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The 8 Best Affordable White Dial Dive Watches

Posted on November 17 2020

White Dial Dive Watches

 

A white dial isn’t an obvious choice for a dive watch. As a functional tool, a dive watch should be highly legible. In practice this has meant, like military watches, a classic black dial.

But of course, we don’t just wear dive watches to go diving. Most dive watches rarely get anywhere near the ocean. We also wear them because of the style, weight and the promise that they could perform in difficult conditions if we needed them to.

Take a look at some of the most popular releases of dive models from the big names. The most iconic design, the Rolex Submariner, has been produced in a number of dial colours including the green-dialled Hulk variation.

Doxa’s beautiful Sub 300 has a bright orange dial and Omega’s Seamaster has a deep blue version. Colour works well on dive watches. One of my favourites, the Zodiac Sea Wolf, is vibrant and uses a full-colour palette.

But white doesn’t seem to be as popular. And of those divers that do have a white dial offering, many aren’t very affordable or aren’t easily available.

As it happens, I’ve been researching affordable white dive watches recently. Fellow watch enthusiast John dropped me a message to say that he’d been after a white Orient Saturation diver and couldn’t find one for sale. We discussed the other affordable options and ended up putting together a list of the best. From there the blog post wrote itself.

The Best Affordable White Dive Watches


Here is the list. The best affordable dive watches with a white dial. I’m including cream in the list so that I can start with the Orient Mako which was the obvious second choice for John.

 

Orient Mako XL Diver Watch

 

I recently wrote a guide to the best of Orient’s budget automatic line, the TriStar. This Japanese brand is often featured on my blog - because affordable mechanical watches is their specialism. The Mako collection is their modestly priced divers watches.

The Mako is a modern diver’s watch in the Submariner vein, available in a choice of colours. This is the XL version of the Mako, so at 44.5mm it’s a little larger than some of the brand’s other divers.

The dial is cream, rather than white, but we chose ot for the list because the Saturation diver is more expensive and harder to pick up.

Where this watch is strong, however, is the value for money that it represents. As a mechanical watch, with an in-house automatic movement, you’d often expect to pay a reasonably high price. That isn’t the case here. And, it’s not due to a lack of quality. Orient watches are well-made and this model has 200M water resistance.

The design, particularly the hands and markers, has a contemporary style that I like. Despite the obvious similarities, it’s not just another Submariner homage.
The watch has a pale appeareance which takes a little getting used to. The choice of silver hands and markers doesn’t aid legibility, but it doesn’t greatly hamper it either. It does mean that the watch has a relatively uncommon, subtle style.

It’s a good place to start the list as Orient tend to deliver in terms of bang-for-buck.

Orient Mako XL FEM75005R9

  • 44.5mm Diameter
  • 14mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance



Spinnaker Vintage Dumas Dive Watch

 

Spinnaker is a newer watch brand, based in Hong Kong and owned by Dartmouth. I’ve already featured Spinnaker in a couple of posts as they offer quite a selection of watches at the price-point I like to shop in (see Super Compressor watches here)

You’ll also be aware of a couple of other brands in their stable - Balast, Dufa and Avi-8 (more here). They’re affordable watches, produced in the far east, but readily available in the UK and US.

The Spinnaker range initially began as a series of designs based around sailing and the ocean. Although they’ve expanded that somewhat, the majority of their watches are still focused on this niche, with the Dumas line taking its inspiration from diving pioneer Frédéric Dumas.

I’m a big fan of vintage-styled dive watches and the Dumas does this aesthetic well. It clearly takes its design cues from the 1970s, with the angular case, including hidden lugs, being the most obvious element.

In contrast to the Orient, the Spinnaker uses white in a colourful way. It’s more a background colour for the blue and red accents. It makes for a sporty look that is enhanced further by the Milanese bracelet.

Like the Orient, the watch is powered by a Japanese automatic movement. This time a Seiko NH35. The water resistance is a very respectable 300M.

Spinnaker Vintage Dumas

  • 44mm Diameter
  • 15mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 300M Water Resistance

 



Seiko 5 Baby Ice Monster Watch

 

The Seiko 5 line of watches were designed with value for money in mind. The concept is relatively simple - well made and affordable mechanical watches, with the design emphasis on a younger demographic.

