Best Automatic Dive Watches Under $100 Review

best automatic dive watch under $100 review

With a budget under or around $100, you can get a robust and functional automatic dive watch that will keep time accurately, resist water, and turn heads your way. That’s right, these are full-fledged dive watches with a unidirectional rotating bezel, luminescent hour markers and hands, and screw-down crowns at a price that won’t break the bank.

To make it easier for you to find the best affordable automatic dive watch, we’ve compiled a list of the ones that are around or under $100 that have satisfied our expectations for watches in this price range in terms of looks, functionality, durability, and reliability. These watches look much more expensive than they actually are and can be worn for everyday wear, outdoor expeditions, or surface water sports. Without further ado, let’s get into the review.

Our Top Picks:

Sale Invicta Pro Diver Unisex Wrist Watch Stainless Steel Automatic Black Dial - 8926OB
Sale ORIENT Men's 'Mako II' Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel Diving Watch
Vostok Amphibian Automatic Self-Winding Russian Military Wristwatch #710059 (Black)

Best Automatic Dive Watches under $100 Recommendations

Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB

Sale
Invicta Pro Diver Unisex Wrist Watch Stainless Steel Automatic Black Dial - 8926OB
12,323 Reviews
Invicta Pro Diver Unisex Wrist Watch Stainless Steel Automatic Black Dial - 8926OB
  • Stainless steel case 40mm diameter x 14mm thick, Exhibition case back, Black dial, Luminous hands and hour markers
  • Japanese 24 jewel automatic movement, NH35A Caliber, Assembled in Malaysia, watch weight: 155 grams
  • Stainless steel band, 210mm L x 20mm W, Band is adjustable by adding/removing links, Fold over safety clasp

Specifications:

  • Case diameter: 40mm
  • Case thickness: 14mm
  • Band width: 20mm
  • Water resistant depth: 200m

For under a hundred bucks, you can get this gorgeous Submariner homage automatic watch that uses a Seiko self-winding movement that is nearly as accurate as a quartz movement. Furthermore, the Invicta 8926OB features hacking, hand winding, and a seconds hand with fluid, sweeping movements. You can admire the impressive internal mechanisms via the exhibition case back.

The Invicta 8926OB has a water resistant depth of 200m/660ft. It comes with a 120-click unidirectional rotating bezel with coin-edge detailing for extra grip, and a screw-down crown. It features a date window at the 3 o’clock position with a cyclops magnifier. With a sleek black dial, as well as white luminous hands and markers, it produces a contrast that makes it highly legible and easy to read even in the dark.

You can use the Invicta 8926OB for swimming, snorkeling, and shallow diving. It is superbly crafted and has a stainless steel case, triple link steel bracelet, and a durable mineral crystal. Robust as it is, you can take it on numerous adventures on dry land or in the water without worrying about damaging it.

With a 40mm case diameter and classic styling, it should accommodate most people’s wrists, and with its land and water capabilities, the 8926OB is extremely versatile. Invicta have done an incredible job with this watch. You’d never think that it was possible to pack all of these features into a watch that is sub-$100, but they made it work. If you want an automatic timepiece that is stylish and reliable enough for everyday wear, then you can’t go wrong with the Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB.

Invicta Pro Diver 9110

Invicta Men's Pro Diver 40mm Stainless Steel and Silicone Automatic Watch, Black (Model: 23678)
377 Reviews
Invicta Men's Pro Diver 40mm Stainless Steel and Silicone Automatic Watch, Black (Model: 23678)
  • Stainless steel case 40mm diameter x 14mm thick; Exhibition case back; Black dial; Luminous hands and hour markers
  • NH35A Japanese Automatic movement, 24 jewel; Assembled in Malaysia; Watch weight: 88 grams
  • Black silicone band, 215mm L x 20mm W; Buckle clasp

Specifications:

  • Case diameter: 40mm
  • Case thickness: 15mm
  • Band width: 22mm
  • Water resistant depth: 200m

Invicta have pretty much dominated the market when it comes to affordable automatic dive watches. This whole list could just be entirely composed of Invicta watches, but we have limited ourselves to the two best ones. Next up on our list is the Invicta 9110 and it’s also worth checking out.

