13 Great Alternatives to the Rolex Submariner
The Rolex Submariner is arguably the most recognized watch in the world. Having established a legendary status, it has become the go-to luxury sports watch, and become the first watch people think about when they think of a dive watch.
The Submariner has had a huge impact on the sports-and dive watch industry, and become the definition of a dive watch. With that said, many other manufacturers have taken note and found inspiration from the design if the iconic Submariner. Considering its legendary status, a lot of people aspire to one day own a Submariner. And others, who plan to finally buy their first luxury sports watch, naturally gravitate towards the Submariner as the first option.
With that said, a Rolex Submariner is not cheap. In fact vintage Submariner watches get huge sums at auction, and stainless steel Submariners fetch a premium over the retail price. Furthermore, due to its great popularity, it is a watch that is everywhere. Not everywhere in a literal sense, because, let’s not forget, most people don’t buy a 10.000 dollar watch. But everywhere in the sense that if you look closely at what watch people are wearing, you won’t be surprised when you see a Submariner. Whilst the Submariner is considered a watch that every watch enthusiasts need to have in their collection, there may be other reasons why you gravitate towards something else. You may be after a watch that shares the same ethos as the Submariner, of a luxury tool watch, but is more discreet and not instantly recognizable. Or maybe, you want to find a watch that ticks many of the boxes that the Submariner does, but at a more affordable price.
Perhaps you already own a Submariner and love it (how can you not?), but want to try something new and more unique, which does what the Submariner does, but has a different approach to doing it?
One thing is certain, the market does not lack luxury sports/dive watches. In fact, it is full of them, and the options are many. Both cheaper as well as more affordable alternatives.
To help you find that perfect dive watch that is an alternative to a Rolex Submariner, we list 13 great dive- and luxury sports watches. All of them feature mechanical movements, and offer a water-resistance that is more than enough for the vast majority of people.
Further on, we’ll also take a look at some affordable Rolex Submariner alternatives for everyone who is not willing to spend thousands of dollars on a watch but still enjoy the look of the Submariner.
13 Rolex Submariner alternatives
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M
The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M is probably the watch that is most often compared with the Submariner. In Omega Facebook groups, we can often read the term ”Submariner killer”, in the argument that the Seamaster is better than the Submariner.
Whether or not it is, we leave it up to you to decide, but the Seamaster Diver 300M does have many benefits.
Firstly, it’s safe to say that the Seamaster has established a legendary status. Its design is now iconic, and its history is long and appealing, including being worn by James Bond.
In terms of specifications, the Seamaster has a similar performance as the Submariner.
Just like the Submariner, it is available in a number of different price ranges. The most recent iteration was released in 2018 and this is the watch that is the most similar to Rolex’s current Submariner. It has a ceramic bezel, a ceramic dial, 300-meter water resistance, a bracelet with a diving adjustment, and a solid and reliable mechanical movement. Then, of course, there is the price. Earlier iterations, for example from the 1990s to 2017, are considerably cheaper than any Submariner out there. These range from 1000 USD up to about 4000 USD. Considering its specifications, in particular the generation before 2018, it’s safe to say that it is a watch that offers great value for money. Due to its price point, it tends to be an entry-level watch for people who want to get into dive-and sports watches.
Omega Seamaster 300
The Omega Seamaster 300M is quite similar to the Seamaster Diver 300M but has a number of changes.
The Omega Seamaster 300 was introduced in 1957 and was a watch designed specifically for divers and professionals who worked underwater. More than half a century later, Omega reintroduced an upgraded and updated watch ”prepared to equip a new generation of adventurers on land and in the oceans.”
With that said, this watch is a modern dive watch, with modern performance, but has vintage-inspired elements, including a matte black dial, and aged lume plots. Similar to the model from which it takes its inspiration, it has a symmetrical case and lugs and big hands and numbers for easier reading in various lighting conditions.
Tudor Heritage Black Bay
It’s no secret that Tudor is owned by Rolex. With that said, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay shares a lot of design features and lines from the vintage Rolex dive watches. This is in particular due to the fact that it is a vintage-inspired model, which seeks inspiration from Tudor’s vintage dive watches primarily from the 1950s and 1960s, which at the time were assembled with the same parts as Rolex watches.
This is why the Tudor Heritage Black Bay reminds of the Submariner in many ways but is still different enough from the current Submariner that it will not be mixed up. It has a unique design, but still embraces the traditional designs and lines of vintage dive watches, which makes this a great alternative to the Submariner.
