To someone who’s not all that interested in dive watches, many of them may look alike. But if you are into collecting dive watches, you’re always looking for another one to buy. In doing so, you have several options: you can go vintage, stick with the classics from established brands, or maybe even consider some of the many alternatives out there from start-up, re-launched, and boutique dive watch brands.
For those interested in the third option, we have put together a list of dive watches from lesser known brands (in alphabetical order) that we feel are worth checking out, covering a wide range of prices and specs.
1. Aegir Instruments
In 2007, Australian diver Todd Caldwell started to bring his vision of the perfect dive watch to life. The result is 42-mm in case diameter, water-resistant to 701 meters, and can be ordered with a rotating (CD-2) or fixed bezel (CD-1). A nice feature: the watch is powered by a Soprod A10 movement. Prices start at $1,600.
A legendary dive watch brand from the past returned in 2011, using the same case as the legendary “Bathyscaphe” model from the 1970s (but not its depth-meter functionality). There are 43-mm and 47-mm models available, both with up to 3,000 meters of water resistance, with different functions and movements, and there are even some new old stock (NOS) models available. Prices start at $990.
3. Germano & Walter
For the last 10 years, Pietro Germano and Alexander Walter have been offering vintage-inspired watches in small numbers out of Germany. The current model T~500 is available with either an ETA 2892 or a NOS 2472, and the bezel can be locked with a second crown at 4 o’clock. Prices start at 3,700 euros.
These two German brands (introduced in 2011 and 2013) from Clemens Helberg offer endless possibilities for personalization, and the Orca model even allows the owner to swap the case after the configuration (remember the Aquatique from Japy?). Prices start at 500 euros and the watches’ maximum water resistance is an impressive 6,000 meters.
In 2005, this Spanish AHCI member presented a rather unusual dive watch powered by a base caliber from ETA: The up-to-5,000 meter water-resistant Oceana doesn’t need a crown, since it is operated via its caseback. Prices start at 4,575 euros.
In 2011, this freshly launched Swiss watch brand started with the SM8 collection. All its dive watches are water-resistant to 200 meters and feature an internal bezel that can be operated after the slider is moved up or down. Movements for the single-pusher chrono, GMT, and three-hand models come from Concepto. Prices start at 11,9000 euros.
Since 2010, the legendary Italian dive watch brand has returned to its former glory and offers not only some of its traditional models (based on ETA movements), but is slowly expanding the collection with more complicated editions and specialties (e.g. using NOS parts). Prices start at 600 euros.
8. Tempus Computare
Launched in 2010, the Swiss brand tries to combine a rather unusual 47-mm chronograph model with a strong commitment to the protection of the ocean (as well as discovering new places to apply luminescent material). This resulted in a watch made for the Sea Shepherd organization. Both the Shark Watcher and Sea Shepherd models are based on a Valjoux 7750. Prices start at about 7,000 euros.
9. UTS München
Since 1999, this German company has offered some substantial dive watches with the brand’s signature lug design. Some models are equipped with bezel locking mechanisms and some are water resistant to 4,000 meters. Prices start at 2,500 euros. For WatchTime’s profile of the brand and its founder, click here.
10. Vintage VDB
As its name indicates, this brand, also from Germany, specializes in vintage-inspired dive watches that are also powered by vintage movements. Recently, the team behind VDB started to offer annual editions to meet the growing demand and considers a run of 80 watches a complete series. Prices start at 1,190 euros.
As with every list, chances are that your own favorite “alternative” dive watch brand is not on it. So please use the comments section to let us know which lesser-known brand ticks all of your boxes.
This article was originally published in 2014 and has been updated.
