Another Friday, another Top 5! This week, we’re looking at some affordable dive watches. It’s been a while since we made a list of divers that don’t break the bank. Knowing that it’s the most popular watch category, it only makes sense to look at some of the latest releases, especially since we see new dive watches coming out almost weekly. The popularity of these preferred daily wearers is unwavering.

As usual, a list of only five picks is just too short. But when it comes to dive watches, any list seems too short. There are so many great options out there that choosing can be quite tough. The first thing to do is set a budget. I just mentioned that we have picked affordable divers. The first question to answer is what “affordable” means. Of course, that’s a relative term for each person, but in a similar list we created two years ago, we said €3,000 would be the max. So let’s keep that same number as the ballpark figure for our most expensive picks today. Now, without further ado, these are our top five picks for the best affordable and fairly recent dive watches.

Oris Aquis Date

Our first pick is the updated version of the Oris Aquis, which came out just about two months ago. While the Calibre 400 versions may have gotten the most attention, the “standard” Aquis Date is also a great and more affordable option. As Ben explained, all these Aquis models feature a case design with some smart visual improvements. These include updated lugs with subtle faceting and reworked crown guards that taper down nicely from the crown to the case flanks. The bracelet was also revised and now features broader center links to emphasize the tapering of the outer ones. As a result, the case and bracelet look substantially more refined.

Oris applied the same principle of refinement to the dial design. The new dial features faceted, polished indices and a more prominent handset. Additionally, the Oris designers created a typeface unique to the Aquis that is used on the dial and the bezel. Overall, we feel these updates make the Aquis look a lot better and more elegant despite its substantial size. As many of you know, you can get the Aquis in 43.5mm, 41.5mm, and 36.5mm cases.

The first might seem big, but if you have ever worn an Aquis, you know the case with its short lugs is easy to wear. But our preferred option would be the 41.5mm version. Inside both models, you will find the Sellita-based Oris caliber 733, which offers 38 hours of power reserve. The updated Oris Aquis is a great first pick. It costs €2,200 on a rubber strap, €2,400 on a steel bracelet, and €2,450 for the special Upcycle version.

Sinn T50 best affordable dive watches

Sinn T50

Our second pick is the brilliant Sinn T50, which was announced over a year ago. For us, that is recent enough to feature it on this list, especially since the T50 models are among the best out there for roughly €3,000. We have picked the “standard” titanium version at just under €3K on a leather strap and somewhat over on the titanium bracelet or silicone strap. We tried the watch on all three options, and I would go for the light gray silicone strap. Not only is it the most comfortable choice, but it also makes the T50 look incredibly stylish. It’s one of the few times I would willingly pass on the bracelet for a strap but for good reason.

best watches under €5,000 Sinn T50

As a quick reminder, the Sinn T50 has a 41mm bead-blasted titanium case with a 12.3mm thickness, 47mm lug-to-lug length, and 20mm lug spacing. This case has drilled lugs and is water resistant to 500 meters. The watch also features an Ar-Dehumidifying capsule, and this titanium version has a scratch-resistant Tegimented bezel. The matte black dial is an exercise in functionality that is straightforward in its approach but stylish in its appearance. I love the little details, like the text on the lower half of the dial being light gray while the functional elements and Sinn logo are bright white.

Sinn T50 8 best affordable dive watches

A stylish dive watch inspired by functional requirements

In the dark, the lume marker on the bezel and the minute and seconds hands light up blue, whereas the hour hand and the indices light up green. It’s another element that is functionally driven with nice visual results. Sinn uses the Sellita SW300-1 inside the watch. The familiar automatic movement has 25 jewels and a 42-hour power reserve.

best watches under €5,000 Sinn T50

On the wrist, the T50 is a joy to wear. The flattened overall profile makes the watch nice and slim, and the titanium makes it lightweight. The Sinn T50 is one of the best affordable dive watches available at €2,990 on a leather strap, €3,340 on the titanium bracelet, and €3,380 on the silicone strap. While the last option is the most expensive and exceeds the set budget, I would break my rules to get that version.

best affordable dive watches Seiko SPB453

Seiko Prospex SPB453

Our next affordable dive watch is the Seiko Prospex SPB453, which is part of a series of three new models that Thomas covered in March. The Seiko Prospex SPB451, SPB453, and SPB455 are the successors of the series that Seiko’s highly successful SPB143 belonged to. We picked the SPB453 as it is technically the follow-up to the SPB143, but depending on your preferences, all three are great options.