This model was upgraded in 2016 to include an in-house movement. This movement, of course, has been developed with the help of the know-how and expertise from Rolex, which ultimately makes it a watch that offers great value for money.
The price of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay is less than half of that of the Submariner, but the quality is high and the watch is extremely well-built. The Tudor Heritage Black Bay is available with either a red, blue, or black bezel.
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Fifty-Eight was released by Tudor in 2018 and is a variant of the standard Heritage Black Bay. The major difference is that it has a 39mm case instead of 41. This is great news for people who prefer smaller and less bulky watches. Furthermore, as this watch is a vintage-inspired watch, more specifically based on a vintage dive watch from Tudor released in 1958 (hence its name), it stays true to not only the design but also the size ideals of the time. Mind you, 41mm dive watches were very uncommon (essentially non-existent?), in the 1950s.
Like the standard Heritage Black Bay, it features an in-house movement and has a very high build quality. The price is also less than half of the Submariner, making it a watch that offers great value for money.
Breitling Superocean Heritage
The Breitling Superocean Heritage is another popular alternative to the submariner
This watch is available in a number of different sizes and iterations which means you should be able to find one that matches your size and design preference.
Furthermore, you also have variants of the Breitling Superocean, which go under a slightly different name, but the Superocean heritage is unarguably the most classic.
As the name suggests, it is a vintage-inspired watch that takes inspiration from Breitling’s vintage watches. It has a unique design, as well as good build quality.
Like the Submariner, it uses a ceramic bezel, but it ”only” has a water resistance of 200-meters. Still, more than most people will ever need. Like the Submariner, its design is timeless, as it is built on vintage designs that have proved they will never go out of style. The watch also uses the Breitling B20 caliber which is an in-house movement. The price is also much more affordable than that of the Submariner, of about two-thirds of the price.
The Aquis is one of Oris’s most popular dive watches, and it is also a more affordable alternative to the Submariner. With a price of about 1000-2000 USD, it tends to be a choice for novice watch enthusiasts who are looking to dip their toes into the dive watch space but aren’t prepared to cough up 10000 USD for a Submariner. In fact, it isn’t necessarily a watch for novice collectors either, as it is respected and appreciated by most for what it is. It can simply be a choice for people who want a watch that offers great value for the money. And the Aquis sure does just that.
With the Aquis, you get a solid and robust watch with a ceramic bezel. This model is available in a large array of different colors and versions, which means you will be able to find one that suits your style and preference. The standard model, the Oris Aquis Date uses a Sellita-based, and Oris-modified caliber.
The IWC Aquatimer is a model that we feel has ended up a bit in the shadow of many other dive watches that have come out to the market. But that doesn’t mean the Aquatimer isn’t a good alternative to the Submariner.
It’s no secret that IWC makes great quality watches. The design of the Aquatimer is also unique, which makes it a great choice for someone who wants something that won’t be instantly recognizable, such as the Submariner. For most people, the Aquatimer will fly under the radar, but those who know will know.
Like the Submariner, it offers 300-meter water resistance and has a long and interesting history. Whilst IWC is not the first brand you think about when you consider dive watches, IWC has a long relationship and experience in making professional dive watches.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer
The Tag Heuer Aquaracer is a popular entry-level dive watch. It has an iconic and recognized design, and it is made by a famous and well-respected watch brand.
The Tag Heuer Aquaracer is truly a classic that you can never go wrong with.
What’s more, the Aquaracer collection consists of a number of different dive watches, so you can be sure to find one that you will like. The standard model uses a ceramic bezel insert a dive extension bracelet and a water-resistance of 300-meters. Its price is far below the price of a Submariner, at about 2500 USD, which makes it a great choice if you want to enter the world of dive watches.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is a legendary and well-respected dive watch. Blancpain is famous for making some of the very early dive watches for professional divers, and those are exactly what the Fifty Fathoms is built on. In 1953, Blancpain released the Fifty Fathoms, which makes it one of the earliest dive watches.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms was made at the request of the French Navy’s elite SCUBA squad, called the Nageur de Combat. This group had specified a number of different features for a dive watch: a locking timing bezel to assure dive times didn’t get overextended, an auto-winding movement to reduce wear on the crown threads, and a leak warning system — in this case, a clever dot on the dial that would turn red if moisture was present. Meeting the group’s requests, the Blancpain quickly became a well-respected and prestigious dive watch.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms can, therefore, compete with the Submariner when it comes to a prestigious history, but also quality and craftsmanship. It has a well-made in-house caliber, a legendary history, and an appealing vintage-inspired design. What more can you ask for? Of course, being a watch from the fine Swiss watch brand Blancpain, this watch is actually more expensive than a Submariner.
