In the 1970s, Japanese watchmakers have taken the world of the watch industry by storm. This was largely in part due to the Quartz Revolution and the world of watches was changed forever. Japan is famous for making some of the best bang-for-the-buck timepieces in the industry.
This is especially true when it comes to dive watches.
If you are in the market for a new dive watch that won’t break the bank, you’ll likely end up choosing watches from Citizen and Seiko. Both are Japanese brands and from the initial look, there’s plenty of similarities between the two dive watch brands.
Today, I have the unenviable job of comparing Citizen vs Seiko dive watches. Which dive watch brand is better? Let’s find out!
Citizen vs Seiko Dive Watches: Head-to-Head Comparison
Style and Design
When you look at both Citizen and Seiko dive watches, you’ll probably think that both watches look fairly similar. However, once you really observe the divers from both brands, you’ll see the distinct differences.
In general, Seiko divers tend to look more like the classic dive watches. For example, the Seiko Men’s SKX009K2 features the same design aesthetic as the classic Submariner. Many of their dive watches feature a vintage style and design but never looking outdated.
Also, the popular Prospex collection boasts the “land explorer” look with high legibility, sleek smooth design, and congested motion. It’s worth noting that the Prospex collection has many variants that are not limited to dive watches. Seiko also has the Seiko Grand collection for those who are looking for a more high-end watch.
On the other hand, Citizen also offers watches that have that unmistakable vintage design. However, unlike Seiko, Citizen seems to push the envelop more when it comes to its design philosophy. You can find many Citizen pieces that look more creative, experimental even.
When it comes to actual style and design, it’s hard to go wrong with either Citizen or Seiko. Both dive watch brands have models that look stylish and offer strong designs. At the end of the day, it will come down to your personal preference.
Construction and Durability
For construction and durability, Citizen vs Seiko dive watches can definitely go toe-to-toe with each other. For the crystals, Citizen tends to use mineral crystals while Seiko utilizes its patented Hardlex crystals. Both crystals are very impact resistant but I’ve found that both crystals are easily scratched.
For the materials, both dive watch brands don’t use precious metals (gold, platinum, etc.) for making the watches. Both brands use stainless steel for most of their dive watches which is not a problem at all. If you want a piece that uses precious metals, you might want to look into the Seiko Grand line.
Based on our tests, the bracelet of Citizen dive watches is better when compared to Seiko. This is hardly an extensive test but Citizen bracelets were more comfortable and durable than Seiko bracelets.
I’ve been doing some reading online and it seems that there’s an argument that Citizen has the upper hand in terms of production quality. However, there’s no definitive proof of this but I do know that both watches have a history of producing excellent quality watches for less.
Of course, you can’t talk about dive watches without mentioning their water resistance rating. Which dive watch brand is the better diving tool? On average, I think that the two brands are fairly comparable with regards to water resistance rating. Both brands have models that can handle the standard 200 meters of depth. These dive watches are good for the average diver.
However, if you’re somewhat of a professional diver, Citizen has the leg up versus Seiko. Citizen has the Promaster 1000M Professional Diver which has a rating of 1000M/100Bar and perfect for serious scuba diving. Seiko also has a 1000 meter dive watch in the form of SBDX014G Marinemaster but it’s far more expensive when compared to Citizen’s offering.
Overall, both brands cater to a wide range of diving needs.
Features and Technology
When it comes to the best dive watches, I always check the illuminated hands. After all, you’re hundreds of meters down the ocean, so you want a watch that you can actually read – good illumination helps with that. In that regard, I think Seiko has the advantage over Citizen with the former’s LumiBrite hands/markers. It just works better, even in bright daylight.
In the matters of diving features, Seiko divers come with Kinetic and Spring Drive Technologies. The original Kinetic technology has been a point of success for Seiko but it does have some practical shortcomings. For instance, you need to wear the watch or oscillate in your hands to charge it. On the other hand, the Spring Drive movement melds the benefits of both automatic and quartz movements. It’s a mechanical movement with the accuracy of quartz.
On the flip side, Citizen uses Japanese quartz movement for most of its divers. There’s a couple of Citizen divers that also come with Atomic timekeeping which further enhances accuracy. However, the biggest advantage of Citizen dive watches is Eco-Drive technology. This technology powers watches from any natural/artificial light source and converts light to energy. That’s right, you won’t ever have to replace batteries with Eco-Drive timepieces.
For timekeeping and general features, Seiko has the upper hand when it comes to overall accuracy while Citizen comes out on top if you prefer a solar-powered watch.
