2018’s Best Dive Watches Under $500

Need a new watch and have a budget of under $500? You’re in luck since the best dive watches under $500 but above about $250 are the ultimate sweet-spot (in my humble opinion) for features and finish vs. cost of the watch.

Unlike the sub-$200 watches, here you’ll start seeing sapphire crystals, automatic watches with higher quality movements featuring longer power reserves and hacking seconds, and just better fit and finish overall, from the case to the bracelet.

I’ve spent many hours reading reviews, feedback on various watch forums, and getting my own hands on watches in order to hunt down the most often recommended and best dive watches currently available new in this price range. 

Best Dive Watches Under $500 Quick Compare

Clicking the model name will take you to a full description down the page.
ImageModelMovementWater ResistanceCrystalCase / Bezel MaterialCase DiameterCase ThicknessLug to LugStrap WidthBuy Now Link
Seiko Samurai SRPB5xAutomatic – Seiko 4R35200m / 660ftMineral – HardlexStainless Steel43.8mm12mm?22mm
Orient TritonAutomatic – Orient 40N5A200m / 660ftSapphireStainless Steel43.4mm13.6mm51mm22mmBuy From eBay
Scurfa Bell Diver 1Scurfa Bell Diver 1Automatic – Miyota 9015500m / 1640 ftSapphireStainless Steel43mm16mm51mm22mmBuy From Scurfa
Seiko SRPA81Automatic – Seiko 4R36200m / 660ftMineral – HardlexStainless Steel51.7mm13mm52mm22mm
Christopher Ward C60 Trident 300 OrangeChris Ward Trident 300Quartz – Ronda 715300m / 990 ftSapphireStainless Steel / Aluminum38mm / 43mm11.65mm45.5mm / 51.5mm20 / 22mmBuy Direct From Chris Ward
Citizen BN0175-19E EcozillaQuartz – Eco-Drive E168300m / 990ftMineralStainless Steel – DLC48mm11.5mm48mm?

What’s my top pick out of these?

The Seiko Samurai. It’s just so damn cool looking.

Be aware my ranking order and selection here is mostly subjective, based on my own personal preferences. There are an awful lot of great watches in this price range, including the many limited runs coming out of micro-brands around the world and it’s extremely hard to make a list this short.

Did I miss any great ones? I’d love to see other suggestions or critiques down in the comments.


#1 – Seiko Samurai SRPB5x


  • Seiko 4R35 automatic mechanical movement
  • 23 jewels, 41 hour power reserve
  • Certified ISO diver’s watch
  • 200 meter water resistance
  • Unidirectional diving timing bezel
  • Seiko Hardlex crystal
  • 43.8mm case diameter
  • 12mm thick
  • 22mm band width

The Seiko SRPB5x series is a modern reissue of the extremely popular ‘Samurai’, first produced from 2004-2008. The Samurai was nicknamed so by Seiko fans due to the shape of it’s hands, reminding people of samurai swords.

Why was the original Samurai so popular? It broke many of the design trends that Seiko had set for its diver’s over the decades. The angular, faceted case fitted with a knurled crown and waffled dial was very different from anything that came before it.

Seiko brought back the Samurai in 2017 with the SRPB5x series, and has given it a very nice refresh. The hands are now larger and more visible, with the hour hand changed to an arrow to make it more easily distinguished from the minute hand. The markers have been sized up a bit too, and the whole dial brought into line with the overall feel of the Prospex brand.

Best Dive Watches Under $500 – Seiko Samurai SRPB53K1

Photo Credit Monochrome Watches

With a 44mm case diameter it might seem like a decently large diver, but the steeply tapered, thin lugs head sharply downward right at the edge of the bezel, which combined with the relatively thin 12mm thick case leads to a very compact tool diver.

The Seiko SRPB5x is powered by the 4R35 automatic movement, which came out in 2011 as an upgrade to the classic 7s26 (which still powers such watches as the SKX007). Featuring hacking seconds and the ability to hand-wind, it’s a nice step up over the older movement.

Why is the Seiko Samurai my number one pick for best dive watch under $500? I think it’s an outstanding tool diver with a unique look and great features. And it’s usually available for between $300 and $400, which is a great deal. I can’t wait to get my hands on one.

Seiko SRPB5x Samurai


#2 – Orient Triton (Mini-OSD)


  • Orient Cal. 40N5A automatic mechanical movement
  • Hand-winding & hacking
  • Certified JIS class 1 diver’s watch
  • 200m (660ft) water resistance
  • Unidirectional bezel with 120 clicks and ceramic shroud
  • Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
  • 43.4mm case diameter
  • 51mm lug to lug
  • 13.6mm thick
  • 22mm band width
  • 40hr power reserve
  • Date window
  • Power reserve indicator

Buy From eBay

The Triton is a brand new mid-range dive watch from Orient Watches. It’s positioned above the Orient Nami, but below the Pro Saturation Diver.

