A love for dive watches and small wrists are an unfortunate combination that affect many watch enthusiasts. Thankfully, with the rising demand of vintage watches, comes a wave of smaller modern watches that are perfect for those with wrist sizes around ~6.5 inches in circumference. There are many more dive watches under 40mm for small wrists than ever before, and in this article we review the best ones.
Our Top Picks:
- Dive Watches for Small Wrists (Under 40mm) Recommendations
- High End Dive Watches for Small Wrists
- Dive Watches for Small Wrists Buyer’s Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
Dive Watches for Small Wrists (Under 40mm) Recommendations
- Japan 21 Jewels Automatic Movement (Calibre 7S26)
- Stainless Steel Case and Band, Fold Over Deployment Clasp with Safety Lock Feature
- Hardlex Crystal for Durability, Day/Date Display with Arabic Option, Luminous Hands and Markers
First on our list is the Seiko SKX013K2 which has a 36mm case and is made out of stainless steel along with the bracelet. Seiko is well-known for using high-quality steel, so you can be confident that it is durable and scratch-resistant. It is also corrosion-resistant and capable of withstanding the water pressures up to 200m (660ft) and is ISO certified.
Next, the Seiko SKX013K2 has a black dial with large circular hour markers. It features a date window at the 3 o’clock position that also shows the day of the week. Seiko uses their LumiBrite lume to fill the hand and hour markers. The pigment is very luminous and can last for 3-5 hours in the dark. It also charges easily just by being exposed to any light source, so you never have to worry about specifically charging it. Even in a dim environment, it is easy to read the display thanks to the lume.
This watch has a unidirectional rotating bezel which ensures that it only turns in one direction even if you accidentally bump into it while underwater. It also ticks as it turns to let you know that the time is being tracked. At the 4 o’clock position, you will find the screw-down crown with guards. Unfortunately, the SKX013K2 does not come with hack or self-winding which we found disappointing.
Seiko absolutely loves automatic devices, so it’s no surprise that this timepiece comes with automatic movement provided by the 7S26 mechanism. It has a 40-hour power reserve and 21 jewels between gears. Lastly, the glass covering the dial is hardlex which is impact-resistant but not nearly as durable as sapphire crystal.
Invicta Pro Diver Automatic Watch 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
The Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB has a case diameter of exactly 40mm, which is slightly above the “under 40mm” limit we set for ourselves but we feel we had to make an exception for this one. Invicta are known as manufacturers of homage watches that look nearly identical to the products they are inspired by, but also for selling them at extremely affordable prices.
Their watches are also very high-quality for the price, so the value is nearly unbeatable. For their 8926OB automatic watch, which is the most popular one in their Pro Diver collection of watches, it comes with a submariner stainless steel case, a lug-to-lug distance of 48mm and is 14mm thick.
The Invicta Pro Diver features a black dial that is protected by a mineral crystal. The stainless steel bracelet is 20mm at its widest point, tapers down to 18mm, and is adjustable by removing or adding links. It has a fold over safety clasp to fasten it securely on your wrist.
Since it is ISO 6425 certified, this watch is capable of resisting the water pressure down to 200m. Its screw-down crown and case back ensures that no water will break the seal as long as it’s within the depth rating. The Pro Diver also has a unidirectional stainless steel bezel with a date window at the 3 o’clock position.
Inside, you will find it uses Japanese 24 jewel automatic movement, specifically the NH35A Caliber. At its low price, you will be hard-pressed to find another watch that can fit snugly on small wrists that is as high-quality as this one.
You can read our review of the best watches from Invicta’s Pro Diver collection, which includes the 8926OB, by clicking here.
Momentum’s Unisex M1 Splash Watch
- Comes with a screw-down crown to ensure maximal durability and a water resistance of 200 m (660 ft)
- Features a high quality Japanese-quartz movement; hand assembled and tested in North America
- Select an option from a variety of bezel and band colors to best fit your personal style
Next we have the Momentum M1 Splash, which is a full-fledged dive watch designed for both men and women. It comes in over a dozen colors, has 200m of water resistance, and can easily hold its own against more established divers. It’s also really good looking with a stylish design much like the Invicta divers.
We were impressed at how modestly priced this watch is despite its high-end specs. For starters, it comes with a sapphire crystal, something typically reserved for a more expensive watch. Its unidirectional rotating bezel is very responsive and each marker is filled generously with lume. What’s even more impressive is that the entire dial is filled with lume instead of just the markers, so visibility in the dark is excellent. Around the circumference of the dial are large numbers indicating the even hours.