To start, the Invicta 9110 has the iconic dive watch look complete with a 120-click unidirectional bezel, screw-down crown, luminous hands and hour markers, and a water resistant depth rating of 200m/660ft.

This rating means it can be safely used for shallow diving, snorkeling, swimming, freediving, as well as surface water sports. If you actually want to dive down to depths of 200m or use this watch for professional marine activity, well, for a watch under $100 we think you’re asking too much.

This watch is driven by a highly-accurate Japanese automatic movement that winds itself and doesn’t need a battery. Just like the 8926OB, it has a black dial and white marker and hands which contrast nicely to help it stand out. The markers and hands glow in the dark, and the cyclops magnifier over the date window helps you see the watch in all conditions.

With a case size of 40mm, it’s the ideal size for the average wrist. Pair that up with a lightweight design, and you have a recipe for the ideal watch for everyday and active wear.

At this price point, the 9110 is as incredible as the 8926OB. Both of these offerings from Invicta are robust, accurate, comfortable, good-looking, and are somehow available at under $100. The 9110 is designed to provide you with years of service. If you need a robust automatic diver that won’t break the bank, consider getting the Invicta 9110.

Vostok Amphibian

Vostok Amphibian Automatic Self-Winding Russian Military Wristwatch #710059 (Black)
369 Reviews
Vostok Amphibian Automatic Self-Winding Russian Military Wristwatch #710059 (Black)
  • Classic Vostok model made by the official supplier of the Defense Department of the Soviet Union and modern Russian Army.
  • 200 m (20 Bar) Water Resistant
  • Dimensions: approx. 41x45x15 mm. Lug size 22mm

Specifications:

  • Case diameter: 41mm
  • Case thickness: 15mm
  • Band width: 22mm
  • Water resistant depth: 200m

The Vostok Amphibian is a classic Russian dive watch that is loved by many watch collectors thanks to its rich history: Vostok was tasked by the Soviet Union to manufacture a dive watch that would rival the Swiss watches of the time. Vostok did not have the same materials that the Swiss did, so with their ingenuity, they reimagined a dive watch and created the Amphibian.

For the ludicrously low price of less than $100, often in the $60-80 dollar range, you can own a mechanical watch that is part of watch history. It looks like an antique and that either increases its appeal for you or you’ll hate it. It’s even available in numerous quirky dial designs which many feel adds to this watch’s personality.

So how does this historic watch fare compared to modern dive watches? It holds up surprisingly well. Despite being a thick and tall watch, it’s extremely light and feels durable on the wrist without feeling like a hindrance. Since it has short “legs”, it doesn’t take up much space on your wrist. The sunburst turquoise dial looks bland by today’s standards, however it functions amazingly well. Even in direct sunlight it is easy to read the time.

We mentioned that the Vostok Amphibian is durable, and part of the reasons for that is because of its 3mm thick domed acrylic plastic cover. It is designed to take a beating however it may acquire some surface scratches over time. The Amphibian is basically the G-Shock of the mechanical watch world.

Unfortunately, there are some downsides. First, the lume is not the greatest and the bezel is bi-directional without any clicking. We do not recommend using it for any serious diving for oxygen tank timing. For water-based activities near the surface such as snorkeling, swimming, diving off boats and the like, it should be fine. However, we wouldn’t trust our lives with this thing.

Furthermore, it may gain or lose 8-12 seconds a day but for a watch at this price range it is acceptable. The Amphibian has no quick set date function which can be annoying as you have to manually rotate it numerous times (one direction only) until you reach the time you want.

There’s lots to love and some downsides to owning a watch that’s been around since the 60s. We are recommending it because it’s amazingly affordable for an automatic dive watch with a storied past. As a sign of the times, it is extremely durable. You can beat it, batter it, abuse it all you want and it will keep on ticking, unlike many sub-$100 watches today. It’s tough as nails, functional, affordable, and we really respect that.

