Why Are Dive Watches So Popular Anyway?

Have you ever wondered why dive watches are so popular? I mean, what’s the appeal anyway? Many popular Rolex watches are dive watches. Invicta makes a lot of popular dive watches, as well as Seiko, and Orient. So why are diver’s watches synonymous with luxury appeal? It would seem that there is no quick, easy, and simple answer to these questions.

Different people will give different answers, depending who you are talking to. This article reflects just one opinion based on the facts I have gathered. Ultimately, I believe that the Rolex Submariner is the true culprit behind the popularity of dive watches. But there is a lot more to that story!

In this article we will explore various different facets of the diving watch. It is our goal to lay out the facts about divers watches and attempt to come to a conclusion. By exploring these facts, we hope to give an accurate answer to the question of as to why dive watches are so popular.

What Is A Dive Watch?

what is a dive watch

We will start things off by defining exactly what is meant by “dive watch” anyway. Technically speaking, a dive watch is a watch that is ISO certified as having a water resistance of at least 100 meters. Watches that meet this qualification will have the words “diver’s watch” etched somewhere on the watch case. This signifies that it meets all of the necessary requirements of a diver’s watch.

Now when I say a watch needs to be ISO certified for water resistance, I am talking about the ISO 6425 standard. In order for a watch to meet this standard, it must have a water resistance of at least 100 meters like I mentioned earlier, but there are other criteria that must be met.

Some of those criteria include:

  • magnetic field resistance
  • resistance to impact
  • salt water resistance
  • visibility in the dark
  • diving time indicator (usually a rotating bezel)

There are other more rigorous and stringent tests that must be passed. All of these tests pertain to the ability of the watch to handle being underwater at certain depths. But if a watch can measure up to these standards, then it will meet the ISO 6425 standard, and thus be classified as a “dive watch”.

What Caused Diver’s Watches To Become So Popular?

Now that we can clearly define what a diver’s watch is, its time to start to look at the factors that caused dive watches to gain popularity. I believe, the answer begins with the Rolex brand. After all, the Rolex Submariner became an iconic Rolex watch. The Rolex Submariner was, and still is a symbol of status and success. So why is that? Let’s explore this topic further.

Rise Of The Rolex Submariner

rise of the rolex submariner

The Rolex Submariner first hit the scene in 1954. At the time of its introduction, it was marketed as a “tool watch”. Meaning, it was actually designed for its intended purpose (as a dive watch). It wasn’t extraordinarily expensive either, coming in at around $150. So what caused its transformation into a luxury watch?

First, towards the tail end of the 1960’s, Rolex added new colors to the Submariner, including both green, and gold versions, which increased demand. Second, as with all technology, later Rolex Submariner models improved on their technology and features.

But finally, it was around the beginning of the 1970’s, that Rolex changed their marketing efforts. Up until then, they were marketed as dive watches for actual diving. Well, during the early 1970’s, quartz watches started to become more popular than mechanical watches.

Rolex had to change their marketing approach for their mechanical watches to stay competitive with quartz watches. They did this by marketing them as finely tuned luxury pieces, rather than just tool watches.

This shift in production and marketing is what caused the Submariner to start to gain luxury appeal, and subsequently become far more expensive! Additionally, the popularity of the James Bond films and lead actor sporting a Rolex Submariner only helped to push this watch up in popular appeal.

Rolex Submariner Copycats

invicta pro diver vs rolex submariner 2

Other watch manufacturers like the ones I mentioned in the beginning, saw how popular the Rolex Submariner had become, and naturally created their own watches with a similar style. They did this hoping to tap into the market of Rolex Submariner enthusiast.

Once these companies started taking design inspiration from the Rolex explorer, making them more affordable, and marketing them as “dive watches”, these Rolex Submariner copycats began to flood the market. This is what lead to the increase in popularity of dive watches. Because now people who couldn’t afford a real Rolex Submariner, could now purchase a watch that looked just like one!

Dive Watches In Modern Times

dive watches in modern times

So where does this leave dive watches today? Well, we have seen the relevance of dive watches through history. Dive watches have maintained their relevancy to this day. They are already established, and have always been sought out for the reasons posted above, but in today’s era, they are still popular because of their multi-purpose uses.

They are good for just about any occasion. First, they are durable, so can be worn in sporting events, and outdoor activities among other things. Second, they have that stylish appeal, so they can also be worn as a dress watch. Rolex may have had a hand in popularizing dive watches, but the fact that they can be used in both active and formal roles is the reason they have remained relevant to this day.


That is pretty much our breakdown of how dive watches became popular. Once again, I’ll stress that there are many different opinions and ideas out there on why dive watches are popular. You have been given just one such perspective.

So what do you think? Do you agree with the views and opinions expressed in this piece, or do you think that there may be another cause for the rise in popularity of dive watches? Perhaps there is something we have overlooked, or there could be inaccuracies in our research. But for now, this is our best explanation for the dive watch phenomenon.

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