Dan Henry 1970 review: a brilliant dive watch that won't break the bank

If you're looking for a great diver on a budget, the Dan Henry 1970 offers fantastic value and brilliant functionality

T3 Platinum Award
The Dan Henry 1970 dive watch in Orange colourway
(Image credit: Future: Sam Cross)
T3 Verdict

If you want a great dive watch without busting the bank, look no further than the Dan Henry 1970. It's a perfect companion for day-to-day activity, offering functionality and form. You'll get away with it in all but the most formal of situations too, making it a perfect one-watch collection.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Timeless, yet quirky design

  • +

    Effortlessly comfortable

  • +

    Quality watch roll comes free

  • +

    200m water resistance

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Bezel can be rotated by accident

  • -

    Lume is just okay

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When considering the best dive watches, you'll likely find yourself looking at timeless staples like the Rolex Submariner. But if you'd prefer to spend a little less on a watch, while still retaining some of that dive aesthetic and functionality, there are options available to you.

The Seiko 5 Sport is considered by many to be a staple at a low price point. It's a timeless range, with models dating back to the early 1960's. But it's far from the only option.

Today, we're looking at the Dan Henry 1970 – a limited edition, dual-crown dive watch with a superb water resistance rating that retails for less than $300. What's not to love?

Dan Henry 1970 review: Specs

  • Case size: 40mm
  • Lug-to-lug: 45.7mm
  • Lug width: 22mm
  • Thickness: 14.8mm
  • Water resistance: 200m
  • Movement: Seiko NH35
  • Power reserve: 41 hours
  • Crystal: Sapphire

Dan Henry 1970 review: Hardware and Design

The Dan Henry 1970 dive watch in Orange colourway

(Image credit: Future: Sam Cross)

In use, you'll spend hardly any time worrying about what is on the back of the case for the Dan Henry 1970, so it's important that we take a moment to champion it here. The case back is engraved with a "Scaphtopus" – that is an octopus in a scuba helmet – on the back. It's beautifully detailed and does a fantastic job of hiding the affordable price point at which the 1970 lives.

It's a 316L stainless steel case, which is beautifully polished. A ring of brushing around the crystal is the only visible break from that when worn – simple, but effective. The dial itself is black, and is only interrupted by the Dan Henry logo above the hands and confirmation of its automatic movement and 200m (660ft) water resistance, below.

The Dan Henry 1970 dive watch in Orange colourway

The lume makes the Dan Henry 1970 easy to read in the dark, too!

(Image credit: Future: Sam Cross)

It features applied indices that are a gentle off-white thanks to the lume they're coated with, matching the hour and minute hands. On this, the orange colour variant, the seconds hand is orange, along with the 15-minute warning on the bezel and the five-minute markers. One point of note here is that, although similar, these do register as slightly different shades of orange, which will annoy some users.

Oh, and while were on the subject of mildly aggravating, close-but-not-the-same colour schemes, the date window is a pure white, rather than the off-white of the lume. That one is harder to notice in practice, but it's there.

One other nice touch comes on the buckle, where the DH initials are engraved. It's a small thing, but it really does add an extra layer of class. That's attached to a rubber strap, with a 22mm lug width. It's soft and supple and won't give you any grief when wearing it.

On the whole, the design is really nice. It's familiar without being a total rip-off, which is a rarity in affordable watches.

The Dan Henry 1970 dive watch in Orange colourway

(Image credit: Future: Sam Cross)

Dan Henry 1970 review: Movement

The Dan Henry 1970 is powered by a Seiko NH35 movement. That's a common choice in this price range, offering rugged dependability without breaking the bank. The NH35 used is a 24-jewel movement, with 41 hours of power reserve on offer, to keep things ticking away, even when not used.

I own a few watches with this movement, so I feel comfortable singing its praises here. In use, it's brilliantly accurate – my not so scientific measurements suggest this piece was losing around 10 seconds a day, which is not bad at this level.

The rotor was also surprisingly quiet. Normally, cheaper movements are exposed when you shake your arm and it sounds like a cheap fidget spinner, but this was almost unnoticable.

Dan Henry 1970 review: In-use

The Dan Henry 1970 dive watch in Orange colourway

(Image credit: Future: Sam Cross)

To test the Dan Henry 1970, I used it as a daily watch for around two-weeks, occasionally swapping out for something I was more familiar with to draw comparisons. And the short version is this: I am absolutely blown away by this watch.

The rubber strap is comfortable on your skin, but also makes for a lighter watch than a steel bracelet. I found it comparable to my Casio G-Shock in terms of weight – that is, barely noticeable.

Before the review, I was using a modified Casioak as a daily wear, and the difference is startling. I hadn't fully clocked just how heavy that watch was until I went back to it after wearing the 1970 – it would sooner double up as an anchor than a dive watch!

The 1970 is a dual-crown diver, and you might be wondering how that all works. There's nothing to fear though – the top crown is solely used to move the internal rotating bezel, leaving the bottom crown to control the movement exactly as you'd expect it too.

That bezel works brilliantly, too. It's well geared so that you can make fine adjustments, but don't need to spend ages to complete a full rotation. The only slight downfall is that it can be accidentally moved without much force. If you set a timer and leave your watch under a cuff, you might find it's jumped around by the time you check back.

When you're timing your lunch break, like I was, that isn't a big deal. Use it to time your oxygen in a dive scenario, though, and you could be in bigger trouble.

The lume used is LumiNova. It's bright and easy to read, making it perfect in darker environments. However, it does fade pretty quickly – a common complaint on affordable watches.

Oh, and if the watch itself wasn't enough for you, it also comes with a top-quality watch roll free-of-charge. The roll is a combination of canvas and genuine leather and really feels like a much more premium product. You'd probably pay silly money for something like this on its own, so it's a brilliant inclusion here.

The Dan Henry 1970 dive watch in Orange colourway

(Image credit: Future: Sam Cross)

Dan Henry 1970 review: Verdict

It's really only fair to keep price at the forefront of your mind when critiquing this watch. Because sure, this isn't going to keep pace with a Submariner. But at a price that could be a rounding error on the Rolex, it really shouldn't have to.

What you get here is a beautiful, limited edition watch with a dependable movement. It's got just enough individuality to pique interest, while not feeling out-of-place in the real world.

Prevailing wisdom suggests that, if you're only planning to own one watch, you should make it a dive watch. I'd never really agreed with that before now, but having spent some time with the Dan Henry, I'd consider myself converted.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at T3.com, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.