Best Solar Powered Dive Watches | We Test & Review 14 Dive Watches Powered By Light
Are you looking for the best solar dive watch around? Well, it’s actually a tougher mission than you might have thought!
Not only have I scoured the internet for the best solar dive watches, I’ve actually physically handled and used every watch on the list! There only a handful of solar divers and many of the movements come from only three manufacturers, so it’s a small field. I’ll give further details about picking a diver, but let’s get right to it. Here are the top choices available right now:
Best Solar Dive Watch Overall: Seiko Solar Tuna
Best Budget Solar Dive Watch: Citizen Promaster BN0150-28E
Best Solar Dive Watch Under $300: Citizen Titanium Promaster BN0200-56E
**Updated For 2022 – A Few More Watches Have Made The List!
Dive watches make great all around watches. My Solar Tuna hiking Linville Gorge with me.
As someone who prefers a good quartz watch over an automatic any day of the week, I have spent countless hours over the last few years looking for not just the best quartz divers, but solar powered dive watches specifically. I wanted to find a solar diver that had the traditional dive watch look, preferably on a bracelet, that could actually do more than just go to the beach.
If you’ve been looking around, by now you may have realized that there are not a lot of choices. I found the same thing, but that didn’t stop me from my mission to find the ultimate solar dive watches. I set out to not just find them, but to actually strap them to my wrist and put them to the test.
My guidelines were simple: I wanted a screw down crown, legitimate 200m of water resistance and a bracelet. I’ll be honest, I did not find a lot of variety. When it comes to solar watches in general, there are really only a few players, Casio, Seiko and Citizen. As you will find on my list of solar divers, it’s slim pickings beyond those manufacturers.
The following is a list of watches tested by me. I have owned or currently own every watch below and all my opinions are from first hand experience. While there are several solar divers beyond this list from Seiko and Citizen, I am just sticking to the ones I have owned or handled.
To Make The List The Watch Needed:
- Screw Down Crown
- Screw Down Case Back
- 200 Meter of Water Resistance
- Decent Lume
- Rotating Bezel
See The Black Dial Here & The Blue Dial Here
Citizen Eco Drive Promaster BN0150-28E
Probably the most well known and best value of all solar divers. This Citizen is a good looking watch that can handle the deep stuff. Years ago, Citizen actually offered it on a bracelet, but you will only find those on eBay now. It’s a solid watch that will never let you down. Basic and sturdy at a great value.
After owning this black dial Promaster for well over 5 years I have to say it by far the best solar diver out there. You can always pick it up and it’s ready for whatever adventure you have in mind. I have found myself grabbing it as a daily neater more often than not.
The rotating bezel is smooth and firm with solid stops at each click. Not only is this a great solar diver, it’s a great watch period. It often makes the list for best EDC watch and best watch under $300 (It used to be always under $200!). A tip when purchasing this one, for some reason it’s always on sale for Black Friday. This guy also made our list of the most durable quartz watches, read about it here.
I own both the black dial and blue dial versions. Hands down this is one of the best solar divers out there and beyond that, it’s just a great all around watch. It’s a beast and has easily handled al the torture and abuse I can throw at it. This is the perfect watch to give as a gift too. It’s good looking, reliable and looks way more expensive than it is.
The Promaster price fluctuates like crazy. It’s often a deal of the day on Amazon and has always been on a deep discount on Black Friday. That is how I bought both of these. The retail price on Citizen’s website is $350, but you can get it on Amazon cheaper here.
I have the black dial version on a quick release strap from Ritchie.
Citizen Titanium Promaster BN0200-56E
My favorite watch on the list, hands down, and one I wear often. This guy is a real diver with 200m of water resistance, a screw down crown and case back and comes on either a rubber strap or bracelet. I should mention that Citizen lume is stellar in most cases, and it certainly is here on these Promaster. What sets this watch apart is the Titanium case and bracelet.
It has a cool gray look to it and you’ll forget you’re wearing it. This is the watch, in fact, that started me on my journey of finding the best solar diver. Not only is it wicked cool with the titanium, but the seconds hand lines up with the dial markings almost perfectly….a tough feat for any quartz watch.
What also makes this one of the best is that it has no recoil of the seconds hand when ticking. You may have noticed on some quartz watches, the seconds hand will bounce back slightly on each tick, but not with the Promaster.
This Promaster also is available on a rubber strap and matching titanium bracelet and it’s the version I recommend you buy. Even if you’re not a bracelet guy, the few extra dollars is worth it.
I have the bracelet for mine and have gone back to wearing it on the metal almost exclusively. With solid end links and lots of micro adjustments, it’s too good to pass up.
Seiko Prospex SNJ029 – Arnie
If there was a watch deserving of the “do it all” title, then the Seiko Arnie would have to be in the running. As a kid who grew up in the 1980’s and watching Commando well over 20 times, this brings back a lot of memories. It wasn’t until I picked up a Seiko Street Series that I realized how much I wanted one of these watches. The robust case, screw down crowns make it all a tough watch.
