Rolex has become a dominant and much-respected name not just for its watches, but for its more subtle brand of upscale culture. When you hear 'Rolex', you automatically think quality, luxury and wealth.
This powerful brand association has been created over time due to it's classic range of watches such as the Rolex Submariner.
Rolex Submariner watches are as impressive as they are expensive. Since launching in 1953, they have remained one of the most popular and distinctive wristwatches. Whilst the Submariner is undoubtably one of the premier luxury dive watches, given the price tag, most find them out of reach.
It is still marketed to sports figures and athletes owing to its endurance to withstand the harsh environment of underwater diving with grace and style. The strong water-resistance, coupled with luminous hands and the helium release valve, make the Submariner as practical, durable and as comfortable as is possible underwater.
By combining the elegance and ruggedness of a timepiece designed for water with functionality and luxury, you have a watch that is widely worn above sea level too. You'll commonly see the Submariner being sported in boardrooms, airport lounges, and indeed, wherever successful executives are hanging out.
But, we get it.
Not everyone is in a position to pay the steep price for a Rolex Submariner. Enter the Rolex Submariner homages.
Here's our top 6 Rolex Submariner homages so you can still get the iconic look shaped by Rolex, at a price that you can afford.
The Seiko 5 Sea Urchin SNZF17 is our all-round favorite Submariner homage watch.
Part of the incredibly popular and affordable Seiko 5 series, the Sea Urchin is very well built featuring a stainless bracelet and a stainless case in an unblemished white matte finish.
With its luminous hands, unidirectional bezel, the design and material are both functional and elegant, with a striking resemblance to the Rolex Submariner.
The Seiko 5 SNZF17 is further complemented with Hardlex crystal for a robust build, which also adds a touch of class, making it a stylish and practical option..
On the performance front, packed with Seiko caliber 7S36 (Vollsmose) automatic movement with a 40-hour power reserve, you know that you are in for a treat. The accuracy of the Sea Urchin is well regarded, meaning you won't need to be constantly recalibrating the time.
At 42mm in diameter, it carries a good amount of weight without being clunky.
The 100 meters of water resistance may not be best in class, but it is certainly good enough for most of us.
Overall, the Seiko 5 Sea Urchin provides a lot of what the Rolex Submariner is known for: quality, toughness and classic looks. But, it packs all of this in at a price that allows you to buy right now.
Seiko 5 Sea Urchin SNZF17
Designed to handle the rigors of the sea, the Casio Duro MDV106-1AV 200M bears a significant resemblance to the Submariner whilst still cutting a unique look that is distinctly Casio (ie no Mercedes hands).
The watch comes with a set of simple 3 hands for time display with an additional date display at 3 o'clock. Unlike the Submariner, the date display has no magnification that may put off some buyers.
The second hand is red-tipped to make its viewing easier, but the relatively low lume can be difficult to read underwater.
On the performance front, this watch uses a quartz-powered system with a battery life of up to 3 years. Many owners pride the accuracy of the Duro's quartz movement.
The timepiece is also water-resistant up to 200 meters.
In a nutshell, it pays homage to the Submariner with exceptional design and robust, water-resistant capabilities. All at a very affordable price that makes it an easy decision to use as an everyday wear or occasional water use.
And hey, if it's the watch of choice for Bill Gates given the income at his disposal, I'm happy to add it to my collection too.
Casio Duro MDV106-1AV
This Invicta 8926OB Pro Diver in stainless steel looks about as close to the Submariner as you can get. Every detail on this watch, down to the mercedes hand design, screams Submariner.
With an ample 40mm stainless case, this timepiece features luminous hands and markers, a unidirectional bezel, and a magnified date window for easier viewing.
The stainless-steel link bracelet straps have a fold-over clasp and safety enclosure for secure strapping.
The Invicta 8926OB Pro Diver is powered by Japanese automatic watch movement designed for accurate timekeeping.
With water-resistance up to a depth of 200 meters (or 660 feet), it is appropriate for occasional water use.
Overall, the Invicta Pro Diver is suited for anyone wanting a true Submariner lookalike at a rock bottom price.
Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB
This another timepiece that pays homage to the legendary Submariner.
With Japanese automatic movement, the Orient Stainless-Steel Diving Watch has everything you will need in a timepiece if you need to get wet.
It has a 41mm case diameter with a mineral crystal dial window.
The 120 click bezel makes a good addition for timing above water, but the small bezel teeth may limit its effectiveness underwater.
Additionally, it comes with bold, luminous hour marks and the hands also provide strong lume for 8 hours. And with stainless steel straps, the watch can withstand harsh environments and knocks without breaking.
