10 Best Large Dive Watches Under £250 – Great Options For Larger Wrists
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Due to their high water resistance and consequently chunky construction, dive watches tend to fit perfectly on larger wrists. The versatile aesthetic of these pieces has resulted in their surging popularity over recent years, with brands pumping out huge quantities of diver and diver-inspired watches to make you spend. While more options are generally good for the consumer, unfortunately, the market has been flooded with sub-par cash grabs from obscure brands that often fail to deliver in the build quality and aquatic departments.
Therefore, I figured I’d put together a simple list of the 10 best large dive watches under £250 (around 300 USD). These watches are all from proven brands that I have tried before, with verified levels of water resistance, so you don’t have to worry about your watch getting destroyed!
These are in no particular order, as it depends on your visual preferences.
Originating back in 1918, Japanese brand Citizen is a mainstay among watch collectors worldwide. Over the years they have been at the forefront of movement development and have garnered a reputation for producing high-quality products at reasonable prices.
I recently rated them B-Tier in my affordable watch tier list video, due to none of their watches fitting my skinny wrist. For those of you reading this article though, that shouldn’t be an issue! Indeed, they have plenty of rock-solid dive watches to choose from that sit at 41mm and over, making them a good fit for those after a bigger watch.
The most obvious choice is the legendary Promaster NY0040-17LE. This unique-looking piece really does look like it has just been pulled off of a professional divers wrist, with its quirky crown at the 8 o’clock position and a highly serrated bezel.
Some of the highlights of this watch include the Miyota 8203, which features hand-winding capabilities, unlike rivals such as the venerable Seiko SKX. It also has applied indices throughout, which not only look good but boast outstanding luminescence in low-light conditions. Overall, it’s a great-looking watch that isn’t a boring homage to any luxury piece, making it an obvious fit for this list. It’s just a shame they don’t make a smaller variant for me!
A more exclusive alternative comes in the form of the beastly Citizen BJ8050-08BE. If you’re after a watch that can accompany you down the Marianas Trench, this could well be it. With a whopping 30bar water resistance and a design that looks straight out of Alien vs Predator, there’s no doubt that this 48mm watch is more than durable enough to handle anything you can throw at it.
Despite being astute at depth, this watch also excels at ground level too, with an Eco-Drive solar movement that provides months worth of power from a single charge; meaning battery changes aren’t required.
At 18mm in thickness, it is very bulky on the wrist, making this only suitable for those searching for a really big piece. Nevertheless, should that suit your taste, this is undoubtedly a highly-functional option for your aquatic activities.
Seiko Atlas/Land Shark SKZ211K1
Okay, this isn’t quite a dive watch…but look at it! Have you ever seen a submergible watch quite like this for such an affordable price? Me neither. This is the obscure Seiko SKZ211, sometimes nicknamed the ‘Atlas’ or ‘Landshark’ by enthusiasts, which boasts diver-level water resistance, despite resembling more of a sports watch.
With a screw-down crown at 4 o’clock and a second crown operating the inner bezel at 9 o’clock, it certainly has a distinct look. Within is a rather basic Seiko 7S26 automatic movement, though it has a very cool dial, with chunky, legible hands and bold indices/numbers. Unlike many Seiko 5 models, the tapered bracelet here is fairly good, with solid links and an adjustable stamped clasp. Since this watch first came into production in the mid-noughties, it will become harder to obtain over time, compared to alternatives on this list. If the asymmetrical design is to your fancy, then the Land Shark will chomp onto your wrist in no time!
Rotary Super 7 Scuba Automatic
One of my favourite watches in Ben’s Watch Club history was the Depth Charge dive watch, from UK retailer WatchShop. For many of you, its 41mm diameter may suffice. However, if you’re after a larger alternative, the Rotary Super 7 Scuba is the way to go. You see, given WatchShop’s close relationship with Rotary and the comparable specifications, I’m lead to believe that Rotary is secretly the manufacturer behind the Depth Charge I so dearly love.
As such, the slightly chunkier 42mm Super 7 from Rotary is an easy recommendation. For a slight price increase, it offers very similar performance, but with a slightly different movement and an increased 300m of water resistance.
As with the Depth Charge (and many others on this list), this is constructed in the Far East; despite the ‘British Design’ stamp on the dial. That being said, this does mean an otherwise pricier watch can be offered for a competitive price. Thanks to the large luminescent indices and dark backdrop, this piece has tremendous legibility too.
Vostok Komandirskie 030787
While the unusual Russian watchmaker Vostok is best known for the Amphibia line of durable dive watches, if you have a larger wrist it’s worth taking a look at some of the newer pieces from the Komandirskie sub-brand. While typically the Komandirskie designation was attributed to regular military field watches, in recent years, the brand has relaxed its definitions to encompass a wider variety of styles, including some dive watches.