Zeno manufactures killer dive watches with ETA AND VALJOUX 7750s but is never EVER mentioned anywhere it really boggles my mind as if they angered somebody in the world of time keeping or some oddity like that. Dive watch for me is a tool that needs to perform in murky crappy water thick like syrup at times and can take a beating while giving me accurate time readings. Muhle, Zeno and believe it or not early Tissot Seastar 1000s with simple ETA 2250 WAS a monster of a watch for underwater. My 2002 model still sits on my wrist sometimes with only one rebuild movement. You’ll find that “diving” watches in the 10k plus category are beautiful indeed and in paper can take a Tina Turner Ike beating, however rarely if anytime are they put to the test. It’s all about the case build, readability and clasp worthiness. LOVE YOUR ARTICLES!!
with the exception of the Squale you are correct. no one knows these brands . thanks for the intro
Looking forward to your “The 10 Best Dive Watch Brands You Know” article.
Just laid my hands on German built KHS tactical watch’s Typhoon, well pleased wr300m, bright long lasting lume, quartz movement, (auto is also available) , good pricing also $400+, well worth a look
Why do watchmaker make dive watches that go down to depths sometimes 10x the amount of pressure the human body can withstand. For the very few who reach those depths in submersibles they’re in a pressure controlled environment. 200 meters will kill a human being. I love dive watches for the look but unless fish start buying watches what’s the point?
I think water resistance is also an indicator of durability. The more water resistance the more the watch is able to withstand shock, being dropped, etc…
No, drop resistance and depth have nothing to do with each other. Read the ISO dive watch spec. Honestly, it’s just marketing BS.
It is an example of pushing technological advancements to its limits. Like the Rolex DeepSea Sea Dweller 12,800 feet….and yet the watch, although the biggest Rolex, looks small compared to these monsters…that quite a feat.
My favorite: Marloe Morar-Beacon. Design, Funktion, Colours!
Looking for a good scuba watch
Love your watch’s
Square was actually a swiss watch company based in Neuchâtel, found by Charles von Buren
Is this the same company as “Squale” ?…
Dear Roger. Your article is very interesting. It allows to know these companies.
Innovation is undoubtedly very important. It is to contribute something new for humanity. Technology is growing by leaps and bounds. I admire the great watchmakers who invest in creating better movements, metallurgical advances to achieve more resistant materials and in the work of designers who are at risk.
The models in this article do not participate in innovation. These companies do not make movements. They buy them from the real watchmakers. They add a design copied from others, justifying the replica in the word vintage and sell it at a price in some cases, high. What is the merit? What is their contribution to watchmaking? Is there someone who buys them?
The number 1, Aegir Instruments. What is the idea of its optional fixed bezel for a diving watch?
In relation to the numbers 10 Vintage VDB; the 3 Germano and Walter and the 6 suissmecanica, the appearance of the watches leaves much to be desired.
It does not seem rational Tempus Computare to integrate a chronograph to a diving watch when you can not activate it underwater.
Number 4 H2O / Helberg a copy of a military submariner.
Returning to the title of your article it is obvious why these brands continue in ignominy and I do not see how they can get out of there.
I send you a warm greeting. Your article is very interesting.
Oscar, I just wanted you to know I thoroughly enjoyed reading your reply to this article. To disagree with such competence, comprehensively with CLASS is unfortunately unheard of on the internet at least. Your remarks are appreciated.
I love my Omega Seamaster, but my Steinhart Ocean One represents terrific value for money at £490. Especially when you consider the movement it has.
Some great dive watches and some with even greater prices! I’ve owned the 1000M 10th Anniversary UTS Diver and Herr Spinner was built a fantastic watch case and uses top of the line movements. As he builds every watch himself he takes great pride in it being perfect! Love my UTS and wouldn’t hesitate to buy another piece from Herr Spinner..
Beware of buying a watch on Authenticwatches.com. They sell grey goods, the watchmakers warranty is void and the watchmaker can not assure you when buying from them that the watch is new or genuine. The website Authenticwatches.com while pretending to be owbn by Authenticwatches.com, Inc is actually owned by Tranik Enterprises, Inc. In 2005 They specifically filed to change their legal name from Authenticwatches.com, Inc to Tranik Enterprises, Inc.
Here is a question you need to ask yourself: What valid reason could a business have for changing their legal name to something entirely different and then continue to use their old business name, and not list their legal name anywhere on the website, documents, or anywhere, anyone can find it.
