As if you needed any more proof that time does fly like an arrow, let me tell you that we are just 12 years shy of passing a century since the introduction of the first diving watch.
The Marine, a pioneer diving model released by one of the finest names in the watchmaking industry, Omega, saw daylight in 1932.
Back then, the timepiece was considered – and rightly so – a masterpiece and a true game-changer. The 100m water-resistance rating was unheard of at that time and the design was just as impressive.
It’s fair to say, though, that since Omega’s breakthrough model, the trends and capabilities of diver’s watches have changed a lot. Sadly, the expenditure associated with Omega diving timekeepers makes them well out of reach for most everyday wearers.
The good news is, the Marine spurred the beginning of a new movement in the industry. Many watchmakers decided to launch their own, much more affordable lines for scuba divers. Some have done brilliantly, others still have a long way to go.
Definitely, one of the go-to brands in this field is Seiko. The Japanese watch mogul has long been known for providing excellent quality diving timepieces at price margins manageable for most.
Since the release of their first diving watch, the Professional Diver’s 600m, the collection has expanded greatly and now consists of more than 50 models. To make the task of picking the right one easier, I have prepared a list of the 7 best Seiko dive watches currently on the market.
The said list is divided into two parts.
In the first one, you will find the top 3 choices – all picked for different reasons.
If none of the podium selections caters to your taste, there are 3 more Seiko divers waiting further down the article.
Good luck picking just one!
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At a Glance:
Best Seiko Dive Watches (Top 3 Reviewed)
We get the list off to a flying start with this Pepsi-themed model from the Seiko Prospex collection – a line rich in great value watches for scuba divers. The SNJ027 model, known predominantly as the Seiko Tuna diver, is one of the best-sellers in the entire collection.
On the water-proofing front, the watch can withstand depths of up to 200m which makes it a solid choice both for beginners and intermediate diving enthusiasts.
Crucially, the model is solar-powered. The analog-digital movement is fuelled by Seiko’s in-house H851 caliber, providing excellent accuracy of +- 15 seconds/month. With a power reserve of 6 months, you will never need to worry about the solar battery dying out. It also goes a long way to help the environment!
Moving on to the exterior, Seiko SNJ027 comes with a 47,8mm stainless steel case. Considering the bezel, an ever-present element of diving timepieces, it’s a fairly standard size that won’t look out of place on most wrists. The uni-directional, Pepsi-themed bezel is made from stainless steel as well, whereas the band is silicone.
The watch’s face features three hands, two of which are luminous. For easy time-reading underwater, the hour markers are luminescent as well. At noon o’clock there’s a small window with a classic digital display with a LED function. Protecting the dial against cracks and scratches is a Hardlex crystal – a popular choice amongst most Seiko models.
All things considered, it’s probably the best Seiko diver under 500 bucks.
It’s possible to grab a great quality Seiko dive watch – even if you are shopping on a tight budget.
- See also: Top 9 Dive Watches Under $200
SKZ211K1 is the cheapest diver on the list. The model belongs to the Seiko 5 collection, considered to be the most affordable of all. Seiko 5 focuses on sports watches and those include some capable diving timepieces like the one presented above.
This timepiece also comes with a 200m water-resistance rating.
Unlike the top pick above, Seiko SKZ211K1 runs on automatic movement, using Seiko’s in-house caliber 7S36. Considering the low price of the product, it provides a pretty solid accuracy of around +25 seconds/day. The movement boasts a power reserve of 41 hours.
The model definitely has an elegant look to it, making it a great fit not only for diving expeditions but also during everyday use – even when it comes to more official occasions.
The watch boasts a slightly smaller case, measuring 45mm in diameter. Naturally, the case is equipped with a unidirectional black bezel helping you measure elapsed time underwater.
The watch face boasts a rather classic, black-and-white design. Light-tone hands and hour markers combine nicely with the black background.
Hour markers, as well as all three watch hands, are luminescent – enabling you to view time easily while exploring the waters. Additionally, the dial features compass markers and a day and a date window at 3 o’clock. The dial window is made from Hardlex crystal.
Feel like breaking the bank? You could do a lot worse than doing so by buying one of the most exquisite Seiko dive watches released to date, the MarineMaster.
