches were manufactured by Rolex and Omega.
In fact, the first waterproof and dustproof watch was the Rolex Oyster which was invented in 1926. Later, in 1932, Omega came along with the predecessor to the current Seamaster collection. This was the first industrially produced dive watch. The reputation of the dive watch was further solidified by the release of the Rolex Submariner, which gained prominence in a number of James Bond movies.
The major issue with all of these watches is that they were, and still are, very expensive. Anyone familiar with watches can hear a name like Rolex and Omega and Blancpain and know that the price tags are serious. These weren’t just everyday watches for the average person. They were tools of the trade for a sport still in its infancy. Over time though, they became fashion statements associated with adventure and luxury living.
A lot has changed in the subsequent decades, however. There are quite literally hundreds of brands to choose from now when it comes to diving watches. You can find everything from cheap watches that cost less than $20, with looks that match the price, to the traditional Rolex and Omega watches.
This is where Seiko comes in. Seiko has developed a reputation as a solid alternative to high-end watch brands that run in the four and five-digit price range. Despite their lower prices though, they retain the look of these higher-end watches and utilize much of the same technology.
One of the primary factors that make Seiko watches so desirable is that they have a wide variety to choose from in terms of style and technology. There are entry-level watches all the way up to precision-manufactured quartz watches that are in the upper mid-level in terms of pricing. They make watches that utilize kinetic energy for charging (self-charging watches powered by the wearer’s movement), as well as traditional mechanical watches. The combination of price, quality, technology, and variety make Seiko watches some of the best currently on the market.
Best Seiko Dive Watch Reviews
One thing that we will note is that Seiko does not have a lot of thinner watches to choose from. For this reason, their watches are traditionally more popular with men. If you are looking for a thinner dive watch made for smaller wrists, you will most likely need to look elsewhere.
- Solar powered round watch with 45mm stainless...
- Japanese quartz movement with analog display
- Featuring unidirectional rotating bezel, date...
- Water resistant to 660 feet (200 meters)
This is one of their entry-level dive watches. It is a great option if you are looking for something stylish that isn’t going to break the bank. The watch is made from stainless steel with a blue polyurethane band and a black watch face. It is made from a gunmetal toned stainless steel giving it a more refined finish. Overall, this is a good low profile option for in and out of the water.
- The watch is certified to 200m (656). This is a great option if you plan on doing deeper dives past normal recreational limits. It also has a luminous dial and notches to make it easier to see in darker environments such as wrecks or caves.
- One of the main features we like about this watch is that it is solar-powered. For divers in tropical locations, this can be a fantastic choice. You won’t have to worry about your battery going out as it is constantly being charged throughout the day while working on boats or just around the area. If you are in a low sunlight location though, you may opt for a different watch that is mechanical or kinetic.
- The watch is made from stainless steel and has a polyurethane band. This helps to keep it from corroding the same as other metal alloys would. You should still make sure to wash it with fresh water after saltwater diving.
- The main issue we have with this watch is the polyurethane bands which Seiko uses can become uncomfortable after extended periods of use. This is a case of the band needing to be worn in. But, for the first few weeks of owning one, it can become uncomfortable after extended periods. This isn’t a major issue as you will quickly adjust. But, it would be nice if the bands were just slightly less stiff.
- Precise Japan Solar Quartz Movement (Caliber V157)
- Stainless Steel Case and Band, Polyurethane Black...
- Hardlex Mineral Crystal, Date Display, Lumbrite...
- Case Size: 47mm Diameter, 12 mm Thickness
- Water Resistant - 200 M (Meets ISO Standards and...
This one is made especially for divers. It’s a special edition dive watch made in conjunction with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). All this really means is that it has PADI written on the face of the watch and it comes in the organization’s colors. But, this is still a good way to mark yourself out as a diver during your everyday life. The specs are similar to the SNE283 listed above. There are a few differences though which we prefer in this watch.
- We like that this is a solar-powered watch. Most of the diving we do is in tropical environments so this lets us keep diving without having to worry about a dead battery. As we mentioned previously if you do most of your diving in cloudy areas this may not be the best choice.
- One of the main features that we like about this is the luminescent face and bezel. Many dive watches only have a luminescent face but don’t bother with adding any luminescence to the bezel. This defeats the purpose in our mind as you need to shine your dive light to see it.
- This watch is rated to 200m (660ft) so you can rest assured it will do the trick even at extreme depths. It is made from stainless steel and has a polyurethane band which are both resistant to corrosion.
- The only thing we don’t like about this watch is the price. It is a great price but, it is essentially the same watch as the SNE283 which is cheaper. If you don’t mind the extra cost and want to go for a limited edition watch this is a great choice. If not, you can opt for the SNE283 which is slightly cheaper and gives you the same performance.
- Japan 21 Jewels Automatic Self-Winding Movement...
- Stainless Steel Case, Resin Strap
- Hardlex Mineral Crystal, Day/Date Display with...
- Water Resistant - 200 M, Screw Down Case Back and...
- Case Size: 43 mm Diameter, 13 mm Thickness
With this watch, we are starting to get into the mid-level in terms of features. As far as diving specs go, the SKX007J1 is quite similar to the above two watches. It is rated to a depth of 200m and is made from stainless steel with a resin strap. The major difference is in the inside. Instead of being solar-powered, this is a self-winding watch, also known as an automatic watch.
- This is a great entry-level option when it comes to self-winding watches. The way a self-winding watch works is by using the movement from your wrist to charge the watch. You can read this GQ article to find out more about self-winding watches. The main benefit is they don’t rely solely on battery power so you don’t have to worry about the watch dying mid-dive. That being said, if you don’t plan on wearing your watch often, an automatic watch may not be the best choice for you. They only store a power reserve of a few days so if you do not wear it often you will constantly have to reset it. In this case, you may want to opt for a kinetic watch. But, more about those later.
