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  • Writer's pictureBalance & Bridge Team

Discover 10 of the Best Dive Watches of 2024: Alternative Picks that Make the Best Underwater Companions

DOXA watches
Image Courtesy of DOXA

As much of the world starts to enjoy longer days and watch the sun hang around a bit longer each night, you can feel summer returning. If you're anything like us, then a byproduct of the anticipation of summer is the excitement to visit the beaches, lakes, and local pools. For the few of us who are crazy enough to call ourselves watch collectors & enthusiasts, this presents a certain amount of precariousness. Why the cautious optimism? Well obviously, we don't know which watch will accompany us on all of these yet-to-be-determined water adventures. And because we've considered all the usual suspects (enter chat Seiko and Citizen) but still feel left wanting something a bit different, we search and we search.


We hope to put an end to, or at least aid in the end of your search with this article. On the off chance that someone at the community pool even notices we are wearing a watch, and then asks about it, we want it to be something different, slightly obscure, cool backstory with some brand heft, and maybe something they've never seen before. And for the seasoned collectors out there, aren't we all looking for this anyway? Also, we want something for ourselves, right?


Well, here we go. Here are what we consider to be 10 of the best dive watches in 2024 to accompany you on every water-filled adventure this year. These are personally curated picks that offer great specs and a welcomed deviation from the mainstays in the dive watch world. For our top 6 dive watches we consider to be timeless, check here. But for this list, let's get into the vault a bit, shall we?


 

To skip right to a nominee of the Best 1o Dive Watches of 2024, choose your

summer companion below:


  1. Glashütte SeaQ - The Submariner Alternative

  2. DOXA Sub - Good Enough for Jacques Cousteau

  3. NODUS Sector Deep - The Los Angeles Microbrand

  4. Glycine Combat SUB 42 - Value & Heritage

  5. Helson Shark Diver Brass - The Hidden Gem

  6. HÉRON Marinor - Canada's Finest

  7. Christopher Ward C60 - The British Mainstay

  8. FORTIS Marinemaster - The Luxury Tool Watch

  9. TISSOT Seastar 1000 - The Attainable Swiss

  10. Bell & Ross BR 03-92 DIVER - Not Only For Aviators


 

10 of the Best Dive Watches of 2024


This list is in no particular order. The brand heritage, the cost, the specs, and the availability of these selections will vary. However, we consider all of these great picks for something just a bit different. Enjoy and let us know what you think!


 

1. Glashütte SeaQ - The Submariner Alternative


Glashütte Original SeaQ Watch
Image Courtesy of Glashütte Original

Coming straight out of the famed German watchmaking region of Saxony, the Glashütte Original brand embodies nearly 200 years of expertise in their craft. Although the brand didn't become a single unified enterprise until 1990, their aggregation of the city of Glashütte's watch manufacturing efforts gives the brand far more experience than leads to believe. If you haven't heard about their history, then do so here because it's fascinating. The SeaQ, Glashütte Original's marquee dive watch is incredible and does not get the credit it deserves among the perennial favorites, i.e. the Rolex Submariner.


The SeaQ features an in-house manufacture cailbre, multiple variations, robust build quality, and incredible finishing. Seriously, it's an understatement to say these are works of art. However, you pay for what you're getting here as the price tag is not for the faint of wallet at nearly $11,000. The SeaQ makes a strong case for wrist time this summer and is a worthy alternative to the Submariner for those looking for luxury. Who knows, you may even want to wear it backward...


Glashütte Original SeaQ Watch
Image Courtesy of Glashütte Original

 

2. DOXA SUB - Good Enough for Jacques Cousteau


DOXA SUB Watch
Image Courtesy of DOXA

Awesome, huh? We think so and so did Jacques Cousteau, who took such a liking to the DOXA Sub series that he negotiated an exclusive distributorship for his US Divers company. DOXA has been around since 1889 in case you mistake them for newcomers and have missed them displaying its namesake for over 135 years. 'DOXA' is the Greek word for 'Glory', and we can say for certain that they live up to their claims. The SUB series of watches made their debut at Baselworld in 1967 and has expanded since to deliver incredible diversity and dependability underwater.


Although the orange dial variant became the biggest hit for DOXA, the Swiss brand knows how to do color. The SUB series offers vibrant orange, yellow, aquamarine, white, and other palettes to fit your style. Not only that, but the SUB series can accompany your dives up to 1500 meters, or nearly 5000 feet. Few brands have a cult following like DOXA, but like they say, "If you know, you know". With prices starting at less than $1000, this pick is a clear-cut value-for-money pick with serious brand equity.