Furthermore, the M1 Splash comes with a screw-down crown, which helps it achieve its 200m of water resistance. Just remember to screw it down before submerging underwater. Two large crown guards protect it from accidental impacts.
The M1 Splash comes with natural rubber straps that are the same color as the bezel. Since this is a unisex piece, the strap should fit on most average to small-sized wrists, including women’s sizes. Customers have reported that the strap is generally comfortable, and despite the watch’s small size, it is easy to read at a glance.
We are personally not a fan of the hands on the M1 Splash; they are too simplistic and do not do any favors as far as aesthetics are concerned. However, this is subjective and a very nit-picky complaint. The overall functionality and aesthetic of this watch are good, and that’s what matters most. The M1 Splash comes with a Japanese quartz movement which is highly accurate, and it is assembled entirely in the USA.
Longines Hydro Conquest
- Quartz movement
- Durable sapphire crystal protects watch from scratches
- Case diameter: 39 mm
The Hydro Conquest is a Swiss timepiece, which means it has a lot of craftsmanship put into it. With the case measuring only 39mm in diameter, it can be easily worn on smaller wrists. The Hydro Conquest is made from stainless steel and has a water resistance rating of 300m (1,000ft). That is a depth that even experienced divers are not likely to go to, so you don’t ever have to worry about the water pressure being too intense for this watch.
Like any diver’s watch worth its salt, the Hydro Conquest has a unidirectional rotating bezel. Its hour markings and hands have been lathered with Super Luminova, which is Longines’ long-lasting luminescent pigment.
Since Longines is a high-end watch manufacturer, expect quality materials from their watches. The bezel of the Hydro Conquest is constructed of tough ceramic. Its crystal isn’t a mineral or hardlex; you are looking at a sapphire crystal window. Sapphire crystal is extra durable and provides an additional layer of scratch-resistance.
The Longines Hydro Conquest is a Swiss quartz watch, and timepieces with this type of movement are generally more accurate than their automatic counterparts. Since the Longines Caliber L263 mechanism has fewer components, the likelihood of a mechanical failure is lower.
This watch features a date display window at the 3 o’clock position, and next to it is the screw-down crown as well. What we didn’t like is how the actually 3 o’clock marker was removed to provide room for the date window. It looks awkward and creates an asymmetric appearance that we feel is not pleasing to look at. While the date window usually at least partially obstructs a marker, in this case we feel they went too far.
With that said, it’s purely a minor cosmetic issue that doesn’t affect the overall quality of the watch. If you want a functional and durable diver’s watch that is great for small wrists, then the Hydro Conquest is a solid option.
Oris Women’s Diver Watch
- Swiss automatic movement
- Ceramic unidirectional bezel
- Black dial
The Oris Women’s diver watch has a case diameter of 36mm and also features a stainless steel case and bracelet with a black dial and coin edge bezels like some of the other watches in this list. The reason for the similarity in appearance is because they are all paying homage to the Rolex Submariner.
On the black dial, you will find a minimalistic look – sharp hour markers with larger hour and minute hands, with a thin second hand. This is a nice breath of fresh hour from all the other watches with thicker markings. The hands and markings are filled with lume; Oris haven’t revealed which type of lume it is, but we think it is Super Luminova.
This timepiece is highly water resistant, capable of withstanding the pressure at depths of 300m (1,000ft). It has its date window displayed on the 6 o’clock position, and its screw-down crown is in the 3 o’clock position. The rotating bezel has a coin edge which gives it additional grip so you can easily turn it.
Like Longines, Oris is also a Swiss manufacturer and they love their precision-crafted automatic mechanisms. Unfortunately, Oris has not made public the exact mechanism inside this watch, so we cannot say what its power reserve and jewel-bearings are.
The dial is protected by a sapphire crystal which is the toughest type of glass around. It even has an additional layer of scratch resistance to really keep it free and clear of imperfections.
High End Dive Watches for Small Wrists
Oris Divers Sixty-Five
The Oris Divers Sixty-Five is yet another well-executed vintage homage watch as far as aesthetics. However, unlike Invicta’s affordable offerings, this watch modeled after Oris’s original divers from the 60s will cost you an arm and a leg. Additionally, it doesn’t even have some of the modern features you’d expect.
