Best Waterproof Watch For Men

best waterproof watch for men

A watch should be a rugged piece of equipment.  Something that you can trust to successfully tell the time, even under use that may be a bit more strenuous than the average day at the office.  Something that looks good and makes telling the time easy while on the fly certainly won’t hurt, either. Finding such a watch, alas, may sometimes be a challenge.

But if you’re searching for a new watch, for the best waterproof watch for men that you can lay hands on, then worry not!  This guide is here to help you to figure out which watch may be the best one for your uses.

Best Waterproof Watches For Men 2017

Before we get into the individual reviews, however, a quick table for a quick comparison may be something that will be of benefit.  Below, find just such a table, one that will help to give you an at-a-glance idea of which watch may be best for you.

WatchWater Resistance Rating (meter)IlluminationCheck Price
G-Shock AWGM100B-1ACR Solar200EL Backlight
G-Shock GA100SD-8A Military200Auto LED Light
Tag Heuer Formula 1 200Luminescent Markers
Tag Heuer Aquaracer300Luminescent Markers
Luminox 3003 Original Navy Seal200Luminox Tritium Markers
Luminox 3900 FastStrap200Luminox Tritium Markers
Luminox 5021.GN SXC PC Carbon200Luminox Tritium Markers
Zodiac ZO9250 Heritage 200Luminescent Markers
Seiko Prospex Marine Master Professional1,000LumiBrite Luminescent Markers

Before we go any further, it needs to be mentioned that there is no actual ‘waterproof’ rating for watches these days.  In fact, the Federal Trade Commission in the USA banned the use of the term in advertising, because there is no ‘waterproof’ watch.  Watches are rated by resistance, which is basically a measure of how deep the watch can go, fresh out of the box, without water getting into the watch.

There are many things to be considered when looking for the best waterproof watches for swimming, for diving, or even just for living your everyday life without having to worry about your watch giving up on you at an inopportune moment.  Furthermore, not everyone will have the same idea about what makes a good watch, or a watch that they will want to use. Here are the best watches on the market, the best sport watches 2017 has to offer.

1

G-Shock AWGM100-B-1ACR Solar – The Rugged Solar Option

best waterproof watches for swimming

G-Shock is a brand manufactured by Casio. While most Casio watches are made for more ‘easy’ uses, for the indoor world and for the office and the like, their G-Shock line is designed for the more rugged individual.  They are designed more for the kind of person who spends their time outside, and are geared toward sportsmen and military in particular.  In fact, they’re very popular among US Special Operations units, and are rumored to be the preferred watch of groups such as Delta Force.  In other words, G-Shock makes a sturdy watch that can be counted on.

Some people prefer the old-fashioned watch that shows the hour and minute hands, and if that’s you, then this is the G-Shock watch that you will love.  It shows minute and hour hands, tells you the day, and it can do so much more.  A real fear, especially with watches that are subjected to heavy use, is that they will lose time.  It is about standard that most watches will lose about 15 seconds per month.  That means that in four months, the watch will be off by a whole minute, and in a year, it’ll be three minutes off.  Not very comforting for the average user, surely.  However, on top of being a solar powered watch, this offering from G-Shock checks its time against the atomic clock nearest you five times a day.  This ensures that the watch maintains an acceptable amount of precision, so long as you are in a country that receives a signal from the atomic clock.

All things considered, an amazing watch for the price.

PROS
  • Very rugged and shock-resistant
  • Water-resistant up to 200 meters
  • Solar powered and checks itself against the atomic clock
CONS
  • Nothing to really complain about here
2

G-Shock GA100SD-8A Military – The Militant G-Shock

best waterproof watches for swimming

A second offering from G-Shock, this one made entirely with the military in mind!  It has everything that anyone might need, really.  It is water resistant to 200 meters, for starters.  It has the usual hour and minute hand configuration that G-Shocks seem to favor.  It has a 1/1000th-second stopwatch setting.  It even has a speed indicator!  It also has an auto LED illumination system, which will allow you to see what your watch says without giving off too much excess light and being easily noticed. 

This watch has almost anything that you could ever need whether you’re a military sharpshooter who just made a HALO jump behind enemy lines or a casual athlete enjoying some time on their favorite golf course or on the baseball field.  It is water resistant enough that you can likely use it while swimming, so long as you aren’t going deep underwater while swimming.  It has shock protection as well, which is important when you have a watch that is in any way electronically run (electronics, when jostled or bumped, are prone to skipping, much the way that a record would). 

