Best Solar Dive Watches
In this article, we will focus on dive watches and brands including; Citizen, Casio, Seiko solar watch and more. And I will specifically focus on solar powered watches that reach up to 200m and talk about the difference between water resistant and waterproof. Without further due...
What to Look for in A Dive Watch?
A watch is a watch, it tells time and the date and most likely looks pretty good on your wrist...WRONG… There is so much more than just that and then some. A good dive watch not only needs to be able to tell you the time (how long you have actually been on your dive), be able to hold up against the pressure of the water and to get a little more specific in the next paragraph about why the watches need to be built well is:
When diving every 10 m or 33 feet the ambient pressure increases 1 ATM or 14.7 psi. At sea level we are breathing and living at 1 Atmosphere (ATM) so going down to 30 meters (99 feet) we are now at 4 ATM. Water weighs 64 pounds per cubic foot so every time you submerge 1 foot and then keep doubling from there. That is a lot of pressure not only for us (we do it controlled so we have nothing to worry about) but for a watch that is poorly made, you will have now just wasted your money. I hope that wasn’t to boring but it puts perspective on diving.
Depth - Firstly you want to find watches that say “Water Resistant” because these are the watches that are able to withstand the pressure of the atmosphere when you are diving. When you see a watch that is “Waterproof” they not are geared for diving! Waterproof watches are fine for snorkeling, showering, swimming and sometimes being in the salt water but be cautious especially with the cheaper watches because it may be a throw away at the end of the day. If the watch says Divers 100m they are minimum standard (ISO 6425) but will work great and Divers 200m and 300m and suitable for everything but very deep depths. Divers 300m are suitable for saturation diving.
Water Resistant watches will say to what depth that can reach and most watches usually have a 100m depth rating however, it is unlikely that you will be going past 30-40 meters as a recreational diver anyways. As mentioned all watches are different so when push comes to shove get a watch with a higher water resistant rating!
Features - Lots of watches have different features and functions that may dazzle you but remember depending on the quality and price of the watch that could also mean that more could go wrong with the watch.
- With lots of watches they can include bezel marking (look at the next section for more info) and a pre select specific minute marking. Good readability because as you start to descent you will notice it gets dark quick even in the middle of the day depending on how far you are going down and if you are doing a night dive, you definitely want to make sure you can read the watch properly.
- Shock resistant and chemical resistant of course to salt and fresh water.
- The strap is a very important piece of information as well because if the strap is cheap and won’t stay on the watch you will lose it quickly and to make sure the material is right for you especially if you have any allergies.
- Dive watches must go through what is called a ISO 6425 compliance which not all companies do because it costs money and you will want to make sure each watch has this. Even if some watches say they don’t have it, make sure it is a reputable brand and if you haven’t heard of the watch company and it doesn’t say, it probably doesn’t qualify. If you are looking for a just a watch to get by for a season or two though it probably will last!
Bezel Markings - A bezel is the ring located on the outside of the watch around the face. It will have markings and can move one way, both ways or it will be fixed. Having a good bezel is key and you will want one that moves unilaterally so it cannot get turned back just in case you brush up against something and it turns. Better to shorten your dive moving one direction than the other. The function of the bezel is to track elapsed time so when you are diving you know when you entered the water and have a measuring point to elapse your time underwater.
Watch Casing - If you are diving in the ocean which you will most likely be you will want stainless steel with titanium, ceramics and synthetic resins. Metal is a fine material as well but make sure it has other materials built into it as mentioned earlier. Not only should the material be solid but it should be put together tight as well so there is no leakage with the pressure of the water with good screws and a solid seal with on a watch will be an O-ring seal as well. The face will most likely be a acrylic glass for hardness and quality.
Dive Watch Brands
So if you thought there were lots of cars out there, check again and wait until you see how many watch brands there are. As you can see from our top 10 list above in no particular order (more in terms of cost, actually) there are: Casio, Citizen, Omega, Seiko, Bremont, Oris, Bell and Ross Collection.
These are the top name brand dive watches you will find and then of course there are also lots of other watches again that will work but it just depends on your budget and how much you actually dive or if having something for snorkeling will work just fine being waterproof over even water resistant up to 100m. Just think about how much diving and how deep you will be going before deciding what watch is best for you.
Best Dive Watches Under $200.00
Casio Mens Duro Analog Dive Watch
A great deal for a recreational diver and everything from land to sea. It is a 200m Water resistant watch so anywhere you go you will be ready to hit the water and waves. Your best bang for your buck.
Lightweight and durable it has a one way rotating bezel and screw down crown screw lock back so water won’t get into the mechanism of the watch. Great sleek look and design with black resin band and a mineral glass for protection and even better look. It has a date display very easy to see underwater.