The Orient Ray II Caliber F6922 is water-resistant up to 200 meters, making it suitable for leisure diving (but not professional diving).
Overall, there is plenty to like in the Orient Ray II. We recommend it for those looking for an inexpensive, yet iconic design and value the extra accuracy that comes rom a watch with hackable, Japanese automatic movement.
Orient Ray II
The Citizen BN0151-09L has taken inspiration from the Submariner, but Citizen has packed in enough unique design elements to prevent it from being an outright clone.
It sports a 48mm stainless steel case and mineral dial window. With blue dials and a unidirectional bezel. The hands and hour markers provide solid lume for easy reading at night and underwater.
On the performance front, this watch harnesses the power of light. Using Citizen's proprietary Eco-Drive technology, the Citizen Promaster BN0151-09L can use any light, whether artificial or natural, to power the timepiece. This eliminates the need to every replace the battery, making it one of the least maintenance prone watches you can find.
The timepiece is water-resistant to a depth of 200 meters (or 660 feet), making it a great choice for the occasional dive or other water spors.
Overall, the Citizen Promaster BN0151-09L is for those that want a maintenance free watch that shares many similarities to a Submariner, but retains its own sense of style and dignity.
Citizen Promaster BN0151-09L
While the above five watches are our top picks for your first Rolex Submariner homage watch, we have a bonus pick for your consideration.
Not only does the Sturling Depthmaster take design cues from the Submariner line of Rolexes. it has been designed and optimized to function in the marine environment, just like a Submariner would.
This watch has an analog dial driven by a Japanese Miyota quartz movement that is highly accurate. Like every other watch in this list, it has luminescent hands and indices.
The watch is housed in a 40mm diameter case and has a triple row stainless steel link bracelet.
Unfortunately, the 100m water resistance is not as resistant as some of the other watches listed above, making it more suited for occasional water use only.
While the diving capability is a letdown, it does compensate with considerably better pricing than higher resistance rated divers.
If you want a watch with similar functionality and performance qualities of a Rolex Submariner, this is still a great option.
Not only are they affordable, but they also strike a balance between style and functionality.
Stuhrling Depthmaster 3950
The Seiko 5 Sea Urchin is, in our opinion, the best timepiece for those seeking for an affordable Submariner alternative that provides great looks, ample diving features and can be worn in all environments.
Those on a more limited budget should consider the Casio Duro MDV106-1AV, which has many features found in the Submariner, but with Casio's distinctive style, quality of build and easy to read face.
But, if you're after a watch that tries to match the Submariner design as closely as possible, the Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB is definitely worth closer inspection.
As all of the divers included in this list are very affordable, you may not need to choose just one!
Scuba diving is testament to mankind’s ingenuity in overcoming natural barriers, and dive watches are one of the best examples this. Combining precise engineering and looks into an accessory for an activity that humans shouldn’t really be doing is why dive watches have a soft spot in our hearts here at WKOW.
So, if you’re thinking about purchasing a dive watch for that upcoming holiday, or potentially saving for that special splurge or even ‘holy grail’ timepiece, this guide will definitely point you in the right direction without getting your feet wet.
The main functions of a high-quality dive watch is to allow scuba divers to keep a record on the dive time, under pressure by using a rotating (or analog) bezel that allows the wearer to pre-select a period of time up to 60 minutes. This allows the wearer to understand their dive time, and then calculate maximum dive time before hazardous gases build up in their blood system. Diving is by its a nature a risky sport, so the last thing you want to be worrying about is whether your dive watch is going to give way mid-dive, leaving you more vulnerable than is necessary. This is where technical specifications and user reviews come into play.
The robustness will be tested underwater. Yes, you’ve got additional pressure from water above, but watches also get banged around a lot whilst diving. This can be from rocks, coral, your own tank/gear and even fine sea particles such as sand and seaweed can play havoc to the durability of a dive watch.
This one is pretty obvious, but it’s also important to be realistic with exactly how much water resistance you really need. ie If you’ll mostly be using it snorkelling, buying a 500m water resistant watch is most likely overkill.
We all love a sexy design, but don’t just base important gear decision on looks. Instead, make sure it has the features you’re going to use the most. This doesn’t mean you need to go for the highest-price model simply because it has the most features. If you aren’t going to use the feature, you’re basically adding extra expense for no benefit.
I’m a certified diver and personally prefer a simple design when I’m diving because I don’t want to be wasting my dive time playing around with features, dials and buttons. This is time I can spend hanging out with my dorsal appendaged friends. That said, we’ve included a range of watches for different budgets, styles, preferences and dive levels (ie newly certified has different requirements than a pro diver) in the round up of our 7 favorite dive watches below:
These Padi licensed Seiko models are water resistant up to 200 meters (656 ft), made of stainless steel and the overall look is quite appealing with a smaller form factor than some of the more bulkier dive watches on the market.