When you are in the luxury watch market though, this is par for the course. Oris has its great heritage as a Swiss brand, and just stamping the “Made in Switzerland” label on a watch can increase its value tenfold even if it doesn’t have the specs to back up that high price tag.
Still, inside you will find an Oris 733 movement, which utilizes Sellita’s Sw 200-1 as a base, with a 38 hour power reserve. The dial is protected by a domed sapphire crystal, and Sixty-Five only has a water resistance rating of 100m. In other words, it is not a professional diver since it doesn’t meet ISO 6425 specifications.
If you have the money to afford this statement piece, this 13mm thick and 36mm diameter watch will look fantastic on your wrist. On the other hand, if your budget is limited and you still want a low-cost homage watch, then take a look at Invicta’s affordable offerings such as the 8926OB model reviewed above.
Omega Seamaster 36.25mm
- Precise automatic swiss Movement
- Sapphire crystal; Brushed and polished stainless steel case and bracelet
- Date function
The Omega Seamaster became legendary after it was featured in James Bond movies 60 years ago. Many who were hoping to pull off the Bond look were dismayed when they found out it didn’t fit snugly on their small wrist. Now people with diminutive wrist measurements can rejoice, because the Omega Seamaster 36.25mm was designed for you.
The sized-down 36.25mm version has all of the same specs and features as the full-sized 41mm, the difference obviously being in their size.That means this small watch can also withstand the pressure at 300m, and it is an equally viable albeit smaller option for those who want the same features as the original version.
The Omega Seamaster 36.25mm even has a helium escapement valve located at its 10 o’clock position which, honestly, will probably never get used, however it’s nice to know it’s there. The Seamaster 36.25mm has all of the same features you’d expect in a professional diver’s watch: screw-down crown, date window, bright lume on the markers and hands, a durable sapphire crystal, etc.
This watch also has a co-axial calibre 2500 chronometer-certified movement and 48 hours of power reserve. If you ever wanted to pull off the Bond look but you were held back by your modest wrist size, then now you can finally complete that look with the Omega Seamaster 36.25mm.
The Nomos Ahoi features a Bauhaus aesthetic with its clean and strikingly thin design. Additionally, Nomos now even has an entire suite of in-house movements that are unbelievably thin and perfect for smaller wrists.
Any model in their Ahoi collection of dive watches stand out from the other thick divers’s watches on this list, which is ideal for those with thin wrists. Typically, divers watches are quite thick to stand up to the high water pressure at depth. Nomos have managed to fit all of its components into a smaller case while still providing the standard 200m water resistance rating.
What’s more, they offer numerous unusual dial colors: siren blue and red, midnight blue, and white. Even the lume on the hands has a slightly blue tint to it.
Furthermore, the standard dimension for watches in this collection is 40.3mm x 10.5mm. Not the smallest, and it appears larger than that because the bezel is so thin as to be nearly non-existent, and the dial stretches to fill up all of the space. Also, the lug-to-lug distance is quite long. However, smaller versions for “delicate wrists” are available, with measurements of 36.3mm x 9.6mm.
It features a stainless steel case and woven strap, sapphire crystal, and in-house DUW 3001 automatic calibre with 43 hour power reserve. It looks nice, will fit nicely on small wrists, however it is very expensive.
More on the Nomos Ahoi here.
Aside from the anomaly that is Invicta with their incredibly cheap sub-$200 watches, here are a couple of affordable divers watch options for small wrists. First, Steinhart is what many consider to be the budget Rolex, or put more delicately, the “homage” option.
They have a 39mm diver collection with features that you’d expect a Submariner homage to have: Mercedes hand, cyclops magnifier over date window, and a bezel that looks identical to a Rolex. However, if you are looking for an even smaller with an impressive history of its own, then check out Seiko watches.
Dive Watches for Small Wrists Buyer’s Guide
Before shopping for a watch, you should have a good idea what your wrist size is. Your wrist size has nothing to do with your overall stature. For example, a short person could have a thick wrist. A tall person could have a slender wrist. In order to avoid any confusion, it is better to measure your wrist size to determine whether it is thin, slender, medium, or thick.
It is crucial that you know your wrist size for a few reasons.
First of all, if you are shopping online then there isn’t an opportunity for you to try the watch on. You can only make do with the information given to you on the sales page. In addition to that, try reading some customer reviews and see if anybody is saying if that watch runs large or small or if it is true to size. Then you can make an informed decision on if a watch will fit your wrist or not.
