When it comes to ruggedness and unique looks, there are not many watch types that can compete with dive watches.
Even though some people would say that their design is a bit too busy, most of us can agree that dive watches are incredibly cool. So cool that they’re even a popular choice amongst folks who never have or will dive in their lives.
While the watchmaking industry isn’t particularly flooded with American dive watches, there are still a few notable brands that make them.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best American-made dive watches that money can buy.
First, we will dive into (pun intended) the top three models hand-picked by our team. In case none of these cater to your taste, further down the article you will find 2 additional timepieces.
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Best American Dive Watches (Top 3 Overview)
American-Made Dive Watches (Top 3 Reviewed)
As you can see from the comparison table above, choosing the right American diver watch for you will depend on two things:
- the water resistance you’re looking for
- your budget
Now, we invite you to learn about the reasoning behind the decision to pick these particular 3 products from hundreds available.
Bulova Marine Star
We open up with arguably the best-selling American watchmaker worldwide – Bulova.
Having been founded in New York City all the way back in 1875, Bulova watches have a long and rich history in the industry. While they’re mostly known for their dressy timepieces, they do have a few dive-inspired models in their lineup as well.
The 98B203 is one such model. It belongs to Bulova’s Marine Star line known for paying homage to marine life. In fact, we picked it because in our opinion, considering all its parameters, it’s the one that provides the best value as far as American dive watches are concerned.
It’s a beautiful dive-inspired timepiece that’s powered by a Japanese quartz movement. It features a black unidirectional bezel with silver markings, luminous hands and markers, as well as a date display window at three o’clock.
The design is minimalistic but that contributes to the legibility which is so important underwater.
The watch comes with a stainless steel bracelet that’s outfitted with a fold-over clasp with double push-button safety. Boosting the protection against leaks is a screw-down case back and crown. And in case you’re worried about the mineral crystal getting scratched, don’t be – it’s been coated with a layer of anti-reflective sapphire.
All in all, it’s a great dive-inspired watch from a world-renowned brand that comes at a very reasonable price tag. The only downside is the relatively low water resistance (10 ATM/ 100m). Consider getting this one only if you’re looking for a watch with a diving design but not a professional diving timepiece!
Luminox Deep Dive
Now if you want a really capable dive watch that’s pretty much unbreakable, there is no other option but to turn to Luminox.
The California-based brand is mostly known for its watches used by the U.S. Navy SEALs, so you know that their timepieces can withstand pretty much anything you throw at them.
The XS.1555 model is part of Luminox’s Deep Dive collection and it lives up to its name with a water resistance rating of 300 meters (990 feet).
The case is made entirely out of Carbonox and measures 45mm in diameter, which for many is the perfect size for a diving timepiece as on one side it’s large enough to be easily readable underwater while on the other it’s not too big to become cumbersome. Since the name Carbonox might sound exotic, it’s just a fancy way of saying that the case is made out of carbon powder. The material is a trademark of Luminox and it’s used in many of their watches because of its feather-light weight and high resistance to shocks.
The black bezel on the XS.1555 is unidirectional and has white luminous markings, ensuring excellent legibility. The dial is also black with large luminous hour markers and hands, making the watch easy to read in any conditions.
Strap, on the other hand, is made from rubber and has a standard buckle closure.
If you’re familiar with Luminox watches, you are probably familiar with the brand’s unique illumination technology. The Luminox Light Technology (LLT) is based on self-powered micro gas lights that are incorporated into the hands, dial, and bezel of the watch. This ensures that the time can be read at any moment and in any conditions, even when there is no light at all. The brand guarantees up to 25 years of continuous illumination.
Like most watches in the brand’s offer, Luminox Deep Dive XS.1555 is powered by a Swiss quartz movement manufactured by Ronda, one of the better-known movement providers in the world.
All in all, the Luminox Deep Dive XS.1555 is a top-tier dive watch that’s also built like a tank. However, be prepared to dig a bit deeper into your pockets as it’s not exactly a budget timepiece.
Invicta Pro Diver
If you’re shopping on a budget, the Invicta 8928 watch, belonging to the popular Pro Diver collection, is a great option. It’s the most affordable dive watch on our list, but it still offers many features that are important for a quality dive watch.
The 8928 model is powered by a Japanese automatic movement produced by Seiko. The exact caliber used in this timepiece is the extremely popular and reliable NH35A. The movement is widely used both by Seiko and brands operating in the similar price sector as Invicta. It has a 41-hour power reserve and delivers good accuracy results (-20 / +40 seconds/day).
What’s worth noting, the watch comes with a transparent caseback which allows you to peek at the intricate workings of the automatic movement.
Like a huge chunk of watches in the Pro Diver line, this model is an obvious homage to one of the most iconic dive watches released to this day, the Rolex Submariner.
The similarities are there, starting with the size of the case (40mm) and the unidirectional bezel with markings. However, Invicta did put its own spin on things by using blue for the dial and bezel instead of Rolex’s traditional black. The watch comes with a two-tone stainless steel bracelet (silver/gold) that’s closed with a push-button fold-over clasp with safety.
The Invicta 8928 is also fitted with a scratch-resistant mineral crystal and has a water resistance of 200 meters (660 feet), which is more than enough for recreational diving.
All in all, it might not be the best dive watch of all time taking into account the brand’s reputation (compared to other watchmakers on the list) but at that price, it’s really a steal.