If you prefer a blue dial, the SPB451 is a nice alternative

As Thomas explained, the updates compared to the previous generation are all about refinement. This means that there are no shocking differences between them. That’s perhaps also why some of you weren’t too excited about the new models. But from seeing and wearing them, we can say that the SPB453 most definitely shows improvement over its older brother.

best affordable dive watches Seiko SPB451 and SPB453

Let’s go over the updates quickly. First, the case is slightly updated. It is a bit smaller and slimmer, measuring 40mm wide, 46.4mm long, and 13mm thick. Despite being thinner, the water resistance rating has gone from 200 to 300 meters. Next, the dial of the SPB453 is solid black instead of the dark gray sunburst dial of the SPB143. The date window has moved from 3 to a spot between 4 and 5 o’clock. As a result, we gain a full luminous index at 3 o’clock that restores the overall balance nicely. The bracelet has also been updated with shorter links and a smaller clasp.

best affordable dive watches Seiko SPB453

A slow burner that will be a definite hit for Seiko

We also find a new movement inside the case, with the in-house 6R55 caliber replacing the older 6R35. The main difference is an increased 72-hour power reserve compared to the 6R35’s 70 hours. Overall, we were impressed by the updates, and the shorter lug-to-lug also makes the new SPB453 an absolute joy to wear. The watch is available for €1,400, which is a €100 increase over the SPB143. While the latter was an instant hit, this improved version might take longer to land with fans. However, we do not doubt that the Seiko SPB453 will be another great success for the Japanese brand.

best affordable dive watches Formex Reef 39.5mm

Formex “Baby” Reef 39.5mm

Our next pick is my favorite from this list. The Formex Reef 39.5mm is the smaller version of the much-praised Formex Reef 42mm. It’s a welcome update in size because it makes the Reef look not quite as prominent, making it less of a statement and more of an all-around daily wearer. But just like its bigger brother, the “Baby” Reef is a spec monster.

best affordable dive watches Formex Reef 39.5mm

Let’s take a look at some of the specs in more detail. The watch’s 39.5mm stainless steel case measures 11.8mm thick, 45.5mm long, and 22mm between the lugs. The Reef also has a 300m depth rating and comes with the option to change bezels (sold separately). This is a fun feature that completely changes the watch’s visual presence. Inside the case, Formex uses the COSC-certified version of the Sellita SW300-1 with 56 hours of power reserve.

best affordable dive watches Formex Reef 39.5mm

As Thomas explained in his review, the brand made a sincere effort to improve the overall level of finishing. This is quite evident on the case and the sturdy bracelet. As some of you know, the latter is my only criticism of this watch. The 22mm-wide bracelet lacks the necessary taper to make it more elegant and suit the smaller case better.

But it does include a quick-change system and a brilliant clasp with tool-free micro-adjustment. Despite the chunky bracelet, I would still consider this a serious option for daily wear and one of the most capable affordable dive watches. That’s precisely why the €1,960 Formex “Baby Reef” also made my list of the best watches under €2.5K. It truly is the best in class at this price point.

Doxa Sub 200T Sharkhunter Professional Searambler best affordable dive watches

Doxa Sub 200T

Our last pick for this list of affordable dive watches is the recently introduced Doxa Sub 200T. The smaller and thinner brother of the Sub 300 and Sub 300T has proven to be an excellent, affordable alternative to many similarly priced divers. Starting at €1,550, the new Sub 200T gives several Seiko Prospex divers a run for their money.

The new Doxa Sub 200T has a 39mm × 41.5mm × 10.7mm stainless steel case with a 200m depth rating. Thus, it is smaller, slimmer, and less water resistant than its bigger brothers. But with a screw-in case back, a screw-down crown, a unidirectional bezel, and a sapphire crystal, it is still a capable dive watch.

best affordable dive watches Doxa Sub 200T Sea Emerald

Inside the case, you will find the trusted Sellita SW200-1. The automatic caliber operates at 28,800vph and has a power reserve of 38 hours. When it comes to choosing your favorite version, you have a whopping 26 different options. These are based on different dial colors, lacquered versus sunburst dials, and, of course, the option of a rubber strap or a beads-of-rice bracelet. The familiar orange, black, blue, yellow, white, and silver dials are among the possibilities.

But the green Sea Emerald version with gold-tone details also looks rather stunning. This color is exclusive to the Sub 200T. And if you are looking for a striking summer watch, the familiar Aquamarine version on a rubber strap is a great standout. Any of these new Doxa Sub 200T models would be great as a nice daily dive watch, though. As mentioned, the Sub 200T starts at €1,550 on rubber and goes up slightly to €1,590 on the bracelet, making it the perfect last pick for this Top 5 list of affordable dive watches.

Final thoughts on the best recently released affordable dive watches

There you have it — five standout affordable divers that came out recently. We could have picked many others that would’ve suited this list perfectly, including dive watches from smaller brands. We will get to those in a future list. But we would love to pass the question on to you now. What are some of the best recently released dive watches for you? Let us know in the comments section, and we’ll see you next week for another Top 5 list!