Considered a benchmark amongst diver’s watches, the Rolex Submariner remains a classic icon to this day. Originally unveiled in 1953 under the Rolex brand, the Submariner continues to be amongst the most sought-after professional diving watches. However, as we all know a Rolex doesn’t come cheap. As a result, a new Submariner today will set you back by over seven thousand dollars.
This price buys you the most economic configuration and Rolex offers a host of configurations to choose from. The cost shoots up depending on the metal and configuration you choose from here. However, if you aren’t keen on such an expensive buy, there are alternatives to the Submariner.
A host of watches from different brands, share a similar design and functionality to the Submariner. This article will list such examples with their features and background to help you pick an alternative to this iconic Rolex watch. To better judge the options, we will first shed some light on the Submariner.
The Rolex Submariner
The Submariner holds the distinction of being the first watch to be waterproof to a depth of 100m. Purpose-built for divers, the Submariner constantly evolved with time after its inception. The iconic tool watch stands out for its 40mm Oyster case, unique dial, and large luminescent hour markers. In addition, the unidirectional bezel in both the Submariner and Submariner Date ensure the design stays true to the original. The bezel – a corrosion-resistant, scratch-proof ceramic that doesn’t lose color due to saline or chlorinated water and UV rays.
The Oyster case ensures water resistance at a depth of 300m and protects from water, pressure, shocks, and dust. Furthermore, the Triplock winding crown enhances the watertight security of the case. Above all, the watches host technically excellent and precise movements manufactured by Rolex themselves. The Submariner features caliber 3130 and the Submariner Date features caliber 3135 movements.
Given the success that followed, explorers, athletes, celebrities, world leaders, artists, and the influential chose a Rolex. For more information on the brand and the Submariner collection, check out their official website.
Having understood what the Submariner has to offer, here is a list of watches we recommend as great alternatives. More importantly, we have tried to include alternatives from an affordable range up to hefty price tags.
Best Affordable Rolex Submariner Alternatives
Citizen Promaster Diver (Model: BN0150-28E)
Another Japanese brand recognized for quality, technology, and craftsmanship is Citizen. Most renowned for its Eco-Drive technology, Citizen watches don’t require batteries.
The Promaster Diver, one of Citizen’s most popular dive watches, shares a comparable design with the Submariner. More specifically, the model – BN0191-55L.
From the date display, the unidirectional rotating bezel design, the luminous hands, and markers, this one makes a good alternative. Above all, the watch is water resistance up to 200m giving it decent underwater capability.
Another Citizen Promaster makes for a good alternative – Model number BN0151-09L.
Click here to read our review of Citizen watches.
The Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver is still one of our top picks for best dive watch under the $500 mark.
Seiko Prospex Sea Collection
The Japanese watchmaker first unveiled their dive watch in 1965. Ever since the hits have kept rolling. Renowned for its technology and craftsmanship, the Seiko Prospex Sea Collection features many watches similar to the Submariner in design and function.
Currently, the website features 4 watches that are incredibly similar to the Submariner. These include the SPB077J1, SPB101J1, SPB103J1, and SRPD21K1. Water-resistant up to 200m, these watches are slightly larger than the Rolex in diameter measuring between 44mm & 45mm.
In addition, they share a similar screw-down crown, unidirectional rotating bezel, date display, overall look, luminescent hands, and markers. This watch has 660 feet (200M) water resistance.
Bremont S2000 BR
Another very capable and expensive alternative to the Submariner is the Bremont S2000 BR. The iconic British luxury watch brand is most known for its pilot watches. However, the diving lineup remains equally brilliant. Case in point, the Bremont S2000. Inside the scratch-resistant 45mm case sits the Super-LumiNova treated indexes and hands.
Under the anti-reflective, scratch-resistant crystal the BE-36AE automatic movement is at work. In addition to the unidirectional rotating bezel, the watch is water-resistant up to an impressive 2000m. You can also check out the Bremont S301, S500, and S501 for a more affordable price tag with similar looks.
Raymond Weil Tango 300
See on Raymond Weil
Founded in 1976 by Raymond Weil, the Swiss brand quickly began turning heads. Over the years the brand gathered fans for its iconic timepieces and creative marketing campaigns. The Raymond Weil brand is synonymous with sleek and beautiful watches.
This said the Raymond Weil Tango 300 under the Tango lineup makes for a great alternative to the Submariner. The Swiss-Made Tango 300 borrows design cues heavily Rolex. It features an aluminum unidirectional rotating bezel, date display, and hosts a quartz movement. The 42mm case is waterproof up to 300m making it perfect for underwater use.
Oris Divers Sixty-Five
Founded in 1904, the Swiss brand boasts rich watchmaking history. Drawing inspiration from the iconic 1965 dive watch model, the new watches elevate vintage aesthetics. Visually very alike to the Submariner given its 40mm stainless steel case, luminous hands and indices, and similarly designed dial.
Besides, the Swiss-Made Oris Divers Sixty-Five is water-resistant up to 10bar and features an automatic winding date movement.
In a similar vein to the Rolex, configuration options are available for dial color, bracelet, and size. You can also have the Oris Divers Sixty-Five with or without the date display like the Rolex Submariner.
Deep Blue Diver 1000 40MM
Both the earlier and second-generation under this collection are great alternatives to the Rolex Submariner.
With an affordable price tag and a very close resemblance, the Deep Blue Diver 1000 is water-resistant up to 330m.