If you are looking for a durable cost effective watch this is the one or for your kids, in case they “lose it” on vacation it won’t be the end of the world.
Cressi Leonardo Scuba Dive Computer Wrist Watch
Not just your regular day to day watch although it does have date and time for everyday use and is sleek enough where you can wear it everyday and no one would be the wiser that you were a avid diver! Another one of my favorite actual dive watches because it is affordable and so easy to use. There is no programming (although you can), fancy buttons and gadgets that you want to pull your hair out. It is as easy as just in the water and away you go!
With a single button interface, diving has never been easier. There is a backlight so you can see day or night and there are three levels of user adjustable conservatism.
Getting onto the tech side you can have Air, Nitrox and Gauge modes with FO2 between 21% and 51%. PO2 between 1.2 bar and 1.6 bar along with a CNS oxygen toxicity graphic indicator. As you are diving there is an ascent rate alarm at 10m per minute and you can log up to 60 dives or 75 hours of time compatible with Mac or PC for your likings.
Seiko Analog Solar Stainless Steel Dive Watch
As mentioned above in our top 10 this watch comes in under $200.00 and is a great deal. Made of stainless steel it will withstand the elements of any kind of water activity and a classic look with fold over clasp and double push button safety you won’t lose it during any activity you may be doing.
A 43 mm face with Hardlex dial window making it easy to see day or night, underwater or out because it has luminous hands and numbers. Not only that is that it is solar powered so you will never have to change a battery again.
The three subdials on the face make it ideal for diving and is water resistant up to 200 meters. This is a great watch for a great price and can be worn any day, all day to business meetings then the beach and a quick jump in the ocean to cool off and back to the office.
Just like with Cressi it is a specific dive watch that can also be worn as a regular watch from day to day. Lots of colors to fit your style. The Suunto Core has more than just time and date, you will be able to program anything in this watch, a tech lover’s dream that’s durable.
To start the watch contains an altimeter, barometer, compass and depth meter for all of you activities! Not only do you get all of those features you get your regular time, date, dual time for back home, countdown timer perfect for ascending, and sports chronograph. If you think this is not enough features you may just need a computer.
There is really nothing that this watch cannot do and all for a great price!
Solar Dive Watch
There are a lot of pro’s to solar dive watches depending on the quality and make they are fantastic because you never have to change the batteries! They have been around since the early 70’s and are comprised of a self-recharging battery and they take energy from light. This makes perfect sense as the way the world is going to a more Eco friendly environment and this helps the cause without elimination of batteries and a watch that will last as long as you.
Most watches can be charged with sunlight, the obvious choice or artificial light (counter productive as you are using energy anyways but still a great design for a watch. In most watches (specifically Seiko) in just one minute you can get up to one hour of charge and after a 6 month period when worn consistently it will remain fully charged.
If you have a watch collection like myself and you like to wear different watches regularly and you are in meetings, heading to the pool and in the ocean you may not wear a watch for a while but no problem because in just 8 minutes the watch will be charged and you will be ready to go! No need for going to the jewelers and spend a lot of money on a tiny watch battery.
Solar watches are a great touch on your everyday collection.
Seiko Men’s SNE109 Solar Dive Watch
If you are looking for a Solar Dive Watch I would recommend the Seiko Men’s SNE109 Stainless Steel Dive Watch. The stylish design has a orange face that illuminates day or night and sits great into a stainless steel face and a polyurethane black straps that makes the watch pop. If you are not into orange, give it a minute because it is very nice and especially for diving, you can clearly see the time and numbers very easy.
The solar power gives it a 10 month reserve once fully charged and has a screwdown crown and caseback so durability and security for all environments. It is 200 meter water resistant and will withstand salt and freshwater, of course make sure you still give it a quick rinse once you are out of the water. Ideal for any marine activity. There is a one way rotating elapsed time bezel for security when you are diving and will last along side you.
Kinetic Dive Watches
Much like Solar Dive Watches they are eco friendly and instead of light, all you need to do is move! Since the mid 60’s Kinetic watches have been around and they have evolved quite dramatically to very impressive watches that need very little attention. There are quite a few number of ways that kinetic watches work and there are lots of different pattens with specific companies that they have developed.
Basic Kinetic watches work like this: You start moving your wrist (or the watch) and then there is a micro rotor that spins to generate electricity and then it is transformed into a long power reserve that will keep your watch running for days!
Some watches will now show you how much energy is in the watch and a type of battery life that has a charge in your watch! It is really exciting to see all the new technology and developments from watch companies and they keep growing and growing.
Seiko Prospex Kinetic Divers Watch
The Seiko Prospex SUN023 Kinetic GMT Divers Man watch came out in 2014 and has been wowing people ever since. The stainless steel 200 m water resistant watch is flawless. Great design and comfortable.