My pick is the 030787 ‘Fifty Fathoms’ that I reviewed last year. This model did have some caveats, including the awkward bezel and stiff bracelet. Nevertheless, the build was absolutely rock-solid, with a tough brushed steel case and a design that paid homage to the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms (in a…Russian kind of way). For under £100, the watch had a low-beat automatic movement, along with a legendary level of water resistance. Officially, it is rated to 20bar, though individuals online have proof of Vostok watches surviving at well over 50bar of pressure with no issues.
Overall, it’s a really good looking watch and there is a multitude of variants, should you prefer something more colourful.
Orient Mako XL
Earlier this year, I took a look at the Orient Ray 2 and Mako 2 dive watches from Japanese watchmaker Orient. This brand is known to produce arguably the best automatic dive watches in the sub-£250 price bracket and those pair did live up to the hype. That being said, there is now a larger version of the Mako that is even better suited to big wrists – the aptly named Mako XL.
This is a very handsome watch that commands your attention, with a large 46mm diameter and bold sunburst dial. Not only was the case size increased, but the finishing improved over its little cousin too. This one has a swooping case design, with thicker shoulders and a high-polish chamfer that adds a touch of class.
As expected, this comes kitted out with an in-house Orient 21-Jewel automatic movement, which is decent for the price; though lacks hacking and hand winding capabilities. The piece does come with a rather impressive solid link Oyster-style bracelet though, which is more than good enough to see out several years of usage.
Orient Kamasu XL (aka Triton)
A more recent release comes in the form of the Orient ‘Kamasu XL’ (sometimes also labelled as a Triton). This latecomer resembles a fusion between the Mako and the Orient Kamasu, another highly-praised diver, with its aggressive styling and sharp handset.
The Triton features some notable upgrades over the Mako XL, including an improved movement with hacking and hand-winding, as well as a sapphire crystal and even better luminescence. On Jomashop this is listed as having ‘hardlex’, though it is actually sapphire.
In many ways, this also resembles a larger but better Seiko SKX; with a bulbous shape and 4 o’clock crown. At 43mm, it’s a sure-fire winner on chunky wrists and the stock bracelet is decent for the money. This RA-AC0K appears to be a stripped-down version of the more expensive Orient Triton, as they are near-identical, aside from a movement swap; resulting in the absence of the power reserve meter. Due to the resemblance, this model has also come to be known as part of the ‘Triton’ lineup and due to its lower price tag, it scrapes its way onto this list, rather than its pricier brother.
A shockingly good watch for the money, the ever-popular Casio MDV-106 ‘Duro’ is among the most coveted budget divers on the market. Often for well under £100, this piece offers full stainless steel construction, a decent quality strap and a surprisingly good level of finishing.
While Casio is known primarily for digital watches, the Duro showcases that they are capable of producing tremendously good analogue ones when given the chance. The MDV-106 and its variants include an attractive sunburst dial, applied markers and a screw-down case rear that helps secure the watch to a 20bar pressure rating.
The bezel action may not be as pleasing as some of the alternatives but for the price can you complain? In the US, this 44mm Casio is often available for under $50; making it a no-brainer for those on a budget.
Phoibos Wave Master 42mm
Likely the least-known brand on this list, China-based dive specialists Phoibos has quickly garnered a reputation for producing some of the best value nautical watches on the market. Many watches these days are built in China, so why not go there directly and save some cash?
On paper, this is one of the very best options out there right now. Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, an automatic Seiko NH35, ceramic bezel, original design and a brilliant bracelet for under £250.
The divisive logo is open to interpretation but overall I’m a fan of the king octopus illustration that adorns the wave-textured dial. Unsurprisingly, this one features a screw-down case rear, adorning an engraved octopus logo, with a strong 300m of water resistance. I’d love one of these myself, though their large sizing makes them exclusively an option for those with bigger wrists, hence their presence here.
The final option I have for you comes from a rather unexpected source. Indeed, outside of Spaghetti Scameti, it turns out that other YouTubers have had a legitimate go at creating their own watch brand. Marc from Long Island Watch launched the Islander collection in September 2019 to fill a gap in the market. His viewers were clamouring for an improved Seiko SKX. Marc duly obliged by creating a watch with identical aesthetics but with major upgrades across the board.
He has since replicated this success with other watches, including several options that sit at 42mm and over. It’s worth exploring his page to compare the models available, but all generally include a sapphire crystal, great bracelets, improved luminescence and solid water resistance.
If you like Seiko designs but are questioning the value, then Islander watches may be the place to head to maximise your wallet’s potential.