The Rolex Submariner is a damn fine watch. At $10k it damn well ought to be. And again, it is. But ten large is a lot of money and let’s face it: the Sub’s been done. So what’s a dive watch aficianado seeking Rolexian quality to do? Here are three no-compromise Rolex Submariner alternatives that won’t melt your credit card as much . . .
Omega Seamaster 300 – $6,800
The Submariner’s superb Oystersteel bracelet and case are a thing of beauty – a pleasure to have and to hold – regardless of the Sub’s nouveau riche rep. The Omega Seamaster 300’s bracelet and case are just as visually satisfying and haptically happening with none of the Rolex’s braggadocio. Unlike it’s arch rival, you can dress up or dress down the Seamaster, and its legibility and lume match if not beat Rolex’s. Trump card! The Omega’s transparent caseback displays its more modern engine.
And what an engine it is, a technological tour de force every bit as robust as the Rolex. Props to Omega’s caliber 8400 automatic movement, complete with an updated Co-Axial escapement, boasting a 60-hour power reserve. The Seamaster keeps near-perfect time all the way down to one thousand feet. And back. In short, no apologies needed for buying the Omega Seamaster 300, and saving $3200.
IWC Aquatimer Automatic – $6400
The IWC Aquatimer Automatic is another dive watch with an absolutely brilliant bracelet. Its case – based on the legendary Porsche Design Ocean – and dial are far more “young” and modern looking than the Sub, which hasn’t changed much since Baby Boomers boomed. That has something to do with the Aquatimer’s rotating inner bezel and dead simple stepped dial. The design is McClaren sharp and Armani classic.
The Aquatimer’s 30120 caliber movement is based on ETA’s best. It’s as good a starting point for a brick shit house dive watch as you’d want, especially as you scuba down to 1000 feet. When it comes to overall quality, IWC’s got it going on. And if you don’t get on with the Aquatimer’s steel bracelet, the quick-change system opens up a range of style options. As you savor $3600 saved.
NOMOS Ahoi Atlantique – $4,060
Leaving the Submariner’s chunky monkey aesthetic behind, NOMOS makes Rolex Submariner alternatives that are the embodiment of minimalist chic. The 40.3mm Ahoi Atlantique is Glashütte sub-brand’s most aquatic offering, rated to 200 meters (well within the industry standard 130 foot diving limit for recreational divers).
The Ahoi Atlantic’s quality is unassailable, and a lot finer in detail than the Swiss Submariner’s. The German dive watch runs on NOMOS’s in-house automatic caliber DUW 5001. The movement is reliable, accurate and beautiful – admired through a sapphire glass back (unlike the Sub’s solid steel caseback). FWIW, the Ahoi’s textile strap is just as comfortable as Rolex’s Osyersteel bracelet and it doesn’t scratch. $5940 saved.
Money too tight to mention? Click here for Affordable Rolex Submariner Alternatives.
Want to spend even less? Click here for Best Automatic Dive Watches under $1000