Without a shadow of a doubt, dive watches are one of the most useful and versatile types of timepieces available on the market, which is why they continue to be so popular among watch enthusiasts.
While nowadays it’s possible to find divers at truly bargain-basement prices, most of these are running on cheap quartz movements.
To prove that it’s indeed possible to find an affordable hand-wound timepiece for your conquest of the deep, we have compiled a list of the 3 best automatic dive watches under $100.
Yes, under one hundred US dollars.
While some will find it surprising that all three models come from the same brand, those with more experience when it comes to shopping in the low-budget dive watch market will know that Invicta offers incredible value for money in this sector.
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Best Automatic Dive Watches Under $100 (Top 3 Overview)
Automatic Dive Watches Under 100 Bucks (Top 3 Reviewed)
Looking for a cheap automatic dive watch that doesn’t exceed the magic $100 mark isn’t an easy task.
Most brands offering such watches tend to cut too many corners, resulting in a final product that’s far from being up to par.
And while the American watchmaker splits opinions like few other brands do, as far as affordable divers go, it’s hard to compete with their Pro Diver line since most of these watches offer really solid value for money.
We open up the list with the most classy-looking dive watch from Invicta, the Pro Diver 89260B.
When you browse through the brand’s collection, it’s hard not to notice that many of these timepieces are clearly inspired by one of the most iconic dive watches of all time, the Rolex Submariner.
The Invicta 89260B is no different, as its overall look and feel are very reminiscent of the Sub.
Of course, it’s not a direct clone by any means and there are some distinct differences between the two watches since both oscillate at completely different price points.
But if you’re looking for a watch that captures the essence of the Submariner without having to spend thousands of dollars, the 89260B is definitely a model worth considering.
Despite being released over a decade ago, the Pro Diver in question here is still one of the most popular dive watches from Invicta.
The watch comes with a 40mm stainless steel case, which is pretty much a standard size for a dive watch – not too small for a larger wrist, but not too big for a petite one either. The watch has a transparent caseback through which you can peek at the intricate workings of the automatic movement. The unidirectional bezel is also made of stainless steel and has a black metallic insert with minute markings.
The black dial features large luminous dot markers and hands, as well as an augmented date display at the 3 o’clock position. There are also minute markers on the outer rim. Protection against cracks and scratches is guaranteed by mineral crystal glass.
The 8926OB comes with a stainless steel bracelet with a fold-over clasp and safety lock mechanism.
Powering the watch is the Japanese automatic movement caliber NH35A, which is a workhorse movement that can be found in many other entry-level dive watches across the collection (as you will soon find out with the remaining two models).
Most importantly, the watch is water-resistant up to 200m.
The 5053 Pro Diver is a watch with very similar specs to the 8926OB.
It has the same case and bracelet material (stainless steel), as well as the same dimensions (40mm in diameter and 13mm in thickness).
However, its standout feature is the so-called Pepsi bezel.
This type of bezel is characterized by a blue and red color scheme, which was popularized by the Rolex GMT Master back in the 1950s. To this day it’s a hardly sought-after detail among dive watch enthusiasts.
The Pepsi bezel theme combines neatly with the lively blue background of the face. Again, the timepiece features legible dotted hour markers as well as large hands. Thanks to the use of Super-LumiNova, all elements glow brightly in the dark, allowing for excellent legibility underwater.
The date function is displayed at the 3 o’clock position. The mineral crystal glass protects the dial against scratches, while the see-through caseback gives you a good view of the movement inside.
Speaking of the movement, the 5053 is again powered by the Japanese automatic caliber NH35A produced by one of the largest Asian watchmakers, Seiko.
On the waterproofing front, there are no surprises either as the timepiece can withstand depths of up to 200m (20 ATM / 656 feet).
Finally, closing the list of the best automatic watches under $100 is this quite unique-looking Pro Diver timepiece.
The first thing that you’ll notice about the Pro Diver 23678 is the lack of a stainless steel bracelet which has been replaced with a rubber band. Hence, this model is definitely for those who prefer a more sporty and casual look.
The black rubber strap is nicely complemented by the combination of the glowy stainless steel case and black unidirectional bezel with white markings, as well as the black dial with white luminous hour markers and hands.
The date display is again positioned at 3 o’clock. The mineral crystal glass protects against scratches, while the water resistance is the same as with the previous two models, i.e. 200m (20 ATM / 656 feet).
The 23678 is powered by the Japanese automatic movement caliber NH35A, which ticks away inside many other entry-level dive watches.
Frequently Asked Questions
We hope that at least one of the Invicta models discussed in the article has caught your attention and your quest for the best automatic dive watch under $100 is over.
As you can see, the American brand offers a vast array of different designs, so in case none of the timepieces caters to your taste, you can try finding the perfect Invicta diver on your own.
Before we wrap things up, let’s answer some commonly asked questions related to Invicta and automatic dive watches in general.
Do divers actually use dive watches?
While scuba diving, most divers prefer using a dive computer over a dive watch. The reason for this is that a dive computer is able to provide more detailed information about the current depth, time, and nitrogen levels.
However, many divers still choose to wear a dive watch as a backup in case their dive computer fails. Moreover, some divers simply prefer the look of a dive watch over a dive computer.
What watches do pro divers wear?
There is no single answer to this question as different divers prefer different watches for different reasons. However, some of the most popular dive watch brands among professional divers include Citizen and Luminox. Both watchmakers, although offering completely different styles, offer reliable and robust dive watches that can withstand even the most extreme conditions.
Why are most dive watches automatic?
Since your arm is moving underwater, one of the primary causes is the ease with which automatic watches may be wound. Additionally, a watch battery found in regular quartz watches, which is more vulnerable to wetness and corrosion, is unnecessary with an automated movement.
Are dive watches good for everyday use?
Yes, dive watches can definitely be worn as everyday watches. In fact, many people who don’t even dive prefer wearing dive watches as they often have a very rugged and masculine look that goes well with most casual outfits.
Are there other American brands offering automatic dive watches?
Invicta is definitely one of the best US brands when it comes to budget automatic dive watches. However, it’s not the only American watchmaker with divers in its offer.
Other affordable American-made dive watches come from the likes of Bulova and Luminox.
The U.S. Navy SEALs are known for their preference for tough and durable watches that can withstand pretty much anything. While there is no official information on which watches the SEALs use, it is widely believed that many of them opt for the Swiss-made Luminox timepieces.
What is the toughest dive watch?
The afore-mentioned Luminox watches are some of the toughest in the dive watch sector. However, you will also find really sturdy and well-built dive watches from brands like Seiko, Citizen, and Tissot.
For some ideas, you can check our comparison of Tissot Seastars, the Swiss brand’s trademark dive watch collection.
What is the best diver watch under 50?
The questions should probably more sound like this – are there any dive watches under $50 at all?
Well, it’s possible to find dive-inspired (resembling dive watches in terms of the design but not really the functions) below the $50 mark. However, you shouldn’t expect these to be able to serve you well in the ocean.
If you’re looking for the best cheap dive watch that can actually accompany you during your leaps, you probably shouldn’t go below the $100 mark.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can get more capable dive watches for around $200.
Who makes the best quartz dive watch?
What is the thinnest dive watch?
If you’re looking for a thin dive watch, your best bet is probably the Seiko Prospex SRPA21. This particular model is only 11.8 mm thick, making it one of the thinnest dive watches on the market.