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The 7 Best Affordable Red Dial Dive Watches

Posted on July 14 2021

red dial dive watches

What do the great watchmaking nations of Switzerland, Japan, Russia and China all have in common?

Think about their flags.

Japan has a simple red circle. Switzerland a white cross on a bright red background. China's flag and Russia's Soviet-era flag are both red too.

The colour red is central to their national identity.

So why do I see so few red watches about?

You'd think that red - the colour of adventure - would be more popular than it is. In Russia, for example, the word red used to mean beautiful or honourable. In Japan, it signifies the rising sun.

But red dial watches are much less common than black, blue and white. I'd argue that they are less popular than green and orange too.

But there are some great red dial dive watches out there. And I had to dig a little deeper and find the best for you. Trust me, there will be at least one that you'll like.

The Best Red Dial Dive Watches


Colours have meanings, and red can be extreme.

That could be one explanation for the lack of red dive watches. Red is associated with danger and warning signs. It often simply means stop.

But outside of the West, it is more of a positive colour. The East Asian stock markets use red to show a rising stock. In China red is a lucky colour. It's the colour of wedding dresses in India.

In theory, red should be a good colour for watches. Particularly on dive watches where a big red circle on your wrist will help make the watch noticeable and legible.

But bear in mind that there are different types of reds. Yellow based reds - tomato reds - are bright and more popular with men. Berry reds - blue-based - are favoured by women.

Although my list includes both shades of red, all of these watches are designed for men.

So let's get into it. Here are my favourite seven red dial dive watches.

Meccaniche Veneziane Nereide Watch

This stunning automatic is from a young Italian brand that creates watches inspired by Venice.

The first version of the Nereide was the brand’s debut model. It’s named after a Venetian built submarine used during WW1. The Nereide is now the centrepiece of the company’s collection.

Before I get into the design, let’s cover the specs. It has the MV145 movement - an automatic built from Seiko’s NH35 calibre. Other than that, everything is as you’d expect from a microbrand at this price point.

The stainless steel case is a comfortable 42mm and 12mm thick and it has a domed sapphire crystal. There is 200M of water resistance - so it's a legitimate dive watch.

The variation that I’ve chosen to highlight has a hand-crafted and locally made leather strap. There is also a bracelet version available.

The Nereide's design will be familiar to watch aficionados.

It’s an interpretation of the Rolex Submariner theme. It's well-executed and appropriate. Remember, this watch is inspired by a submarine.

The colouring on this model is reminiscent of a Tudor Black Bay. But it's not a homage to either the Tudor or the Rolex.

The design works. I particularly like the leather strap. For me, it is a crucial part of this design’s success. It adds a touch of the artisan and I like that the brand’s website shows you a little of the craftsmen who made it.

This is a bold red watch that successfully mixes functional dive watch aesthetics with Italian flair.

Meccaniche Veneziane Nereide 1302006

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 12mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic CAL.MV145 Movement
  • Domed Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance

 


Vostok Komandirskie 650840

I reference Vostok a lot on this blog.

The Russian brand makes bullet-proof watches with true heritage. Vostok is the company that supplied watches to the Soviet military. So you could see red being the colour at the brand's core.

Like the more famous Amphibia, their Komandirskie watch is a legend. It's one of the cheapest mechanical watches available anywhere. And this is a watch that really was worn in combat.

There have been many variations of the Komandirskie over the years. Remember, it's been in production for more than half a century.

It's a Russian-made watch and this recent iteration is powered by an automatic movement. The movement is made in-house by Vostok. Many variations of the Komandirskie are hand-wound, but this red version is upgraded to an automatic.

It's still recognisable as the classic Russian watch but it's less brutal and more stylish than Soviet-era models. The dial and bezel are a vibrant red and contrast nicely with the white markers and silver hands.

Like all Vostok's it's a simple piece. This new release is more modern and, dare I say it, more western looking than previous models.

But as a very affordable red diver? This is a great watch. Not only is it inexpensive, but you get very good specs for the price.

Aside from the Vostok automatic movement, it also boasts 200M of water resistance. Again, an upgrade from the classic Komandirskie.

This watch represents amazing value for money. It would be my first choice for a budget red dive watch.

Vostok Komandirskie 650840

  • 41mm Diameter
  • 24mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Russian Automatic movement
  • Acrylic Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


Invicta Pro Diver 22048

This is the most affordable way to get a good-quality red dive watch.

It's a straightforward piece that borrows heavily from Rolex's Submariner DNA. It has the basics that you'll need in a divers watch. Water resistance, a rotating bezel and a clean, legible dial.

The dial and bezel are a distinctive cherry red, and like the Vostok, are paired with white markers. In this case, the markers are circles - like a Rolex - and they match the Mercedes hands.

Although you get a lot of watch for the money you don't get a mechanical movement. This model is quartz powered. And at 43mm wide it's quite a chunky piece.

Remember, this is a watch that costs a little over £50. So you'd be forgiven for thinking that you'd not get great specs. But you might be pleasantly surprised.

As well as 200M of water resistance, the Pro Diver also has a sapphire crystal.