Knowing your wrist size beforehand saves you a lot of time by narrowing down the number of options for you to sort through. People with smaller wrists, for example, may find it difficult to find a suitable diver’s watch. Diver’s watches tend to be bulkier in order to resist the high water pressure at deep depths.
Overall, knowing your exact wrist size will help you find the best dive watches for small wrists that will not only feel comfortable but look fantastic on your wrist.
Watch this video below to learn how to easily measure your wrist size.
Next, you need to consider the diameter of the watch case which is an important metric if you have small wrists. Assuming you’ve followed the video instructions above on how to measure your wrist size, you can then determine which watches with certain case sizes are suitable for you.
If your wrist measures somewhere between 14-18 centimeters/~6-7 inches, then you should look for dives watches under 40mm. If your wrist size is larger than that, then you can consider larger case sizes for thicker wrists.
All of the watches reviewed in this article have a diameter of 40mm or less, meaning they can be worn by individuals with small wrists.
The lug-to-lug distance refers to the distance from the highest point of the top lug to the lowest point of the bottom lug. This distance influences how one perceives the size of the watch. A larger lug-to-lug distance may make a watch appear slightly larger, and vice versa.
This measurement is different from the watch case diameter. Once again, when shopping online where you don’t have the benefit of trying a watch on, then you need to consider the lug-to-lug distances more stringently.
A general rule of thumb is that a diver’s watch with a 42mm lug-to-lug distance will fit individuals with very small wrists. A watch with a 46mm lug-to-lug distance will fit snug on slender wrists. Watches larger than that are too large to be considered for this article.
Watch Band Size
We recommend you look for a watch band with a small width. Smaller bands are less noticeable on your wrist. A watch band that is too wide will distract from the watch itself. We prefer a bracelet or watch band that tapers down to the clasp to give it a slender look which suits smaller wrists.
Watch Band Material
The watch band material is another important consideration when selecting a watch. Metal bands tend to look thicker on the wrist than leather or resin bands. Furthermore, Nato straps tend to push the watch case from one’s wrist.
So which is the optimal material? Resin or Leather are safe choices, however at the end of the day it is all up to preference. Go for the one that feels comfortable and looks the best on your wrist. If you actually plan on taking the watch on a dive, then you need a polyurethane band that is UV and water resistant with a durable clasp.
The size of the dial is necessarily going to be affected by the watch size. With a smaller watch, we recommend a dial with minimal or no subdials. The reason is that it is harder to read the markers on a smaller watch, and there simply isn’t as much space to fit more features without cluttering the dial.
Being able to easily tell the time at a glance is crucial, especially if you are diving underwater with limited visibility. Watches with only one or no subdials allow you to parse the information quickly without confusion or squinting your eyes. You should also check that there is enough lume coating the markers and hands to be able to read them in the dark.
The watch bezel also affects how large a watch appears to be. When comparing two watches that are the same size side-by-side, the watches with bezels tend to look smaller than ones without one. So if you want a watch that fits your wrist but doesn’t look out of place, avoid watches without a bezel. They will seem larger and bulkier on a small wrist.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a “diver’s” watch? How is it different from a regular watch?
Not any watch can be classified as a diver’s watch. In order for a manufacturer to call their watch a diver’s watch, the watch must meet the stringent requirements laid out by the International Organization of Standardization, specifically their ISO 6425 certification. You can learn more about what the exact specifications are here.
Here are some of the salient points: A diver’s watch must have a screw-down crown, sealed case back, and the ability to withstand the high water pressure at a depth of 200m/660ft. If a watch claims to have a water resistance rating of 200m but it is not ISO 6425 certified, then that means it may not be able to keep water out for long enough to be certified. We do not recommend diving with a watch that is not certified.
Despite these stringent requirements, most people who wear diver’s watches don’t even dive. A diver’s watch is just a watch after all, and watches serve many purposes. With that said, a diver’s watch tends to be bulkier (even watches designed for small wrists) to not only withstand the water pressures at depth, but also to be easier to read in dim lighting. The hands and markings on a diver’s watch are filled with lume which is a material that glows in the dark.
A diver’s watch will also have a unidirectional rotating bezel which lets you track elapsed time up to one hour. This helps you time how long you can stay underwater before resurfacing. However, it can also be used as a general countdown timer to remind you to take something out of the oven or when to wake up when taking a nap.
What are some other uses of a diver’s watch?
