Leisure / holiday watch - which <1k diver to pick?

Hello oh wise ones,

Spring is finally underway, temperatures are rising and outdoor activities, beach trips & swimming beckon. But I am not going to bring my GO Senator to these occasions. So: looking for an affordable (<1k) dive watch that will keep ticking after generous exposure to sand, dust and salt water. And without me worrying overmuch about nicks and scratches etc. I have narrowed the shortlist down to the specimens below:


From left to right:

Squale 1545 Grey Rubber. Nice brand, been in the diving business for quite a while now, like the blue/grey look. Sellita SW 200-1 inside.

Mido Ocean Star 200: another brand that knows its way around underwater; solid looking piece. Powered by their Caliber 80 (modified ETA C07.621)

Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 300: bit funkier than the Mido. Like the Squale, water resistant to 300m and a Sellita SW 200-1 inside.

Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale: delivered with two straps (metal as shown and a blue parachute single-pass strap). For E 899,- powered by Yema 2000 in-house calibre, for half that (!) it comes with a Ronda 503 FE quartz movement.

Since these are not readily available in stores in the Netherlands, it's difficult/impossible to try these on in real life. Hence also my question to you guys: have you owned one of these models (or brands) and what were your experiences? Which would you pick?

Purley on looks and the fact it's on a rubber strap I'm picking the Mido

Mido is also probably the best reputation of your picks. Why no seiko???


I鈥檇 go with the Mido or the Yema. I own that specific Yema; it comes with a MN strap which is a nice change up with the bracelet. The bracelet is comfortable, the clasp is sturdy, but tough to open, a brand issue. My example gains +12 sec/day, so need to re-set it when I wear it, about 2x/month. Overall a good entry for the price.

Under a grand gotta be Seiko. Far better value than anything Swiss. My recommendation any of the 62mas reissues or any Willard. Tough as nails with the diashield coating.

Had a Yema, it was awful - badly proportioned & felt fragile ( may have got a bad one, but they've not got a great reputation for customer service )

Huge C. Ward fan, well built, good design and wears well on my 180mm wrist. I鈥檝e heard bad things about Yema quality (opposite of some of the others here). Tissot Seastar is nice and in your range and of course Seiko. Lots of reviews and comparisons on YouTube based on price ranges. Check there too, if you haven鈥檛 already.

I鈥檇 probably go for a completely different one with the Doxa Sub 200!! But if I had to choose one from the four listed here, I鈥檇 go with the Chris ward. They are wayyy too good for their pricepoint!

From your list, definitely the Mido or the Squale.

As above also consider the Seiko 62 Mas reissue (SPB 143-149) and the baby Marine Master 200 (SPB 077, 079, 083, 185, 187, 207, 299). You can get most of them sub $1000 from gray dealers. Everyone complains about the prices of the SPB references thinking they should cost the same as a Seiko 5 or a Prospex Monster. Ludicrous. I will tell you the build quality and finish is significantly better and would even say the price is a value at $1200. Side by side it鈥檚 better finished than a Tudor BB diver.

I have and love a MIDO Oceanstar. But honestly, it really serves more as my 鈥渄ress diver,鈥 primarily because I鈥檝e heard that the (frankly fantastic) AR coating is applied to the top as well as the underside, and is particularly prone to scratching and marring. I don鈥檛 mind scratches and scuffs to the cases of my tool watches, but scratches to the crystal suck. For that reason, I鈥檇 say the Squale gets my vote. Of the four, it seems like it would look the best with some scars and stories! 馃嵒

I think any of those will be just fine for what you want to do with it. My pick of the four, of course only from the pictures, is the Christopher Ward. Perhaps you should consider some of the Citizen Promaster or Seiko Prospex offerings in this price range. I would not rule out an Eco-Drive diver, Citizen makes some really good ED divers which are tough as nails.

I think anyone of these would work well for what you want. My personal choice would be either the Squale or the Mido. Both are underrated but really deliver a bang for the buck.

As @Flolorian mentioned, the Doxa Sub 200 is also worthy of your list, as well as a litany of Seiko divers and Citizen Eco-drives. From you list, I would choose the Christopher Ward, closely followed by the Squale. Good luck deciding!

Roses are red

Your watch should be

Seiko Prospex


Thanks for all your helpful comments. Looked into the Yema quality issue and found quite some corroboration for that, so unfortunately, it's off the shortlist. Two new entrants though:


The Seiko Prospex SRPF79K1 with the 4R35 calibre and the Doxa Sub 200 (Caribbean, rubber strap). Thing is, I don't have a 'brand affinity' with Seiko (pls don't hate me :). For me, it's like an Audi: truly excellent car - but never personally really wanted or owned one, always went with Alfa Romeo or BMW. Still, watches are not cars, and of the lot the Seiko should be by far the easiest to try on in person...so I will at least go and do that. As for the rest: they all got their share of the votes, no clear winner there. So I am still on the fence :-)

Will keep you updated on progress!


Now leaning towards this one:


Mido Ocean Star 20th Anniversary. I like the grey/blue dial of the Squale a lot - the strap not so much however and the more I read about the different brands I do feel I'm getting more quality for the money with the Mido than the Squale. Doxa's also strong contender, but the Mido is just a bit more pleasing to the eye. Choices, choices...

My favourite of the bunch is the mido by a long way. I鈥檇 also consider certina they have really good budget divers. For a bit more Monta are really good. Seiko is the most bivouac choice so good for you choosing something a bit alternative. Happy hunting!