Best Dive Watches for Small Wrists in 2019

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I love dive watches; I am also cursed with small wrists (6.5 to 6.75 inches depending on the day). These are two things that aren’t supposed to work together. Fortunately, the rising popularity in vintage watches has meant a boom in smaller modern watches, perfect for my diminutive circumference. As such, there are more dive watch options than ever for the modestly wristed.

The quintessential dive watch is the Rolex Submariner, but with a diameter of 40mm and quite the wrist presence (there’s just a certain Rolex shine, isn’t there?), it appears too big on most smaller wrists. So, this list will focus on dive watches under 40mm. Just as important is how thick the watch is. For example, I recently tried on a Tudor Black Bay (41mm); it didn’t even look that bad from above, but at almost 15mm thick, it felt and looked like a tuna can on my wrist — Seiko Tuna be damned.

You might think of these as "dive watches for women”, but I don’t think that’s quite right. Let’s take Omega’s “women’s” collection as an example: they seem to think women’s watches means sizing down the case, swapping in a quartz movement, and throwing some diamonds on it. We’re pretty woke here at Rescapement HQ, so we think that’s wrong! So we’re focusing on legit dive watches with mechanical movements here — gender be damned.

To me, two things define a dive watch: water resistance to at least 100m (most in this list have more than 200m) and strong lume on the hands and hour markers. A rotating bezel is a nice-to-have, but not necessary (and honestly, some of them look like shit).

P.S. Is this just another excuse for me to write about my latest acquisition, the Tudor Black Bay 58? Yea, a little.

Without further hype, here are six of the best small dive watches

…as well as a few runners-up and a budget pick.


Seiko SKX013

seiko skx013
 

The little brother to the famed Seiko SXK007, the SKX013 is a sized down 37mm version of the popular budget dive watch. The smaller SKX013 doesn’t sacrifice any of the SKX007’s charm though, making it the perfect entry-point into dive watches for small wristers. It’s a durable, do-anything watch that you won’t feel guilt beating around.

Specs:

  • 37mm x 11.5mm stainless steel case and bracelet

  • 200m water resistance, screw down crown

  • Seiko cailbre 7S26 automatic movement, 40 hour power reserve

  • Day-date display at 3 o’clock

  • Price: $250 (price varies)

Find in on Amazon.

Omega Seamaster 36.25mm

omega seamaster 36mm

At the jump, I gave the Rolex Sub credit as the “quintessential” dive watch and a certain James Bond rolled his eyes. The Omega Seamaster is not only one of the most popular watches out there, it’s also one of the most iconic dive watches since its introduction some 60 years ago. This sized-down, 36.25mm version of the Seamater 300M diver is a viable option for those who can’t comfortably wear the standard 41mm version. It’s even got a helium escapement valve at 10 o’clock if desk diving gets really intense.

Specs:

  • 36.25mm x 12.25mm stainless steel case and bracelet

  • 300m water resistance

  • Date window at 3 o’clock

  • Co-axial calibre 2500 chronometer-certified movement, 48 hour power reserve

  • Sapphire crystal

  • MSRP: $4,400

Omega’s Aqua Terra collection (which we’ve pointed as as great everyday watches) also offers its models in 38mm, making a great non-rotating dive watch option (with 150m of water resistance).

Find more on Omega’s website (or I guess buying an Omega on Amazon is a thing now too. Side note: watch who the actual seller is when buying from Amazon. I usually see shady-looking international sellers offering warranty-free watches on Amazon. Fine for a $200 Seiko, not so much for Bond’s Seamaster).

Christopher Ward Trident Pro 600

christopher ward 600 diver

We’ve featured Christopher Ward in our Microbrands Guide before, and with good reason. They make a wide range of high quality watches at decent prices. Their Trident Pro 600 line offers a 38mm classically styled dive watch in 4 dial colors (with a sexy black coming soon). The ceramic bezel looks clean and classic, while the second hand has a trident on its opposite side, gives the watch a bit of CW flair. The trident diver is another great addition to CW’s collection of classically-styled watches for the modern day.

Specs:

  • 38mm x 12.7 mm stainless steel case and bracelet

  • 600m water resistance

  • Sellita SW200-1 movement

  • Date window at 3 o’clock

  • MSRP: $830 (on bracelet)

More on Chistopher Ward’s website.

Nomos Ahoi

Nomos+Ahoi

I’m admittedly biased, because Nomos got me into watches (and I don’t think I’m the only one here). The combination of relative affordability and Bauhaus aesthetic just fit my millennial sensibilities. Additionally, Nomos now has a suite of in-house movements that are all strikingly thin (even the automatics), making for watches well-suited to smaller wrists.

The Ahoi series is their collection of dive watches, and it doesn’t really look like any of the other chunky divers on this list, which is good for the small wristed. The Ahoi is offered in a number of crazy dial colors: “siren” blue and red (look at the color and you’ll see why they call it siren), a midnight blue, and white. I also love the slightly blue lume on the hands. The standard Ahoi’s dimensions are 40.3mm x 10.5mm. Not diminutive, but it does wear big because the dial stretches all the way to the nearly non-existent bezel (and those long lugs stretch for days too). The smaller version for “delicate wrists”, as Nomos puts it, has slightly smaller specs:

  • 36.3mm x 9.6mm stainless steel case with woven strap

  • 200m water resistance

  • Sapphire crystal

  • In-house DUW 3001 automatic calibre, 43 hour power reserve.

  • MSRP: $4,020

More on Nomos Glashuette’s website.


Tudor Black Bay 58

tudor black bay 58

I wrote an in-depth review of the Black Bay 58 recently, so I won’t belabor the point: it’s a fucking great watch. It hits all the right notes: a heritage watch that’s an ode to the Tudor Subs of old without trying to hard; modern styling without the “luxury” trappings that too often define older sister Rolex’s new releases.

Specs:

  • 39mm x 11.9mm stainless steel case and bracelet

  • 200m water resistance

  • Domed sapphire crystal

  • In-house MT5402 chronometer-certified calibre with 70 hour power reserve

  • MSRP: $3,575 (on bracelet)

Read my full review here. In the review I actually compare it to the Tudor Black Bay 36 which is a great dive watch (150m water resistance) for those who don’t want a rotating bezel.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five

oris sixty five diver 36mm

The Oris sits next to the Tudor Black Bay 58 in the pantheon of well-executed vintage homages. It’s styled after Oris’s original divers from the 1960s, but with the modern features you’d expect. Oris has great heritage as a Swiss brand and you can pick up this classic diver of theirs for about $2,000. You’ll notice the specs don’t quite hold up to some of the others on this list, but hey, that “Made in Switzerland” stamp is expensive.

Specs:

  • 36mm x 13mm stainless steel case

  • 100m of water resistance

  • Domed sapphire crystal

  • Oris 733 movement, which uses Sellita’s SW 200-1 as a base (the same movement as CW’s 600 diver series), 38 hour power reserve

  • MSRP: $2,100

More on Oris’ website.

Best budget option: Invicta

Invicta is always the budget, Rolex homage option. They don’t let down in this category either: their 38mm diver has all the features you’d expect from a Submariner homage: cyclops, Mercedes hand, and a bezel that’s a dead ringer for a Rolex (well, as close as you can get for $50).

Find in on Amazon.