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean
The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean is yet another popular alternative to the Submariner from Omega. Looking at the specifications, the Planet Ocean is up to par with the Submariner. It has a ceramic bezel, ceramic dial, a great build quality, and actually double the depth-rating of the Submariner at 600 meters.
Furthermore, the Planet Ocean is available in an overwhelming number of iterations and versions, in a number of different sizes, so you can be sure to find one you will like. The price varies depending on which version you go for, but the standard model is priced lower than the Submariner.
Seiko’s dive watches should not be underestimated. Of course, there are a lot to choose from when it comes to Seiko dive watches, so please feel free to expose the rest of the brand’s offerings. But looking at the Seiko Prosper SBDC051, you can quickly recognize that it is a true dive watch.
It is sporty, tool-like, has a water resistance of 200-meters, and an appealing design.
Of course, you won’t get the build quality and finish like that on a Submariner, but let’s not forget that this watch is priced at about 700-1000 USD, making it a watch that offers great value for money.
Breitling Superocean II 42
Another great alternative to the Submariner is the Breitling Superocean II 42. This watch is a variant of the Superocean Heritage and has a design that is more similar to what most people think about when they think about a dive watch. It is clean and has sleek lines, and of course a great build quality. Like the Superocean Heritage, it is available in a number of different versions, so there is a lot to choose from. Also, the watch offers impressive 500-meter water resistance.
The last alternative to the Rolex Submariner is the Tudor Pelagos. Again, a brand that is owned by Rolex and shares the company’s know-how.
The Tudor Pelagos is a bit different as it is made in full titanium, making it extremely light.
The most recent reference, the 25600 has an in-house caliber and has an impressive water-resistance of 500-meters. To enable this, the watch is equipped with a helium escape valve.
The Tudor Pelagos actually has a more clever clasp system than the Submariner, which consists of springs inside the clasp which extend or contract automatically when you wear it.
The design is not vintage-inspired, which means it is completely unique. The watch is aesthetically pleasing, but at the same time won’t attract (un)wanted attention like the Submariner.
BONUS tips – Top Affordable Rolex Submariner Alternatives
Above, we have gone through some of the best Rolex Submariner alternatives, but these are still watches that generally cost at least a few thousand dollars. With that said, if you are looking for affordable Rolex Submariner alternatives, keep on reading. Below are some of our best affordable alternatives for alternatives to the Rolex Submariner.
Casio Duro MDV-106-1AVCF
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Casio Duro MDV-106-1AVCF is undoubtedly my favorite affordable dive watch ever made. And there are good reasons for this.
This watch is probably the best dive watch in its price range if you look at build quality, finishing, and durability. The watch has a classic and timeless dive watch design which is exactly what you associate with a dive watch. It has a unidirectional rotating bezel with 60-minute graduation markers and a black aluminum insert. It has a sporty and robust stainless steel case and a beautiful black dial with large applied markers with a luminescence that allows for great legibility. The black dial has a beautiful sunburst finish which reflects the light in a really nice way. In many ways, this watch reminds of the Rolex Submariner.
As a dive watch should, it has good water resistance, which in this case is 200m/660 feet, making it suitable for swimming and diving.
For convenience, it has a window at 3 o’clock. Inside is a reliable quartz movement. The watch is presented on a black resin band.
- Water-resistance: 200m/660 feet
- Movement: quartz
- Diameter: 44mm
- Thickness: 12.1mm
- Weight: 92 grams
Citizen Eco Drive Promaster BN0150-28E
The Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster BN0150-28E is a highly popular affordable dive watch that offers everything you expect from one. Durability, a classic design, great legibility, and water-resistance.
This is an Eco-Drive timepiece which means that solar and ambient light generates energy to the movement and eliminates the need for replacing the battery. In turn, the energy is stored in a permanently rechargeable power cell.
The watch offers a water resistance of 200m/660 feet which makes it suitable for diving and swimming. The watch is ISO certified.
The watch has a durable stainless steel case design and a unidirectional rotating bezel with a 60-minute graduation scale with a black aluminum insert. On top of the case, it has an anti-reflective mineral crystal.
At 4 o’clock, it has a date window, and the watch has a matte black dial with large applied hour markers with luminescence applied to them. To allow for good legibility, it has large hands.
Like all great dive watches, and just like the Submariner, it has a classic and timeless design.
