I was in Disneyland several months back, bored as only someone without kids can be after two days surrounded by tens of thousands of the little critters and looking for any distraction. I eventually settled on wristwatches, noting how few kids had them and, even more puzzling, how many adults were wearing dive watches; one man had his dive watch partnered with a bespoke suit.

You can wear a dive watch with anything in the clothing line. Suits, dresses, shorts, sportswear, and beachwear, can all be worn with a dive watch, though the bulkier the watch, the less formal the attire. A dive watch is no longer confined to coastal towns and is daily apparel in many cities.

My obsession with dive watches had no end. Were they planning to mass-dive in one of the fish tanks? Were they going to nip down to the Keys later that day? Then I started looking more closely at what clothing these ‘dive watch folk’ were wearing, and it was everything from shorts and no shirts to tailored trousers and collared shirts, sundresses, and sneakers. Can you wear a dive watch with anything?

Can You Wear A Dive Watch With A Suit?

The rule of thumb for many years in men’s fashion was that anything goes as long as it compliments and doesn’t clash. However, since men now wear blue suits with brown shoes, the good ship Elegance has long since sailed.

For women, chunky bracelets and other arm jewelry would generally be matched with a broad belt and chunky buckle or a necklace of similar dimensions to the bracelets. Perhaps due to increased muggings, women wear noticeably less conspicuous jewelry daily, but dive watches are worn more and more often.

Right now, men and women are flaunting so-called fashion norms and wearing very chunky dive watches with tailored suits, despite horrified reactions from certain fashion houses, where suits are increasingly skinny-fit, and these dive watches stand out even more.

Can I Wear My Dive Watch With A Dress?

Yes, it’s happening increasingly, not just in seaside towns but in cities hundreds of miles from the ocean. Women are not all following long-established accessory norms as we have seen over the years, and some are very comfortable with arms that are bare, apart from an Omega or other dive watch.

Can I wear a dive watch with a leather strap?

Some decry – most vocally – the practice of wearing a leather strap with a dive watch as they feel the two items are incompatible. To this, I remind them that thousands of young men wear blue suits and brown shoes worldwide, and if this horror can be perpetuated, anything goes.

It is possible that you simply love your watch and wish to wear it more often and believe a leather strap will complement your similarly-colored shoes and belt. This makes far more sense than many other fashion trends, so go for it. The naysayers will either get used to it or find something else to complain about.

Possible Dress Options When Wearing A Dive Watch

  • A two-piece suit, sans tie and with the jacket unbuttoned, is elegantly casual, and the addition of a dive watch can be an enhancement rather than a detraction: Just ask Mr. Bond.
  • For the ladies, the ubiquitous LBD (Little black dress) is quietly elegant, and the addition of a sensibly-sized dive watch is a wonderful conversation starter. In both cases, too big a dive watch might be considered clumsy, but in for a penny..?
  • Shorts and a tailored shirt or blouse work well together, and the addition of boat shoes or similar introduces an element of the ocean and allows the easy inclusion of a dive watch on your arm.
  • Khakis and a rough-knit woolen sweater speak of the outdoors and suggest an intrepid spirit providing a solid base for a chunky dive watch. If you’re going into the woods, the solid nature of a dive watch should make it an automatic choice anyway.

Which Dive Watches Pair With Most Clothing Decisions?

Some people look great in an extremely large-faced, chunky watch that sits high on their wrist, but for the most part, a thinner watch will be more comfortable to wear. There will be less hooking onto backpack straps for hikers and fewer shirt cuffs sitting halfway up your forearm because they can’t pass over the watch’s bezel.

The Rolex Submariner 126613LBBLSO, with its Blue Dial and gold and Stainless Steel bracelet, is perfect for most dress situations, with a thickness of less than half an inch (12mm). Conversely, not many people can pull off wearing a Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronograph 44 at 2/3 of an inch in thickness (15.6mm).

Audemars Piguet is a trendsetter in the luxury watch market and has noted that women are starting to wear dive watches casually and has even created a watch that caters to these customers. The new 37 mm version of the Royal Oak Offshore for women features a blend of a stainless steel case and a diamond set bezel. The thickness is only 12.5mm, and they have included a convention-defying dark blue rubber strap on this model.

Do I Have To Spend A Fortune If I Want A Dive Watch?

Certainly not. The Rolex Submariner is a whopping U$22 000.00, and it’s not the only dive watch in that league, but the thinnest dive watch currently available is the Nove Trident E001-02 which sells at under U$350.00.

Sure, it doesn’t have the investment potential of a Patek Phillipe, Audemars Piguet, or the Breitling, but the Nove Trident is excellent value and only 6.8mm (0.27”) thick. This is a perfect solution to tight shirt cuffs!

Why Are Dive Watches So Large?

Dive watches are traditionally large with clear faces, as conditions during a dive can range from clear to very murky, and a diver needs to see dive times and other information on their watch easily. A night dive, in particular, requires ease of reading from your watch, and a big face means lots of metal and increased size.


I have already damaged my dive watch by forcing my arm through a backpack’s strap when hiking, and despite my paying a fortune for the repair, Seiko refused to guarantee it was waterproof. Realistically, I wasn’t using the watch for its stated purpose, so I can hardly complain, but I won’t make that mistake twice. If you’re comfortable wearing your dive watch out of the water, just be more sensible than I was.


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