The crystal is made out of a Seiko proprietary hardened mineral crystal called “Hardlex”. This material is more impact resistant, but slightly less scratch resistant than sapphire crystal. The Lumibrite on hands and indexes allows for easy dial reading for at least 4 hours once fully charged by a light source.
The word Prospex implies professional specifications and these watches don’t disappoint the budget conscious diver that also needs precise engineering. With a lower price point, you’d be forgiven for splurging a little more on that new Go Pro you’ve been eyeing…
This is the best dive watch in our list for the budget conscious or recently certified divers that don’t want to fork out loads on their first dive watch.
Where this model really departs from its predecessors is the technology and associated attention to detail. They’ve removed the satin aluminium inserts from the unidirectional rotating bezel and replaced with scratch resistant ceramic inserts. And, perhaps the biggest improvement to design is the use of liquid metal, rather than traditional casting and subsequent machining. This produces a very precise, strong and corrosion resistant timepiece.
This level of engineering finds its way throughout the entire watch, including the movement system. Powered by the Omega 8500 caliber Co-Axial based automatic movement which has been widely regarded as a robust and precise movement system. This is a true competitor and alternative to the Rolex Submariner.
One of the main drawbacks of the new Planet Ocean’s technology is that they are a few millimeters thicker. This has left some enthusiasts shaking their head as one of the Seamaster’s long running standout traits has been its slim, elegant design. This Omega has been known to actually feel thicker than it is.
The bold design with broad arrow hands and gloss dials, works effortlessly with the well proportioned, precise engineering contained within this iconic and practical Omega that James Bond still wears to this day. This is definitely one to consider if you have the budget and want a stylish, practical and superbly engineered dive watch. If you don’t have the budget, we’ve compiled our top 6 Omega Seamaster homage watches to consider.
Swiss made with automatic hand movement, this Tudor has been gaining in popularity with divers since the Pelagos’ rebirth in 2012. Because it is made of titanium, it is lighter than its stainless steel counterparts, which is a great feature if you plan on this watch being your everyday “desk diver” too. The titanium case and bracelet have a brushed finished, which makes it stand out from a traditionally high-polished finish of a stainless steel and tends to hide scratches very well.
Not sure what titanium in watches is all about? Read our article on Stainless Steel vs Titanium as a primer.
In 2015, Tudor introduced its own revamped movement system, the MT56 12 with a 70 hour power reserve. The saphire crystal is completely flat, eliminating any distortion that a raised crystal provides, which is a handy underwater feature. The build quality can be felt and heard in the click of the bezel as you move it.
The Tudor Pelagos is much more than a “cheaper” version of its big brother, Rolex. The titanium build provides a sophisticated , lightweight alternative to a Submariner or Planet Ocean and is very worthy of at least adding to your diver shortlist. At least try and check out the brilliant deep blue version as we’ve found it to be very striking, whilst remaining elegant for those dinner occasions.
There are two main versions of the Submariner; with and without a date plus magnifier. The non-date version costs about $1,000 less and is arguably the more popular of the two. It was also the original as the date version only came in later.
Featuring a 40mm wide case crafted from a single block of a corrosive-resistant 904L steel, and a turning bezel made from Cerachom (a type of ceramic) which makes it extremely resistant to scratching, fading and corrosion. The movement is controlled by the in-house Rolex Calibre 3130. An important visual and functional feature is the winding crown, which closes much like a submarine latch.
This video shows the beauty of the Submariner close up in all its beauty:
The Submariner isn’t just renowned by divers (incl Navy Seals), or for precise engineering. It redefined what it meant to own a prestige timepiece. You certainly do pay a premium for the Rolex brand, but in return, you know you’re getting an incredibly engineered watch that will last for many years and is universally loved and admired. Indeed, a significant factor for many in purchasing this watch is for the status, announcing to the world that you’ve made it. Don’t let this fool you though, the Submariner is a serious dive watch and definitely worth considering.
Submariners too pricey? We’ve got you covered with our take on the best Rolex Submariner homage watches.
The 41 mm case features alternating polished and brushed stainless steel, bringing a casual elegance to this watch. The biggest change in recent years has been the addition of the ceramic bezel. Similar to Rolex’s Submariner and Omega’s Planet Ocean, the ceramic rotating bezel allows this TAG to take an absolute beating without scratching, fading or corroding. This is a massive feature for a dive watch given that it’s very common to bang your hands on all sorts of rocks, corals, sand and other general underwater hazards whilst diving.