What this has meant in practical terms, is a series of watches built with Japanese in-house movements and often taking design cues from other, more expensive, Seiko designs.

First launched in 1963, the Seiko 5 line had very clear specifications. Five features each watch must have. Still in use today, the suggested attributes are:

  • An Automatic Movement
  • Day/date displayed in a single window
  • Water resistance
  • Crown at the 4 o’clock position
  • Durable case and bracelet

This model is part of the line dubbed ‘Monster’. They’ve been around for quite a while and have a very distinctive appearance - they’re rugged, heavy and blocky. The original models had either a black or orange dial - although there have since been other variations and limited editions.

The original Snow Monster was one of these limited edition pieces and this Baby Monster is the trimmed down version. Basically, it has the Seiko 5 logo on the dial and some of the dive features have been downgraded. For example, water resistance is reduced to 100M on this model.

It’s a bold design, that has proven very popular. It’s also a very inexpensive watch - bear in mind that it has a Japanese automatic movement and stainless steel bracelet. The look isn’t for everyone, but if you want to rock a white dive watch, you could do a lot wore than a Seiko.

Seiko 5 Baby Ice Monster SRP481K1

  • 43mm Diameter
  • 21mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance



Stuhrling Depthmaster 893 Watch

 

I’ve featured Stuhrling watches in a couple of posts now (more about Stuhrling here). When I’ve been looking at alternatives to a piece from a Swiss luxury brand there’s regularly been a similar styled Stuhrling model. So I've highlighted the odd watch of theirs as we've crossed paths.

In an industry where companies can sometimes boast of over a hundred years of history, Stuhrling is a new face. They’re a little under twenty years old and claim to have sold over fifteen million watches in that time. What is more, the watches that they launched the brand with were a tourbillon collection. That’s some feat.

Founder Chaim Fischer is based in New York, but the watches are proudly manufactured in Shenzhen, China. I say proudly because the website features articles detailing the reasons for choosing China, including videos of the watch manufacturing process.

They have quite a few dive models and the Depthmaster is representative of the general style. It’s another Submariner influenced model that blends in its own design points.

It’s 42mm wide and 14mm thick, so very much a standard mid-sized diver. The glass is Krysterna crystal, which is Stuhrling’s own creation. Like the Orient, this model has a pale dial with equally pale markers. It works well, although again, I’m not convinced of the practicality.

The only real touch of colour is the red second hand and some of the dial text. Where the previous Seiko is large and a little gaudy, the Depthmaster is restrained and subtle.

Stuhrling Depthmaster 893

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 14mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic Movement
  • Krysterna Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance

 



Momentum M50 Mark II Watch

 

Canadian brand Momentum focuses primarily on classic and field watch designs (more on field watches here). As well as their unique creations, the Momentum range also includes a number of watches that are instantly recognisable. There is a British Army G10 style infantry watch, a Submariner diver and a number of field watches.

This diver is a bit of a departure from the plainer models that dominate their range, but it is still very much a functional tool watch.

It’s a rugged watch with a 44mm diameter and a tough-looking, angular case and bracelet. The crown is positioned at 4 o’clock which can be more comfortable on a larger watch.

Of the featured watches, this is one of the designs that has clearly been created with legibility in mind. The numerals and hands are black and contrast with the white dial. In addition, the bezel is also black and easy to read and there is a cyclops lens to magnify the date window.

Unsurprisingly, given Momentum’s field watch background, this is a very functional piece. This is highlighted by the water resistance rating - it’s 500M.

It’s not the most attractive watch on the list, but it may be the best performer.

Momentum M50 Mark II DV52L0

  • 44mm Diameter
  • 13.5mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Quartz Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 500M Water Resistance

 



Zeno Pro Diver 2 Watch

 

Zeno has a proud watchmaking history dating back to the late 19th Century, although the brand name wasn’t used until the 1920s. They are an independent Swiss watchmaker, with their own factory and a reputation for making high-quality aviation watches.

Despite pilots watches being the core of their range, Zeno does make well-regarded dive watches. Some of these are worn by Swiss Army frogmen.

The first thing that you’ll notice about the Pro Diver is the size. It’s a very large 48mm. It’s also 18mm thick, making it the biggest watch on this list. Like the Momentum it also has a massive 500M water resistance.