If you need a sturdy watch and you need it on a budget, this is definitely the watch that you should take a look at.  It is easily one of the best waterproof watches for surfing, for running, for swimming, and for just living your life.

PROS
  • So many functions packed into one watch
  • Water resistant to 200 meters
  • Shock protection
CONS
  • Loses about 15 seconds a month, give or take, which is about average for a watch these days
3

Tag Heuer Formula 1 Stainless Steel – The Fashionable Workhorse

best waterproof watch 2017

If you are a fan of waterproof digital watches, Tag Heuer is not likely to have much to offer you.  They are renowned around the world as watches that are both impressive and functional.  They’re the kind of watch that would be worn by a pilot or an executive while he’s out on his boat or something similar.  However, do not let their beauty fool you; they are very much a watch designed for rugged use, even if they would look more at home in a boardroom.

The Tag Heuer Formula 1 stainless steel watch is indeed fashionable and beautiful, the kind of watch that many would show off.  However, it is also very sturdy.  It is water resistant to 200 meters, which is good, especially for a watch so flashy in its looks.  It is designed to be used in a variety of ways beyond just keeping time. 

So why is this called a Tachymeter watch?  A Tachymeter scale is basically used to figure out speed with the use of only the watch and the scale.  The best thing about a Tachymeter is that if you’ve got such a scale on your watch, the measure of distance, be it feet, miles, knots, kilometers, whatever, it doesn’t matter. So long as the scale is correct, the calculations will work for any unit of distance.  Obviously, you can see why for someone watching (or engaging in) formula one races, such a thing might be of great use.

If you’re looking for a beautiful watch and one that is functional as well, do not pass up this Tag Heuer offering.

PROS
  • Tachymeter is handy, especially if you’re racing or observing a race
  • Water resistant to 200 meters
  • Beautiful watch, no matter what
CONS
  • Fairly expensive an offering
4

Tag Heuer Aquaracer – The Understated Tag Heuer Model

best sports watches 2017

Watches over the price of a thousand dollars and nylon watch straps don’t seem to go together for most people, but that didn’t stop the fine folks at Tag Heuer from combining the two.  To be fair, if you’re looking for a watch that you can take on the ocean, it is better to have a nylon strap, one that isn’t going to be as likely to rust under such arduous conditions, instead of a stainless steel band. 

This offering from Tag Heuer is a good combination of simplicity and resilience.  It may be expensive (as the majority of offerings from Tag Heuer are wont to be), but that does not mean that it is a bad watch. Yet again, this is another one of those watches that will both function as a rugged-use watch as well as functioning as a talking point and a symbol of success, as most expensive watches do. 

How well does it work in the ‘aqua’ setting?  Well, it is water resistant to 300 meters, which means that more likely than not, as long as you’re not scuba diving, the watch will hold up to whatever you’re using it for.  It should certainly survive if, for example, you fall off of a boat or something like that. 

If you’re looking for a great watch at a great price, this is the kind of watch that you can be happy to have, and that will look amazing while being functional and very water resistant.

PROS
  • Water resistant to 300 meters
  • Very fashionable
CONS
  • Nylon band is somewhat less than ideal, especially when you consider how expensive the watch is
5

Luminox 3003 Original Navy Seal – Navy SEAL Classic

best sports watches 2015

If you’re looking for a watch that will stand up under hard use, especially when you’re talking about a watch that is water resistant, it only makes sense that the Navy SEALs, a US military unit that is based entirely around the idea of being able to reach an area of operation by swimming for miles underwater with SCUBA gear, will have a good watch recommendation.  Indeed, the Luminox series of watches has been one of the most popular watches used by SEAL teams for thirty years.  But what makes it so popular?

To begin with, there’s the fact that it is designed to be water resistant to 200 meters.  This means that you can use it under water for most swimming that you would ever do, conceivably, as well as for things like snorkeling.  If you’re looking for a good watch for things like working out or the occasional swim at eight feet depth or so, this is a great watch for you.

