40mm Dive Watches That Won’t Break the Bank

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A dive watch with a 40mm case diameter is often considered a golden standard size in the dive community. Several iconic Rolex Submariner and Omega Seamaster models come precisely with this diameter. And, as we know, they are the cream of the crop when it comes to watches.

Another reason for the popularity of the 40mm size is to do with suitability. A decently sized diver’s watch looks like peas and carrots on an average-sized wrist and complements any imaginable outfit for various occasions.

However, the problem with 40mm dive watches is that they’re not abundantly available. Once a classic size has now become a rarity amongst the ever-growing trend for larger timepieces.

Despite the scarcity, we’ve found a bunch of 40mm diver’s pieces that ooze class, are well-built to stand the test of time, and won’t cost an arm and a leg.

40mm dive watch

Affordable 40mm Dive Watches

The following watches cost no more than $1,000 (with some of them only a mere $100-$200) and come from manufacturers known for their reliability and dedication to providing durable timepieces.

If it’s your first time buying a dive watch, we suggest you first read our comprehensive guide on dive watches to get yourself acquainted with this type of watch.

Without further ado, here are the watches.

Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Automatic

Lug-to-Lug Distance: 50mm
Water Resistance: 100m (330ft)
Movement: Automatic H-10

40mm dive watch with black dial and stainless steel bracelet

Our first 40mm diver is an all-metal Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba. It is a Swiss-made piece with the impeccable build quality and astonishing accuracy.

Powered by ETA-origin H-10 automatic caliber, the watch outclasses several of its much pricier competitors with the precision you get from it. Numerous wearers have claimed to lose or gain only mere seconds a day, which is very unusual for a non-chronometer timepiece. 

On top of that, the caliber boasts an 80-hour power reserve that is long enough for the watch to still run after staying off-wrist for the whole weekend.

In terms of overall quality, this Hamilton is top-notch. It sports a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal that is further enhanced with anti-reflective layers. Also, the crown has protectors that cover it almost entirely, ensuring that no hits or knocks will damage it.

In addition, the watch has a said 40mm stainless steel case, along with a metal bracelet, that is both well-finished and looks stunning.

Hamilton watch with a black dial and metal bracelet

The luminosity you’ll find from this timepiece is also of good quality – it is bright and lasts long. What makes it bright is the larger-than-usual hour markers, especially those at the 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock positions. A neat addition is the second hand that offers nice legibility both in the dark and daylight when its tip contains lume and is painted red.

When it comes to the bezel, it is one-way rotating and turns smoothly without much effort. It has a coin-edge design and firm clicks. Moreover, it comes in a decent size, ensuring it goes perfectly well with the 40mm case by not making the watch smaller or bigger.   

However, one element, namely the lug-to-lug distance, adds a little to the overall perception of the size. Standing at 50mm, it is more than usual with 40mm watches. 

When talking about the negatives, the most conspicuous is the water resistance. Since this Hamilton’s name consists of the word scuba, one expects it to hold at least a 200m water resistance rating, as it is appropriate for a proper dive watch. However, it has only a 100m rating. It means the watch cannot be used for diving and is limited only to swimming and snorkeling.  

Regardless of this particular disadvantage, the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba offers an excellent value-for-money proposition for its price tag. If you don’t consider yourself a professional diver, the watch is the best 40mm diver you can get for the money.

Seiko 5 “Sea Urchin” SNZF15J1

Lug-to-Lug Distance: 49mm
Water Resistance: 100m (330ft)
Movement: Automatic 7S36

Dive watch with blue face and red and blue bezel

The Seiko 5 SNZF15J1, also known as the “Sea Urchin” watch, is a desk diver with a 100m (330ft) water resistance rating, making it a versatile wearable for different occasions and events. 

The SNZF15 is one of the Seiko Pepsi watches with the iconic blue-and-red bezel design that is both dressy and sporty at the same time. Besides being eye-catching, the bezel is also fully functional when it turns in one way and comes with a handy coined edge. 

The heart of the Seiko belongs to an automatic mechanism known for its reliability and precision. The 7S36 caliber powers the three-hand movement, as well as the neat day-date function at the three o’clock position.

Unfortunately, the caliber doesn’t allow you to halt the second hand nor manually wind it. It means you can’t synchronize the watch to the second precision, and you have to tilt it to get it wound.

When it comes to the comfort of wearing the Sea Urchin, there’s absolutely nothing to complain about. The watch occupies a modest amount of real estate with a decently sized 40mm case and a three-link metal bracelet while providing a pleasant heft (5.6 oz, or 160 g)with its all-metal construction. 