The face is 48 mm and the dial window is comprised of Hardlex for durability easy to read. The hands are luminous along with the numbers making it easy to read on shore and when you are diving deep below the surface.
The band material is a polyurethane so it is nice in and out of the water. It is 24 mm wide so it is ideal for both around the wrist or your wetsuit depending on where you are diving from Vancouver, Canada to Brazil. It has a buckle as the clasp so it is secured and you won’t have to worry about losing it.
The bezel is unidirectional for specific diving needs and great to wear wherever you are!
Large Dive Watch
This may seem like a funny category to write about but it will make sense after this topic. On a normal day people like having watches more proportionate to their body, which makes sense and some people don’t (each to their own) but when it comes to diving and being under water even though water magnifies objects by 33% and seem 25% closer. This does not make sense to have a larger watch but… having a bigger watch on your wrist makes it easier to see and if you are wearing a wetsuit it can be more comfortable. You know the watch is there and larger watched can have a lot more bells and whistles but also can be much more durable.
When I say more durable I mean more durable. In most cases when you are diving or doing any kind of sport a watch can be susceptible to breaking if you knock it on something, or hit your scuba gear or any number of accident that you would not foresee. With a larger watch it can withstand the hard impact of life and last longer.
It will have a heavier face and components along with a more durable strap and clasp or buckle. Of course this is not for everyone but it is something to think about when you are considering purchasing a watch for diving or even everyday life. Usually most larger watches will also have a strong water resistant component to 300m or even more with lots of other features.
Hazard 4 Heavy Water Diver Watch
Personally I have small wrists and I am a tall guy so large watches weren’t for me but this watch is outstanding. I am not the most careful guy and I have wrecked quite a few watches in my time but this has been one watch that I have not seemed to break. Not only is it durable it is very nice looking. The metal with a mat finish give it a beautiful finish and it is very comfortable on bare skin because it is hypoallergenic and/or over a wetsuit. Easy to use, read and see at night.
The sapphire crystal glass and interior is covered with an anti-reflective coat which makes it even easier to see even though it has a 50 mm high-vis design. The sapphire really is scratch resistant, I travel with it in my bag or at the beach and it still looks brand new.
The straps are moisture wicking making it a quick dry even though it is usually pretty hot and drys anyways but in the winter when I come out of the pool, I am from the north west and it gets quite cold and by the time I am out of the shower and changed it has dried already anyways.
The face on the watch has a variety of options for hands and the bezels and it is so easy to see underwater for day or night dives.
If you are an avid diver or recreational this watch is water resistant up to 300m so unless you are doing commercial diving way down there, this watch is still for you!
Bulova Men’s Stainless Steel Precisionist Chronograph Watch
Bulova is a great quality watch and this is one of them since 1875. This is a beautiful stainless steel water resistant dive watch with all of the bells and whistles.
Starting with the face of the watch you get a lot of sub dials to get you sorted from day to day and underwater including: a 1/10, 1/100, and 1/1000 sub dials for any need, the start and stop button is easy to use, it also has a minute and hour chronograph so you really can time anything. No need to worry though because even with all the features sometimes it can be overwhelming but no on this watch. It is easy to see and read.
The Bulova has luminous hands and markers for easy to read under the sea and in the dark. A continuous second hand as smooth as you can see and of course and easy to read date. The entirety of the watch is 46.5 mm with a mineral dial window for anti-scratch.
The watch is water resistant up to 300 meters so you can go anywhere with this watch and not have to worry. There are hex screw accents at the bezel. The stainless steel strap and back make it last in any conditions and of course a quick rinse after the salt water.
Divers 200m Watch
With most dive watches as mentioned above they will say what kind of water resistance they are (remember that waterproof is not good for diving) and usually they start at 50 m and go from there. Usually with 200 m dive watches you will be fine for recreational and commercial diving but make sure they are dive proof. Some will say they are water resistant up to 200 m but then it may say it is not suitable for scuba diving… just a little false advertising. So read carefully and make sure they are a true water resistant watch. In this section I will go over some of the best 200 m dive watches.
Casio G-shock Solar Watch
A trusted brand with Casio and one of the most durable watches I have seen. A true ISO 200 meter water resistant dive timer. This watch is great if you are commercial, recreational, or you just need a good water watch for all activities.
It is comprised of stainless steel so it will last the tests of time, even the salt water without a worry. The eco-friendly solar power will keep your watch charged all of the time with sun or artificial light so you never have to change your batteries and spend more money.
Lots of functions and features to choose from including tide and moon data, time, date, and so much more.
The watch feels comfortable and sits good on your wrist. The stainless steel case will make the last watch long just make sure you rinse in fresh water after and it will last forever. The bezel is also comprised of stainless steel so as you dive it will keep working great.