This is definitely the place to start if you want a red diver and have a strict budget. US brand Invicta have done what they do best - built a good budget diver.

Invicta Pro Diver 22048

  • 43mm Diameter
  • 12mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Quartz movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


Orient King Diver RA-AA0D02R1HB

This is a handsome watch that shows that not all diver's watches have to look like the Rolex Submariner. It's bold, colourful and distinctive.

It's also very affordable.

Japanese brand Orient does a few red watches and I was torn between this and the red version of the Kamasu. In the end, a Super Compressor style diver will always win.

This design is a recreation of a model from Orient's own back catalogue. It's a homage to a watch that they issued in 1965. Like other Super Compressor watches, the second crown rotates an inner bezel.

The dial is a very deep red and has a black rotating bezel at its edge. It's a busy dial that has both day and date windows. The day is in an unusual position at 6 o'clock.

Despite the slightly cluttered dial, the King Diver still retains a functional aesthetic. The hands and indices are plain and the case is only a little wider than the dial.

This is a watch from the land of the rising sun, but the red is understated. It's subtle and vintage-inspired.

If you want a quirky automatic diver, that is still affordable, start here.

Orient King Diver RA-AA0D02R1HB

  • 43mm Diameter
  • 14mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


Seiko 5 SRPD69K1 Watch

I'm including this beautiful watch, despite it being more purple than red.

It's a part of Seiko's 5 line of watches. They're a popular collection that was first launched in 1963.

The ethos is simple. They are automatic watches designed with value for money in mind. There's also an emphasis on a younger demographic, so the watches tend to be quite colourful and sporty.

This model shares its key attributes with the rest of the Seiko 5 line. It has a Japanese in-house automatic movement, day and date, water resistance and a crown at 4 o'clock. If you're wondering what the fifth feature is - that's the bracelet.

This is a bold watch. The SRPD69K1 is arguably the most eye-catching of the watches I've selected. As I said above, it's more purple than red. That alone drew me to this watch.

But when you look past the colour, this is a fairly typical Seiko diver. It's got the house style that we all know from the SKX007 diver and others. Most notably the ergonomic crown at 4 o'clock.

Like those other entry-level Seiko divers, this watch is good value for money. For a couple of hundred pounds, you get a Japanese made watch with an in-house mechanical movement.

If you really want to turn heads, take a closer look at this Seiko.

Seiko 5 SRPD69K1

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 13mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Hardlex Mineral Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance


Heimdallr Monster Watch

Heimdallr is a Chinese homage brand that specialises in dive watches. What makes them more interesting than some of the other homage brands is the choice of watches that they mimic.

They often choose less obvious watches to emulate and this model is a good example of that. It takes its inspiration from the Seiko Monster.

The original is a distinctive and substantial dive watch that has a legion of fans. It has an instantly recognisable design that Heimdallr has faithfully recreated.

The case is thick, with a bezel that has deep grooves, making gripping it easy. The dial is beautiful and features a deep red background with teeth style markers.

It's a real dive watch too. So it has 200M of water resistance and, like the previous Seiko, there is a screw-down crown at 4 o'clock. This helps with comfort and minimises the crown digging into the back of your hand.

As with most Heimdallr models, there is a lot of watch here.

Remember, it also has a Seiko automatic movement and a sapphire crystal too. All for around £150.

Heimdallr Monster

  • 41.6mm Diameter
  • 13.6mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance

 


Citizen Promaster BN0156-13Z

This is the red version of a very successful Citizen dive watch. It's affordable, instantly recognisable as a Citizen and is solar-powered.

If you want a red dive watch that has the accuracy and reliability of a quartz watch, but with very little environmental impact, this could be the watch for you.

It's the most sporty and modern-looking of the watches on my list. It doesn't have the vintage appeal of the Orient or the history of the Vostok. Instead, it's a practical contemporary watch built to do a job.

In this case, that job is as a practical watch to be used in or around water.

To fulfil that role it has some obvious features. There is a thick case with a rugged bezel. The hands and marks are large and legible. And it has a rubber strap. They're not the most attractive straps, but they're very practical in water.

So this is very much the red watch for a buyer with an active lifestyle. I wouldn't wear this to the office. But then again, I wouldn't wear the Meccaniche Veneziane for surfing.

It's a nice watch to close out the list with. It uses red - the colour of adventure - in a watch designed for adventurers.

Citizen Promaster BN0156-13Z

  • 44mm Diameter
  • 11.5mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Quartz movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance

Conclusion


In Western culture, red is the colour of anger and danger. So it makes sense that it isn't used regularly on watches.

But elsewhere in the world red is viewed more positively. It's a lucky colour. The colour of wedding dresses and national flags.

And that's where a lot of our watches are made. In countries - Russia and China for example - where red is linked to their national identity.

So that's where I looked for the best red watches. And I wasn't disappointed.

Yes, I've included an American and an Italian watch on the list, but the others come from the East.

They're an eclectic mix of dive watches. From a homage to a Russian military watch. There should be something here that piques your interest.

If so, drop me a comment below. I'd be interested to see what you have to say.



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