- As with the other watches on this list, the SKX007J1 is highly resistant to corrosion. When buying dive watches this is a major indicator of whether your watch will stand the test of time. Many cheaper watches use parts that corrode. Salt crystals from the water can become stuck in smaller places such as between the band or under the bezel. Over time, this will cause a watch made from poor materials to corrode. Not so with Seiko dive watches.
- The addition of the resin strap is nice. This is a much softer material than polyurethane so it should be much more comfortable to wear over the course of the day. Especially with this being an automatic watch that needs to be worn regularly, this is a bonus.
- The major downside here is the automatic movement. But, this is only a downside if you do not understand how it works. As we mentioned above, it needs to be worn regularly or it will begin to lose time. If you do not wear your watch every day this is not the best watch to get. Go for something kinetic instead
- Screwdown crown and caseback, 41-hour power...
We’re big fans of the Seiko Prospex. It’s classic in design, comfortable in it’s fit, and precise in its timekeeping. Like the other watches on this list, this one is rated to a depth of 200m (660ft). Even you technical divers should have no problems using this at extreme depths. The design for this special edition model is based on their older 6000 series watches and is a bit larger than you may be accustomed to. But, it has the same level of performance as the other watches on this list.
- This is another automatic watch. Personally, we like this feature as it means we can keep the watch on and keep it ticking without having to worry about replacing the battery. But, as we mentioned above, if you do not wear your watch every day, or at least every few days, this may not be the best option for you. You will be having to reset the time when you do use it.
- We like that this is a limited edition watch with a classic design. It derives its name, Save the Ocean, from the blue watch facing and its turtle-shaped design. As with the PADI special addition we reviewed above, this makes it even more unique for divers. If you’ve got the extra money for a special edition diving watch, this is a great option to consider.
- One other thing we like about this is the soft silicone strap. Since you will be wearing an automatic watch often, it is nice to know that it won’t be digging into your wrist. The material is also corrosive resistant so you don’t have to worry about the watch not holding up to normal dive wear and tear.
- The main drawback is the size of this watch. The face and band are quite large which can be a bit cumbersome. If you want something with a smaller profile, you may opt for the PADI special edition watch listed above.
This is another automatic watch which we like. The main difference with this one is that it has a stainless steel band as opposed to the normal polyurethane bands other watches on this list have. If you prefer a metal watch band then this is a perfect choice. It also has the added benefit of being a bit smaller than many of the other watches on this list.
- As the name implies, this is a midsize watch. As we mentioned above, Seiko does not have a wide variety of thinner dive watches more suited for women. Their watches tend to be bulkier and made more for large-sized wrists. So, if you are a person with a smaller wrist but you still want a Seiko dive watch, consider this as a good option.
- One major plus point with this is that the face has very large notches that are luminescent and easy to read. Plus, the bezel has some luminescence. There are many dive watches, both expensive and cheap, which have poorly designed faces. The numbers or notches are too small or the luminescence isn’t good which can make them hard to read. Especially, if you are in a darker environment such as inside of a wreck or a cave.
- This is water-resistant to 200m (660ft) and, as mentioned above, is stainless steel all around. You don’t have to worry about it croaking out during deeper dives or corroding after saltwater dives.
- The one major complaint that we have about this watch is that it is a bit top-heavy. Of course, this can be said of many watches due to the way they are designed. But, with this one specifically, it tends to ride down on the wrist. You will need to take it into a jeweler to have the band sized exactly for your wrist.
- 24 Jewels Automatic Movement (Caliber 4R36),...
- Stainless Steel Case, Polyurethane Band
- Hardlex Mineral Crystal, Day/Date Display with...
- Case Size: 46.5 mm Diameter, 13 mm Thickness
- Water Resistant - 200 M, Screw Down Crowm and Case...
Our final entry on this list is also an automatic watch. This is on the upper end of Seiko watches in terms of pricing. But, this is also reflected in the overall design and quality. The watch is made from stainless steel and has a sturdy stainless steel casing that protects it. It has a soft polyurethane case for added comfort and to prevent corrosion. As with the other watches on this list, it is rated to a depth of 200m. This is perfect for both beginners and advanced divers.
- One major thing that we like about this watch is the face design. It has both numbers and notches. The reason we like the numbers is that you can easily glance at your watch and look at the numbers rather than having to take a few extra seconds to calculate in your head what the notch corresponds with.
- The luminescence on the Prospex is top-notch. Both hands, as well as all of the numbers and the notches, are luminescent. This is fantastic if you do a lot of diving in darker waters such as wreck diving or cave diving.
- The fact it is enclosed in a stainless steel casing is also a major benefit. This protects it from normal wear and tear you experience both in and out of the water. You don’t have to worry about it being scratched or banged up. Even the bezel is protected in this case with two notches on either side to help you set it for dives.
- This is the most expensive watch on this list. Compared to many other dive watches of this caliber, it is quite reasonably priced. As we mentioned above, some watches at this level can get into the high four figures and even mid to high five figures. But, if you are on a tighter budget yet still want a good Seiko dive watch, you may opt for the PADI special edition instead.
In case you can’t tell, we are big fans of Seiko watches. The fact they are so well built yet so reasonably priced has won us over. Our personal favorite out of all of their dive watches is the Prospex line. But, all of their watches are top-notch.
What do you think about Seiko dive watches? Do you have any experiences you would like to share? Maybe you have a model that wasn’t mentioned on this list. Let us know in the comments section. If there is one thing we love as much as diving it’s watches. We’d love to hear your options as well.
Last update on 2021-05-18 at 18:27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API