The SNJ029 and other color versions are re-issues of the original Seiko 1982 Hybrid Diver’s Watch. The first version rose to fame when it was strapped to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wrist for a few movies, hence the nickname “Arnie”. But, it’s reputation as a durable watch is well deserved. The new version has a much better movement that has a 6 month power reserve and the watch has alarms, stopwatch functions as well as a power reserve indicator.
Citizen Promaster BN0190-82E
This watch is a guilty pleasure. I had seen this on Amazon forever, but the stock pictures made it look big, bulky and, how shall I say….a little gaudy. However, in person, it’s such a beautiful watch! If you want a nice, dressy, sports watch, something that can do it all and still perform when the chips are down, then this guy is a good choice.
Pictures just don’t do this watch justice. It’s a little hard to photograph with the black sunburst dial, but the watch has some amazing details: from a slanted chapter ring, dial markings, handset and more. The stock bracelet isn’t too shabby either – a little bit of a pain to adjust, but does have solid end links and micro-adjustments.
After owning this watch for over three years, I still love it as much as the day I got it. Over that time I have come to appreciate it even more and how good looking it is. I have actually started to wear it on a rubber quick release strap from Ritchie even more than usual. The Ritchie silicone are thinker than most and feels more substantial on the wrist with matches the watches presence. The nice thing about this Citizen Solar Diver is it wears much smaller than the 45mm diameter size would lead you to believe. The sloping bezel meets the case just right and that is one reason it looks just right on the wrist.
It quickly has become one of my ‘grab and go’ watches. Like most Citizen divers, the lume is excellent. If you like big divers like a Seiko Marine Master, then you will really love this watch. See the blue dial version here.
Seiko Padi Chronograph Diver SSC663P1
No list of solar divers would be complete without the PADI Chronograph. Available in a few color variations, this is a chunky beast that looks equally handsome on a strap, nato and the factory bracelet. Boasting a real screw down crown, the Padi Chron Diver is ready for the big leagues.
I am not a fan of the cyclops and wish there was a flat glass version, but that’s obviously subjective. Strapecode makes a super sweet aftermarket bracelet with screw pins and solid end links, it’s a worthwhile investment for sure!
Lum-Tec Solar Marine 2
This watch caught me by surprise and I have instantly fallen in love with the Solar Marine 2. The best thing about this watch is how fast it will charge. Put this guy outside or under bright light for an hour and you get a full day charge. This works great if aren’t wearing the Solar Marine 2 every single day and pull it our for duty only to realize it’s dead or low. I think this also must be one of the fasting charging solar dive watches out thee, it will last almost 6 months on a solid 5 hour charge.
Other highlights for me that I love are the sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, it’s got an anti-shock mounting system that holds the movement and in’s only 10.5MM tall. The watch goes beyond the traditional diver watch rating and has 300m of water resistance and has drilled lugs, so changing straps is made easier. It’s easy to see that a lot of thought went into this watch and it shows. Retail price is around $545
Seiko Prospex SNE573
This is a newer Seiko solar powered diver that recently was released. This time, Seiko went towards the slimmer und of the spectrum for a diver. Coming in at 38mm in case width and under 1mm in overall height. It’s a little smaller than I like to wear, but for those with a thinner wrist or want a more compact package you will love it. This is really a great watch and it shows Seiko for once is listening to what customers want!
The watch has a sapphire crystal, screw down crown, screw down case back and that famous Seiko lume. Running this guy is Seiko’s V147. I am not sure of the slight difference between the V157 that’s in the Tuna, but Seiko say this has a 10 month power reserve. Pretty impressive for a solar diver in this price range. Speaking of price, these pop up all over Amazon for under $400
The 20mm lugs are drilled, another nice feature that Seiko doesn’t always do in this price range. The bezel is really done well on this one, it’s slightly stiff which I like and is 120 clicks to get it all the way around. My watch was aligned perfectly but a few YouTube videos I saw complained that it was slightly off.
Another nice touch is the strap Seiko included here. It has more of a retro / tropic rubber vibe to it and is very comfy right out of the box. If you are looking for a traditional styled diver then this Seiko is a good choice. Seiko also has the PADI SNE575 version which comes on a bracelet and has a slightly different dial. I have not worn the bracelet one but I imagine it’s regular push pins and cheap stamped clasp.
Seiko Prospex SNE437P1
Now, this is a watch I wish I had never sold. I don’t know what I was thinking when I listed it on eBay. Ultimately, it came down that I just didn’t like the cyclops on it. It has the same dimensions and feel as the Seiko PADI above, but without the chronograph function. Another beast of a watch, this guy is even better in person. It sits a tad tall on the wrist, but overall it has excellent proportions.
Some of the highlights of this beauty are the lume drops set upon some metal discs, it really gives the watch face depth and a rich look. I also love how the bezel is similar to a Seiko Sumo with its big numerals.
Seiko Solar Tuna SNE498
There are a few Solar Tuna’s out there, but the one I own is this cool, gold-highlight, monster of a watch. Lume for days and a super solid movement (probably the best on the list), the Solar Tuna checks all the boxes sans a bracelet option. This is a useful watch to have around and it serves double duty for me as a field style watch when I go camping and fishing.
