Rolex introduced the classic diving watch, the Submariner, in 1953. It set a new, historic record for divers’ timepieces at the time, being waterproof to a depth of 100 meters. Since then, Rolex has continued to evolve, and the Submariner is now waterproof to a depth of 300 meters. It is, without a doubt, the ultimate diver’s timepiece. Naturally, as it has established a design that is regarded as “the definition of a diving watch,” this has had a big influence on other manufacturers’ designs.
The possibility to own a Submariner, however, is out of reach for many divers and sports enthusiasts due to growing global demand and speculation. This leads to today’s topic: “Rolex Submariner alternatives”. Good ones! There are good alternatives to the Submariner, whether you want to spend a few hundred dollars or several thousand dollars. Because there are so many options, there is a lot to consider. That’s why we gathered this comprehensive list of the top best Rolex Submariner alternatives to assist you in finding the right watch for you.
Good reasons why people buy a Rolex Submariner alternative?
We are well aware of how difficult it is to purchase a Rolex at retail. Some don’t even bother looking at the grey market prices, they’re crazy, although at the moment this article is being written, the bubble blew by 20%. Anyways, people aren’t used to waiting for a watch, registering on a “waitlist”, or creating a “long-term relationship with their local ADs”, just to get their hands on a Rolex. Although it might be worth it, many prefer a more accessible watch, that they can wear the moment they see it. That leads to Rolex alternatives.
Rolex alternatives are less conspicuous. Not everyone is after a Rolex Submariner for the prestige. Although few can miss the fact that a Rolex is a true status symbol, some want it for its water resistance properties. Athletes engaged in water-based sports surely could use one. But when a watch like the Submariner draws this much attention, it becomes nearly dangerous to wear it in public or at night. I don’t want to make this creepy, but people have lost more than their Rolex in robberies. Other brands that fly under the radar for the masses, like Blancpain, Tudor, and Oris, allow you to dress your wrist with luxury, without it being a problem.
And surely, the most important reason why people opt for Rolex alternatives is the hefty price tags. While a Rolex Submariner can serve you well for the rest of your days and eventually become a family heirloom, sadly, it is not accessible by everyone. So until the time comes for us to have our Rolex Submariners shining on our wrists, take a load of these bad boys. Shall we!!
Casio Duro MDV106-1AV
I’ll say it as it is! If tech magnate Mr. Bill Gates finds this watch suitable to adorn his wrist, then there are no more compliments to add! Or are there? Well, for starters, this Rolex-looking Casio, costs only $50, has a 200 meters water resistance rating, and looks perfect on an average wrist (44mm case diameter). If you ask me, it is a great conversation starter.
Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB
As a homage watch, the Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB is quite similar to the Rolex Submariner ref. 16610. Other than the display case back on the Invicta, the watches are quite identical, with minor changes in the dials. The bezel and the date window are nearly identical. If you’re looking for affordable Rolex Submariner alternatives, this is the one.
Orient ‘Mako II’
In the world of affordable dive watches, there are a few pieces that stand out. The Orient Mako II is one of them. And it resembles the legendary Rolex Submariner 16610 in many ways. The watch sports a 41mm stainless steel case, has a unidirectional rotating bezel, and a black aluminum inserts with a luminous pip at 12 o’clock. The watch has a 200m/660ft water resistance rating and is powered by the Orient caliber F6922, which delivers up to 40 hours of power reserve. Simply amazing!
Bulova Marine Star 98B203
It’s amazing how Bulova manages to deliver such sporty, durable, and high-performing watches at a groundbreaking price. And that, without compromising quality. The watch is powered by a Japanese quartz movement. It has a unidirectional rotating bezel with a black aluminum insert and a mineral crystal. The watch has a 100m/330ft water resistance rating, making it suitable for swimming, but not diving. That’s not a deal-breaker, is it?
San Martin Water Ghost
San Martin is a Chinese watch manufacturer that focuses on the making of homage watches. The Water Ghost is a tribute to a legendary Rolex Submariner from the 1960s. Sean Connery, the original James Bond, wore the latter, the Submariner. It has the large crown that early Rolex watches were noted for, as well as aged lume and Mercedes hands. In addition, the 38mm casing contributes to the authenticity. We have to admit! The design is quite enjoyable.
Seiko 62MAS Interpretations
The classic Seiko 62MAS was introduced back in 1965 and became the first Japanese professional dive watch. Seiko 62MAS had a 150 meters/500ft water resistance rating and was powered by a self-winding automatic movement. Back in 2020, Seiko decided to reissue the famous 62MAS, under their Prospex platform. Four different versions were introduced, all resembling the original. If you’re looking for a decent Submariner alternative, here you have it! A professional dive watch, relatively affordable, with significant importance for the brand.
Seiko Prospex “Sumo” SPB101J1
I understand! An entry-level luxury dive watch from Seiko won’t fill in the gap of not having a Rolex Submariner adorning your wrist. But hey! This watch is relatively affordable, it is accessible and less conspicuous. I would recommend it to everyone looking for a watch to wear on a daily basis or take it to the depths every once in a while.
The Aquis is a more affordable alternative to the Submariner and one of Oris’ most popular diving watches. With a price range of roughly 1500+ USD, it is a popular option from novice to veteran watch enthusiasts. The Aquis is a strong and durable watch with a ceramic bezel. This model comes in a variety of colors and models, so you’ll be able to choose one that matches your own style and preferences. The Oris Aquis Date employs a Sellita-based and Oris-modified caliber in its standard model. You can’t miss Oris, ever!
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight
Founded in 1926, 21 years after Rolex’s first debut, Tudor was created as an affordable alternative to its better-looking sister brand. (Learn more about Tudor vs Rolex here!) The Tudor Black Bay Fifty Eight begs to differ. It took the watch world by storm back in 2019 (release year), because this model achieved a high level of watchmaking that for one of the very few times, it was capable of matching with Rolex. Its design blends the past with the future, making it a very visually appealing modern dive watch with a vintage look.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200 Date
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean
Omega is one of the greatest watch brands you’ll ever own, second only to Rolex in terms of brand awareness. The Seamaster Planet Ocean range of diving watches includes versions that will undoubtedly steal your breath away. Omega’s proprietary co-axial calibers are included in the collection, the watches are water resistant to 600 meters/2000 feet and built of materials like high-tech ceramic. If a Seamaster Planet Ocean doesn’t make a great Submariner alternative, I don’t know what will.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms No Rad
It is 1953. Switzerland’s Bazel. The Basel Watch Fair, the world’s largest watch show, is now taking place. Blancpain debuts their renowned Fifty Fathoms, which corresponds with Zodiac’s release of Sea Wolf. Rolex Submariner will make its formal debut at the same Fair a year later, with whispers about their piece already circulating. It’s been a fantastic year for watchmaking, Blancpain, and diving. You may say goodbye to the waiting list and choose a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms No Rad instead. Its design dates from 1953, and it comes with a stunning sapphire bezel. This model is limited to 500 pieces and has a price tag of $ 14, 000.