Before we get into the list, let’s discuss a crucial question: Why are dive watches so popular? My opinion is that it comes down to two factors. The first is aesthetics, as most divers have great looking designs, bright bezels, and an overall charming look to them. The second is toughness. Dive watches are designed to withstand the pressure and stresses of going underwater, which makes them very versatile in day to day use.
Now that we’ve gone over that point, it’s time to get into the best Japanese divers on the market. Below, you’ll find Seiko dive watches, pieces from Orient, an unconventional Casio, and more.
1: Seiko SKX
Of all the Seiko dive watches in their catalog, the SKX has achieved cult status like no other. In my opinion, this popularity comes from its no-frills design, sturdy construction, and the immensely popular brand that manufactures it. What you get as a result is one of the best deals in the entire watch world. When you purchase your SKX, you’ll have two major choices. They are the color scheme and strap. The former comes down to a brighter two-tone vs. all black, while the latter is between a typical bracelet and a rubber strap.
2: Orient Mako
In many ways, Orient is like Seiko’s younger brother. It is also Japanese, has an exceptional level of quality, and is even owned by Seiko’s parent company. That being said, they retain their own unique identity, and many consumers prefer them to the larger brand. One of their most popular watches is the Mako, which is a diver that you can usually find for under $200. While it isn’t the toughest watch in the world, it is incredibly impressive at its price point. Even better, it has a clean design that is hard to beat.
3: Seiko Prospex
The second of our Seiko dive watches is the Prospex line, which many prefer over any other Japanese dive watch. While the SKX gets much of the publicity, this collection actually has an even higher level of craftsmanship, and it has the reputation to match. There is a factor that makes it a bit polarizing, though, which is its size. Just about every Prospex watch is over 45mm, and some of them get into the 50s. That kind of diameter will not sit well on some people’s wrists and doesn’t match everyone’s style.
4: Citizen Promaster Diver
You rarely talk about Seiko and Orient watches without mentioning Citizen too. They are another Japanese powerhouse with an excellent reputation among experts, and their divers are perfect examples of their manufacturing prowess. The best of them all is the Promaster Diver, which looks quite a bit like the SKX. It has a reliable automatic movement, date complication, and high level of quality all around.
5: Casio Frogman
Of all the watches on this list, the Casio Frogman is the most unique. The reason is that it doesn’t look like your typical diver. Instead, it has the bulky build of a G-Shock, while simultaneously being built with dive capabilities in mind. What you get as a result is an ultra-tough watch with a solar-powered movement, 200m water resistance, and atomic timekeeping. Overall, the Frogman is a fantastic pick for anyone that wants a more rugged look for their dive watch.
6: Orient Kamasu
Our last watch is the Orient Kamasu, which is a luxury alternative to the Mako and Ray. It is very similar to those two other models, but its quality is turned up a notch in every way. You can see that in its sapphire crystal, better movement, an even higher level of overall craftsmanship. If you fall in love with Orient but want to purchase something a bit nicer than their most popular offerings, then the Kamasu is perfect for you.
I hope that this article has achieved two goals. The first was answering the question, “why dive watches are so popular.” The second was showing you some of the best affordable options out there, including Seiko dive watches, Orient collections, a Citizen, and a Casio. I personally endorse each of the watches on this list and doing a bit of research on them will show you that just about everyone in the timepiece community agrees. As a result, you can shop from these picks with confidence.