This Tuna comes with a very nice rubber strap with matching, gold-colored hardware. I rarely keep the stock strap on any watch and prefer a nato most of the time, but the stock strap is great on this one. Of all the watches on this list, this guy is built like a tank.
Forget your Luminox or G-Shock, this watch is what you want. The dial is super easy to read, fantastic lume and the plastic shroud around the case ensures you can knock it around without worry.
A Seiko Tuna is an acquired taste, a definite love it or hate it watch. I promise, spend a little time with the Golden Tuna and you’ll be a believer from here on out.
Momentum Torpedo Pro Eclipse
Momentum has been putting out some serious watches the last several years and I love the Fieldwalker automatic they make. I didn’t realize they had a new model with the Torpedo Eclipse until I spotted it on their Instagram account. So naturally I wanted to try one out.
The brushed stainless steel case is solid and looks good. This is more of an adventure, do anything watch than some others on this list. I like that it’s understated in it’s look and I am always a fan of a brushed case. I don’t like when a watch is too flashy or looks more like a piece of jewelry.
This guy is on the bigger side coming it 44mm wide with a 51mm lug to lug. It will wear more like a Seiko Turtle or Orient Triton. I am happy Momentum kept the lugs width at 2mm, there are a tom of strap options out there for all lug widths now, but I think a 22mm width just looks better, especially on a watch like this.
The dial is capped off with a sapphire crystal and it has s stepped inner ring which is a very nice touch. The dial markers a lume filled with a stainless steel edge which gives the watch higher end look without taking away from it’s utilitarian purpose. I appreciated the oversized crown which made setting the time easy.
This is a diver that can be worn anywhere in any situation. I have a 6 & 3/4″ wrist, but wear larger watches most of the time. The Torpedo wore perfectly and sits just right on the wrist. It’s not that top heavy and doesn’t slide around. The bracelet was easy enough to adjust if you have a link removal tool.
I was a little disappointed in the lume, it’s on the weaker side and doesn’t last the night. I am not an actual diver so I can deal with the lackluster lume and the watch is awesome in so many other respects I can overlook it. However, if you’re getting ready for an Instagram #lumebattle, look someplace else.
The bezel isn’t as tight as some divers I have owned, but I didn’t notice that it moved on accident when bumped or brushed against something.
Overall, this is a fantastic watch that sees a lot of wrist time. It’s got the right amount of good looks and function. The watch also comes on a rubber strap for about $25 less.
Seiko Solar SNE107P2
I am putting this solar dive watch on the list even though it’s out of production, and that’s because you can still readily snag them on eBay and some message boards.
If you like a slightly more compact watch, this is for you. With 20mm lugs and a 13 mm height, the watch wears compact and awesome. The rotating bezel is a little more unique on this one with its knurling and milled grips. Overall, it’s a clean and useful setup and looks good on a rubber strap or a nato.
Seiko SBDN013 Titanium Prospex
Another watch I wish I still owned. It’s tough to always find detailed specs on Seiko watches, as they don’t list out a lot of info on their website or sales brochures. I think this has the better quartz movement inside similar to the Tuna, but I am not 100% sure. Seiko does their titanium watches exceptionally well.
The fit and finish on this is amazing for the price. The bracelet could be a tad better, but only someone really picky (like me?) would complain. For the money, I wish it had a milled clasp instead of the stamped metal.
That, however, is where my gripes stop; this watch is basically perfect. Great lume, awesome looks, a sweet-looking titanium bezel and a stated 10 month power supply. Originally, this was a JDM model and hard to come by, but now you can find them on Amazon and other spots.
If you have been looking for a titanium diver, then it’s an epic battle between this one and the Citizen Titanium Promaster.
These watches don’t meet the official criteria as a true dive watch, but they are definitely worth mentioning here. If you just want something that has a dive watch look, but is still reliable and well-built, then consider the following watches.
It was a tough decision to put this Casio on the list. It’s a good looking watch, and at $100 it makes a great option. Besides the water resistance not being 200m, the watch does have one terrible flaw….the bezel is fake.
It doesn’t rotate, which is a real disappointment. However, if you are just looking for a dive-style watch and don’t need the bezel function, this Casio makes a compelling choice. It seems odd the bezel doesn’t actually rotate because this watch has an OK lume and a screw down caseback.
If you need a watch that is a great all-rounder, this is an option. It’s got enough water resistance for swimming and fun at the beach.
Seiko Men’s SNE283
This is one of those Seikos that shows up on eBay and Amazon once in a while. Originally, I think it was a JDM release in 2016, but it’s now making its way to other spots for sale. The SNE283 is a solid, all-around dive watch. It only comes on a rubber strap, but it does have a screw down crown and caseback, giving it a genuine 200 meter of water resistance.
It’s in the honourable mention category because the bezel is a little too soft in its clicks and has a tad of play in it. Otherwise, the watch is really nice and a real value contender coming in under $200
Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Watches
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Blair Witkowski is an avid watch nut, loves pocket knives and flashlights and when he is not trying to be a good dad to his nine kids, you will find him running or posting pics on Instagram. Besides writing articles for Tech Writer EDC he is also the founder of Lowcountry Style & Living. In addition to writing, he is focused on improving his clients websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.