- Water-resistance: 200m/660 feet
- Crystal: Anti-reflective mineral glass
- Movement: caliber E168
- Diameter: 44m
- Thickness: 12mm
Orient ‘Mako II’ Automatic Diving Watch
The Orient Mako II is a classic and highly popular affordable dive watch. In many ways, it reminds of the classic Rolex Submariner 16610.
It has a stainless steel construction with a diameter of 41mm, a unidirectional rotating bezel, and a black aluminum insert with a luminous pip at 12 o’clock. The watch has a black dial with applied numerals with luminescence on them. The hands are sword-shaped and have luminescence on them as well. At 3 o’clock, it has a day and date window. The watch is water-resistant to 200m/660 feet.
The watch is powered by the automatic Orient caliber F6922 which has a hand-winding and manual-winding function. The movement has a power reserve of approximately 40 hours.
This watch is durable, sporty, robust, high-performing, and offers exceptional value for money.
- Movement: Orient Caliber F6922. Hand-winding, hacking function
- Water-resistance: 200m/660 feet
- Diameter: 41mm
- Power-reserve: 40 hours
Bulova Men’s 98B203 Stainless Steel Watch
The Bulova 98B203 is a robust, durable, and sporty dive watch.
The watch has a unidirectional rotating bezel with a 60-minute graduation scale and black aluminum insert. On top of the case is a mineral crystal. Worth noting is that the watch ”only” has a water resistance of 100m/330 feet. With that said, it is suitable for swimming, but not deep diving.
Inside beats a Japanese quartz movement.
Like most classic dive watches, it has a black dial with large applied hour markers with luminescence applied to it. The hands are large too and have luminescence as well. Positioned at 3 o’clock, it has a date window.
- Crystal: mineral glass
- Water-resistance: 100m/330 feet
- Movement: Japanese quartz
Orient Kamasu Automatic Diving Watch
Orient is a brand that makes very popular affordable dive watches. With that said, it is easy to see why this Kamasu is so popular. It has a water resistance of 200m/660 feet, making it suitable for both diving and swimming. The name “Kamasu” is Japanese and means Barracuda, which is suitable for this watch.
It is presented with a stainless steel case with a diameter of 41.8mm. On top of the case, it has a sapphire crystal, which is a nice detail since many watches in this price range have mineral crystals. At 3 o’clock, it has a day and date window. It has a black background with applied hour markers and luminescent on the hour markers and hands.
Inside the watch is an automatic Orient caliber F6922 which has hand-winding and hacking seconds functions.
Last but not least, as a dive watch should, it has a unidirectional rotating bezel with a 60-minute graduation scale.
- Diameter: 41.8mm
- Lug width: 22mm
- Crystal: sapphire
- Water-Resistance: 200m/660 feet
Seiko SRP777 Prospex Automatic Diver’s
The Seiko SRP777 is presented with a stainless steel case with a diameter of 45mm and a thickness of 13.4mm. The watch has an iconic case design that is instantly recognizable as ”Seiko”, and this makes it great for people who want a high-performing dive watch with a slightly different design.
At the same time, the Seiko SRP777 offers everything you expect a dive watch to offer. It has a water resistance of 200m/660 feet, a unidirectional rotating bezel, and good legibility. The dial is black and has applied hour markers with luminescence on the markers and hands. At 3 o’clock, you’ll find a day and date window.
Another detail that watch enthusiasts, in particular, will appreciate is that it is powered by the automatic Seiko caliber 4R36. It has a power reserve of 41 hours.
- Movement: Seiko automatic caliber 4R36
- Power reserve: 41 hours
- Crystal: Hardlex
- Water-resistance: 200m / 660ft
- Thickness: 13.4MM
- Diameter: 45MM
Seiko Prospex SBDC033
This is a tough, sporty, and bulky dive watch with great performance and a classic design. A design that is also known as ”Sumo”.
The blue dial has large applied markers and large hands with luminescent of them for glow in the dark. At 3 o’clock, it has a date window. On top of the case, it has a Hardlex mineral crystal. The watch is of course equipped with a unidirectional rotating bezel. To match the blue dial, it has a blue aluminum insert with a luminous pip at 12 o’clock.
The watch is powered by the in-house Seiko caliber 6R15. This is a self-winding movement with a hand-winding function. The power reserve is 50 hours.
