Diving is a sport that is enjoyed by millions of people all around the world. They do it because there is something peaceful and serene about enjoying all the natural wonders underneath the water. Unfortunately, it is also a sport that ruins the watches of many avid divers each year too. This is because they simply forget to take off their ordinary watches or they have a poorly made dive watch. That is why we decided to take the time to find the best dive watch under 500 dollars and also take a closer look at a few other very good dive watch models.
There are other reasons why it is important to have a reliable dive watch besides the fact that they get ruined under water too. When you dive it is critical that you are aware of how much time you have been underwater so your precious air does not run it. Having a watch that fails underwater can not only shorten your dive it can also be a fatal mistake. Here in this article we will also take a look at the key characteristics of dive watches that help determine if they are a good model or not.
The Top 5 Best Dive Watches Under $500
After taking a closer look at several different dive watch models these are the watches that impressed us the most
- Suunto Zoop Novo Wrist Scuba Computer
- Cressi Giotto Wrist Computer
- Seiko Men’s SKX781 “Orange Monster” Automatic Dive Watch
- Cressi Leonardo Scuba Dive Computer Wrist Watch
- Seiko Men’s SKX173 Stainless Steel and Black Polyurethane Automatic Dive Watch
1.Suunto Zoop Novo Wrist Scuba Computer
There are not a lot of watches that are made specifically for divers but this is one of them and it is a very good dive watch to say the least. Suunto has made a watch that is sleek, stylish, highly waterproof and fully dive functional. These are the very reasons that it was chosen as the number one model of all those we took a look at. We find it hard to believe that any diver that purchases this fine watch would be unhappy after they did it.
How confident is Suunto that they made an excellent product for diving? The fact that they don’t call it a watch but call it a ‘dive computer’ instead should tell you a lot about what this product does. It has such unique features and a very easy to read display, a 4 button user interface and you can even plan your entire dive out with it. It is a dive watch that can handle depths up 100 feet without having to worry about ruining it.
Best of all this watch is very affordable for all the ways it will enhance your dive and help keep you safe as you are doing it. Even given the fact that it does not have a setting for fresh water diving or a true compass built into it, it is still a watch that any avid diver will consider a big bonus to have while on a dive.
2.Cressi Giotto Wrist Computer
Here is another watch that is geared specifically towards diving and does it in a very sophisticated and efficient manner. Cressi has done a magnificent job with the design of this watch for divers. It does everything you want a dive watch to do while you are under the water and much more too.
If you dive using multi-gas mixtures then this watch is something that you really don’t want to be without. It will help you both plan and stay safe during any dive. Everything on this dive computer/watch is controlled by using a very simple 3-button interface that is located on the display.
The watch display is nicely backlit and the digital numbers and letters on the display are oversized too so it makes them very easy to read. Cressi really did a nice design job in this area. This is also a very good looking dive watch with its main yellow and black styling and it can also be found in a variety of other color combinations too.
The only real problems we found with it were minor in nature. One was the fact it has a battery that is not very popular so it may be hard to find if you need to replace it or want to have a spare for backup. The wrist strap is very long too but it can be trimmed very easily. Finding out how to work the watch light for a night dive was more difficult than it should have been too.
3.Seiko Men’s SKX781 “Orange Monster” Automatic Dive Watch
Those people who choose these watches are looking for a 24/7 type watch in addition to a good dive watch. This Seiko model dive watch is practical to use while you are underwater taking in the ocean’s wonders or when you are going to a formal dinner. It is by far the most flexible watch on our list in that respect.
It all starts with the beautiful design of this watch. It has a beautiful large orange display which is easy to see both above and below water. The band and crown are made out very decorative and corrosion resistant stainless steel. We really don’t feel there is another watch that is suitable for diving that looks nearly as good as this beautiful Seiko model does. You never have to take it off because it will be ok to wear during every phase of your lifestyle.
This watch needs no batteries as it winds itself just from your movements as you wear it. It also features a rotating bezel you can use for hand winding and this bezel will also help you keep track of the amount of time you have been under the water.
