Home Guide Best Dive Watches Under $500 [2018 Edition]

Best Dive Watches Under $500 [2018 Edition]

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best diver watch under 500Are you looking for a high quality dive watch that is under $500? If so, you are in the right place. From our research, we’ve found that dive watches under 500 dollars but above 250 dollars have the best features for the price of underwater watches.

Unlike is the case with dive watches under $200, the $500 range watches have higher quality movements and are automatic. The watches also feature sapphire crystals, retain power for longer, can be hacked in seconds, and have an overall better finish.

After hundreds of hours of testing and reading dive watch reviews, we have come up with a list of the best dive watches that you can get for below $500 but above $250.

Best Dive Watches Under $500 – Comparison Table

MODEL MOVEMENT WATER RESISTANCE CRYSTAL CASE/BEZEL MATERIAL CASE DIAMETER CASE THICKNESS LUG TO LUG STRAP WIDTH REVIEW PRICE
Seiko Samurai SRPB5x Automatic – Seiko 4R35 200m/660ft Mineral – Hardlex Stainless Steel 43.8mm 12mm ? 22mm Read Review Check Price
Orient Triton (Mini-OSD) Automatic – Orient 40N5A 200m/660ft Sapphire Stainless Steel 43.4mm 13.6mm 51mm 22mm Read Review Check Price
Bulova 96B175 Precisionist Quartz – Bulova Precisionist 300m / 990ft Mineral Stainless Steel 46.5mm 17.56mm 53mm 24mm Read Review Check Price
Seiko SRPA81 Automatic – Seiko 4R36 200m/660ft Mineral – Hardlex Stainless Steel 51.7mm 13mm 52mm 22mm Read Review Check Price

Seiko SRP777 ‘Turtle’

Automatic – Seiko 4R36 200m / 660ft Mineral – Hardlex Stainless Steel 45mm 13mm 48mm 22mm Read Review Check Price
Citizen Promaster Diver BN0175-19E ‘Ecozilla’ Quartz – Eco-Drive E168 300m / 990 ft Mineral Stainless Steel – DLC 48mm 11.5mm 48mm ? Read Review Check Price

Editor’s Choice – Overall Winner

When evaluating the watches on this list, we took into consideration the price, features and performance of the models. However, there are many great divers in his price range, including dozens of boutique models from micro-brands from around the world. Understandably, it would not be right to say this is the ultimate guide for the best dive watches under $500.

If you’ve had a great experience with another dive watch that we don’t have on the list, let us know on the comment section. We might just take a look and review it!

#1 – Seiko Samurai SRPB5x

SpecificationsSeiko Samurai SRPB5x

  • 22mm band width
  • 12mm thick
  • 8mm case diameter
  • Seiko Hardlex crystal
  • Unidirectional diving timing bezel
  • 200m water resistance
  • Certified ISO diver’s watch
  • 23 jewels, 41 hour power reserve
  • Seiko 4R35 automatic mechanical movement

The popular “Samurai” by Seiko, which was first in the market between 2004-2008, has been reissued as the Seiko SRPB5x. If you are wondering why the watch is known as the ‘samurai’, it was christened so by Seiko fans who felt the shape of its hands looked like samurai swords.

The old Seiko Samurai model was popular because it was different in design from what Seiko had stuck to over the years. The watch had a waffled dial that had not been designed in any previous Seiko models. Moreover, it stood out with its angular, faceted case that was fitted with a knurled crown.

The SRPB5x debuted in the market in 2017 as a reissue of the popular Seiko Samurai. The new watch features a refreshing new design. Unlike its predecessor, the SRPB5x’s hour hand is an arrow, which makes it easy to distinguish it from the minute hand. Moreover, the hands and the markers have been made larger and are therefore more visible. Finally, the whole dial has been upgraded to have the overall feel of the Prospex brand.

Seiko Samurai SRPB5x watch

The Seiko Samurai is decently large given its 44mm case diameter. However, don’t let the diameter fool you. The watch’s relatively thin 12mm thick case and the thin lugs that go down to the edge of the bezel make it a compact diver tool.

You can hack and hand-wind the Seiko SRPB5x, which is a nice upgrade over movement that the original Samurai had. The watch is powered by the 4R35 automatic movement, which is an upgrade of the 7s26, which came out in 2011. Some watches such as the SKX007 are still powered by the 7s26.

What makes the Seiko SRPB5x the best dive watch under $500? For us, the diver has great features and a unique look. Moreover, coming at a price of between $300 to $400, it’s difficult to find another watch that would beat it in terms of features, style and performance.