Due to the very similar design as the Orient Pro Saturation Diver, it was immediately nicknamed the ‘Mini OSD’ or ‘Baby OSD’ by watch forum members.

Orient Triton RA-EL0001B

Orient Triton RA-EL0001B

It’s not only the design that’s similar, the Triton is also powered by the same 40N5A automatic movement that powers the Saturation Diver.

The main differences between the ~$500 Triton and the ~$2000 OSD?

The Triton comes in smaller, at 43.4mm diameter and 13.6mm thick – vs. the OSD at 45.5mm diameter and 16.6mm thick. The OSD has a 300m depth rating vs the Triton’s 200m.

The OSD is extremely overbuilt to withstand helium ingress during saturation diving, while the Triton is not designed for that purpose.

And of course, the OSD will have much higher fit & finish quality than the Triton overall.

But even with all those differences, the Triton represents a huge bang-for-your-buck option, especially for those who have been eyeing the Orient Pro Saturation Diver but either couldn’t afford it or who thought it was a bit large.

Orient Triton RA-EL0002L

Orient Triton RA-EL0002L

I think it’s an absolutely gorgeous, cool looking diver and hopefully I can get my hands on one soon for a review.

If you’re looking to pick one of these up, the best deals seem to be on eBay for all the different variations at the time of publishing this article.

Orient Triton Series

Find on eBayFind on eBayFind on eBay

#3 – Scurfa Bell Diver 1

Scurfa Bell Diver 1


  • Miyota 9015 automatic mechanical movement
  • Movement protected from magnetism with brass cover
  • Hand-winding & hacking
  • 500m (1640ft) water resistance
  • Unidirectional bezel with ceramic insert
  • Domed sapphire crystal with blue anti-reflective coating
  • 43mm case diameter
  • 16mm thick
  • 51mm lug-to-lug distance
  • 22mm band width
  • 42hr power reserve
  • Date window
  • Heliox escape valve

Buy Direct From Scurfa Watches

I try to always find at least one interesting micro-brand diver to include in my price guides, even though they’re not always easily available. But I think it’s worth it to expose readers to some of the great smaller brands out there to keep an eye out for.

Scurfa is definitely interesting. Based in the UK, the founder (Paul) is an actual deep sea commercial saturation diver operating in the North Sea.

After many of his colleagues could no longer justify holding onto their vintage Rolex divers when they could sell them for a high price, Paul decided to have a go at making the perfect replacement watch for saturation divers.

Scurfa Bell Diver 1 Wet

The Bell Diver 1 is Paul’s second watch, and it has been extremely well received.

Powered by a workhorse Miyota 9015 automatic movement which is protected from magnetism by a brass cover the Bell Diver 1 will keep accurate time at any depth.

Big, bold hands and hour markers with generous lume will make sure you’ll be able to tell the time no matter the conditions.

Scurfa Bell Diver 1 Lume

While very few of us considering this watch will ever do any saturation diving, it’s good to know that our watch could handle it. Outfitted with a Heliox escape valve there’s no need to worry about blowing the crystal off while decompressing.

I think it’s a very pretty, very functional diving watch. If you’re thinking about picking one up, just be aware Scurfa Watches is basically just Paul and his wife – if they get busy it can sometimes take a while to hear back from them.

Buy Direct From Scurfa Watches

#4 – Seiko SRPA81


  • Seiko 4R36 automatic mechanical movement
  • Hand-winding & hacking
  • Certified ISO diver’s watch
  • 200m (660ft) water resistance
  • Unidirectional bezel with 120 clicks and ceramic shroud
  • Hardlex crystal
  • 51.7mm case diameter
  • 13mm thick
  • 52mm lug-to-lug distance
  • 22mm band width
  • 50hr power reserve
  • Day and date window

Do you really want the Seiko SBBN031 ‘Tuna’, or the SBDX014 ‘Emperor Tuna’, but can’t justify spending one or two thousand dollars on a watch?

The SRPA81 might be just what you need.

Seiko Tuna Comparison

Seiko ‘Emperor Tuna’, Seiko ‘Tuna’, and Seiko ‘Shrouded Monster’ side by side.

Seiko’s shrouded divers, nicknamed ‘Tuna’ due to the round tuna can shape, have proved extremely popular with many watch enthusiasts over the years, and the Seiko Prospex SRPAxx series is the latest affordable version.

In previous years Seiko’s affordable shrouded watches, such as the SRP639, have been nicknamed ‘Baby Tunas’ – both because of the lower price and that the case was smaller than the proper Marine Master Tuna.