The 40mm 316L stainless steel case holds a ceramic luminous unidirectional bezel. Under the scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, a Seiko automatic movement is at work. In a similar vein to the Submariner, the hour markers and hands come Superluminova treated. In addition, the case features a helium release valve at 10 o’clock.
Longines HydroConquest Collection
The Longines brand is another luxury Swiss alternative to the Rolex Submarines and the Longines Hydroquest is a close match when it comes to style and aesthetics.
Founded in 1832, the Longines brand made its name combining performance and elegance. The brand’s HydroConquest collection offers timepieces that are very capable and look similar to the Submariner making it a good entry-level choice.
This black dial watch features a unidirectional bezel, date display on the dial, luminescent hands and markers, and a similar-looking 39mm stainless steel dial. However, unlike the Rolex, this watch also features numbers on the dial. More importantly, the watch is water-resistant up to 300m and hosts the Longines Calibre L619/888 movement.
Davosa Ternos Professional
Davosa’s watchmaking history began as early as 1861 in Geneva Switzerland. Over a hundred and fifty years later, the brand continues to successfully tick. Amongst their many models, we’re looking at the Davosa Ternos Professional lineup.
This collection consists of 9 models, and all these dive watches share a likeness to the Rolex Submariner. Apart from a similar look, they host automatic movement, SuperLumiNova indices, unidirectional ceramic bezel, anti-glare crystal, and date display. Certainly capable of underwater feats, the Ternos Professional offers water resistance up to 500m.
IWC Aquatimer Automatic
Founded in 1868 by American watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones, IWC remains a Swiss watch manufacturer in Schaffhausen. World-renowned for its aviation watches and use of titanium, IWC also offers a Submeranier alternative – The IWC Aquatimer Automatic.
First released in 1967, the Aquatimer model continues to evolve with time. The 42mm case hosts self-winding automatic movements, a black dial with luminescence, a rotating bezel, and a date display. Also, water-resistant up to 30bar, this watch shares Rolex’s classic overall design.
Breitling Superocean Automatic 44
If the price tag isn’t an issue and you are keen on a different brand, consider Breitling Superocean Automatic 44.
The Swiss luxury watchmaker stands on par with brands like Rolex given their commitment to quality, technology, precision, and craftsmanship.
As a result, the Superocean Automatic 44 is a very worthy alternative. The watch features a self-winding mechanical movement, date display, unidirectional bezel in a 44mm case. Above all, water-resistant of 1,000 meters put in in the company of a select group of deep-diving professional divers.
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M
Finishing the list is another luxury alternative to choose from if Rolex is too mainstream. Founded by Louis Brandt in 1848, the Swiss watch brand has some iconic watches to its name.
Amongst them, is the Omega Seamaster collection. First unveiled in 1993, the Seamaster Diver 300M has since gained incredible stature and reputation. The current version features a 42mm case with a ceramic bezel and the Master Chronometer Calibres 8800 or 8801 movement. The indexes come filled with Super-LumiNova and the dial carries the popular wave pattern.
This timepiece features the Omega 1424, Swiss Made co axial caliber. The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M comes in several options, the current collection offers 17 options to choose from, including quartz and automatic movements. Since the goal of this article is affordability, we selected the quartz model pictured above.
Tudor Black Bay
Considering Swiss brand Tudor is a sister company of Rolex, the Tudor Black Bay is a brilliant alternative.
Similar to Rolex, the brand offers great quality, craftsmanship, and technically advanced timepieces. The updated 2016 Black Bay shares a similar design and functionality with the Submariner. Currently featuring an in-house mechanical movement, the 41mm case is water-resistant up to 200m. The watch also features a domed sapphire crystal, a unidirectional rotating bezel, and a dial. Considering the brand’s connection to its more famous sibling and similar design makes the Tudor one of the best Rolex alternatives for watch enthusiasts.
You can choose from three bezel colors and four strap options. Further, you can also check out the Tudor Pelagos collection.
Unlike the other brands mentioned in this list, Monta’s inception is recent. However, this doesn’t take away from the brand or their watch’s capability. The young watchmaking brand based out of Saint Lous is looking to elevate the history and quality of tool watches.
With similar looks as the Rolex Submariner, the Monta Oceaking showcases similar classic styling and also features Caliber M-22 – A self-winding movement manufactured and assembled in Switzerland. In addition, it hosts luminescent indices and date displays on the dial under the anti-reflective sapphire crystal. At almost 41mm in diameter, the watch is water-resistant up to 300m. Apart from the indices, the bezel comes treated with luminescent markings ensuring better visibility underwater.
The German watchmaker Sinn offers a great alternative to the Submariner with its U1 model. While not entirely similar looking, the Sinn U1 makes up in capability. Manufactured using German submarine steel, the 44mm case hosts mechanical movement. In addition, the watch features a scratch-resistant captive bezel and a date display.
Above all, the U1’s water resistance is most noteworthy at 1000m. If the stainless steel bracelet is too mainstream, you can choose from either silicone or leather straps in different colors. The U1’s technical specifications and robust design stand testament to Sinn’s focus on professional functionality.
With a brand name that is a synonym for Shark in French, Squale makes great underwater watches. Founded in 1946, Squale focuses on professional dive watches and its great history is a testament to the brand’s success. Squale’s reputation for underwater technology grew further as many brands turned to them for components and construction.
Currently, the brand’s 1545 collection features the Squale Classic 200 meter dive watch – another capable alternative. Structurally and design-wise, the watch resembles the Submariner closely. In addition, the Classic 200 features the Swiss ETA movement in a 40mm 316L stainless steel case. The timepiece also features a date display, SuperLuminova treated hands and hour markers.