DOXA SUB Watch
Image Courtesy of DOXA

 

3. NODUS Sector Deep - The Los Angeles Microbrand


NODUS Sector Deep Watch
Image: Balance & Bridge

We covered this watch in-depth previously, and have also covered many additional offerings from NODUS. This may be the best serious dive watch on the list when considering what it offers. First off, the Sector DEEP is water resistant up to 500 meters, which is about 498 meters deeper than most of us venture below any body of water. All watches from NODUS are also designed, regulated, and assembled in their Los Angeles-based headquarters, bringing a bit of pride back to American watch manufacturing.


The fit, finish, and matte appearance of the Sector Deep just make it hard to leave in the watch box. There's something about it that begs for exploration and it will withstand any challenge thrown at it. This is an awful lot of bang for the buck and backs up the claim we made in 2023 that the Sector Deep may just be the best 500m dive watch under $1000.


NODUS Sector Deep Watch
Image: Balance & Bridge

 

4. Glycine Combat SUB 42 - Value & Heritage


Glycine Combat SUB Watch
Image: Balance & Bridge

Who doesn't love a tactical, blacked-out watch for the right occasion? We do for sure. But before we sing the praises of the Glycine Combat SUB, let's address the elephant in the room. Yes, Glycine is now owned by the Invicta Watch Group. The keyword there is owner, not necessarily operated. Glycine has been producing quality watches since its inception in 1914 and even joins the ranks of fellow watchmakers who have had a watch on an astronaut in space.


Where we sense fuzziness in perception, we cut through it with specifications and this is where the Combat SUB shines. 42mm blackout PVD blasted stainless-steel case, automatic GL224 movement, screw-down crown, 200m water resistance, only 10.6mm thin, and sapphire crystal. All that and legitimate brand history for under $400 is a steal. Oh, and the Combat SUB 42 is one of the most comfortable watches we've had on the wrist this year.


Glycine Combat SUB Watch
Image: Balance & Bridge

 

5. HELSON Sharkdiver Brass - The Hidden Gem


HELSON Shark Diver Watch
Image: Balance & Bridge

If you have frequented Balance & Bridge before you probably know that we love microbrands and independent watch brands. So much so that we spend a great deal of time curating news and releasing information for microbrands specifically, including our best microbrands lists for 2023 and 2024. HELSON is one of those brands that deserves an honorable mention in both of those. Not many people know of HELSON, but those that do, know of the incredible value packed into their offerings, most notably their Sharkdiver collection.


The Shark Diver comes in Stainless Steel or Brass (as shown above which features an awesome patina) and features case sizes ranging from 38mm up to 45mm. They feature Seiko and Miyota automatic movements, sapphire crystals, robust build quality, and offer up to 500m of water resistance. The crazy part is that the model shown above can be had for only $349 ($299 if you forego the optional leather watch roll at checkout). It comes with an awesome watch roll, a strap-changing tool, and a comfortable rubber strap that smells like vanilla. We're not the only ones to verify and appreciate this.


HELSON Shark Diver Watch
Image: Balance & Bridge

*THESE SELL OUT QUICKLY SO CHECK BACK FREQUENTLY FOR STOCK UPDATES*



 

6. HÉRON MARINOR - Canada's Finest


Héron Marinor Watch
Image Courtesy of HÉRON Watches

HÉRON is a fast-emerging Canadian watch company located in Montreal, Canada that caught our eyes as soon as we saw the first renderings of the MARINOR. HÉRON is known for producing incredibly durable timepieces with a strong emphasis on quality materials and storytelling in design. Their press releases alone are some of the most well-designed and well-crafted in the game. They have garnered a loyal following, particularly with their previous watch "Gladiateur" which was released in 2021. Now, they take to the waters to pay tribute to the seafaring and diving watches of the 1950s with their MARINOR collection. We can't say it enough, but the freedom of expression in design and storytelling from microbrands is unmatched.


The MARINOR collection from HÉRON features an array of distinct color ways and variations, though many have sold out and been discontinued. The diver features incredible specs including incredibly rare hardened stainless steel for scratch resistance, an automatic Miyota movement, AR-coated box sapphire crystal, Swiss BGW9 SuperLumiNova Lume, and 300m of water resistance, the MARINOR is one tough and beautiful dive watch. Our favorite features of the MARINOR are the North Star applied hour marker at 12:00 and the domed sapphire bezel insert which we know well from 1950s luxury watches including the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. That bezel insert does awesome things with the light, especially on their "Carribean Blue" model. All this for a price tag of $620 is unreal, I mean how cool is the case back below?