Before buying checkout and read the complaints on the better business bureau:
Read about the guy who thought he was buying a new Rolex watch but it came missing all stickers and AW refused to take it back.
Here is AW’s response “Client claims to have received timepiece in a condition other than what was advertised. At no point in time was the timepiece advertised as “new” nor “brand new”. At no point in time was the timepiece advertised to come with factory stickers.”
There are many more horror stories on the BBB and other site. Just spend a few minutes searching before you buy. Buyer beware!
I never undenstand the people who has few thousend dollars for watch and do not buy new one from official retail.Or any used car.If you buy new one you will be happy for15 years.If you do not have enough money buy “smaller brand” Seiko,Seiko presige orient star,casio better than 5 -10 times more expensive swiss watch.Japan korean car more
reliable than 5-10 times more expensive german,italian,car
Check out micribrand Heitis Okeanos Explorer Automatic.
Ralf Tech makes dive watches for the French Navy.
Rodger, how about a good New Zealand company that has great dive watches. Margrette.
I have a MOANA PACIFIC PROFESSIONAL KARA sitting under the tree, 500 meters!
Lorier Neptune. Check it out… simply amazing and customer service is second to none.
Unless of course you ask them a question about components, then it’s nothing but crickets.
Where is the Sinn UX EZM B2 (Official mission timer of German KSM, KSK and GSG9 units)? Best divers watch actually, 2160 up to 2500 euros.. Tops every watch in this Top10..
Damasko just came out with the DSub1 (sold thru Gnomon). Not a bad dive watch. Jumped on one straight away.
It would be great to see a list of watches that have a depth gauge, other than the well know ones such as oris, Blancpain, Panerai, Citizen. I realize there are a ton of micro brand dive watches, and many of them are built like tanks. Surely some of them would have a depth gauge?
Little wonder we haven’t heard about them; they’re all as ugly as sin.
Hi Roger, great list and lots of fun comments (I’m looking at you Capt. Dunghorse). I would recommend NTH, particularly their Nakken. Great watch. Regards from Los Angeles.
ZELOS bronze or stainless up to 3000M Swiss and Japan automatics
Momentum watches…based out of Canada. They make awesome watches and are known for excellent customer service. They make some excellent automatics, but their flagship model is really the M50 Mark II. Quartz, but with a 10 year battery and 6 year warranty. Super durable 500m WR dive watch with classic good looks.
Zixen is another good one.
It is unfortunate that with exception of Rolex , Patek Philippe (mainly) and a few models from other selected traditional brands, it is hard for unknown watch brand to keep value and may be considered something worth keeping for the next generation. Paying more than $ 1500 for any unknown brand is crazy.
The best dive watch in the world is made by a small manufacturer in the hills of Lucien, far away from most people’s attention. They only produce 7 pieces a year and you must know somebody who already owns one to bid on one of them. The in house movement’s are made from the risks of elephants and the minute hand is carved out of the mohlers of jungle monkeys found only on the uncharted island near Thailand still unnamed. The last piece sold was to a gentleman named Poondar for 78 million dollars. Do a story on that.
I bought one on eBay. It was only adequate, so I gave it to my manservant Kato.
@Captain Dunghorse. I am interested in purchasing this watch. However I have some concerns. Primarily I am unfamiliar with Elephant Risks. I am imagine that this is the bottled manifestation of an Elephant’s fears. I also cannot seem to find any information on Monkey Mohlers. I think that this is the part of the monkey most closely associated with the Jay Mohler, that part of a monkey that resides on Etsy and designs intricate “God’s Eyes”. But its hard to confirm. Any additional information is welcome. Thanks!
I would love to say perhaps you have forgotten to missed the name of Doxa Watches. The best professional dive watches maker.
Linda, Doxa spelled backwards is Axod which in the mermaid language translates into whale poop.
H2O’s diving limit is not 6000m! A model has a maximum diving limit of 8000m
Correct. I was part of a deep dive expedition two years ago. The watch performed perfectly at 7690 meters.