Variations of the Seiko SRPB5x Samurai

#2 – Orient Triton (Mini-OSD)

SpecificationsOrient Triton (Mini-OSD)

  • Power reserve indication
  • Date window
  • 40-hour power reserve
  • 22mm band width
  • 6mm thick
  • 51mm lug to lug
  • 4mm case diameter
  • Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
  • Unidirectional bezel with 120 clicks and ceramic shroud
  • 200m (660ft) water resistance
  • Certified JIS class 1 diver’s watch
  • Hacking and hand-winding
  • Orient Cal. 40N5A automatic mechanical movement

Orient Watch has unveiled its mid-range watches on the market, with the Orient Triton leading the pack. The Triton is positioned between the Pro Saturation Diver and the Orient Nami.

The Orient Triton looks remarkably similar to the Orient Pro Saturation Diver in design. This is why it was nicknamed the “Baby OSD” or the “Mini OSD” by watch enthusiasts.

Orient Triton (Mini-OSD) watch
Orient Triton RA-EL0001B

The Triton is powered by the 40N5A automatic movement, just like is the case with the Saturation Diver.

So, what is the difference between the Triton that is about $500 and the Saturation Diver that is about $2000?

The difference between the two watches is mainly in size and rating.

To begin, the OSD has a 300m depth rating while the Triton manages 200m. Coming to the diameter and size, the OSD is 45.5mm in diameter and 16.6mm thick while the Triton is 43.4mm in diameter and 13.6mm thick.

The OSD also has superior performance than the Triton. For example, the OSD can withstand helium ingress during saturation diving while the Triton cannot.

Finally, the quality, fit and finish of the OSD is superior to that of the Triton.

While there is no doubt that the OSD is superior to the Triton, the latter performs exceedingly well if you are looking for an affordable dive watch. If the Orient Pro Saturation Diver is too large or above your budget, the Triton offers the best bang for your buck.

Orient Triton (Mini-OSD) blue
Orient Triton RA-EL0002L

The Triton dive watch is gorgeous and looks cool. Check the variations of the diver on Amazon.

Variations of the Orient Triton Series

#3 – Bulova 96B175 Precisionist

SpecificationsBulova 96B175 Precisionist

  • Bulovas Precisionist quartz movement
  • 300m (990ft) water resistance
  • Unidirectional bezel
  • Mineral crystal
  • 46.5mm case diameter
  • 17.5mm height
  • 53mm lug-to-lug distance
  • 24mm band width
  • Date window
  • Chronometer function

The Bulova 96B175 is an interesting hybrid of a watch. Featuring chronometer functions, a tachymeter scale around the chapter ring, and 300m of water resistance it’s hard to know exactly what this watch was designed for.

The bezel looks like that of a diver, but is actually fixed. I honestly went back and forth on whether or not to include it on this list. A lot of people love it, and it’s a cool looking watch for sure, but is it a diver?

Well, the 300 meters of water resistance finally made me decide that yes, it can be considered a dive watch. You can always use the chronometer for timing your dives right?

The 96B175 probably has the busiest dial of all the watches on this list, but still seems to be quite readable.

Why would you want a Bulova Precisionist watch?

The coolest thing about Bulova’s Precisionist quartz movement is that it makes the second hand of the watch smoothly beat like an automatic. There’s only a few quartz movements around that do that, most of them simply jump second to second.

If only Bulova hadn’t fixed the bezel in position I would’ve put the 96B175 much higher up this list…

#4 – Seiko SRPA81

SpecificationsSeiko SRPA81

  • Day and date window
  • 50-hour power reserve
  • 22mm band width
  • 52mm lug-to-lug distance
  • 13mm thick
  • 7mm case diameter
  • Hardlex crystal
  • Unidirectional bezel with 120 clicks and ceramic shroud
  • 200m (660ft) water resistance
  • Certified ISO diver’s watch
  • Hacking and hand-winding
  • Seiko 4R36 automatic mechanical movement

Are you looking for a watch with the performance and features of the SBDX014 ‘Emperor Tuna’ or Seiko SBBN031 ‘Tuna’ but aren’t ready to shell two thousand on a watch?
If so, you need to check out the SRPA81.

Seiko’s ‘Tuna’ divers have been popular among watch enthusiasts for decades. The latest affordable version from the ‘Tuna’ range is the Seiko Prospex SRPAxx series.

comparing the Emperor Tune, Seiko Tuna and Sieko Shrouded Monster
Seiko ‘Emperor Tuna’, Seiko ‘Tuna’, and Seiko ‘Shrouded Monster’ side by side.

 

Seiko’s affordable shrouded divers have gotten various nicknames over the years. For example, the SRP639 is commonly known as ‘Baby Tuna’ because its case was smaller than that of the Marine Master Tuna and its price was also lower.

However, the SRPAxx series of watches do not fit the nickname of ‘Baby Tuna’. The cases of the divers in the series are of the same size as that of the higher end Tuna. Some watch enthusiasts have christened the SRPAxx divers as ‘Monster Tuna’ or ‘Shrouded Monster’.

seiko srpa81 on a nato strap
Seiko SRPA81 on a NATO strap. Source unknown.