Automatic Dive Watches Around $100

We tried our hardest to work within the under $100 restriction but the selection was simply too lackluster. Furthermore, many of these watches used to be under $100 but have since gone up in price. As such, we have expanded our recommendations to some dive watches that are around $100. However, if you are adamant that you must get an automatic dive watch under $100 then you can stop reading here. If you are willing to pay a bit more, you can get access to a greater selection of automatic dive watches such as the ones below.

Orient Mako II

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ORIENT Men's 'Mako II' Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel Diving Watch
2,324 Reviews
ORIENT Men's 'Mako II' Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel Diving Watch
  • Mineral crystal
  • Crown:Screwed-down.120-Click unidirectional bezel
  • Japanese-automatic Movement

Specifications:

  • Case diameter: 41.5mm
  • Case thickness: 13mm
  • Band width: 20mm
  • Water resistant depth: 200m

The Mako line of watches has been Orient’s best-selling line since the early 2000s and there is a good reason for that. They provide everything a casual diver needs at a low cost. With that said, this watch technically doesn’t meet the “under $100” requirement but it’s very close. We think it’s worth it to pay a bit more for the Orient Mako II and here’s why.

First, it looks really nice. With a 41.5mm case diameter, it is a medium-sized watch that should fit most men. Its thickness is a little on the bulkier side, how one can argue that having a bit of weight on your wrist is a good thing. Each Mako II comes equipped with a brushed stainless steel bracelet which gives it a sturdy feel.

Second, it has great functionality. The Mako II provides 200m of water resistance thanks to how tightly its screw-down crown can seal up. The Mako II uses a simple mineral glass to protect the dial and keep water out. This might sound disappointing, but at this price range, some compromises have to be made.

The greatest selling point of the Mako II is perhaps its F6922 automatic caliber movement. This particular movement provides the best of both worlds for watch lovers; a reliable automatic movement that also has hand-winding. This is a rare but welcomed combination for watches at this price point.

Next, the unidirectional bezel on the Orient Mako II can rotate for 120 clicks. Also constructed of stainless steel, it offers a nice dented pattern all around the edge. Like most diving bezels, it can track elapsed time up to 60 minutes. The bezel and dial share the same color, and the last 10 minutes of a mark for every minute.

As for the dial itself, we found the Mako II to be minimal and elegant. The outer ring has a mark for every minute, with each 5 minute mark being a plain grey bullet-shaped imprint. You will find the date window at the 3 o’clock position, which unfortunately obstructs where the “3” mark would be. As such, it can look a bit awkward seeing the 6, 9, and 12 markers but no “3”. The hour and minute hands are thicker, whereas the seconds marker is very thin with a red tip to improve the visuals.

We were very impressed at the quality and feel of this watch. It looks elegant and feels quite sturdy on the wrist. It’s not quite under $100, however this is a solid offering from a reputable watch manufacturer. You will have peace of mind knowing that all Mako watches are made to a certain standard, and that your money is going towards a quality product.

Loreo Submariner Automatic Dive Watch

Mens Automatic Watches Self Wind GMT Silver Stainless Steel Sapphire Crystal Diving Watch
32 Reviews
Mens Automatic Watches Self Wind GMT Silver Stainless Steel Sapphire Crystal Diving Watch
  • LEREO Dive Watch: 200M/20ATM waterproof , is suitable for various occasions like swimming and diving
  • Automatic Self-Wind Movement Designed for accuracy and longevity,with date function
  • Synthetic Sapphire Crystal ,Screw-Down Crown ,With Hacking Function,Unidirectional Rotatable Bezel(Set Second Time Zone or As a Timer)

Specifications:

  • Case diameter: 40mm
  • Case thickness: 13mm
  • Band width: 20mm
  • Water resistant depth: 200m

Yet another Rolex homage and this time honoring the Rolex Submariner. Like the Invicta Pro Diver, the Loreo Submariner has many colors to choose from: black, blue, and green which are shown in the bezel and dial.

