The 12 Best Rolex Submariner Alternatives

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The Rolex Submariner is indeed the dive watch that launched a thousand homages. Beyond its lore and beyond being the world’s most recognized watch, the Sub really did introduce innovative, high-quality dive features and an efficient design language. However, you don’t have to go the Rolex route to rock these coveted features and designs on your wrist. So we’ve chosen the 12 best Rolex Submariner alternatives.

Whether you’re looking for something more affordable or another Swiss hard-hitter with equally as much heritage, all options are represented.

Tudor Pelagos

Tudor Pelagos

Leave it to Rolex’s sister company to build a Submariner alternative that you’ll want in addition to the Sub. The Pelagos’s construction is considered by some to be an upgrade. It’s titanium, which means it’s 45% lighter than a stainless steel Sub, and it’s water resistant at 500m. The clasp also extends and reduces automatically. And just like a Rolex, the Pelagos runs on an in-house Swiss movement with a 70-hour power reserve. It’s an impressive watch that doesn’t beg for attention.

Omega Seamaster 300

Omega Seamaster 300

The Seamaster 300 isn’t just a good alternative, it’s the Submariner’s pop culture pinchitter. After decades of sporting a Sub, Goldeneye‘s 007 opted for a Seamaster in what I dubbed the great Omega switch of ‘95. Today’s Seamaster features a self-winding movement with 60 hours of power, a co-axial escapement for high-performance and low maintenance, and long triangular indices for a frenetic aesthetic. If you want something just slightly less obvious than a Sub but equally as important in heritage and quality, go for a Seamaster —rock it with a NATO strap if you want to feel like post-2000s Bond.

Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Automatic

Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Automatic

This design-forward diver really punches above its weight. It’s a moderate-to-slim 13.3mm that wears flat and can peek from under a dress shirt’s cuff, for day-to-night versatility. The bold contrast color of the 1/4th safe zone on the bezel is eye-catching, but this timepiece also displays subtle sophisticated details often seen on more expensive watches. For example, the clasp has a high-polish beveled edge that contrasts with mostly satin finishes. Technically proficient, this watch also boasts a whopping 80 hours of power. 

TAG Heuer Aquaracer

TAG Heuer Aquaracer

This handsome diver is more adventurous and athletic than the Submariner. It sports harder edges throughout, with a 12-sided polygonic case in place of a round one and dramatic breaks in the bracelet links and lugs. It’s also loaded with features: A crisp unidirectional bezel, luminous markers, and an accurate no-nonsense quartz movement. Go for this Aquaracer if you want a Swiss luxury diver that’s also just a bit rugged and practical.

Breitling Superocean Heritage B20 Automatic

Breitling Superocean Heritage B20 Automatic

The Superocean really shines. Literally. With its Milanese style mesh bracelet, thin and plentiful coin edging around the bezel and crown, and the hard-edged applied indices, there are a lot of surfaces for light to hit this guy. Like Rolex, Breitling is known for precise chronometers (certified for accuracy in several weather and pressure conditions). The Superocean runs on the B20 caliber, a hyper accurate movement with 70 hours of power. 

Timex M79 Automatic

Timex M79 Automatic

The M79 is an upgraded reimagining of the much loved Q Timex from the ’70s. It features applied markers and a remixed Mercedes hand, reminiscent of the Submariner, but its black-and-blue “Batman” coloration is more like a GMT Master II. The woven steel bracelet is controversial, but definitely unique. Its links are so skinny that it almost looks like a geometric snakeskin, and it’s super flexible. You can also watch the 21-jewel mechanical movement on the exhibition caseback. 

Seiko Prospex SPB101

Seiko Prospex SPB101

If you’re looking for a visually accurate workhorse Submariner homage, it doesn’t get better than the Prospex SPB101. Slight differences include rounded off lugs for a less jagged aesthetic, a bottom-right crown, and stepped middle bracelet links which add dimension. It runs on the high-performance, 70-hour 6R35 movement. Submariner-inspiration aside, go for this watch if you just want a diligent diver built with discipline and know-how.

Sinn U1

Sinn U1

If you used German military engineering to combine the playful, symbol-forward aesthetic of a Swiss railway clock with that of a classic dive watch, it would be the Sinn U1. The case and crown are constructed with German submarine steel, which basically means it’s super strong, incredibly stainless, and seawater-resistant. These watches are actually approved by Norway’s accredited classification society as certified diving equipment. The U1 is like Germany, equal parts fun and serious.

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight

This timepiece is inspired by vintage dive watches, but doesn’t pretend to be vintage. Boasting modern watchmaking techniques, this Tudor is like a prewar home with smart house technology. It’s 39mm, closer in size to the first Submariners, but it doesn’t take it all the way to the original 36mm. It has the same slightly tapered lugs and domed crystal as yesteryear Subs, but the crystal is upgraded to a scratch-resistant sapphire. Its chronometer status is another notable upgrade, featuring a precise MT5402 caliber with 70 hours of power. 

Oris Divers Sixty-Five

Oris Divers Sixty-Five

Oris is distinct in the industry as an independently-owned brand. Their boardroom-free design choices are evident in this diver, which is fully lifted from their 1960s dive watch, all the way down to the 36mm case. It has an anti-corrosive stainless steel construction, an anti-reflective bubble-curved sapphire, and an automatic winding movement with a date. Go for this watch if you’re nostalgic or if you simply have a smaller wrist.

Vaer D7 Swiss Diver

Vaer D7 Swiss Diver

The Vaer D7’s magic lies in its simplicity. It’s combination of Swiss luxury design cues and everyday utility seems textbook, but it hits every mark. Moreover, it easily goes with almost any strap, so it’s like having several watches. Want to go understated and classic? Go for the stainless steel bracelet. Something more utilitarian? Khaki’s your guy. For an elevated casual look, the leather strap gives it a cool-guy aesthetic.

Shinola Lake Superior Monster Dive Watch

Shinola Lake Superior Monster Dive Watch

Shinola is an American Midwestern luxury brand, so it’s no wonder everything about this Monster shouts bigger is better. It’s not only 43mm, but the numbers on the bezel are generously sized. Instead of a classic triangular pointer on the bezel, it’s a trapezoid, as if the tip of the triangle is too big to fit. Regardless, it sits comfortably on the wrist because of the tapered sides, which give it a unique dimensional profile. The indices glow brightly, green like the Northern Lights, against the stark enamel dial.

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