The summer is just behind the corner so it’s a high time to get a new watch, or two… And we all know that the best summer watch is a diver, which can stand up to the task of surviving holidays at the seaside or take a beating in general. Today, I’m going to present you my Top 5 affordable diver’s watches, which you can get for less than $300.
When I’m going for holidays I usually refrain from taking my more expensive timepieces simply because I’m afraid that I could damage them or, even worse, lost them! I like to take affordable watches with me, which proved to be reliable in any conditions. Luckily for us watch nerds, there are plenty of affordable watches, which are more than capable for this task. Here is my Top 5 recommendations. The order in which they appear is completely random, and you can’t go wrong with any of these watches!
1. Seiko Orange Monster
This one is a classic. Orange Monster has been, and will be for many years to come, an excellent entry level diver’s watch. This timepiece has all you need: true ISO rated 200m water resistant, which is enough for recreational diving, solid construction, a stainless steel bracelet and the look which screams “HEY, I’M ON VACATION!” The 42mm case will suit variety of wrists and it looks great even on bigger wrists like mine, which are 7.5”.
Keep in mind that there a few different versions of the Seiko Monster Series. The first generation (in the photo), the SKX781 (and the black version, SKX779) is no longer being produced. It’s powered by a basic automatic movement 7S26, without hacking second’s hands and hand winding. There are two more Orange Monsters, the 2nd generation SRP309 and the latest one, SBDC023 powered by 6R15 midrange Seiko Movement. SBDC023 is a more “premium” approach to the Orange Monster by Seiko. It costs around $450 with only difference being the movement. However, I would suggest focusing on the 2nd generation SRP309. You can get one for about $200, which is a great deal indeed. It comes with 4R35 automatic movement with hacking and hand winding.
2. Seiko Turtle Reissue
Another summer watch which made to our top5 is Seiko Turtle Reissue. While creating this list, I was torn between the new Turtle and another Seiko classic, SKX007. I went with the Turtle for various reasons. First of all, it’s a new construction powered by the modern 4R35 automatic movement with hacking and hand winding functions. SKX007 is still an amazing value for money watch; however, you can feel it’s getting a bit old. The Turtle reissue feels like a modern iteration of the SKX series, with main difference being different shape of the stainless steel case. There are several different models to choose from: a classic black SRP773, a black with gold accents SRP775, Pepsi SRP779, blue SRP773, coke SRP789, batman (blue-black bezel) SRP787, and a special edition for PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) SRPA21. You should be able to grab any of them for less than $300 with only exception being the Special Edition for PADI, which will cost you around $450.
You can learn more about Seiko SRP773 Turtle in my review.
3. G. Gerlach Enigma
If you feel that a regular diver’s watch is not enough, you should try G. Gerlach Enigma. This quartz powered timepiece offers a chronograph complication, which will serve as a great timer for your barbecue. Think about it, you will never burn your steak again! Besides the chronograph function, it’s also a true diving timepiece with a rotating bezel and water resistance of 200m, which is enough for your water sports activities. As a true summer watch, G. Gerlach Enigma is available in multiple colour variations: black, blue, orange, white, and yellow. Keep in mind that Enigma comes on a canvas strap, which is not a best solution if you plan to submerge it in water. I recommend changing it to a matching Obris Morgan rubber strap.
4. Citizen BN0150-10E
Next on our list is an inconspicuous Citizen BN0150. It has a 44mm case, which may seem quite big on paper but in reality it’s quite small actually. It’s due to its tapering case, which has 42mm at the top of the bezel. This is probably the least expensive watch from today’s list (you can get the version on a rubber strap for about $160 online) but it doesn’t mean it has nothing to offer. It’s the opposite in fact. For your hard earned money you get a true ISO diver’s watch, which is water resistant to 200m, in a nice solid stainless steel case. This Citizen is powered by the Ecodrive, which means that you will never have to worry about winding it or changing batteries because its solar cell will be constantly charged to full when you spend time outside during your vacation. The Ecodrive, being a quartz movement, ensures that your watch can take a beating. You don’t have to worry about yours watch movement when you are riding a bike or playing football with your friends. Citizen has got you covered. There are two dial colours to choose from: black and blue. Check out my review for more information and photos.
5. Seiko Stargate
Seiko Stargate closes the list today. Yup, another Seiko. You can’t help it, Seiko makes one of the best watches in this price range, no wonder it took 3 of 5 spots on my list. In fact, I could have easily picked just 5 Seikos and call it a day.
Seiko Stargate is a great alternative to slightly more expensive Sumo as it has similar shape of the case with its long but nicely curved lugs. The main selling point of this model is its bezel, which looks like Stargate from the popular TV show, hence the nickname. Similarly, to Seiko Monster, there are two generations of Stargate. The 1st SKZ series powered by the old 7S26 movement, and the 2nd gen SRP with the newer 4R36 automatic movement with hacking and hand winding. As usual, there are variety of different colours, some examples being: black SKZ325, white SKZ323 (my favorite), orange SRP497, blue SRP493.
That closes my list of Top 5 summer watches for less than $300. Do you agree with my choices or maybe you have a completely different view on this subject? Share your thoughts in the comments!