There are only a few drawbacks that we see with this watch. One is that it is not quite as functional for use when diving as a true dive watch is; although it is useable up to depths of 200 meters. This watch is also slightly heavy but much of that is due to its superior construction but you can’t beat such features that make it heavier like its amazing true quartz crystal face.
4.Cressi Leonardo Scuba Dive Computer Wrist Watch
Here is another fine diving watch from Cressi. They are a company that is world renowned for the quality and sophistication of their diving watches. This is an exceptional diving watch that is so versatile and has so many functions that Cressi calls it a dive computer. It is an amazing product to say the least.
This handy dive watch does well when you are diving with both straight oxygen or mixed gases. It is very easy to program and has a user interface that is very simple to navigate around. It features large size digits on the display and a single button that works all the different programming functions.
Cressi has made a watch that will help to improve any dive you are on. Although it is very basic in design, it is a unisex watch that comes in a variety of different color combinations so everyone should be able to find a style they like. The watch band itself is fully adjustable and can be trimmed to meet even smaller sized wrists.
What don’t we like about this watch? There really are not many things that we found wrong with it. We don’t think the Cressi line of watches is very stylish when compared to some of the other brands of dive watches out there and this model watch is no different. Also, this Cressi watch would be better served if it had a digital compass built into it and if the instructions that came with it were more detailed.
5.Seiko Men’s SKX173 Stainless Steel and Black Polyurethane Automatic Dive Watch
Here is another wonderful dive watch from Seiko that does not miss a bit when it comes to elegance and style. It is a do it all type of watch that is built rugged for play, yet also combines sophisticated good looks. So whether you are going on a dive weekend or to a wedding you only need one watch to cover all of the bases.
The black face on this watch is one of the things that make it really stylish. It also features luminous hands, a synthetic watch band and a full outer dial window in which to help manage your dive. The watch itself is also water resistant up to 660 feet (200 meters); that is enough to hand most any type of recreational diving that you will do.
One of the best features with this watch is that it is 100% self-winding. It winds itself as you naturally move your arms in whatever type of activity you happen to be doing at the time. It is great not to have to worry about hand winding your dive watch or having to replace the battery every so often.
There were a few things that we were a little displeased with about this watch. One is that it is not nearly as sophisticated a dive watch as one that would be termed a dive computer also. As with the other Seiko watch on our list, this one also is a little bit to the heavy side because of its quartz crystal face.
DIVE WATCH BUYING GUIDE
As you have been reading the reviews you have probably noticed that these days there is a good bit more that a good dive watch can do than just go underwater. You certainly don’t just want to buy the first dive watch that you come across in the store or online. That is why you need to take your time when shopping for one so that you get one that adequately suits both your diving and regular watch wearing needs.
We have put together a handy list of important dive watch characteristics to help you in your search. Here are some of the main dive watch features that you must be aware of in each model dive watch that you are thinking about purchasing.
Dive watches can sell for as little as $30 or go for even higher than $2,000 depending on the features you get with them. That is a pretty big variety to say the least. There are also many choices usually in each price range.
For the most part with dive watches there is a strong correlation between price and quality. That means typically the more you pay for a dive watch the more you get from it. This is especially true if dealing with large differences in price so be aware of that when you are shopping for your dive watch.
Smaller differences in price mean you should compare apples to apples as far as features on each dive watch are concerned in order to get the best one for the money. A watch that is $200 less than another model may actually be the better one as far as features goes.
The best way to start shopping for a dive watch is to first set a budget range for yourself. That will help to narrow down your list of choices. Once this is done choose a few models in your budget range that you think will work nicely for you and then compare the individual features of those dive watches to help you choose which one is right choice for your dive needs.
- Number of functions
There is a wide variety of functions that different brands and models of dive watches can perform. Some people like to keep what functions there dive watch does for them simple and yet others like to plan and keep track of an entire dive with them. The choice is up to you because each type of dive watch is out there and available in the marketplace.
