5 Affordable Alternatives to the Rolex Submariner
 

5 Affordable Alternatives to the Rolex Submariner

4 min read
Charlotte Harris

Brands

Rolex

Categories

WatchGecko Top Choice Series

Charlotte Harris

Brands

Rolex

Categories

WatchGecko Top Choice Series

Rolex is a name that needs no introduction. The Swiss watchmaker is possibly one of the best known luxury brands in the world, let alone the biggest in watchmaking, with a storied history dating back to 1905. They have a number of world-famous designs in their portfolio, but the Rolex Submariner is one of their most popular.

Rolex SubmarinerRolex Submariner - Credit WatchGecko

 
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The Submariner marked Rolex’s first waterproof dive watch when it launched in 1953 and became the world’s first timepiece to be 100 metres water resistant. Over the years, the design evolved, incorporating new technologies and design features like the famous ‘Mercedes’ hands. It was also met with extra interest when it was worn by Agent 007 in a total of eight James Bond films from 1962. Paired with both wetsuits and dinner jackets, it became clear the Rolex Sub was a symbol of adventure, achievement, and luxury.

Yet despite almost everyone knowing Rolex, there’s only a handful of us that can actually access and afford their watches. So, it begs the question: what are the best affordable alternatives to the Rolex Submariner? If you like the look of the Rolex Submariner but you don’t have the bank balance to support one, here are some great examples of Sub-inspired dive watches for less than £2,000.

Oris Aquis

Oris Aquis Holstein PurpleOris Aquis Holstein Purple - Credit WatchGecko

Starting off with our most expensive Rolex Submariner alternative, and one that still retails for a fraction of a real Sub, is the Oris Aquis. Swiss Made and available from £1,750, the Aquis is Oris’ flagship dive watch and is designed with robustness and reliability in mind. It arrives with a 43.5mm stainless steel case, sapphire crystal glass and a 300 metre water resistance. It also has a knurled ceramic bezel, Superluminova-decorated dials in a variety of cool colours and is powered by the Oris 733 automatic winding movement.

Tissot Seastar 1000

Tissot Seastar 1000Tissot Seastar 1000 - Credit Tissot

A watch undeniably close in execution to the Rolex Submariner is the Tissot Seastar 1000. There are several iterations of this model available, so depending on the case size and movement you prefer, the price will vary. Those with the quartz movements are a little cheaper retailing from just £425 but those powered by the Swatch Group’s Powermatic 80 automatic movement with an 80-hour power reserve are definitely worth a look at. These models retail from £740. No matter which you choose, each comes with a ceramic insert bezel, solid steel case with a 300 metre water resistant rating and decent levels of lume on the dials.

Casio Marlin Duro

Casio Marlin DuroCasio Marlin Duro - Credit WatchGecko

 
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£68.00
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Simple Handmade Italian Leather Watch Strap - Reddish Brown

The cheapest model on today’s list is the Casio Marlin Duro, and as we’ll quickly explain, this is a watch with a fantastic value proposition. Not only does this model look a lot like a Rolex Submariner at a quick glance, but for just £55, you truly get some fantastic specification. The stainless steel housing has beautiful finishing and the black sunburst dial provides fantastic clarity with luminous indices and purposeful hands. There’s also a 200 metre water resistant rating and for this price, a quartz movement is housed inside. If you like the look of the Casio Marlin Duro, you can learn more about it in a hands-on review here.

Seiko Prospex SNE589P1

Seiko Prospex SNE589P1Seiko Prospex SNE589P1 - Credit Seiko

It would be wrong to discuss accessible dive watches without bringing Seiko and their Prospex model into the mix. The collection as a whole is filled with some great alternatives to the Rolex Submariner, but if you’re looking for one with an obviously familiar aesthetic, then we recommend reference SNE589P1. This £470 watch has a similar shiny aluminium 60 minute dive bezel, luminous round hour markers and a screw in crown protected by crown guards. For a watch of this price, we’re impressed it includes sapphire crystal glass and a 200 metre water resistant rating. The case is well-sized at 42mm wide and 10.74mm tall and houses a solar-powered quartz movement that charges from both natural and artificial light.

Timex M79

Timex M79Timex M79 - Credit Timex

Our final affordable alternative to the Rolex Submariner is the Timex M79, an automatic winding dive watch available from just £260. Whether intentional or not, it’s clear the design of the Sub has greatly influenced the M79. It has the same cathedral-like hands, rounded indices and in some instances a two-toned bezel like the popular Sub bezels nicknamed the “Batman” and “Coke”. In this instance, the rotating bezels incorporate aluminium inserts set upon 40mm wide steel cases with 50 metre water resistant ratings. Despite the price, they are still powered by automatic movements with 40-hour power reserves.

There you have it, a list of affordable alternatives to the Rolex Submariner. Sure, none of them quite match up to the Sub’s in-house chronometer-certified movements, 904L steel cases and Triplock winding crown, but if you’re happy to negate some of these features for the sake of saving some - or a lot – of money – it’s worth giving these accessible dive watches a try.

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Charlotte Harris

About the Author: Charlotte Harris

Writing and watches are two of my biggest passions in life so being able to unite them on a daily basis is a wonderful thing. I hope through my writing that I can bring a fresh, feminine perspective on the watch space and encourage more men and women to get excited about all that’s happening.

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