Rolex Submariner Alternatives: 12 Of Our Favorites (Budget and Luxury Options)

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There are many reasons you might be looking at Rolex Submariner alternatives. Perhaps you’re looking for an affordable substitute, or maybe you want to diversify your collection with an equally historic timepiece. In this article, we’re rounding up 12 of our favorite Rolex Submariner alternatives.

Why is the Rolex Submariner so popular? Besides being one of the most versatile and revered entry-level Rolexes, the Submariner set the standard for dive watches when it debuted in 1953. Few watches are as mechanically excellent as they are legendary.

A Rolex Submariner homage is a lower-priced alternative inspired by the original. Competitor alternatives are contending luxury watches. Counterfeits are illegally branded replicas.

Our high-end picks rival the Submariner’s icon status, and our affordable picks feature similar coveted qualities that made the Submariner so important. None, of course, are counterfeits.

 

Rolex Submariner Alternatives Under $500

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We rounded up our favorite Rolex Submariner alternatives. We hope you enjoy our picks!

Stuhrling Depthmaster

The difference between the Stuhrling Depthmaster and the two-tone 126613LB Sub is like the difference between Jose and Ozzie Canseco — not much.

Stuhrling Depthmaster
$72.99

This watch features luminescent baton-style hands and indices, collected in a coin edge bezel and finished with a signed screw-down crown.

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New York-based Stuhrling is known for adhering to Swiss standards of watchmaking. Unsurprisingly they make some of the most effective homages out there.

The Depthmaster has the exact same design language as the two-tone Sub. It features a blue face and gold indices, baton-style hands, and a yellow gold bezel with a blue ceramic insert. Of course, this homage also features the beloved gold-tone middle bracelet link.

At 44mm, it’s slightly bigger than the Submariner. The Depthmaster also has thicker hands and rounder lugs.

It’s water-resistant at 100m and features the Japanese Miyota quartz movement, which is laser accurate. 

On top of that, Stuhrling has one of the most comprehensive two-year international warranties that I’ve seen.

The Depthmaster can easily convince passers-by that you’re rocking a Sub, and is a well-respected and great conversation piece among Sub lovers.

DETAILS of the Stuhrling Depthmaster:

MovementQuartz
DisplayAnalog
Case Diameter44mm
Band Material TypeStainless Steel
Band Width20mm

Seiko 5 Sport SRPB85

This Seiko 5 is a sportier and more utilitarian looking homage. Think canvas boat shoes versus leather boat shoes

The Arabic numbers on the face are in an exaggerated digital font. The blue cog-shaped bezel connects to the silver case, a form reminiscent of a stopwatch. Still, the shiny bezel/matte dial combination gives the case the aesthetic dimension of a luxury watch.

Seiko 5 Sports SRPB85
$172.41

The Arabic numbers on the face are in an exaggerated digital font. The blue cog-shaped bezel connects to the silver case, a form reminiscent of a stopwatch. Still, the shiny bezel/matte dial combination gives the case the aesthetic dimension of a luxury watch.

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There are a lot of lines on the face of the Seiko 5 Sport, for a speedier look than the original Submariner. 

Despite the strong design choices and 44mm size, the choice of blue has a navy tone, which makes the watch a subtle wear overall.

I think that the manual wind and unidirectional bezel feel as good as a higher-end dive. And since Japanese automatic movements focus more on precision than aesthetics, this is a very practical watch

If you love the general design and automatic movement of the Submariner, but want something more athletic looking (and much cheaper), this is the perfect alternative.

DETAILS of the Seiko 5 Sport SRPB85:

MovementAutomatic
DisplayAnalog
Case Diameter4mm
Band Material TypeStainless Steel
Band Width22mm

Orient Ray II

The Orient Ray II has similar design elements to the Seiko 5 Sport, but leans more into the fancy qualities of the Submariner. It’s smoother around the edges and is a shinier wear. 

Orient Ray II
$129.40

This diver is highly revered, garnering respect from even the snobbiest watch buyers, and is the closest to a Rolex Submariner for under $200.

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It forgoes the Seiko Sport’s speed-lines and Arabic numerals, and instead adopts the bubbly indices, longer hands, and smoother bezel of the Submariner.

I love this watch because it reminds me of a cross between a Submariner and the Omega Seamaster 300 Quartz — my two all-time favorite dive watches.