But one of the things that made this watch so beloved by the Special Operations community is the luminescence.  Most of these watches have something that allows them to glow.  This watch, on the other hand, has TRITIUM, a very mildly radioactive substance, in the watch.  This substance not just glows well even in the dark and underwater, but it lasts for years.

All this combines to make a watch that is good for anyone needing a water resistant watch, from a Navy SEAL to someone who likes to swim for a workout.

PROS
  • Very bright Luminox markers
  • Very sturdy watch design
  • Waterproof to 200 meters
CONS
  • Not the kind of watch you could wear to most offices
6

Luminox 3900 FastStrap – The SEAL Fast-Strap Solution

waterproof watch for swimming

A lot of people don’t like to spend much time fussing with their watch straps.  It’s actually a common complaint people have with the way watches are designed.  The plastic bands require that you manage to find the right hole and put the pin through it, as do the nylon bands.  Then there’s the metal bands, which basically require you clip it in just right, which is also a real hassle.

But what if you take the fantastic watch design of the 3000 series of Luminox watches, and then you incorporate an easy-to-use strap that can be put on easily and that will allow you to put on your watch with only one hand?  Then you get a great watch that is easy to use and easy to take on and off.

This has the same Tritium inserts as the other Luminox we reviewed, which are the real great thing about the watch design.  They provide fantastic luminescence while making sure that you are going to be able to be safe with the watch on your wrist.
Of the two Luminox we’ve reviewed thus far, this is definitely the better design.

PROS
  • Easy-to-use strap design
  • Great Tritium luminescence
  • Comfortable and easy to read, well designed for use as a diving watch
CONS
  • Nothing to complain about here
7

Luminox 5021.GN SXC PC Carbon – The Space Age Watch

waterproof watch for men

Luminox makes watches that are designed for everyone, from those who spend a lot of time under the water to those who spend their time in the air or even in space.  This watch is the result of the time that Luminox has put into making watches that are designed more for people in the ‘space’ side of things.

It’s a lot like the other watches in that it is water resistant to 200 meters (which is a standard in almost every Luminox watch, and in any watch they make that is designed for water use).  One interesting change is the removal of the vast majority of tritium from the watch, leaving it with only a bit of tritium on the minute and hour hand, in order to keep them both well-lit. 

Because it is designed for use in space flight, it has an arm that is set to GMT (the little red arm), which is Greenwich Mean Time.  This is useful because a lot of space flight operates off of GMT. 

All in all, it’s a great watch, and a simple one.  If you do something that requires you work in GMT time, it may be in your best interest, too.

PROS
  • Water resistant to 200 meters
  • Rugged design
  • GMT arm
CONS
  • Removal of a lot of Tritium
  • One of the largest watches reviewed thus far
8

Zodiac ZO9250 Heritage – The SeaWolf Reborn

best water resistant watch

If you look at the faceplate of this watch, you see the name ‘Zodiac’ and a strange symbol the brand used to denote their watches.  If you were alive during the sixties and seventies, you might know that symbol for another reason.  The Zodiac Killer was known to use it to sign letters he sent to newspapers, and the main suspect in the slayings was known to wear a watch made by the fine folks at Zodiac.  Because of this, the popularity of the watches took a downturn, even though the US Navy Seals adopted it in the mid-70s.  They have since been bought by various different organizations, and are currently a subsidiary of Fossil, Inc.

That being said, the watches have retained their quality, even as they have changed hands.  This offering from Zodiac is water resistant to 200 meters, which is a good average for the casual swimmer, and it is also very luminescent.  You’ve got glowing markers at the hour marks, as well as large markers at every third hour.  The hour and minute hand, too, are host to a luminescent marker.

And the watch itself looks fantastic and very professional.  It’s the kind of watch that you can wear out to hard use, and then take into the office, and it fits in at both.

PROS
  • Well-designed and very professional
  • Water resistant to 200 meters
  • Sturdy
CONS
  • No complaints, but there is still some stigma attached to the name and corporate logo due to the Zodiac Killer
9

Seiko Prospex Marine Master Professional – The Deep-Sea Diver

waterproof watch for diving

Seiko is one of those watch brands that has a long history.  It’s a Japanese brand that has been producing watches and other timekeeping implements since 1924.  Their watches gained a lot of fame when Roger Moore and Sean Connery wore Seiko watches in their roles as James Bond.