The design of the case is pretty basic which is good; they didn’t screw anything up and it works. It is a simple mix of polished and brushed surfaces. Viewed together with the dial, and it has a bright sheen in the sunlight that will definitely make it stand out in your daily life. Just by wearing it once, you can tell that the case is solid and robust

We were surprised to find that the Loreo Submariner has a sapphire crystal. We thought that the product was being falsely advertised but no, it has an actual sapphire crystal. The only downside is that it doesn’t have an anti-reflective coating. However, at under $100 we can’t really complain and in fact, we are quite impressed by the quality of the crystal.

The bezel is unidirectional which is standard for a diver. It’s functional, easy to grip, and rotates smoothly. It does not have an insert which is a plus and is overall visually appealing.

Next, the dial is reminiscent of the Rolex Submariner which isn’t surprising since that is what it’s modeled after. The markers on the dial are filled with lume and polished on the outside. They really stand out in the sunlight and are visible in the dark as well. The date window at the 3 o’clock position is easy to read thanks to the cyclops magnifier it is accompanied with.

As far as value goes this is definitely one of the top automatic dive watches around $100 with a sapphire crystal that you can get.

Check out our full review of the Loreo Submariner here.

Neymar 40mm Automatic Dive Watch

NEYMAR 40mm Automatic Watch 200m Stainless Steel Watch(Holiday Promotion)
24 Reviews
NEYMAR 40mm Automatic Watch 200m Stainless Steel Watch(Holiday Promotion)
  • 316L stainless steel case with top grain Italy genuine leather strap. fixed stainless steel bezel.scratch resistant sapphire crystal.the case is 200...
  • Japan NH 35 automatic movement with date indicator and analog display
  • Italian leather strap (20mm) - our premium leather strap is made from genuine Italian calfskin for durability.

Specifications:

  • Case diameter: 40mm
  • Case thickness: 12.6mm
  • Band width: 20mm
  • Water resistant depth: 200m

The Neymar 40mm automatic diver has a 316L stainless steel case with a fixed stainless steel bezel. The dial is protected by a scratch-resistant but not anti-reflective sapphire crystal which is unbelievable at this price point.

That’s not all this watch offers. The Neymar Automatic has lume on the hour markers and hands with applied index markers. It has a water resistance rating of 200m. It has hacking and hand-winding with a screw-down crown and screw-down caseback. It uses Seiko automatic movement and has a very readable date window.

These are all features we expect from a watch several times the price of this one, and yet Neymar has managed to fit it all into this sleek dive watch.

There is only one gripe we have with this watch and that has to do with its strap. The strap is not a good fit aesthetically. Not only that, but the quality is just not very good. Ideally this watch should have come with a bracelet even if it causes the price to go up. We recommend buying a third party strap for it and never looking back.

The Neymar Automatic Dive Watch gives unbelievable bang for the buck and is worth every penny.

Dive Watch under $100 Buying Guide

For many decades, dive watches were exorbitantly expensive and exclusively worn by the affluent. Nowadays, technology has improved and manufacturing costs have gone down so anyone these days can get a decent entry-level dive watch for under $100. With that said, if you intend on diving with your dive watch then there are a few considerations you should keep in mind to help you stay safe.

Maximum Depth Rating

All dive watches should have their maximum water resistant depth printed on the dial. This number is the depth at which it can no longer resist the water pressure and water may start to enter the device. Thus, you should always be diving at depths under this number to ensure it stays functional.

A standard depth rating is 100m/330ft and this rating is sufficient if you plan on snorkeling, freediving, swimming, and various other water sports where you may end up diving or getting splashed by water. If you plan on scuba diving however, then we recommend a watch with a 200m/660ft water resistant rating.

Dive watches with a 200m water resistance rating are suitable for scuba diving and very deep freediving. It is even better if the watch is ISO 6425 certified, which means that it has passed some rigorous testing to ensure that it truly can resist water at the depths specified.

Water Resistance

One of the defining qualities of a true dive watch is how water resistant it is. During a dive, the deeper you go, the more extreme the water pressure is. This pressure can cause water to force its way into the watch if it is not tightly sealed. Ideally, you want a watch that is ISO 6425 certified so you know that its water resistance rating is true.