Diver’s watches are highly versatile thanks to their water resistance. This means you can wear it underwater or on land. On land, you don’t have to worry about getting it a bit wet such as while washing your hands or if it is pouring outside. You can wear it while hiking, swimming, kayaking, sailing, or any other activity where a watch might get wet.
Even if you are not the outdoorsy, adventurous type, a diver’s watch can still be useful to you. While you may not be wearing a Rolex on your wrist, there are many homage dive watches that were inspired by its timeless look. There was a time when only the affluent could afford to wear a diver’s watch. Nowadays, dive watches have become more affordable and anybody can own one.
There’s no place where you can’t wear a diver’s watch. You can wear a dive watch on the beach or dressed to the nines in a formal event, such as at a wedding or a boardroom meeting, and it wouldn’t look out of place. You could be having a few beers with the boys or enjoying a meal at a restaurant and your diver’s watch will be sure to draw the attention of those nearby.
Then, there’s the more practical side of owning a diver’s watch. If you simply want to tell the time by looking at your wrist instead of your phone, or set a timer to remind you to check on the oven when you’re baking a pizza, or remind you when to wake up while napping and so on. A diver’s watch has many uses outside of diving and it’s up to you to put it to good use.
How deep can you wear a dive watch underwater?
As we mentioned above, one of the criteria a watch must meet in order to be ISO 6425 certified is to have a minimum water resistance rating of 200m (660ft). Whether a watch is big or small, it must meet the same requirements to be certified.
In fact, when a watch is undergoing stress testing, they are put under pressures exceeding their recommended limit so that the people who will end up actually wearing them, such as you and me, aren’t skirting death if we ever dive down to 200m underwater. As such, a diver’s watch that has been certified with 200m of water resistance may even be capable of withstanding the pressures at a depth 10-20% deeper, though you shouldn’t test that theory.
Higher end diver’s watches will have water resistance ratings far exceeding the minimum 200m rating. Some watches can be worn 300m (1000ft) underwater. Some watches have a water resistance rating of 20,000ft, though we are not sure when you will ever find yourself that far underwater.
Do I need a diver’s watch for diving?
No, a diver’s watch is not mandatory for diving though they have their uses. At a minimum, a basic diver’s watch will allow you to track elapsed time. After the timer is up then it is a sign for you to resurface. Depending on how sophisticated your diver’s watch is it may have a depth gauge so you know how deep you are underwater.
The deeper you are, the poorer the lighting conditions. That is why diver’s watches have hands and markers that are filled with lume: a luminescent material that lets you read your watch in the dark. If you actually plan on diving with your watch, then it must be ISO 6425 certified and have sufficient lume.
Dive watches under 40mm are at a disadvantage underwater because their small size makes them harder for the wearer to read the dial. This issue is exacerbated deeper underwater where lighting is poor.
The main reason why we are not wholeheartedly recommending diver’s watches for diving, however, is because nowadays watch dive computers are becoming the norm. Dive watch computers, much like diver’s watches, were once only used by a select few. Now they have dropped in price and have become part of most diver’s scuba kits.
Dive watch computers have more diving functionality than diver’s watches and if you are serious about scuba diving then you should consider getting a dive watch computer. In addition to tracking the elapsed dive time and depth, it can also calculate in real-time if you need to make any decompression stops and for how long.
Furthermore, it will warn you if you are ascending too quickly and trigger alarms to warn you. You can even set alarms for when certain depths have been reached, and high-end dive computers can even track how much air is left in the tank.
Some dive watch computers have also been designed to look sleek and provide utility outside of diving, however they don’t look nearly as good as a diver’s watch. Ironically, you should buy a diver’s watch if you want a nice water-resistant watch to wear on land. If you actually plan on doing some serious diving, then you should get a watch dive computer instead.
Are there women’s dive watches?
Sadly, most diver’s watches are designed with men in mind. As such, there are not that many watches designed for small wrists or with a diameter under 40mm. However, don’t lose hope. A man’s wrist and woman’s wrist have no differences except in size. Unlike in a wetsuit or scuba BCD where there are large differences in men’s and women’s versions, for a watch there should be no such discrepancy.
If you have a particularly small wrist, then the strap becomes more important to ensure that the watch will not slide around too much. We recommend getting a diver’s watch with lugs that are 20mm across on both sides which makes it compatible with numerous third party straps. This gives you the option to swap out the included strap if it is too large or not to your liking in any way.
Last update on 2021-10-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API