These days diving air mixes have gotten pretty sophisticated. Many times plain oxygen is no longer the standard air mix. Many divers like to do such things as add nitrogen to the mix these days. If that is the case for you, then you want a dive watch that can handle the critical calculations that using this type of air mix requires. A dive watch that is considered a ‘dive computer’ is best for this type of scenario.
Dive watches that have less sophisticated functions have their place in the marketplace too. Just being able to set a timer and alarm is all that some divers require as they explore the depths. It is all about personal preference so get a dive watch with the necessary functions that you require.
- Ease of programming
There are a lot of different ways that dive watches can be programmed. It is in your best interest to get a dive watch where the control buttons are well laid out and the display on the watch is easy to read. Take some time to familiarize yourself with how easy a dive watch is to operate before you make your purchase.
Another thing to consider is how easy the functions are to program into any watch you are thinking about buying. Sometimes it can be great to have a dive watch that can perform a wide variety of functions for you but that is not the case for everybody. There are divers that like to keep things simple because it makes their dives more fun and less complicated. So you have to consider how much time and effort you want to put into programming your dive watch before you decide which one to purchase.
- Safe depth
None of these dive watches that we reviewed is an inexpensive item (but then again it’s hard to put a price tag on your safety as you dive). So it is important to know how far down below the surface of the water a dive watch will function at without getting damaged. That is why it is very important to know the depth that any dive watch you are considering buying is rated to.
Each package a dive watch comes in or the information section about the product when shopping online should tell you what depth that particular dive watch is rated to. This is not something that you want to cut close when diving so get one that is rated 20 – 30 meters lower than the depths you usually dive at.
You want the display on your dive watch to be easy to read and understand. This is very important to your overall dive experience and how much you will enjoy it. Your watch display should have such features as large size digits and
Having an easily readable display on your dive watch while you are underwater will help to keep you safe and relaxed as you dive. Remember, not all dives are done in crystal clear blue water. As a matter of fact, many people dive in places where the water is actually very murky. A nicely illuminated display will go a long way in this type of scenario.
- Power source
Dive watches come with many different types of powers sources too. So pick out one that is convenient to you if you have a choice (for sophisticated watches like dive computers your only choice will most likely be a battery). Some dive watches need to be wound by hand, some work off a battery and yet others will wind themselves automatically just from the movement of your arm. Each of these power sources has their strong and weak points and it’s up to you to decide which one best fits your needs and your preferences.
There is nothing that says your dive watch can’t have a little style to it also. Some of the dive watches we reviewed are so stylish that they can be worn for many other occasions than just diving. So of you want a dive watch that is versatile and stylish there is no reason you that you should not be able to find one that meets this requirement nicely.
There are few environments that watches operate in that are harsher than when diving beneath the water. No watch manufacturer can make a perfectly sound dive watch each and every time they produce one and when they are defective they will get ruined in a hurry. On occasion you will get a watch that was made using defective materials or done with poor workmanship. A good warranty will protect you against such things and the longer the warranty period the better. So make sure you are aware of the warranty that any model dive watch you are thinking about purchasing comes with.
A Good Dive Watch Can Increase Your Enjoyment and Safety as You Dive
There are many dive watches in the marketplace under $500 but not all of them function well and will hold up for a long time. That is why it is so important to take your time when deciding on which model dive watch you will buy. These watches tend to have a wide variety of styles and dive functions that they can perform, so it’s important to pick one that best fits your own individual needs.
Which watch on our review list do we think is the best dive watch under 500 dollars? Well if you consider all of the important aspects mentioned in our buying guide, then it would have to be the Suunto Zoop Novo Wrist Scuba Computer. You simply can’t beat all the different dive functions it has, its stylish good looks and its price point. It is the perfect dive watch for those that are found in this price range.
There truly are a lot of reasons to own a dive watch if you are one of those people who like to spend a lot of time under the water exploring. If you don’t like any of the watches that we reviewed then our handy dive watch buying tips can help lead you to the perfect dive watch for you.