A dive watch and dress watch are generally a polar opposite to each other.
If you want to dress-up, you go for the dress watch. The diver is for the pool, vacation, shirt and shorts, and all that jazz.
But, what if you are looking for something that can do both?
And additionally, what if you are on a tighter budget? Sure you can get the best of Switzerland when some five thousand dollars are burning a hole in your pocket, but there are suitable timepieces in every price range (just a note - be sure to check our Amazing list of dive watches available for under $200).
Dress watch is any watch that you feel comfortable pairing with a business suit, shirt or a dress. It has to have appropriate dimension, not too big or you will not be able to button your sleeves, and not too small not to make an impression.
The dial shouldn't be very cluttered but rather minimalistic and clean. The whole case and the lugs should be nicely rounded so they can slip under the sleeve of a dress shirt. Last but not least, the strap should be elegant, meaning that NATO straps would usually be avoided.
So, what should you expect from a wristwatch that is both pool-friendly and somewhat ready for an ISO 6425 rating? And also not too bulky or too pricey on a dressy style watch. Rotating bezel for timing is preferable, but in this case it should be thin and subdued.
Although steel bracelet might work very well with some dress watches, leather can move the whole watch more to the dressy side and balance it out nicely. As you can read in some other reviews I did (eg. Phoibos PY015D with Crazy Horse leather strap)
Dress dive watches are becoming an attractive subcategory in dive watch world. Many brands have been extending their product lines, and there is a significant offering to choose from.
You have probably heard about Seiko and Orient with their Mako line. As much as they are brilliant watch brands, today I want to shift focus to less known brands that are trying to make it as newcomers to the market while still offering good bang for the buck.
With smaller and newer brands it is hard to tell whether they offer good quality for the price and lots of times they just import cheap watches right from China. What we are looking for are watches with unique designs with good levels of polishing and finishing that can play the role of a dress watch.
How to distinguish good from bad crop? Unfortunately only close-up high quality photos or hands-on investigation with magnifying glass can tell apart cheap knockoffs from original timepieces.
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Reason to buy
Spinnaker Fleuss SP-5055-04
Great features, great price
Jack Mason Prodiver 42mm
Great looking black case
Stuhrling Cobia 966B
Sapphire crystal glass
Price - around $50
Great classic design
I would like to start off my recommendation list with an exceptionally unique piece from a micro brand called Spinnaker. They are a young brand focusing on watches inspired by yachting.
The exact model that is shown in the image is called Spinnaker Fleuss SP-5055-04, and it embodies all of the points for the perfect dressy diver.
It features a beautifully rounded rotating bezel, water resistance suitable for snorkelling, nicely done dial with a sandy texture and a vintage style leather strap.
On the back of the watch, you can see a Japanese mechanical movement through an exhibition case back. On the front, there is a scratch resistant sapphire glass. Also, it features a simple time and date function and comes in many different colour combinations.
If you would like to check other variations, Spinnaker has a good presence on Amazon.
Spinnaker Fleuss SP-5055-04 is available for less than $300, be sure to check back for the price updates.
Next up, we have another brand that is (at the moment) not that known - Jack Mason.
It is a Texas-born company, founded in 2015 and they offer traditional designs with their own little twists. The particular model I want to bring into the spotlight is the Jack Mason Diver Automatic 42mm.