Pepsi bezel Seiko watch with 40mm case size

As usually with affordable Seiko watches, the crystal is the brand’s proprietary Hardlex glass. Although it is not as scratch-resistant as sapphire, it offers better durability than regular mineral glass. 

Underneath the Hardlex are luminous hour markers and hands that come with a decent luminosity. However, don’t expect it to be on par with professional divers from the Prospex collection. The Sea Urchin is still a desk diver for casual wear, not professional marine activities.

All in all, the Seiko SNZF15J1 is precisely what you can expect from the Seiko 5 line – it is durable, sporty, and offers versatile aesthetics for various outfits and occasions.

Deep Blue Diver 1000 

Lug-to-Lug Distance: 49mm
Water Resistance: 300m (1,000ft)
Movement: Automatic NH35

Professional dive watch with rubber band and helium release valve

The American company Deep Blue is dedicated to providing professional divers and military personnel with professional-grade dive watches. Amongst the vast array of quality timepieces they offer, we’ve chosen the Deep Blue Diver 1000 to feature on this list.

The reason for that is quite simple – besides featuring a 40mm case, the watch comes with magnificent features for only a couple of hundred bucks.

First off, the Deep Blue diver is equipped with a 300m (1,000ft) water resistance that enables it to be worn for professional marine activities, including scuba diving. In addition, you’ll get to enjoy a bright lume when not only the hands and hour markers glow in the dark but also the markers on the ceramic bezel.

A true indication of a top-notch purpose-built dive watch is the existence of a helium escape valve. Operated by the extra crown at the top left position, a diver can release the helium molecules that build up during the decompression, thus maintaining sea-level conditions in the watch. 

Another value-adding factor of this Deep Blue is the Seiko NH35 automatic caliber. Known for its precision and reliability, you can be sure of its durability and handiness. Moreover, you can halt the second hand and manually wind the watch with this caliber, which has become a highly-coveted feature in an automatic movement.

Last but not least, the classic black face is protected with anti-reflective and scratch-resistant sapphire glass – the best you can have on a contemporary timepiece. For the price point, the addition of sapphire is truly amazing.

If there’s something to complain about this Deep Blue watch, it’s the somewhat straightforward, tool watch-like appearance. It doesn’t have a wow factor or a unique visual element that takes this watch one notch up. However, it’s only a teeny tiny disadvantage that largely depends on personal preferences.

By the way, Deep Blue has a vast selection of 40mm divers available. For a more comprehensive overview, visit their homepage.

Spinnaker Cahill Automatic

Lug-to-Lug Distance: 50mm
Water Resistance: 150m (500ft)
Movement: Automatic Miyota 8215

40mm dive piece with black bezel and admiral blue dial

The next watch comes from a Hong Kong-based watchmaker, Spinnaker. 

The micro-brand manufactures cost-effective wristwatches with an emphasis on nautical and yachting inspiration. Hence, it doesn’t come much of a surprise that dive watches make up the vast majority of the Spinnaker line-up. 

However, a positive surprise is finding a Spinnaker Cahill Admiral Blue watch with a 40mm case as they didn’t have any smaller-end divers available until 2019.

The Spinnaker is a desk diver, meaning it is not suitable for professional diving but rather for lighter water sports. Its main priority is to have the appealing looks of a diver’s timepiece with decent water resistance.

Equipped with oversized luminous hour markers and Mercedes’s hands, as well as a unidirectional bezel, the Spinnaker Cahill is nevertheless a decent watch to be worn in the water. The resistance stands at 150m (500ft), so swimming and shallow diving cause no problems whatsoever.

The luminosity is greenish and is not only on the hour markers and watch hands but also on the bezel. Not many divers come with luminous bezels at this price point, which makes this Spinnaker stand out from the crowd.

Spinnaker Cahill Automatic Admiral Blue

On top of that, the timepiece runs on a Miyota 8215 automatic movement, is equipped with sapphire crystal, and features a fancy see-through caseback.

The overall appearance is far from being dull. The most eye-catching part is the blue dial that comes in a sandpaper-like texture. Combined with the orange accent, as well as the green hour dots, the face of this Spinnaker is one of the most unique I’ve come across.

Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB     

Lug-to-Lug Distance: 48mm
Water Resistance: 200m (330ft)
Movement: Automatic NH35A

Rolex homage watch from Invicta

The Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB has caused quite a stir among watch enthusiasts. On the one hand, it is a cheap Rolex Submariner knockoff with little to no quality compared to its luxury counterpart. However, on the other hand, the timepiece offers plenty of features and reliability for the sub-$100 price tag.