Clearly, the biggest factor behind the SBBN035 model being a standout on the list is the 300m water resistance. Such a rating makes the timepiece a perfect fit for saturation diving. The watch boasts the Professional Diver’s label, meaning it’s an ISO-certified timepiece designed for professional scuba divers.
This particular MarineMaster model is a quartz watch. It’s run on one of Seiko’s most proud battery-powered movements, caliber 7c46. On top of excellent precision of +-15 seconds/month, the movement is one of the safest to take underwater due to its rugged build consisting of metal-only components. It’s also thermal-insulated.
The watch comes with a 48mm stainless steel case, very much resembling that of the first Seiko diver on the list. Hence, it’s also referred to as a “Tuna” model -because its shape is very similar to a canned tuna. The uni-directional bezel is too made from stainless steel and allows for easy measurement of elapsed time during a diving session. The band is silicone.
The watch dial features luminous hands and hour markers. Additionally, at three o’clock there’s a day and date window. Similar to most Seiko timepieces, this one too uses a Hardlex crystal glass as a form of protection against scratches.
All in all, it’s probably the best Seiko diver under 1000 bucks.
Still Looking? 3 Alternative Picks Below
Already a third timepiece from the diver-rich Prospex collection. And we are just halfway through the list of the best Seiko dive watches!
Just like the top pick in today’s article, Seiko SRPA21 is a special edition model created in collaboration with PADI – the world’s largest diving network, responsible for running more than 6300 dive centers worldwide. At the time of writing, PADI professionals have issued more than 25 million certifications.
Like all Seiko PADI models, this one too is equipped with a 200m water-resistance rating.
The watch runs on exactly the same automatic movement as the model above. Caliber 4R36 comes with a 41-hour power reserve and gains around 30 seconds per day.
This Seiko diver comes with a 45mm stainless steel case and a Pepsi-themed bezel, allowing to measure elapsed time underwater. With the band also made from stainless steel, the watch presents a pretty elegant look suitable for occasions other than diving, too.
Hassle-free reading underwater is ensured by the luminescent watch hands and hour markers. At three o’clock you will also find a day and date window. The dial window is made from Hardlex crystal.
The third and the last Seiko PADI diver on the list but boy, is it a comment-worthy piece.
Seiko SUN065 is one of the most pricey models in the entire Prospex / PADI collection but it’s for a reason.
Let’s start from the most essential metric when it comes to Seiko divers – and that is water resistance. In the case of this watch, it’s fairly standard – rated at 200m.
What makes the timekeeper a standout on the list is the movement.
The watch is powered by Seiko’s proprietary Kinetic movement which is a revolutionary hybrid between automatic and quartz movement. In other words, it’s fuelled by the kinetic movement of your wrist (like any automatic watch) but it provides the accuracy of quartz watches. The Kinetic 5M85 caliber ensures quartz-like accuracy of around +15 seconds/month.
The model comes with a 47,5mm stainless steel case. Naturally, there’s also the uni-directional rotating bezel for measuring time spent underwater. The band is made from silicone.
The dial is packed with features.
To begin with, it’s equipped with 4 hands – all luminous. Apart from the standard three, there’s an additional one that tells you the time in the second time zone of your choice. The feature is called GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and is popular among wearers who want to easily keep track of time back in their homeland.
- Read also: Top 9 GMT Watches Under $1,000
The watch is also equipped with a power reserve indicator. On a full kinetic charge, it’s around 6 months.
Last but not least, Seiko SUN065 is equipped with sapphire crystal glass. The anti-reflective material is probably the most scratch-resistant available and is often seen in top-end timepieces from the best in the business.
Closing the list of the best Seiko dive watches is this tough-looking model from the Prospex line.
Characteristically for most diving models in the collection, Seiko SRP637 comes with a 200m water-resistance rating.
The watch is fourth on the list that runs on automatic movement. It uses the 4R36 caliber. It’s a popular choice amongst Seiko automatic divers, as already proven in the case of the SRPA21 and SRPC59 models discussed above. With a 41-hour power reserve and accuracy of – 15 / +30 seconds per day, the movement provides good value for money.
