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.
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 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.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight
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 Prospex SBDC051
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 expend or contrast 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.
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?