So, why would you want to have one of the Monster Tuna divers? First off, these watches are big, bold and tough. The divers have a lot of writs presence thanks to their 52mm case diameter. However, since they are round in shape, they look smaller when worn than you might expect. The divers look just fine even on people with 7” wrists.

The Shrouded Tuna’s case looks classic with the surrounding iconic ceramic shroud.  The shroud also protects the bezel and the case. Just so you should know, the previous ‘Baby Tunas’ had a plastic shroud. Therefore, the ceramic shroud in the Monster Tunas is a worthy upgrade.

The Monster Tuna divers are powered by the Seiko 4R36 automatic movement. Therefore, they are reliable time keepers. Other features of the divers include the ability to hand wind the mainspring and hack in seconds.

If you are looking for a diver that will not disappoint you when snorkeling or deep diving, the Seiko SRPAxx Series are great options. If you would like a high end diver, a real Tuna would do.

Variations of the Seiko SRPAxx Series

#5 – Seiko SRP777 ‘Turtle’

Specificationsseiko srp777 turtle

  • Seiko 4R36 automatic movement with hand-winding and hacking seconds
  • Certified ISO diver’s watch
  • 200m (660ft) water resistance
  • Unidirectional bezel with 120 clicks
  • Hardlex crystal
  • 45mm case diameter
  • 13mm height
  • 48mm lug-to-lug distance
  • 22mm band width
  • 50hr power reserve
  • Day / Date window
  • Lumibrite hands and markers

The Seiko Prospex SRP77X series is a brand new release, just coming out at the beginning of 2016. They’re modeled off of Seiko’s classic and much loved 6309 dive watch.

6309’s were produced for 12 years, from 1976 to 1988, so they’re not exactly rare. But finding ones in good condition that haven’t been heavily modified has become a bit of a chore. So when Seiko announced they’d be reissuing the Turtle as the SRP77x and keeping it as part of the regular lineup it made a lot of people very happy.

What features make the Turtle stand out?

Many people just love the unique ‘cushion’ shaped case, which helps the somewhat large watch sit comfortably on the wrist.

The 4R36 automatic movement is also a nice step up from the 7s26 found in Seiko’s less expensive divers. It features a longer power reserve, as well as hacking seconds and the ability to hand-wind.

Seiko SRP77x Series

SRPA21 SRP773 SRP775 SRP777 SRP779
SRPA21 SRP773 SRP775 SRP777 SRP779
PADI Limited Edition Blue dial and bezel Gilt bezel, hands, dial. Metal bracelet Black and white dial, black silicone strap ‘Pepsi’ Red and Blue Bezel

#6 – Citizen Promaster Diver BN0175-19E ‘Ecozilla’

SpecificationsCitizen Promaster Diver BN0175-19E ‘Ecozilla’

  • Luminous markers and hands
  • Date window
  • Eco-Drive solar powered batteries
  • Lug-less design (you can purchase strap adapters online)
  • 5mm height
  • 48mm case diameter
  • Mineral crystal
  • Unidirectional bezel
  • Stainless steel case with black diamond-like coating
  • Helium release valve
  • 300m (980ft) water resistance
  • Certified ISP Diver’s Watch
  • Eco-Drive E168 quartz movement

The Citizen Promaster Diver ‘Ecozilla” is similar in feel and size to the Seiko ‘Tuna’ we’ve reviewed above. However, its design is completely different. This heavy duty tool watch is a strong contender in this list of the best dive watches under 500 dollars.

This watch is an upgrade of the original Ecozilla, the BJ8050-080E that is now quite affordable. The new Ecozilla features a DLC (diamond like coating) and other upgrades.

The name “Ecozilla” is a play on two words ‘eco-driver’ and Godzilla. Eco-drive is Citizen’s solar-powered movement while Godzilla is a huge monster (the 90s kids know what we mean).  The two word combined signify Citizen’s biggest dive watch on the market.

Citizen Promaster Diver BN0175-19E ‘Ecozilla’ watch

If the DLC is not your taste, there’s the stainless steel version (the BN0176-08E), which is quite a beauty.

Citizen Promaster Diver BN0175-19E ‘Ecozilla’ stainless steel

The Ecozilla is not usually below $500 but Amazon usually has some regular promotions where the price significantly drops (check current promo price here). You can also find the watch at eBay and other online retailers.

One issue you may have with the Ecozilla is regarding its default rubber strap. The diver has a unique strap attachment and this means you cannot exchange the straps for the bracelets you may prefer.

To use the standard bracelets and straps, you will need an adapter. Amazon and Suppaparts have some adapter, which can be quite expensive.

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