Well, with Seiko’s release of the SRPAxx series, the nickname Baby Tuna doesn’t really fit anymore. Seiko has increased the case size to be the same as the higher end Tuna. I’ve seen ‘Shrouded Monster’ or ‘Monster Tuna’ suggested as nicknames for these new watches.

Seiko SRPA81 on NATO strap

Seiko SRPA81 on a NATO strap. Source unknown.

Ok, so why would you want one of these Shrouded Monsters? They’re big, bold, and tough. With a 52mm case diameter they have a lot of wrist presence. However, due to the round shape (lug to lug is same as diameter) they do wear smaller than you might expect. I’ve seen pictures of people with 7″ wrists wearing these and it looks fine.

The case comes surrounded by the iconic ceramic shroud, which gives the watch its classic look while also offering protection to the case and bezel. Just so you’re aware, previous ‘Baby Tunas’ came with a plastic shroud, so the ceramic on the new generation is a decent upgrade.

Powered by the Seiko 4R36 automatic mechanical movement, you’ll get reliable time-keeping abilities as well as hacking seconds and the ability to hand wind the mainspring. 

Overall, if you’re looking for a watch thats big and bold, or extremely practical for use during diving, you won’t go wrong with the Seiko SRPAxx series. Or you could save up for the real Tuna 🙂

Seiko Prospex SRPAxx Series


#5 – Christopher Ward C60 Trident 300

Christopher Ward C60 Trident 300 Orange


  • Ronda 715 quartz movement
  • 300m (990ft) water resistance
  • Unidirectional aluminum bezel
  • Sapphire crystal
  • 38mm or 43mm case diameter available
  • 11.65mm thick
  • 45.5mm or 51.5mm lug-to-lug distance
  • 20mm or 22mm band width
  • Date window
  • Superluminova SLN-T-C1 hands and markers

Buy Direct From Christopher Ward

Christopher Ward is a smaller watch brand out of the UK that has made quite the name for themselves by producing beautiful watches at very reasonable price points.

Christopher Ward C60 Trident 300 White

Their watches are so affordable due to their refusal to sell through 3rd parties (all watches available directly through their own website) and a lack of expensive marketing campaigns.

The C60 Trident 300 is their entry-level dive watch, positioned below the C60 Trident Pro 600. It’s available in two different sizes, 38mm or 43mm. The 38mm would be excellent for anyone who’s tired of the trend of divers to get bigger and bigger.

Christopher Ward C60 Trident 300 Orange Dial

What are you missing out on by buying the less expensive version?

As the name suggests, the Trident 300 is rated to ‘only’ 300 meters of water resistance, while the Pro 600 has twice that. The bezel is also aluminum vs. the ceramic available on the higher-end model.

But the biggest difference comes with the movement. The Trident 300 features a highly accurate quartz movement, while the Pro 600 comes with the Sellita 200-1 mechanical automatic movement.

Worth the difference in price (almost twice the cost)? Only you can decide. 

Buy it directly from

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


  • Eco-Drive E168 quartz movement
  • Certified ISO Diver’s Watch
  • 300m (980ft) water resistance
  • Helium release valve
  • Stainless steel case with black diamond like coating
  • Unidirectional bezel
  • Mineral crystal
  • 48mm case diameter
  • 11.5mm height
  • Lug-less design (strap adapters available online)
  • Eco-Drive solar powered battery
  • Date window
  • Luminous markers and hands

The Citizen Promaster Diver ‘Ecozilla’ is a big, heavy duty tool watch. It’s similar in size and feel to the Seiko ‘Tuna’ listed above, but with a very different look.

The model number and picture above is of the DLC (diamond like coating) ‘new Ecozilla’, the original Ecozilla being the BJ8050-08E (which is now available for a very reasonable price). 

Where’s the nick-name ‘Ecozilla’ come from? A combination of eco-drive (Citizen’s solar powered movement) and Godzilla – signifying that this is Citizen’s biggest, boldest dive watch with a lot of character.

Citizen Promaster Diver BN0175-19E

If you’re not a fan of the DLC case, be sure to check out the stainless steel version, the BN0176-08E, which I think is really pretty.

Citizen Promaster Diver BN0176-08e

Unfortunately it is a little bit harder to find for under $500, but definitely doable if you watch listings on eBay or sales on the other various online retailers.

The biggest complaint many people have against the Ecozilla is that you’re stuck with the stock rubber strap by default, due to the unique strap attachment.

In order to use standard straps and bracelets, you’ll have to pick up an adapter. The best place seems to be here from Suppaparts, but be warned they are a bit expensive.

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Writer, sailor, photographer, kayak guide and SCUBA diver. Based on Bainbridge Island, Washington State, USA