The case has the wide look of the Submariner, but the bracelet is more skeletal like the Seamaster. The center link is offset with contrasting polished edging for a complex, sophisticated look.

Similar to the Seiko 5 Sport, this is a precise Japanese automatic. It has a deeper water resistance though, at 200m.

DETAILS of the Orient Ray II:

MovementAutomatic
DisplayAnalog
Case Diameter41mm
Band Material TypeStainless Steel
Band Width2mm

Citizen Promaster Diver

Fashionable dive watches often look more like they belong on a luxury yacht, rather than on a high-seas mission. The Citizen Promaster is the rugged complement to those kinds of watches.

Citizen Promaster Diver
$221.25

Beautiful round watch featuring unidirectional bezel and blue dial with date window at 4 o'clock and luminous hands/hour markers.


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It’s basically a harbor pilot transformed into a wristwatch.

The bellowed rubber strap adds aesthetic buoyancy and is reminiscent of a seafarer’s life jacket. The blue bezel doesn’t overtake the case as in most watches, giving the robust steel case substantial exposure from an aerial view. 

Its Eco-Drive power source means it’s fueled by light and doesn’t need a battery, a great environmentally friendly feature.

The Promaster is 200m water resistant and features really effective luminous hands and markers, making it the best inexpensive dive watch from Citizen in my opinion.

DETAILS of the Citizen Promaster Diver:

MovementQuartz
DisplayAnalog
Case Diameter43mm
Band Material TypeRubber
Band Width19mm

Seiko Prospex Samurai Wave 

While the Stuhrling Depthmaster is the most visually similar to the Submariner in the budget category and the Seiko 5 is the most functionally similar, this Seiko Prospex has the best combination of Sub-like form and function.

Seiko Prospex Samurai Wave
$375.00

Fun and practical, this professional diving watch features a unidirectional bezel, 200m of water resistance, and Seiko’s hackable 4R35 automatic movement. The special edition wave graphic decorates the bright blue dial, which makes the SRPD23K1 as visually delightful and distinct as it is useful. 

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The Prospex Samurai Wave is an automatic self-winding watch, but features a hand-wind mechanism. It has a unidirectional bezel, a screw-down crown, and Seiko’s LumiBrite markers on the face. 

Seiko’s Hardlex crystal, while not as impervious as the Submariner’s sapphire, is sufficiently scratch resistant, especially for the price.

Visually, the indices are long soft-edged polygons, saving all visual numeration for the bezel. The dial and the bezel are color-matched just as traditional Submariners are. 

As all good homages though, the Seiko Prospex Samurai features design qualities unique from its inspiration. It has a cool wave blue gradient on the face of the dial, and a fun anchor-shaped hour marker that’s short and thick.

Just call this guy the Seiko Submariner!

DETAILS of the Seiko Prospex Samurai Wave:

MovementAutomatic
DisplayAnalog
Case Diameter44mm
Band Material TypeStainless Steel
Band Width22mm

Invicta Gold Tone Pro Diver

Invicta is famous for meticulously understanding the design language of luxury watches and applying that artistry to budget timepieces.

Invicta Gold Tone Pro Diver
$57.49

Classically styled for the sporty gentleman, this gold-tone Invicta stainless steel men's watch travels easily between professional environs and weekend adventures. It features water resistance to 200 meters (660 feet), which is suitable for recreational diving, and a stylish unidirectional rotating bezel with black engraved elapsed time markings

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It’s no surprise that they make the best homage of the beautiful, and very flashy, yellow gold Rolex Submariner. When this timepiece came out in 2008, the watch community immediately agreed that it was one of the grandest Submariner models ever.

Even at less than $60, this Invicta Pro-Diver is that grand Submariner’s aesthetic soul mate.

I always recommend collectors buy their entry-level classics in stainless steel because they hold their value better.

But I get it. Some of us want a fashion-forward look-at-me device.

What makes this stainless steel Invicta an even better buy than the gold Submariner is that it won’t lose value. Plus stainless steel is more durable than gold.

As far as gold homages go, this might be one of the best Rolex Submariner alternatives under $200. So if you’re interested in having a piece of the Midas touch, but want to make smart buying choices, opt for this Invicta.