- Power reserve: 50 hours
- Jewels: 23
- Movement: Seiko automatic caliber 6R15
- Crystal: Hardlex mineral glass
Seiko 5 SRPD55K1 Man Steel Automatic
Last but not least, we have the Seiko 5 SRPD55K1 which is the predecessor of the iconic SKX. This watch has a classic and iconic dive watch design, but it is more of a sports watch with a dive-watch design. This is partly due to its water-resistance of 100m/330 feet which doesn’t meet the standard for a dive watch. But with that said, most people don’t go diving with their dive watches anyways, and if you’re someone who just enjoys the designs of dive watches, this is a great
The watch has a stainless steel case with a diameter of 42.5mm and a unidirectional rotating bezel with a black aluminum insert. On top of the case, it has a Hardlex crystal.
Positioned at 3 o’clock, it has a day and date window. The watch has a black dial with applied markers and large hands applied with luminescence applied for better legibility.
- Water-resistance: 100m/660 feet
- Lug width: 22mm
- Diameter: 42.5mm
- Crystal: Hardlex
Alternatives to Rolex Submariner – buyer’s guide
As you can see, there are endless of great alternatives to the Rolex Submariner whether you’re looking to spend a few thousand or just a few hundred. It’s safe to say that the Rolex Submariner is one of the most iconic, if not the most iconic dive watch ever made, and naturally, this has had a great impact on designs from other brands since it has created a design that is considered “the definition of a dive watch”.
There is a lot to consider when buying your next watch, and particularly so when it comes to buying a Rolex alternative considering the fact that there is so much to choose from. To help you find the perfect watch for you, here are some important factors to keep in mind.
How similar do you want it to be to the Submariner?
There are plenty of watches that are made as homage watches to the Submariner, meaning that the design is essentially identical. Whilst homage watches tend to split opinions, they are naturally the closest to the Rolex in terms of design. Then we have an endless selection of dive watches that may be inspired by the Submariner in one way or another but with their own design. A lot of people prefer watches with their unique designs, and in this case, you really have a lot to choose from.
In this case, you can simply look at the Rolex Submariner and think about which elements of its design it is that you like. And accordingly, you can choose a watch that reminds of the Submariner. What is interesting is that because the Submariner is so iconic, it has lead the way of what a dive watch is meant to be. The result is that most dive watches today remind of the Submariner in one way or another, although there are some watch brands that have gone their own route and created something completely different.
The size, especially the diameter is always an important aspect of a watch since everyone has different wrist sizes and have different preferences when it comes to watch sizes. Since dive watches are sports watches, they generally tend to be larger than many other watches. The standard size for the Submariner is 40-41mm in diameter. But the great thing when looking at alternatives to the Submariner is that you can find those that are both larger and smaller to cater to your taste and preferences.
When we say color, we mainly refer to the dial but also the bezel. As you have seen on the watches above, and probably other watches as you have been browsing the web, you’ve seen that the Submariner as well as other watches are available in many different colors. The original Rolex Submariner is black, which is also the most classic, sporty, and discreet alternative, but if you want something more striking and eye-catching, there are other alternatives as well, such as blue dial, green dial, and so on.
The Rolex Submariner is a dive watch, so naturally, it has rather good water resistance. Today, the Submariner has a water resistance of 300m, meaning you can go diving and swimming with it. But far from all dive watches and Rolex alternatives have that great of a water resistance. Many alternatives that are made for diving have a water resistance of 100m, and those that only have a dive-watch-inspired design but are not meant for diving may have a water resistance of 100m.
Therefore, consider if you are planning to go diving with your watch or if you’ll only go swimming occasionally. If you’re just going swimming, you’ll manage with just 100m. But if you’re going diving, you need at least 200m, which is the minimum depth rating a watch needs to be officially classified as a dive watch.
In general, watches with better water resistance tend to be bulkier, but this is by no means a rule, rather a common correlation, although there are many exceptions.
All Rolex Submariners are powered by automatic movements, but if you’re looking at alternatives, this may not necessarily have to be the case. Alternatives can be found either with quartz (battery) movements or automatic movement. Which you choose ultimately comes down to preference.
Quartz watches tend to be more accurate and reliable, but automatic watches are more popular amongst watch enthusiasts who appreciate fine watchmaking and the complexity of a mechanical movement, consisting of hundreds of parts. In addition, automatic movements can generally last longer if maintained and looked after properly.
With the dive watch being one of the most popular watch types in the world, the market is naturally full of options. For many, the Submariner is “the ultimate” dive watch. But the fact is that there are also many other great dive watches to choose from that may be neglected as the Submariner is often the watch that first comes to mind for a lot of people. Are there any other watches you would add to this list as alternatives to the Rolex Submariner?