US Dive Watches: 2 Alternative Models
If none of our top three American-made diver watches seem suitable for you, below find two alternative models that should provide further food for thought.
Bulova Devil Diver
We’ve given Bulova such an intro that it shouldn’t be a major surprise that another model from this iconic American brand makes the list.
This time we have the “Devil Diver” 98B320. As you can tell from the name, this is a much more aggressive-looking timepiece that’s clearly inspired by vintage dive watches.
But its moniker isn’t inspired by the looks. Instead, it relates to its water resistance rating which sits at 666 feet (200m), the number of the devil. This makes it one of the few American dive watches on our list that’s actually fit for more professional leaps.
The “Devil Diver” is one of the pricier products on included in the article but not without a reason. It belongs to the Oceanographer collection and in fact has been released as a tribute to 1970s Oceanographer model, which is now considered a true retro classic.
For starters, it’s an automatic model. As we know, these tend to cost a bit more than quartz counterparts due to their complexity and higher skill required to make them.
And in terms of the movement, Bulova decided to go with another Japanese caliber, this time produced by Miyota. It’s a very reliable and accurate engine that can be found in many watches in this price range. It has a power reserve of 42 hours and provides accuracy of -20/+40 seconds per day.
On top of that, this watch is fitted with a sapphire crystal which is the most scratch-resistant type available. Plus, it has a unidirectional bezel with Super-LumiNova coated markers which makes it easier to keep track of time underwater.
The stainless steel bracelet is also outfitted with a double push-button fold-over clasp for additional safety.
The next thing that stands out is the inclusion of a helium escape valve (HEV). This is a feature that’s mostly found on Rolex and other high-end Swiss dive watches. The purpose of
features a unidirectional black bezel with white markings and a red triangle at 12 o’clock, just like many vintage dive watches used to have.
Invicta Grand Diver
Finally, closing the list of best American dive watches is a second timepiece from Invicta – the Grand Diver.
As the name suggests, this one is also part of Invicta’s Pro Diver series but it’s considerably bulkier (47mm case width). As things stand, it’s one of the bigger Pro Diver releases and it’s probably better suited for folks with larger wrists.
The 3045 is powered by the same caliber NH35A that we’ve seen in the 8928 model so in terms of accuracy and longevity, you’re looking at pretty much the same thing. As it was the case with the previous Invicta on the list, the movement can be observed thanks to a see-through caseback. Naturally, the caseback and the crown are screwed-in, minimalizing the risk of any water getting inside the watch.
One of the best features this watch has to offer is the impressive water resistance rating of 300 meters (990 feet). Such a solid depth at such a low price is what makes this watch, as well as many others in the Pro Diver line, a real standout.
The watch comes with a silver-tone stainless steel bracelet that’s closed with a push-button fold-over clasp with safety. The dial is dark blue with luminous hands and hour markers, protected by a mineral crystal. There’s also a date window at 3 o’clock. Characteristically for a dive watch, it features a unidirectional bezel painted in blue.
To sum it up – if you’re looking for an affordable but capable dive watch, any of the Invicta Pro Diver watches should do the trick but the 3045 is definitely one of the best options in the line.
Frequently Asked Questions
We hope that after reading our article, the task of picking the best American-made dive watch has become that much easier. To round off today’s lecture, below find some of the most frequent questions related to the subject.
Are there any American watchmakers?
There are quite a few American watchmakers, as you can read in our guide to best American watch companies, but the most notable ones are probably Bulova, Invicta, Hamilton, Timex, and Luminox Hence, we included three of them on the list!
What is the best cheap dive watch?
If we’re talking about solely American dive watches, then your best bet would probably be Invicta. The brand offers a lot of great value for the money. However, if you’re willing to look outside of the US, Japanese dive watches can be extremely affordable as well. There are quite a few other brands that offer better value, such as Seiko, Citizen and Orient.
Who makes the deepest dive watch?
While the deepest dive watch on our list is the Invicta Pro Diver (it’s also the deepest dive watch available from a US-based watchmaker), brands in other countries offer even more impressive dive watches.
For example, there’s the Panerai Luminor 1950 with a water resistance rating of 1000m or the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean which can withstand depths of up to 600m. These are one of the best luxury dive watches of all time, however, and will cost you several thousands of dollars.
What watches do Navy Divers wear?
Navy divers actually have a few different watches they can choose from, depending on the mission. For example, during combat dives, they tend to wear watches with digital displays so they can easily read the time underwater.
For other missions, however, they might opt for an analog dive watch with a rubber strap. This is because it’s more comfortable to wear for long periods of time and doesn’t need to be as accurate as a digital watch.
One of the popular choices amongst Navy Seals is Luminox, a brand that focuses on making watches for professionals. These are some of the toughest dive watches around.
Another popular choice is Marathon, which produces military-spec watches for various branches of the US armed forces.
You can get a better idea of which brand is more suitable by reading our Luminox vs Marathon comparison.
What are the best dive watches of all time?
It would be hard to list all of them here but, without a doubt, one watch that will probably never go out of fashion is the iconic Rolex Submariner. The iconic Submariner design is to this day one of the most popular and most frequently recreated in the watch industry.
Other favorites include the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, Omega Seamaster, and TAG Heuer Aquaracer. All of these watches are popular among both novice and experienced divers alike.
What are the best dive watches under $1,000?
If you’re looking for more top-quality watches for diving that fall into the $1,000 category, we advise you to look outside of the United States as well.