The most common way that water enters the device is through the crown. As such, you want a watch with a screw-down crown to ensure that it tightly seals and protects the internals from water and moisture. Ideally, the crown itself will have some guards so that it does not loosen up its watertight seal if something hits it.

How much water resistance you need for your watch depends largely on how you plan on using it. If you are a desk diver, then it just needs to be able to withstand the occasionally drizzle of rain. However, if you actually plan on using it underwater, then a minimum rating of 100m/330 feet is recommended.

Size

Dive watches, by design, are quite bulky. They need to be durable enough to withstand extreme water pressures so it shouldn’t be surprising that they can be quite thick. If that’s not to your liking, look for a dive watch with a thinner case thickness.

Next, if you have small wrists you may also want a case with a smaller case diameter (under 40mm). You should also keep in mind the “lug-to-lug” distance. This is different from the lug width, which is essentially the size for the band to fit between (the standard is 20mm).

The lug-to-lug distance is the measurement from the top to bottom of the watch which factors in both the case diameter plus the length of the lugs at the top and bottom. It is possible for a watch to have a small case diameter but a significantly larger lug-to-lug distance if its lugs are very long.

With that said, there are slimmer dive watches available for people with small wrists as well as for women, however you have to consider that these watches are typically luxury watches made with extremely high-quality material with a hefty price tag to boot.

The adjustability of the strap is another important factor in how a watch fits. Bracelets can have their links removed to fit on smaller wrists. Some material, such as rubber, can stretch to fit over larger wrists or thick wet or dry suits.

Since we are under the constraint that the watch needs to be around or under $100, then the options become more limited. To get a watch that is both small and resistant to depths at depths of 200m or more while being under $100 is asking for a lot. With that said, there are some manufacturers that have risen to the occasion and their watches have been included in our review.

Style

Many people who purchase dive watches do so solely as a fashion statement and never actually dive with their dive watch (this is not meant to be a criticism, merely an observation). As such, the appearance of the watch is more important than its functionality. Furthermore, style is highly subjective; what looks good to one person may be unattractive to another.

The beauty of dive watches is in how versatile they are. You could wear a dive watch on the beach or in a fancy restaurant or hundreds of feet underwater or at a boardroom meeting, and in each of these scenarios it doesn’t stand out as being inappropriate. Dive watches are appropriate for all occasions because of their attractive and functional design.

With that said, some dive watches are clearly designed to look appealing whereas others are designed with robustness in mind. A dive watch can be both, mind you, but typically that means you have to pay more and we are under a $100 budget restriction.

Some budget watches are what you’d call an homage watch, which means the design is heavily influenced by classic watches from luxury watch brands like Rolex or Omega. These watches look similar to the original products which give them a classic look despite being literally 10 to 20 times cheaper.

If you want a good-looking automatic dive watch for under $100, you should consider getting an homage watch. Nowadays, there are many homage watch manufacturers such as Loreo, Invicta, and Pagani Design just to name a few, so there’s no shortage of supply.

Use

Will your dive watch be used as a backup timer to your dive computer? If so, then the watch must be ISO certified and its functionality should be prioritized over how it looks.

Do you intend on using your dive watch for surface water sports only? Or how about as an outdoor watch for hiking, camping, and backpacking? A dive watch can do all of that and also double as an everyday timepiece as you go about your daily life. For use on dry land, it is not necessary for a watch to be heavily water resistant.

Basically, for more casual use you may prioritize its looks over its features. For surface water sports, you may be able to get away with a watch that has some water resistance but is not ISO certified. For scuba diving, it is recommended that you dive with an ISO certified dive watch otherwise you risk water entering the device, ruining it, and putting your safety in jeopardy.

Durability

Let’s be honest, most quality scuba gear is expensive. You often get what you pay for, and a high quality, durable dive watch is going to cost you. It doesn’t help that dive watches are considered a luxury product which allow manufacturers to jack up the prices. With that said, even if a watch is incredibly durable, it probably isn’t $2,000 durable.

All of the watches mentioned in this review can be purchased for around or under $100. So what does that say about their durability? We can say that these watches are suitable for surface water sports and the occasional rainy day. Despite being rated for 200m, unless the watch is ISO certified, we wouldn’t recommend taking it to even half of the depth they claim it can be used at.