Be that as it may, the Invicta 8926OB is a beautiful automatic diver that deserves to be discovered. Also, it makes it a wonderful entry-level self-winding timepiece for the money.

For an automatic diver, the watch has preferable dimensions when, besides the 40mm case diameter, the thickness measures a convenient 14mm. The lug-to-lug distance is also of decent length at 48mm.

Like a proper dive watch, the Invicta Pro Diver comes with a 200m (660ft) water resistance, a coin-edge unidirectional bezel, lume-filled hands and round hour markers, and a screw-down crown. Thus, in terms of essential components, the timepiece has everything you could wish for. 

What makes it even more appealing is the Seiko NH35A movement – a 24-jewel caliber with 40 hours of power reserve and 21,600 vph frequency (6 ticks a second). The accuracy you get from this watch is superb – mine gains only 30-40 seconds a month, which is fantastic for an automatic caliber. 

However, one thing you should look out for is the bracelet that tends to receive scratches fairly easily. Another con is the luminosity, which is miles off from what Seiko or Orient offers.

But then again, the Pro Diver rarely exceeds the $100 line – it’s the amount of money that doesn’t buy you any other decent dive watch.

All in all, the Pro Diver excels in terms of appearance and features. And considering the price it is sold, it’s almost difficult to turn away from this watch without even the tiniest of interest to it.

For a more comprehensive analysis, read our hands-on review on the Invicta 8926OB.

The 40mm Pro Divers come in various designs. For example, if you want something flashier than the silver-toned model, you can check out the gold-and-silver Pro Diver with a blue dial.

Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude

Lug-to-Lug Distance: 46mm
Water Resistance: 200m (660ft)
Movement: Automatic Vostok 2416

Russian-made timepiece with scuba diver printed on the blue dial

A very unusual 40mm dive watch is the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude. The Russian-made timepiece has a scuba diver printed on the dial, hence the peculiar name. 

However, this is not the onliest element contributing to the unusual appearance of the Amphibia model. 

It’s the whole dial and bezel design drawing the attention. The blue face with simplistic hands and hour markers, along with a dotted bidirectional bezel, give out an impression of a vintage diver’s watch from decades ago.

When leaving aside the appearance, the Vostok Amphibia features a 200m (660ft) water resistance, an automatic caliber with a 31-hour power reserve, and luminosity.

The luminosity, in particular, is probably the biggest letdown with this watch since the glow doesn’t last much. The length and strength of the glow are comparable to that of the Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB, which also doesn’t excel in terms of lume. 

Another thing to look out for is the acrylic glass the watch comes with. Although it adds vintage appeal with its domed shape, it is not as durable as sapphire or mineral glass, making it an unequivocal underdog in the comparison. 

When combining the features and appearance, it is clear the Vostok Amphibia is a watch with an old-fashioned design that stands out from the rest. And although it may not be ultra-reliable for severe conditions, it is still a timepiece that can be worn for casual events and as an everyday watch. 

Moreover, it has a favorable 40mm case size that is hard to come by these days.

Scurfa Orange Titanium

Lug-to-Lug Distance: 47.7mm
Water Resistance: 500m (1,640ft)
Movement: Swiss Ronda quartz

 Orange dial dive watch from Scurfa

The next watch is from Scurfa – a dedicated watch brand for diving and water sports. The relatively unknown manufacturer sticks out with timepieces that are packed with high-quality features while selling for very favorable prices.  

For example, the Scurfa Orange that costs just a little over two hundred dollars features a T2 titanium case, a domed sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating, and a 500m water resistance rating. Furthermore, this Scurfa is equipped with a helium release valve that enables it to be worn for mixed gas diving.

Therefore, the watch is a professional-grade diver with highly-coveted materials for only a couple of hundred dollars. Not a bad deal, right?

The aesthetics are also something to be amazed about. The first thing you’ll notice is the orange face. The legendary color is not as widespread as it used to a while ago, making this Scurfa even more special. 

This orange diver also sports Super-LumiNova luminosity. And since the hour markers and hands are large, you can expect a decent lume that glows brightly and lasts several hours without fading too quickly.  

However, what raises some eyebrows with Scurfa watches is that they come with a short 12-month warranty period, while almost every competitor offers at least 2 years. Fortunately, watches that are low-quality tend to reveal their weaknesses much quicker than after a whole year of wearing.

All things considered, the 40mm Scurfa Orange is a one-of-a-kind diver that is a very original timepiece among the hundreds of dive watches.