As mentioned, both Citizen and Seiko are known for affordable, high-quality dive watches. As far as pricing goes, Citizen and Seiko have very similar price ranges and both cater to a wide range of budgets. You can get a reliable dive watch with a $200-$300 price tag from both brands.
The main difference between the two is with the highest-end offering. The Seiko Prospex SBDX014G Marinemaster is available for $3,000+ while the Citizen Promaster 1000M Professional Diver comes with a $2,000+ price tag.
Best Citizen Dive Watches
1. Citizen BN0085 Eco-Drive
The Citizen BN0085 Eco-Drive is one of the best value dive watches that you can get from Citizen. It’s made from stainless steel with a textured dial and unidirectional gear-shaped bezel. The watch comes with a date window and luminous hands/indices.
There’s nothing too fancy here but it’s an Eco-Drive diver which means you don’t have to replace the batteries now and then. The BN0085 is a moderately-sized watch that keeps accurate time and offers some pretty great features.
2. Citizen BN0150-28E Eco-Drive Promaster
For starters, the Citizen BN0150-28E Eco-Drive Promaster is yet another bang-for-your-buck dive watch. It has a very simple design but has the inner workings of an excellent diver. It is water resistant to 660 feet, powered with Japanese quartz movement, and protected by mineral crystal casing. The BN0150-28E is a watch that’s useful in the ocean and the office.
This Promaster watch is a solid option if you’re looking for a dive watch that won’t cost you an arm and leg. It’s also a great gift for the upcoming holidays.
3. Citizen BN2029-01E Eco-Drive Promaster Aqualand
The Citizen BN2029-01E Eco-Drive Promaster Aqualand is highly recommended for those who are looking for a rugged dive tool. The BN2029-01E Eco-Drive Promaster Aqualand comes several great diving features such as the Rapid Descent Alarm, Auto-Start Dive mode, Max Depth Memory, and Depth Display.
Just by looking at it, you know that it’s a heavy-duty dive watch. Plus, it looks great as well although it might be a little too big for some people. The Aqualand is a great diving companion for both amateur and professional divers.
Best Seiko Dive Watches
1. Seiko Prospex SRPA21K1 Automatic
For a good dive watch under $500, the Seiko Prospex SRPA21K1 Automatic comes highly recommended. It really is a lot of watch for the price. You have the classic Pepsi colorway that just looks even better in person. With a depth rating of 200 meters (660 feet), it’s a solid diver for general use.
Seiko did a great job with the polishing on the case and bezel, giving the watch a more sophisticated look. The SRPA21K1 is a dive watch that you won’t mind wearing regularly.
2. Seiko Prospex SNE435P1 PADI Solar
The Seiko Prospex line is officially sanctioned by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. Therefore, you know that you have a legitimate timepiece on your wrist. The Seiko Prospex SNE435P1 PADI Solar is a diving watch with serious pedigree and great price.
The SNE435P1 has a water resistance rating of 200 meters, making it a good fit for general diving purposes. This is a solar-powered watch and features a 10-month power reserve once it’s fully charged. It’s a bit on the bigger and thicker side but it’s hard to complain especially at this price point.
3. Seiko Prospex SRPC93 ‘Save The Ocean’ Samurai
Personally, the Seiko Prospex SRPC93 ‘Save The Ocean’ Samurai is one of the shining entries in Seiko’s Prospex line. In terms of comfort and wearability, it’s easily one of my favorite Seiko watches ever. The bracelet is solid and high-quality, and the reduced bulk made way for a better wearing experience.
It’s a good thing that the Prospex SRPC93 is also very stylish with its bright blue dial and knockabout body. The dial is just hypnotizing to look at, and it just begs to be worn in the water. Despite being a special edition Prospex, the SRPC93 can be yours for less than $500.
Citizen vs Seiko Dive Watches: Which One Should You Choose?
Finally, we’ve come to the end of the Citizen vs Seiko dive watches comparison.
So which one should you get?
Well, it depends on what you want from a dive watch. If you care more about watches with a classic vintage look, Seiko’s offerings should be a good starting point. Otherwise, Citizen has more watches with bolder designs.
As for the timekeeping and diving performance, both Seiko and Citizen are almost neck-to-neck. Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology is a big deal since you don’t have to replace the batteries. Seiko dive watches have interesting movement technology but the older ones have practical drawbacks.
Lastly, pricing is almost the same between the two brands unless you go for the higher-end models. In that regard, Citizen edges out Seiko when it comes to high-end model pricing.
At the end of the day, it’s hard to go wrong with either dive watch brands. Both have a history of making high-performance dive watches at budget-friendly prices.