Some good signs that a watch is durable are the following. First, the materials: is the case made of stainless steel? How about its band/bracelet? Second, what is its crystal made of? At under $100 you won’t get a sapphire crystal but a mineral crystal should be sufficient. Third, it must have a screw-down crown. Otherwise, water will enter from the opening and ruin the internal components. Fourth, what is its water resistant depth? Look for one that is at least 100m, preferably 200m.

The watches we review in this article are cheap in terms of price, however not so much in quality. These are the most durable automatic watches that you can get under $100. They should last you a long time if you follow its maintenance instructions and use it within its recommended guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are homage watches as good as the original?

Not quite. The original dive watches from companies like Rolex or Omega are high-quality to be sure, but they are also products from luxury watch brands. Therefore, just slapping their name onto a lackluster product can increase its value tenfold. If you operate on the idea that an expensive product also means it is high-quality then you run into some issues.

Conversely, homage watches have the opposite problem. They are intended to be an affordable way to get a timepiece on your wrist that is reminiscent of a high-end luxury watch from the likes of Rolex. However, be careful that you are not buying a Chinese knock-off or one made with low-quality materials.

Watch purists consider homage watches to be a knock-off, however they may be the only way an average person can get a Rolex lookalike on their wrist. Under the restriction that the watch must be an automatic one under $100, you will mostly be limited to Invicta’s offerings. Invicta can be hit or miss for some people. We recommend you don’t dive with their watches or at least not very deep even though it has a 200m water resistance rating.

How deep can I dive with my dive watch?

You’d think that you can just look at the water resistant depth rating on a dive watch’s product page and take it at its word, right? Sorry to sound like a broken record, but unless it is specifically ISO 6425 certified, you should be very skeptical of the maximum depth rating.

If a watch is ISO 6425 certified, not only will it meet the depth rating specified, but that means it has been tested to resist water pressure up to 25% more than that. In other words, a watch that is ISO certified for 200m is actually more like 250m, though you should probably stay well under it just to be safe.

We generally would not recommend actually diving with a dive watch unless it has been ISO certified. If you do want to take that risk, then we recommend staying near the surface and well under its specified water resistant rating. Despite the name, you can just wear a dive watch as a water resistant daily timepiece and as a fashion statement without ever scuba diving with it.

How do I take care of my dive watch?

Follow the instructions provided in the included manual. As a general rule of thumb, always take off your diver when showering or bathing. The high temperatures, extreme humidity, and exposure to chemicals can gradually degrade its watertight seals.

Before exposing it to any water or moisture, make sure that the push or screw-down crown is pushed or screwed-down so that it has the strongest watertight seal possible. After exposing it to saltwater, make sure to rinse it with freshwater. Occasionally wipe it with a soft cloth to get rid of any dirt.

Depending on your watch, every one to three years you should take it to a service center for maintenance. They will not only replace the battery, but also test that it can still resist water pressure at the rated depth.

Parting Words

Dive watches used to be so expensive that it was out of reach for the average person. Now, you can get an affordable automatic dive watch for under or around $100 if you know what to look for. As the old adage goes, it’s not about how much money you spend but how you spend your money, and nowadays you can make even $100 go far in the dive watch market.

With a humble budget of around $100, you can get a beautiful and reliable dive watch. The watches we reviewed in this article are not only attractive, but tough enough to endure the trials of everyday wear, outdoor adventures, and surface water sports.

When it comes to actually diving, dive watches at this price point may not have the greatest water resistance even if they claim to be resistant to depths of 200m/660ft. We feel that duck diving while snorkeling or freediving is the limit that these watches can endure. However, you can still safely wear it in swimming pools or at the water’s surface.

Even though the actual diving aspect of automatic dive watches under $100 isn’t its strongest point, you can get some seriously good looking homage watches. Ever wanted to wear a Rolex or Omega watch on your wrist, but aren’t willing to spend several thousand dollars for one? While wearing any of the watches in this review, you can get a very high-end looking watch that will be sure to turn heads.

Last update on 2021-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API