DETAILS of the Invicta Gold Tone Pro Diver:

MovementQuartz
DisplayAnalog
Case Diameter40mm
Band Material TypeGold-plated Stainless Steel
Band Width18mm

High-end Rolex Submariner Alternatives

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If you’re looking for more high-end Rolex Submariner Alternatives, look no further!

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms

1953 marked the year major watch brands raced to make the best dive watch in the industry. The Fifty Fathoms and the Submariner were two top contenders, and are still Holy Grail tool watches today.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms
$6,775

Stainless steel case with a blue textile (rubber backed) strap. Uni-directional rotating coin edge stainless steel bezel with a blue ceramic (count-up elapsed time) top ring. Blue dial with luminous grey hands and dot hour markers. Minute markers around the outer rim.

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As a brand, Blancpain is more akin to Patek and Piguet, with higher price-points and dressier lines than Rolex and Omega. The Fifty Fathoms is more luxurious looking than the Submariner, but doesn’t forget its tool watch heritage. 

Blancpain makes no more than 30 watches daily since a single watchmaker builds them all. Compare that to Rolex, which produces about 2,000 watches a day.

The face of the Fifty Fathoms is a simple ocean blue, but with a subtle gloss that shines when the light hits it. The case is also beautifully polished throughout.

The strap is made from durable sailcloth that couldn’t be frayed even if you tried, and is backed by rubber for comfort. The rugged strap is a visual reminder that this upscale timepiece is still a tool watch

The automatic movement is made in house. Moreover, the Fifty Fathoms boasts a power reserve of 100 hours. 

The unidirectional bezel makes a beautiful sound that’s audible with even a single click. And since it’s ceramic, the wear of this watch is comfortable and wieldy. 

DETAILS of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms:

MovementAutomatic
DisplayAnalog
Case Diameter38mm
Band Material TypeRubber-backed Textile
Band Width20mm

Breitling Superocean Heritage II

The Superocean Heritage II is the dressiest option on this list. It’s one of the few genuine tool watches out there that you can wear in a black-tie situation.

Breitling Superocean Heritage II
$3,295

Stainless steel case with a stainless steel mesh bracelet. Uni-directional rotating coin edge stainless steel bezel with a blue ceramic (count-up elapsed time) top ring. Blue dial with luminous silver-tone arrow-shaped hands and index hour markers. Minute markers around the outer rim.

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Since Breitling started out as an aviation brand, they know a thing or two about making a good tool watch. The Superocean is a 28 jewel automatic with 200m of water resistance.

The face and case feature traditional dive designs, including the unidirectional bezel with a coin edge and a date window. Both the face and the bezel are an elegant shiny blue, and other than tiny 60, 15, 30, and 45-second markers, visible numbers are scarce.

The bracelet is a stainless steel mesh of numerous petite links. With more surfaces for light to hit, the individual reflections of the links create an almost sparkling effect. The back is flat polished for comfort, so no need to worry about hair pulling.

With its high-shine bracelet and large face, this watch admittedly borders on flashy, but it’s a great accessory for the evening or for those who really want to stand out!

DETAILS of the Breitling Superocean Heritage II:

MovementAutomatic
DisplayAnalog
Case Diameter46mm
Band Material TypeStainless Steel
Band Width24mm

IWC Aquatimer Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau

The IWC Aquatimer is the alternative that looks least like the Submariner, with its fixed stainless steel bezel and flat-ended hands. It also stands well on its own beyond the Sub comparison.

IWC Aquatimer Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau
$4,695

The IWC Aquatimer is the alternative that looks least like the Submariner, with its fixed stainless steel bezel and flat-ended hands. It also stands well on its own beyond the Sub comparison.

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Where this Aquatimer has the Submariner beat is its story. Yes, it’s unfair to pit the Sub’s fictional James Bond against real-life legend, Jacques Cousteau, but hear me out.

IWC created these editions of the Aquatimer in partnership with the Cousteau Society, in honor of the diving pioneer who invented the first diving regulator. A share of this Aquatimer’s proceeds go towards establishing marine protected areas. 

The trademark blue dial looks classy next to the subtly rugged rubber strap. If you look closely at the strap, it features a weaved basket texture that adds dimension to the simple rubber.

Finally, this diver is the real deal with 300m water resistance. Like its namesake, the Expedition Jacques Cousteau is the noble adventurer of the group.