Héron Marinor Watch
Image Courtesy of HÉRON Watches

 

7. Christopher Ward C60 - The British Mainstay


Christopher Ward C60 Watch
Image Courtesy of Christopher Ward

After the last few years, it is nearly impossible to leave a Christopher Ward watch out of any 'best of' list. The British brand has been at the forefront of both innovative design and engineering in watchmaking. They're starting to get the recognition they deserve as the industry marvels at their innovation for the price. See the Bel Canto for proof of this. While the brand is showcasing its innovation, it also nails the classics.


The C60 and C65 collections are perfect examples of appealing to the masses. The 300m dive watches feature various dial hues, case metals, and the ruggedness you come to expect from a diver while including stylistic cues that separate these from traditional options. While these hover right around the $1000 mark, we still believe them to be great value for money given the sum of their parts.


Christopher Ward C60 Watch
Image Courtesy of Christopher Ward

 

8. FORTIS Marinemaster M-44


FORTIS Marinemaster Watches
Image: Balance & Bridge

Since 1912 FORTIS has been at the forefront of horology. The brand's founder, Walter Vogt partnered with John Harwood to create the world's first mass-produced automatic wristwatches. Talk about some brand equity. The Marinemaster by FORTIS first took the stage in 1954 and has gone through several iterations to get where it is now. But where it is now is special. This is our second most expensive watch on the list with a retail price of $4,500.


The Marinemaster features an in-house manufacture calibre with 70 hours of power reserve along with 500m water resistance and a 10:00 crown that locks and unlocks the bezel position with a twist. This is also a COSC-certified chronometer, guaranteeing accuracy within 5 seconds a day. When you consider FORTIS' history, innovation, and ability to do all the above as a family-owned independent brand, they become a compelling argument even at the price point.


FORTIS Marinemaster Watch
Image: Balance & Bridge

 

9. TISSOT Seastar 1000 - The Attainable Swiss


TISSOT Seastar Watch
Image Courtesy of TISSOT

This watch should be far more popular than it is. Unfortunately, TISSOT has fallen victim to its success much in the way that, say, Citizen or Seiko has. Because they are seen across every mall in America and can be found with questionable (to some) collaborations and sponsorships, they tend to get overlooked by watch enthusiasts and newcomers looking for their first luxury watch. But make no mistake, the brand has been around since 1853 and makes incredible watches at incredible prices that present incredible value in their respective segments.


Available in quartz variations as well as variations that feature their 80-hour power-reserve Powermatic 80 automatic movements, these watches are available in both 1000ft and 2000ft water resistant models. There are a ton of colors and combinations available and these, even in their automatic configurations can be found in the sub-$500 range. This is incredible given the brand, the history, and the capability and proves TISSOT is more than just the PRX in 2024.


TISSOT Seastar Watch
Image Courtesy of TISSOT

 

10. Bell & Ross BR 03-92 DIVER - Not Only For Aviators


Bell & Ross BR 03-92 watch
Image Courtesy of Bell & Ross

Bell & Ross exploded on the watch scene after their founding in 1992 with their cockpit-inspired dial designs and square cases. Fast forward more than 30 years, and Bell & Ross has created their lane in the luxury watch business. Many people know about their aviation-inspired designs and pilot-centric watches, but few know about their innovations in technology and their dive watch pedigree.


The BR03-92 Diver is the brand's featured dive watch. Featuring 300m of water resistance, sapphire crystal, a Bell & Ross Calibre automatic movement, and various case materials including bronze, sapphire, and steel, the BR 03-92 is as robust as it is original. The square case may throw you off, but the integrated strap design and incredibly comfortable taper grow on you. You also get the priceless satisfaction of looking at the wrist and seeing that is definitely not the norm. Bell & Ross watches have also been tested and utilized by some of the world's most elite military forces, so you can be sure of their durability.


Bell & Ross BR 03-92 watch
Image Courtesy of Bell & Ross

 

All of the above options offer great diversity and specifications and would be welcomed additions to any collection. Let us know your thoughts, and be sure to check out our other curated lists for help in picking a great watch.


Thanks for reading and good luck!


Balance & Bridge

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