Other Small Dive Watches to Consider

When you’re after a 40mm dive watch, you should definitely stretch the scope of your search. Why?

Well, first off, the number of 40mm dive-purpose wristwear is simply too limited. 

Also, sticking too rigidly to a certain size won’t allow you to discover other watches that might look like and sit on your wrist as perfectly as the 40mm timepieces.

For example, in many cases, a 38-39mm watch with a narrow bezel and metal band looks much bulkier than a rubber band 40mm timepiece. The opposite logic applies to a 41-42mm diver when a watch with a small face and NATO strap seems much smaller than a classic 40mm wristwatch.

The lug-to-lug distance plays a role as well – the below 40mm watches with longer lug distance seem bigger, while the above 40mm pieces with shorter lug span appear smaller. 

Hence, we’ve decided to bring you a couple of watches that don’t have a 40mm case size but, with certain characteristics, look and feel like one.

Seiko SKX013K1

Case Size: 38mm
Lug-to-Lug Distance: 44mm
Water Resistance: 200m (660ft)
Movement: Automatic 7S26

Seiko timepiece with luminosity and black apparel

One of the watches that looks and feels like a 40mm diver is the Seiko SKX013K1. The actual size of about 38mm is perceivably bigger due to the stretched lug shape and thick rubber band.

When it comes to the quality of the Seiko SKX013K1, you’ll get a highly reliable diver’s piece, which, unsurprisingly, is pretty much the standard level the brand operates at. Moreover, it’s a famous SKX series watch that has become a legend in the past decades.

In addition, all the essential characteristics of a professional dive piece, including ISO-certified water resistance, fantastic luminosity, and one-way click bezel, are present. The luminosity, in particular, deserves extra credit for being bright and lasting longer than many others at this price point.

One of the primary selling points of Seiko dive watches is definitely the in-house automatic caliber. This particular watch runs on a 7S26 movement. Despite being without the hacking and hand-winding capabilities, it is still highly acknowledged for its precision and reliability. No wonder it is called a doomsday caliber…

Note: If you wish to keep the watch’s perceptible size bigger, keep the rubber band or go for a metal bracelet. Nylon straps work in the other direction in reducing both the feel and visual dimension, so avoid them if your aim is to “enlarge” the watch.

Longines HydroConquest Automatic

Case Size: 39mm
Lug-to-Lug Distance: 48mm
Water Resistance: 300m (1,000ft)
Movement: Automatic L619/888

Swiss-made premium diver's watch with metal bracelet

The Longines HydroConquest is another timepiece that sits as a 40mm watch on a wrist. 

The case measures 39mm but with all-metal construction and a large dial at the expense of a bezel, the HydroConquest makes it a classically sized professional dive piece.

The watch is very famous in the dive community, mainly for the combination of unparalleled build quality and luxurious aesthetics. It is water-resistant to 300m (1,000ft) and has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with several layers of anti-reflective coating. 

Longines HydroConquest Black Dial Automatic Mens Watch L3.741.4.56.6

And let’s not forget the L619/888 automatic caliber that has a nice sweeping motion and a power reserve of more than 60 hours. The movement is considered premium-class and unique, especially for the unusual 25,200 vph frequency that enables the second hand to take 7 steps a second.

When speaking of minor letdowns, the Longines doesn’t have luminosity on the second hand and comes with a 2-year warranty when purchased through Amazon (as opposed to a 5-year warranty when purchased directly). Therefore, consider if the lower price is worth the shorter warranty period or not.  

However, these are only minor letdowns, especially considering the overall prestige and acknowledged reliability of the brand. Yes, the Longines costs around a thousand bucks, but it is also a Swiss-made entry-level luxury watch.

Marathon Tsar 41mm Dive Watch

Case Size: 41mm
Lug-to-Lug Distance: 48mm
Water Resistance: 300m (1,000ft)
Movement: Quartz ETA F06

One of the best luminous watches with tritium tubes

The Marathon Tsar watch comes at 41mm in case diameter. However, its perceptible size is a bit smaller due to the smaller face, tall bezel design, and short lugs. A lug-to-lug size stands at 48mm, while the height of the watch is 14mm. 

In terms of dive suitability, the Marathon Tsar is one capable piece to have for professional submersion. It is built to U.S. Government specifications for use by military personnel, so you can be sure of its utmost durability. 

The high level of endurance is clearly visible from the 300m (1,000ft) water resistance, high torque Swiss quartz movement, and sapphire crystal covering the dial.