Stylistically, it has a recognizable deep dive watch design. Not only is it chunky, but there’s a helium valve at 10 o’clock. There’s no getting away from the brand’s aviation heritage - the logo on this model is an aircraft. But for me, that adds to the charm.

It’s far from a cheap watch, but it benefits from a Swiss automatic movement and the Swiss Made text on the dial. As well as the extreme water resistance there is also a sapphire crystal. If nothing else, this is a heavy duty and functional watch made by a real independent manufacturer.

Zeno Pro Diver 2 6603-A2M

  • 48mm Diameter
  • 18mm Thick
  • 24mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 500M Water Resistance

 



Vostok Amphibia 120813 Watch

 

The company that we know now as Vostok can be traced back to WWII and Russia’s involvement in the conflict. At the tail end of 1941 one of Moscow's watch plants was evacuated, in 150 railway carriages, to Kazan in South West Russia. From there the story goes, the equipment, workers and their families covered the final 100KM to the city of Chistopol in a convoy of three thousand carts pulled by horses.

By April 1942 the factory was up and running and producing its first items for the military. However, wristwatch production didn’t begin until after the end of the war. Of Vostok’s well-known models, the Amphibia is arguably the best and is rightly seen as a design classic.

The brief for the Vostok team who designed the Amphibia was no small task. It was to create, for the Russian Navy, something to compete with the Rolex Submariner and Blancpain Fifty Fathoms that were being used by the British and French navies. But on a minuscule budget.

These unfavourable conditions forced the team to innovate, to find cheaper solutions to familiar problems encountered by mechanical dive watches. That’s just what they did. As designer Novikov said, “Seemingly the Vostok Amphibia is not so different from the regular watches. But in fact almost every element in it is exclusive and each of them required a lot of work”.

There’s a large number of Amphibia variations, with a number of dial and case options. All the models have an in-house Russian automatic movement and 200M water resistance. This white variant is a clean, minimal design. There’s not even a date window.

There is nothing unnecessary here. It’s a functional diver designed to go a decade without a service and ultimately last a lifetime. It’s also the most affordable on my list.

Vostok Amphibia 120813

  • 41mm Diameter
  • 15mm Thick
  • 18mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Russian Automatic Movement
  • Acrylic Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance

 



Luminox Navy Seal Steel Watch

 

Luminox is a modern watch brand that was created around the use of Tritium illumination. The brand produces military and outdoor tool watches, having created special editions for the US Navy Seals and others. In 2020 they partnered with Bear Grylls to produce a series of outdoor adventure and survival watches.

They’re a relatively well-known brand with a global presence. They are currently available in 50 countries, including a number of Luminox stores in Japan. They have created the brand around the concept of GTLS technology and carbon cases.

The final watch on my list brings together the design elements of the brand - the core DNA - and repackages it in a stainless steel case. Essentially we have the distinctive Luminox turtle case, with its unique shape and bezel, the trademark GTLS, all in a heavy-duty diver’s watch.

It’s a real winner for me - particularly the white dial model. The carbon cases are great, and make a real alternative to stainless steel. The Eco case they do also have the advantage of having been manufactured from what would otherwise be sea waste. But there’s still a place for heavy, polished steel.

At 45mm wide and with a 24mm bracelet, this is quite a chunky watch. It has a screw-down crown, sapphire crystal and the overall package reminds me of my Reactor Trident - a watch I often describe as bulletproof.

This is a good watch to round out the list with. The design is on point and it uses a white dial in a very functional way. And it feels like a watch that will last 25yrs - the length of time that the lume will continue to glow.

Luminox Navy Seal Steel 3258

  • 45mm Diameter
  • 14mm Thick
  • 24mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Quartz Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance

 

Conclusion


White dial dive watches aren’t a common sight. Most dive watch companies have produced some, but compared to other colours - black or blue - they aren’t usually central to a dive collection.

Once you dig a little deeper you’ll start to find some interesting and attractive white models. As I’ve demonstrated here, there are very affordable watches with this colouring, and there’s a variety of styles. You can begin your shopping at less than £100 with a Vostok, or pay four figures for a Swiss automatic. I’ve given you a number of options in between these two.

If you have any better suggestions, add them in the comments below.

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