A good dive watch doesn’t have to cost you the arm you plan on wearing it on. Thankfully, the market for dive watches is larger than ever before. Nowadays, there are more than just cheapo options or bank-busting luxury brands.
Let’s take a look at some great watches under $200.
Best Dive Watches Under 200 Dollars?
Phoibos is a newcomer to the scene. They were established in 2016 and began mass production in 2018. They’ve made quite an impact though and divers have taken quite a liking to their product. This is backed by the regularly sold-out signs posted on their store’s homepage. As soon as new stock comes in, it quickly sells out. Phoibos is a Hong Kong manufacturer and focuses primarily on medium grade dive watches.
- One thing we like about this watch is that it is rated to 300m (1000ft). This means that it is a good option for deep level divers looking for something stylish yet sturdy. One thing to note, this is not an ISO depth rating. The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) has more stringent requirements for depth ratings. Every single watch that a company manufactures must be tested to 125% of the depth rating. This means that each watch is guaranteed to perform at the rated depth. With non-ISO ratings, only a certain number of watches in each batch are tested. So, while there is the possibility of a higher failure rate among individual watches. Notice we said possibility. As long as quality control is high, and it seems to be with Phoibos from all of the positive reviews, this shouldn’t be a major issue.
- We like that this has a large face size and white numbers and notches against a black background. This makes it much easier to see which is important for technical divers going into deep waters or wrecks and caves. There are many dive watches that have small numbers. The issue here is that you will be struggling to see it and will have to remove your attention from the dive to your watch. It is always better to have a larger face that you can quickly glance at and move on.
- Another major plus is this watch has a sapphire crystal. This means the crystal is going to be more resistant to scratching and breaking than other types of crystal. If you are rough on watches, which we certainly are, sapphire crystal is the way to go.
- The biggest drawback, as we’ve already covered above, is that this watch is not ISO certified for depth. As we stated, ISO certified watches are guaranteed to perform to depth since every single watch is tested before hitting the market. This doesn’t mean that these watches will not perform to death. Simply, that the chances of an individual watch in the batch failing are slightly higher. It is still a good choice overall.
- Mens Watch with Swiss Made Quartz Movement
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Pantor is another newcomer when it comes to manufacturing watches. There isn’t too much history for this company yet. It was founded by a dive enthusiast who also had a penchant for making watches. But, one thing is for certain, they are doing something right. Their watches are consistently best-sellers across various platforms and they always come highly reviewed. They’ve taken on the dive watch manufacturing industry and seem to have courted over quite a few divers to their purpose-built watches. Their Pantor Nautilius 515 is their answer to the classic Seiko Turtle, at half the price.
- This watch is designed specifically for divers. Too many modern dive watches are designed for fashion first and diving second, if at all. Dive watches have become a fashion statement with many high-level celebrities sporting them. Pantor has focused its efforts on dive watches meant for diving. This comes through in the material and design which is resistant to corrosion and durable to depths of up to 200m (660ft).
- The face of the watch is easy to see. The lumination is quite bright making this easy to use even in dark environments such as caves or wreck sites. The numbers around the bezel are large and contrast well with white numbers against a black background. This should be easy to see for the average diver without having to strain or focus too much.
- One final thing we really like is the packaging. Now, we would never advise anyone to buy a watch for the packaging. But, Pantor has created a case that is multipurpose and can be reused. This is huge as it helps to cut down on waste. As divers, we are always concerned with consumer products and their packaging ending up in the oceans. So, designing packaging to be multipurpose and not just a pretty tin that will be tossed in a few weeks is a major plus in our book.
- As with the Phoibos, our main issue with this watch is that it isn’t ISO certified. As we’ve stated, this isn’t a nail in the coffin. It doesn’t mean this watch is going to fail or that you shouldn’t trust it. Many newer companies do not have ISO certified watches. The costs associated with testing every single watch can be quite expensive. We hope this is something they will begin doing later on. But, until then, this is still a solid choice for a dive watch.
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We’ve spoken of Stuhrling before. They are a New York watch manufacturer founded in the early 2000s. They quickly established themselves as a contender when it came to creating high-quality watches at a mid-level price. Since then, they’ve been featured in everything from Popular Science to Business Insider. Their Original Men’s Maritimer 935 is probably our favorite of all of their dive watches. It is sturdily built, great looking, and easy to see. It also comes at an incredible price for a watch of such high-quality. Overall, we think Stuhrling is an awesome brand that divers looking for function and fashion to consider.