They make a wide variety of watches, but this one stands out as the best water resistant watch we’ve reviewed.  This watch is about as close to waterproof as any watch on this list gets.  The Seiko Prospex Marine Master Professional says, above the 6 o’clock luminous marker, ‘1000m’.  That is extremely water resistant.  While most watches reviewed here will be fine in some light diving, even if you’re carrying oxygen tanks, this watch is designed to be able to go to the kind of depths you will reach if you are doing mixed-tank diving, which means you’re going to be very deep underwater (though no one actually SCUBA dives 1000 meters under the sea).  This is a rugged watch that will remain water resistant in some pretty extreme and high-pressure circumstances.

Combine that with the fact that it has well-positioned and very luminous markers, and you’ve got a watch that will be great for use on land and deep under the sea.

PROS
  • Water resistant to 1000 meters!
  • Rugged design
  • Very luminous
CONS
  • Bulky and clumsy when on land

Best Waterproof Watch For Men- Buyer's Guide

We’ve taken a look at a lot of great waterproof watches today, but if you’re looking to find the best one for you and your uses, it’s likely you have a few questions about the watches.  Here are a few answers to the big questions people have about great watches.

I Noticed You Said Tritium Was Mildly Radioactive.  Should I Be Worried?

Yes, Tritium is a mildly radioactive isotope of Hydrogen.  HOWEVER, no, you do not need to be worried about it under most circumstances.

In general, anything that glows, especially things that glow without needing to be ‘charged’ in natural light (light from the sun), is radioactive to some extent.  However, not all radiation is equal, and not all isotopes yield the same radiations, or as much radiation.  Tritium yields mostly beta waves of radiation, which will be stopped by the crystal or glass or plastic or steel in your watch.  It’s not a worry unless you break your watch, and even then, you just need to make sure you move the watch to a well-ventilated area until you can properly dispose of it. 

Now, there is a caveat.  If you decide to forego the purchase of a new watch, and instead purchase a watch that was made luminous before the 1960s, there is a very good chance that it contains radium.  Radium is radioactive, and emits alpha, beta, and gamma rays.  The alpha and beta waves aren’t of worry, but those gamma rays are.  Even if the luminous paint in it has reduced to powder or has ceased to glow, it is still radioactive (and it has a half-life of 1600 years, so it’ll remain radioactive for a long time to come).  It is not recommended you wear such a watch very often, and if it is broken, it is recommended you very carefully dispose of the watch.

So no, you shouldn’t be worried if you’re buying a new watch, especially if it uses some derivative form of Tritium.

How Is Water Resistance Determined?

For a quick explanation, read on, but if you want the more complex explanation, you can just follow this link.

Basically, there are two methods of testing.  You have ISO 2281, and you have ISO 6425.  They are sometimes referred to as water-resistant watches standard and diver’s watches standard, respectively. 

ISO 2281 consists mainly of submitting the watch to the pressure that they rate it for.  If a watch is rated for 200 meters water resistance, that means that when put under the pressure you would experience at 200 meters, the watch did not fail, water did not get in, things like that. Most of their tests are built around testing under pressure.

ISO 6425, on the other hand, is much more complex, and can involve things as difficult as subjecting the watch to 125% overpressure for 15 days straight.  The above link has a great chart that tells you what a watch with certain water resistance will be good for.

Conclusion


We reviewed a lot of fantastic watches today, but there can be only one watch that earns the title ‘best waterproof watch for men’.  The watches we looked at were between a hundred and three thousand dollars each, were of various designs and various looks, and had various different methods of illumination.

So which one is the best?  The best watch we reviewed was easily the Luminox 3900 FastStrap.  Yes, it does not go as deep as the Seiko Prospex offering, but the truth is that this watch is designed entirely around the idea of making sure that your watch is capable of standing up to multiple environments (remember, the people who they were originally aimed at use these watches as they jump out of planes at 60,000 feet and as they’re under 50 feet of water) while being usable and rugged.  They accomplished all that, and did so at a price point that is not prohibitive to the average user.  The only real complaint about the Luminox 3900 series is that when it was designed, making it look good in an office setting did not appear to be high on anyone’s list of objectives.

Whichever one of these watches that you decide are the best watch for you, though, you are going to be sure that you are getting a watch that will be great and will help you keep time, even if you’re trying to figure out the time while you’re out in the middle of the ocean.

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