If you are a fan of oversized cases, you will enjoy wearing this one for sure. The timekeeper comes with a massive stainless steel case measuring 48mm in diameter. The case includes a uni-rotating bezel that is made from the same material. The band completes the all-stainless steel, elegant look of the timepiece.
Additionally, this watch features an expansion for the clasp in order to add length for going over a wetsuit.
The watch presents a classic black-and-white design. The light tone of hands and hour markers with a dark background make sure the time reading underwater is as easy as possible. Naturally, all the elements are luminescent. At three o’clock there’s a day and date window. Protecting dial against damage is Hardlex crystal.
History of the Best Seiko Divers
I have high hopes that the list of the 7 best Seiko dive watches has provided you with some food for thought regarding your first (or next) purchase.
There’s little to zero doubt that diving watches produced by Seiko are some of the most capable – yet affordable – timepieces on the market. To understand why this is so, it’s worth knowing the beginnings of this special Seiko line and what made it evolve so well over the last few decades.
In this section, you will learn about the history behind the success of Seiko divers.
Best Seiko Dive Watches of All Time
As already mentioned at the beginning of the article, Seiko divers have been around for some time.
The Japanese brand’s line of timekeepers for scuba divers was one of the first in the watchmaking industry to gain so much traction and success.
In fact, Seiko was the first brand in the world to release a Professional Diver’s watch – an ISO-certified timepiece capable of going at least 300m under. Only watches with a 300m or higher water-resistance rating can be used for saturation diving. And Seiko’s Professional Diver’s 600m was more than capable of handling the task.
The road to the massive success of Seiko dive watches started with a letter from a professional diver from Hiroshima, Japan. A proud owner of a few Seiko models at that time, the diver explained that in depths greater than 300 meters, when using a diving capsule and saturation diving techniques, most watches get easily damaged.
Seiko saw that letter as a great opportunity to establish itself as a pioneer and leader in the diving watches field. To come up with a solution, the company established a whole new development team. The research took years but it was well worth the wait. The world’s first Professional Diver’s 600m watch with a titanium case was released in 1975.
Prior to that breakthrough model, Seiko had already released two timepieces for diving. In 1965, the company delivered Japan’s first 150m diver’s watch. Three years later, Seiko released The Diver’s 300m with the highest of world standards hi-beat caliber (10 vibrations per second).
Seiko had no intention of stopping with their innovations.
In 1978, three years after the massive success of Professional Diver’s 600m, the company introduced the world’s first quartz watch suitable for saturation diving. The timepiece could also withstand depths of up to 600m.
1982 saw the release of the world’s first Hybrid Diver’s 150m. Unlike any of the previous models, the timepiece was equipped with an alarm system, chronograph, and a bilingual display.
In 1986, the world saw its first Professional Diver’s watch with a ceramic outer case. The Diver’s corrosion-resistant titanium case helped the watch withstand depths of 1,000 meters.
1990 was another year for yet another world’s first from Seiko. This time, the Tokyo-based brand introduced the Scuba Master, the first-ever computerized diver’s watch. The timepiece was equipped with water and depth sensors which displayed diving time and depth, one of the most vital information for divers.
Kinetic Diver’s 200M released in 1992 was the next one-of-a-kind model. The brand’s proprietary Kinetic movement, introduced in 1988, was a big hit amongst automatic watch enthusiasts. Just like mechanical timepieces, Seiko’s Kinetic watches are powered by the movement of the wearer’s wrist but provide quartz-like precision.
The year 1995 was one in which the world’s first Kinetic diver’s watch with an additional 24-hour hand was released. Because of the GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) feature, Kinetic Scuba Master 200m allowed for easier time difference adjustment.
Seiko got off the 21st century to a flying start with the release of the Diving Computer Watch in 2000. The model was the world’s first watch to provide such accurate information thanks to recording the current depth level of the diver. It was the first diver’s watch that was suitable for nitrox diving.
Finally, the last of the Seiko breakthrough models was Spring Drive Diver’s 600m. The timekeeper, available since 2005, uses Seiko’s in-house Spring Drive technology which allows the watch to work on one mainspring with amazing one-second-a-day precision.
Seiko’s success story with dive watches is probably the most impressive but not the only one. Nowadays, there are more brands offering affordable timekeepers for diving.