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The Divers Watch Essentials

Category: Articles | Date: December 17, 2017

What features should you look for in the best dive watches under £1000? Discover the features of the best affordable dive watches. Read more here…

Features to look for in ‘dive watches under £1000’

In this article, we discuss features of the best dive watches under 1000 (pounds, dollars or Euros). If you’re not a professional diver with the requirement, and budget, for a Rolex Sea-Dweller, it’s a popular sector. It embraces a huge array of watches from ‘cheap and cheerful’ to the bottom of the luxury sector at 500–3000 Swiss Francs. Accept that you won’t get a genuine Rolex under 1000 dollars. Now, if you’re after the best diving watch possible in this price range, what should you look for in its features?

Navigate to the best affordable watches

If you just swim or scuba dive, there are plenty of good inexpensive watches sub-£1000. They start with cheap luxury brand dive watch ‘replicas’ (not fakes or blatant copies), range through Seikos and micro brands such as Geckota, and top out with affordable Swiss watches such as Certina’s. But how do you navigate to the best value watches that combine features and aesthetics for your budget? Aesthetics are inherently personal, but to help with features, here are some ideas to consider while investigating the best affordable dive watches.

First, let’s deal with ISO 6425, the watch standard you’ll probably encounter below £1000. Of course, it’s reassuring, but many excellent watches don’t meet some of the esoteric requirements for ISO rating. What’s more, manufacturers of some of the best luxury dive watches eschew costly ISO assessment because, they maintain, their in-house standards are as good.

Movements matter

Below the magic 1000, you’ll struggle to find an automatic dive watch with in-house movement. However, you will find Swiss movements in some watches that just make the cut. That said, proven Seiko and Miyota (Citizen) calibres arguably offer comparable performance in some of the best automatic dive watches. Probably with more value too, because independent brands can source them cheaper than Swiss mechanisms. Given Seiko and Citizen’s reputations, have no qualms about reputable micro brands using these movements when deciding on the best budget dive watch for you.

Mineral or synthetic sapphire crystal?

Mineral crystal or synthetic sapphire? If you’re really going to bang around while maintaining seabed oil platform manifolds, mineral crystal’s slightly better impact resistance may be appropriate. However, for most sport diving and general wear, synthetic sapphire’s better scratch resistance is probably more important – with anti-reflective coating to help dial readability.

Bracelet or strap?

Most ‘divers’ come on stainless steel bracelets or rubber straps. Many divers opt for rubber – either expanding ‘concertina straps’ or NATO/ZULU bands with a reassuring double attachment.

Case and crown

Marine grade 316L stainless steel is the dive-watch case norm with a screw-down crown and crown guards.

The best bezel?

For dive-watch bezels, steel, aluminium or ceramic are normal, sometimes with interchangeable top rings. Ceramic is hard and scratch resistant; but steel and aluminium develop a well-worn look with time. This appeals to some owners because it gives their watch character. The bezel should be unidirectional, marked from zero to 60 in five-minute increments and have a luminous ‘bezel pip’.

Calendar choices

Considering the best dive watches under £1000, day-date complications are rare on automatics. Purists argue that calendar features compromise clarity. In practice, date functions are useful – especially if you wear your divers’ watch every day.

Water resistance

What is a dive watch if not a timepiece that resists water ingress at depth? Given that most affordable dive watches are rarely immersed beyond swimming, so 100 m (328 ft) water resistance may suffice. However, 300 m is really the minimum for diving and 500 m is common. Anything more is overkill.

Luminescence (lume)

Whether you dive deep, or just need to tell the time at night, bright dial, hand and bezel pip lume is characteristic on top dive watches. Swiss SuperLuminova BGW9 is widely considered to best combine brightness yield with daylight readability.

Excellent dive watches under £1000

When seeking the best dive watch for the money, carefully consider your buying reasons and planned use. Pro-divers’ needs differ from occasional swimmers and recreational scuba divers’. As a pro, you’re probably considering Rolexes rather than inexpensive automatic watches. But if your requirement doesn’t run to a Deepsea, realistically assess how you’ll use your watch and choose features accordingly. It’s a key to buying dive watches under £1000.

What’s more, with quality dive watches from reputable micro brands you won’t wear (or pay for) luxury-brand logos. However, you may be surprised what you get for your budget (even if it’s only £500!). And, how many admiring glances it attracts!

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