- This is an incredibly sturdy watch and is Stuhrling’s answer to the Seiko Turtle. The case is made from stainless steel with a band a comfortable rubber strap. You should still watch this with fresh water anytime you dive but it is resistant to corrosion which will help it last for many years of diving.
- The face of the Maritimer 935 is large and easy to read. They’ve done a great job of contrasting the darker watch face with lighter numbers that are easy to see at a glance. It is also luminous which makes the watch easy to see at night or in darker conditions such as wreck dives or inside of cave systems.
- We also like that this, and every other watch produced by Stuhrling, comes with a 2-year warranty. This is important with any watch, but with dive watches especially. Since you will be using your dive watches in demanding circumstances, it is nice to know that if something goes wrong you can get your watch easily repaired or replaced without having to jump through too many hoops or drop a lot of cash.
- The one thing we don’t like about this watch is the bezel. As we mentioned above, we like that the face and bezel are easy to read because of the contrast between the numbers and the background. But, one drawback is that the bezel is only marked with numbers at the 15, 30, and 45 points. The main issue with this is that you will have to spend an extra few moments checking the exact point where rather than just being able to quickly look and see the time. It would be nice if it was numbered around the entire bezel instead of just having notches for the other points.
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While this wouldn’t make our list of the best Seiko watches, only because there are so many good ones it’s hard to choose, this certainly hits the best for under $200 mark. Seiko is one of the leading manufacturers of watches in the world. Not just dive watches, but watches of all types. Though, they have made a particular reputation when it comes to diving watches in particular. They are a Japanese company that has been around since the late 1800s. With that kind of history, you know you are getting a quality product that has withstood the test of time.
- This, like other Seiko dive watches, is designed from materials that aren’t going to corrode after the first dive. The case is made from high-quality stainless steel and the band from rubber. Many dive watches with rubber bands can be uncomfortable and stiff to wear. But, Seiko is usually good about using soft rubber that doesn’t dig into the skin after prolonged wearing.
- The face on this watch is huge. All of the notches are extra large and the numbers around the bezel large and easy to read. This, plus the fact that the numbers are light and set against a dark background, makes this a great watch for darker environments. Plus, the face and watch hands are all luminous adding further ease when reading it in low light environments.
- We like that this is an automatic movement watch. You can read more about the technical aspects of this but the gist is that it does not need to be wound like a manual watch. Instead, the natural movement from your body keeps it running. It can store enough energy to keep it going for quite a while when not in use so you don’t have to worry about losing time if you decide not to wear it for a few days.
- One thing we don’t like about this particular Seiko model is that the bezel isn’t luminous. The numbers are white against a dark black and orange background. But, in a low light environment, you will need to shine your light to see the bezel. This isn’t a show stopper, but it does mean you can’t just glance and go in low light.
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This is getting into heavy hitters when it comes to diving watches. As we’ve discussed above, Phoibos is a newer brand. Their PX0058 isn’t designed with the recreational diver in mind. Instead, this has commercial diver written all over it. The features are geared toward saturation divers and deepwater divers who need a watch that can take a beating. It is equipped with a helium release valve, among a few other features that make this an excellent choice for professional divers. Recreational divers can certainly use this as well with the comfort of knowing it’s going to last for many years of diving.
- As mentioned, this is equipped with a helium release valve. You can read more about what this means but to make it simple, it releases helium which can build up during saturation dives. Helium is such a small particle that the gas can enter through o-rings and other seals. But, when returning to normal pressure, the difference inside the watch and outside can cause the crystal to blow or other damage. The release valve helps to keep the watch at a stable pressure.
- Aside from the release valve, this watch is made from a sapphire crystal which is more durable than other crystal. It’s made to take on the demands that a commercial diver can place on it. It is also rated to a depth of 1000m (3300ft) which is more than enough for even deep divers.
- The numbers on the bezel are easy to see and the notches on the face large. This is a major benefit as many commercial and technical divers go to depths where light barely reaches. The face is luminous as well as the hands and everything is easy to see with a quick glance. The numbers and notches are white and are set against a dark blue and black background.
- As with the other Phoibos watch reviewed in the number one position, this watch is not ISO certified. Again, this is not the end of the world. Everything about this watch is high-quality and it is built to be durable and to take a beating.
Like the list? Let us know in the comments section what you think about our selection. Or, if you have a recommendation that isn’t on this list then let us know. We always have our ear to the ground for new information. If you’ve got something to say and feel like other divers could benefit from it then make sure and leave a comment. You never know when experience might help your fellow divers.
Last update on 2021-10-02 at 00:20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API