Unlike the rest of the divers on this list, the Tsar is special for the tritium-filled hands and hour indices, which don’t require any light source and glow for decades. These characteristics make tritium watches, including this Marathon, the best luminous watches you could wish for.

Thus, if you’re ready to spend a little less than a thousand dollars, a perfectly fitting and almost unbreakable Marathon watch will serve you for decades.

However, the problem with this Marathon Tsar is that it costs just a little north of a thousand bucks. Considering the fact it features a quartz movement, not automatic, it seems a little too much. But on the other hand, the durability is unparalleled compared to others on this list, which adds to the overall valuation of this timepiece.

Thus, if you’re ready to spend around a thousand dollars, a perfectly fitting and almost unbreakable Marathon watch will serve you for decades.

Citizen Automatic Diver’s NY0040-17LE

Case Size: 42mm
Lug-to-Lug Distance: 48mm
Water Resistance: 200m (660ft)
Movement: Automatic Miyota 8204

Blue automatic Citizen watch with luminosity

Since the Citizen brand is best known for solar-powered watches, finding an automatic timepiece from their line-up is quite unusual. But regardless of the relative rarity, you can still expect top-notch quality and design.

Besides being an automatic watch, the Citizen Promaster Diver NY0040-17LE is also the smallest dive piece you’ll find from the brand. Its case size stands at 42mm, but a lug-to-lug distance of 48mm and a bold bezel design make it even smaller and similar to a classic 40mm diver. 

The Promaster is equipped with a Miyota 8204 caliber, which is hackable and hand-windable. The movement is an upgrade from the non-hackable 8203 calibers found in older NY0040 models.

Feature-wise, the watch has everything you need for serious water sports, starting with a 200m (660ft) ISO-certified water resistance and luminosity and finishing with a screw-down crown and unidirectional bezel. 

An interesting addition compared to other divers on this list is the crown’s position at 8’clock. While many find it peculiar and even unsuitable, it has a merit over the typical placement – it will be well out of the wrist’s bend. Also, it makes it suitable for wearing the watch on the right hand.

Unfortunately, the Citizen NY0040 is discontinued, as are the SKX watches we covered earlier. Some while back, this Citizen was considered a viable alternative to the widespread SKX timepieces, which hints at how good the watch really is. 

Luckily, the price of this retro-feel Citizen NY0040 has come down to only a couple of hundred dollars, unlike the SKX watches that keep adding to their price every year.

Orient Mako II Diver

Case Size: 41.5mm
Lug-to-Lug distance: 47mm
Water Resistance: 200m (660ft)
Movement: Automatic F6922

Orient watches review on Mako II line

Our last dive watch that is similar to a 40mm size is the Orient Mako II. It is sized at 41.5mm with a lugs span of 47mm and a case depth of 13mm.

The timepiece has been the crowd’s favorite for many years, not only due to its favorable size but also for its universal aesthetics. The deep blue dial, along with straightforward hour numbers and indices design, steers away from the tool watch-like looks but, at the same time, maintains the primary characteristics.

The Mako II is a midway between a professional diver and a desk diver. It is water-resistant to 200m (660ft) but without the ISO certification. You can swim with it and take it with you for recreational diving, but it’s not suitable for scuba and mixed-gas diving. 

Probably the best feature contributing to the Mako’s popularity is the in-house F6922 caliber that has shown stability in accuracy and durability in build. The watch can be hacked and hand-wound, which makes it even more appealing. 

The most significant letdown with this Mako II is the metal bracelet that feels cheap. The hollow end links cause a notable move between the links and result in a squeaking noise. Fortunately, the selection of suitable straps is wide, which allows you to go for NATO and rubber versions with no serious hassle. 

The Mako II comes in three colors – besides the blue, you’ll also find the black Mako II and the Pepsi-bezel Mako. They are all the same size and come with the same features, so the only difference is the coloring.

Closing Words

We hope this article has helped you to find your next 40mm dive watch. Unfortunately, they are hard to find, and if found, can cost thousands of dollars. 

Out of the affordable options we’ve brought you, the best overall smaller-end diver is definitely the Hamilton Navy Scuba watch. But if you expect to spend a bit less, the Invicta Pro Diver and Vostok Amphibia models are decent options as well.

Also, bear in mind that not all 40mm divers look and feel the same. 

The different lengths and shapes of lugs, the height and width of bezels, and the type of band play a significant role in the perceptible size of watches.

Therefore, don’t limit your search to only one size but widen it up to 2mm in both directions. You’ll be amazed to find how a 42mm timepiece can sometimes feel much smaller than a 38mm watch does.

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Carl Pender

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