Don’t get me wrong, I love writing about unreachable grail watches from brands like Laurent Ferrier, Vacheron Constantin, and Greubel Forsey. But I also remain rather grounded in real life, with my all-metal G-Shock in red probably my most worn watch this year. And I started with Seiko and microbrands on a sub-€500 budget. Seiko might have pumped up its prices, but both Japanese big-brand and microbrand watches can still be found with serious specs for under €300.

And let’s address the “dive watch” terminology too, for real. I’ve never strapped on a set of air tanks (yet), but I have always loved the genre. A 200–300m depth rating simply spells Solid with a capital S to me, and it’s comforting in a “super strong big brother” kind of way. And who knows? It might also inspire you to lift your behind off the sofa. With water resistance as the main criterion here, there is one watch in this story with tough specs but no bezel, and I’m not ashamed of it.

Three Cool Divers For Under €300

Citizen Promaster BN0157-11X

The Promaster range is a beloved staple of the Citizen catalog and has been for decades. The watches are big and brawny, and they exude a bulletproof style that rubs off on you. Whether you actually dive in your spare time or merely need a tough wrist buddy for the odd scramble through the woods on your mountain bike, the 44mm BN0157-11X represents big (no pun intended) value for €249. The urethane strap might not be as comfortable as soft silicone, but then again, it doesn’t attract dust the way silicone does, and how about this new colorway?

Citizen Promaster BN0157-11X under €300

We know Citizen divers from their monochrome pure-tool looks with perhaps a flash of a “Pepsi” bezel, but this jungle-olive tonality is nothing but cool. This is just a very good 200m-rated everyday watch. Citizen’s accurate quartz-based Eco-Drive caliber will charge up in the sun, leaving you a massive 180-day power reserve. I’m impressed.

Helm Komodo

Helm is a solid microbrand that is continuously restocking its big-indexed lineup. There is a big emphasis on legibility, with some of the biggest, boldest handsets and diver’s indices I’ve seen. The Komodo has been on my radar for a couple of years, and each of its searingly bright-popping versions will give you serious value for money. At a mere US$295 (roughly €276), the dragon-lizard-named one is the only mechanical watch in this story. And for under €300, that is rather interesting. In fact, all six of Helm’s tool-watch lines are priced under $400, which is why they have a cult following.

Helm Komodo under €300

Like the Helm Vanuatu in the image at the top of this article (courtesy of OceanicTime), the design language is crystal clear, and the Komodo has a size advantage. Not only does it have a 300m depth rating and a solid Seiko NH35 date movement, but the compact 40mm case is ISO 6425 compliant. Yes, this is a bona fide diver’s tool for this price and one that’s hard to beat. Pick any of its summer-fresh colors, and you’ll have a great first diver. You can pick one up directly from Helm Watches.

Scurfa Top Side Crew Treasure Seeker

Scurfa Top Side Crew

For some reason, the small British brand Scurfa has chosen to label the Top Side Crew watch a ladies’ model. I say it is simply an ultra-fresh summer watch with a knockout price for anyone. At a tiddly £164 (roughly €187), this Scurfa with its Patek-ish case is also the cheapest entry ticket to a tough grade of “Tiffany” cool. The only thing missing here is a timing bezel, but let’s forget about that for a minute. With Grade A BGW9 Super-LumiNova emitting a dial-matching blue glow, this is a striking watch for the price. And yes, the Swiss-made Ronda 715SM offers accurate timekeeping, while the beveled case has a proper 200m depth rating too. At less than €200, I wouldn’t question its aquatic pretensions, and it’s a great size to boot.

Scurfa Top Side Crew

Excluding the crown but including the Nauti-like bumpers, it’s 40mm across and 37mm diagonally without them. The applied indices with matching round hands appear to rise off the bright mint-turquoise background of the honeycomb dial and make it look three times the price. This 10mm-slim Scurfa Top Side Crew is nothing but a huge bargain. It’s available online from Scurfa Watches.

So what do you reckon, Fratelli? Are these watches super value or what? Feel free to add your favorite water-ready bargains in the comments. I’d love to hear about them.

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