CHRISTOPHER WARD C60 TRIDENT PRO. A truly stunning watch at an incredible price point, depending on model.This British Company has a fabulous reputation with customer service second to none. Their own in house developed SH21 movement is a first for BRITISH watch making in over 50 years (with 120 hour power reserve and 600atm depth) Beautifulwatches.
If this is about the best unknown divewatches, why not mention the Vostok Amfibia? Sturdy, hard to get, robust with a beautiful history. Nice article btw!
Crepas watches from Spain. Watches independently tested by an external lab for water resistance.
Hi Roger–good list. Have you come across any dive watches that also have a GMT function? Thanks.
Hi Scott, UTS 4000 Professional Divers have Dual Timezone (GMT) or single timezone versions.
I’m amazed most of the watches you list immediately fail ISO for divers’ watches, let alone be ISO’d.
Resco, made in Coronado, Ca. Surprised they’re never on these lists.
how ’bout steinhart? swiss movement in german cases.
Ummm….. I would actually like to see a complete long list of all dive watches, that are of good manufacture. It would make my shopping sooooo much easier.
In 2005 Swiss Military broke all the rules and launched it’s limited edition Cx12000.It put the eta 7750 Valjoux chronometer movement inside. It was then super engineered to break the record for deep diving. It did just that and gained entry to the Guiness World Record Book for the deepest diving watch which also amazingly enough included a Cosc chronograph function. It’s 365 pieces immediately sold out and today this watch is virtually impossible to find. It’s a beast weighing in at 360 Grams and the build quality is astonishing. A true legendary achievement.
Check out TWCO watches…. I’m the happy owner of a Sea Rescue Diver – very cool watch.
Also the Benarus Megalodon 2500m
Noticed Dino Zei is not mentioned. Perhaps not that unknown?
I know there are lots of niche dive watch companies, too many to list. What do you think of SAS? I got one of their first and love it. Graeme is very customer focused and has extended the line well. I find them distinctive, well made, and a good value.
I did have the chance to shortly meet Graeme two or three years ago during Baselworld and saw the No. 1 of his first watch model in person. I especially like the bezel and am looking forward to see where he’s taking the brand next.
And you are of course right: as soon as you attempt doing a list, you start to wonder why the other 90 names are not on it. :-)
Thanks for your remark!
Azimuth Sea-Hum GMT 1500mts should surely see a place in this review, very understated watch!
Long time reader, keep up the great work.
Doxa? Or is that too well known.
What about sinn? Sinn u1 and the others?
Murat, you are of course right, but a List of 122 great Dive Watch Brands would probably have been a bit excessive… :-) In case of Sinn we (couldn’t agree more btw) simply thought that the Brand has had a high profile for quite some time and did not need further introduction.
Thank you for a great list.
Any thoughts on Sea-God? The design looks stylish.
We are especially interested in seeing how the 500atm DeepAbyss that was shortly shown in 2013 might turn out.
Nice to see VDB on the list. I own a couple. Benarus/Raven watches has quite a cult following also
Your right Roger, most have never heard about the Aegir brand, though I am hoping to change that a little though 2015. New model released in the first quarter, and another added later in the year.
Planning on a higher spec movement model also. But most of all, planning to retail it, in a few small select boutiques, then actually advertise.
Glad you like it enough to add it to your list.
Dear Roger, great article and excellent list of top quality watches with names not very often familiar to us. I would only add to your list the Davosa Argonaut watch which was voted recently in Germany as the best diver watch under 1,000 euros.
Regards from Caracas.
Hi Rafael, thanks a lot for the feedback. The main reason why I did not include the Argonaut is that it is a third-party modell that is/was also available from Guinand (G-330), Mercure (Poseidon) or Brandtaucher (Navigator) for example. Nothing wrong with that, but by putting together a list of only ten, you do start to look for reasons for not to include brand x… :-) otherwise I’d still be working on the list of “163 great dive watch brands” :-) Best regards from Switzerland