DETAILS of the IWC Aquatimer Expedition:

MovementAutomatic
DisplayAnalog
Case Diameter42mm
Band Material TypeRubber
Band Width22mm

Longines HydroConquest

The HydroConquest is the most practical pick on the list. It’s a reliable back-to-basics sport watch that excels on fundamental functionalities with no frills. 

Dive watches need to be legible, and the HydroConquest beats the Submariner on that front. It features conspicuous Arabic numerals, each outlined in gold, which stands boldly in front of a stark black dial.

Longines HydroConquest
$867.90

This watches features conspicuous Arabic numerals, each outlined in gold, which stands boldly in front of a stark black dial.

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Similar to the Submariner, it’s water resistant at 300m, features a sapphire crystal, a crisp unidirectional bezel, and luminous hands and markers. 

Unlike most of the high-end picks, the HydroConquest is built with an accurate quartz movement. At under a grand, this watch sits somewhere in between the budget and luxury categories.

On the design front, two major highlights include the beautiful mixing of brushed and polished surfaces, and more unassumingly, the engraving of Longine’s legendary logo on the back of the case.

If you’re practical and no-frills, but still want an elegant and quality dive watch, the HydroConquest is your best bet. 

DETAILS of the Longines HydroConquest:

MovementQuartz
DisplayAnalog
Case Diameter41mm
Band Material TypeStainless Steel
Band Width21mm

Omega Seamaster Professional 300, Quartz

First, the legend behind the watch: Most watch lovers remember the event that I call “the great 007 switch of ’95.” This was when James Bond wore this very Seamaster after years and generations of sporting a Submariner. By 2005, the Omega was even name-dropped in Casino Royale

Omega Seamaster Professional 300, Quartz
$3,325.00

The beautiful Seamaster 300 is made out of stainless steel, features a sapphire crystal, and is water-resistant at 300m.

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Culturally, the Seamaster is the closest caliber rival to the Rolex Submariner. And truly, there aren’t many quartz watches that are as fabled as this one.

Why the switch? Bond producers were privy to the Seamaster’s real-world relationship with the British Navy. Moreover, this model caught the eye of many in Hollywood. It ignited the Seamaster renaissance after a low-point in the 80s when the line focused less on being a tool watch and more on being a fashion watch.

So, in addition to being a cultural icon, the Seamaster is historically important and a turning point for Omega as a brand.

I think that the Seamaster has the crispest rotating bezel sound in the dive watch world — we dive watch nerds are obsessed with bezel sounds. And of course, it’s made out of stainless steel, features a sapphire crystal, and is water-resistant at 300m. 

The iconic wave pattern on its face and skeletal hands make this Seamaster instantly recognizable.

Definitely my favorite quartz watch of all time!

DETAILS of the Omega Seamaster Professional 300, Quartz:

MovementQuartz
DisplayAnalog
Case Diameter41mm
Band Material TypeStainless Steel
Band Width20mm

Omega Seamaster Professional 300, Automatic

This Seamaster is kind of a bonus entry.

It’s in the same family as the prior mentioned quartz version. However, if you are an automatic fanatic, and I know many of you are, you’ll prefer this version of the Seamaster.

Omega Seamaster Professional 300, Automatic
$4,275

This watch features the Omega calibre 8800, an in-house movement that contains a whopping 35 jewels. It’s self-winding with a co-axial escapement and the rotor is winding in both directions.

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While the quartz version competes with the Submariner in legend and history, the automatic rivals the Submariner in its functions.

It features the Omega calibre 8800, an in-house movement that contains a whopping 35 jewels. It’s self-winding with a co-axial escapement and the rotor is winding in both directions.

This version pops more visually, with a fun bright blue strap, wider bezel numbers, and a bolder wave pattern on its blue face.

DETAILS of the Omega Seamaster Professional 300, Automatic:

MovementAutomatic
DisplayAnalog
Case Diameter42mm
Band Material TypeRubber
Band Width20mm

Rolex Submariner Alternatives Wrap Up

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We hope you enjoyed this roundup!

Do you love the Submariner’s innovative features, but would rather not indulge in the high price point? Our affordable picks have you covered!

Are you a luxury diver collector with enough Submariners to last a lifetime? Our high-end picks have unique strengths that make each an honorable rival.

Which of the Rolex Submariner Alternatives is your favorite?