But, the Aquaracer is considerably more affordable than a Submariner or Planet Ocean, making it a great entry-level dive watch for collectors and wearers.
The Aquaracer uses a rubber strap and comes in both chronograph (three-counter calibre 16) and automatic (Calibre 5) models. The chronograph models are generally around $1,000 more than the automatic models. Both models are quality, durable diving watches.
Check out this detailed review on the Aquaracer below -- FWIW, I don’t think this diver deserves any hate!
What I like a lot about the Aquaracer is that it doesn’t try and be a Submariner clone. It is bold and unique in its own right. Go elsewhere for a Submariner clone. Choose a Tag Heuer Aquaracer if you want an extremely durable Swiss-engineered dive watch that has many of the features that rival its more expensive counterparts.
The 49mm case is the largest in our roundup of favorite dive watches, so it’s mainly worn by men and you’d definitely want to put it on your wrist before buying. Other notable features are the ceramic unidirectional bezel which is great for resisting scratches and bumps, anti-reflective sapphire window and a date window at 6 O’clock. Aesthetically, the subtle waves behind the dial give it a smooth look against black face and the luminous indicators work well at night.
This watch definitely makes a statement, and whilst it may not have the same branding appeal as a Rolex or Omega, it is definitely a great piece of diving gear if you prefer slightly larger timepieces that won’t weigh you down. We’ve seen some good deals on these men’s models too, so don’t be afraid to shop around.
The simple, practical design with a stainless steel case and silicone strap performs very well under low light conditions, with bold, luminous hands, hour markers and graduations on the unidirectional stainless steel bezel. Bezel rotation is met with solid, deep clicks -- something that is often missing in less expensive dive watches. The date function features a magnified display for easy reading.
This should be on your radar if you want a practical dive watch rated to 500m, but aren’t prepared to fork out thousands more for brand or prestige appeal. It is a very good piece for the price and worthy of consideration.
What’s your favorite dive watch to consider? Feel like we’ve left out some worthy tool watches? Let us know in the comments below. Happy diving!
Elvis Presly (@elvis) was a much loved American singer and actor. The “King of Rock and Roll” has been credited by Rolling Stone as ‘single-handedly changed the course of music and culture in the mid-1950s’ . His voice, presence, dancing, clothing and sleek good looks allowed him to reach heights no artist had before him.
Given his impeccable style, it’s not surprising that Elvis held a strong appreciation for watches, boasting an impressive collection, and often using watches as a vehicle for appreciation. There are numerous witness accounts of him giving away watches as presents.
Whilst not an exhaustive list, the below gives you a good overview of the types of watches Elvis adored.
This watch made headlines in 2018 when it sold at auction for $1.8 Milliion – a record for an Omega watch. The watch was a gift to Elvis from his record company, RCA Records, for selling 75 million records. The story goes that Elvis swapped this watch to the seller’s uncle after the uncle expressed admiration for the King’s Tiffany Omega. Elvis, being the generous soul he was, offered to swap it for the uncle’s diamond studded Hamilton.
The watch is an 18K white gold Omega with 44 round cut diamonds on the bezel, Tiffany & Co stamped on the dial, 33mm case and is powered by a manual caliber 510 movement. Engraved on the back is “To Elvis, 75 Million Records, RCA Victor, 12-25-60.”
It was not out of pure chivalry that Elvis swapped his Tiffany Omega for a Hamilton. He was really quite fond of the asymmetrical design. Most notably wearing a Hamilton Ventura in the 1961 film, Blue Hawaii. Elvis reportedly owned several Hamilton’s and even gave some away as presents.
Hamilton watches have a polarizing history – you either love the design, or you don’t. The early success of the Ventura has been largely attributed to it being the first battery powered watch that the public was able to afford and the futuristic design by Richard Arbib. Hamilton re-released the Ventura in 2017 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the initial 1957 release. The new Classic Ventura features a case with dimensions 32.3mm x 50.3mm, quartz movement and a leather strap. Given the relative affordability of the Hamilton Ventura, this watch is within reach for most Elvis fans.Check out the Hamilton Ventura on Amazon
Elvis was clearly an Omega fan, with the Omega Constellation also featuring prominently during the years he served for the US Army. He was stationed in Germany with friend, and fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Charlie Hodge from 1958 to 1960. Charlie often praised and commented Presley on the watch, leading to Presley eventually giving the watch to Charlie as a present. The watch was auctioned in 2012, fetching $52,500.The watch itself is an Omega Constellation with a black face, “sniper” dial with gold dauphine hands, and gold capping showing the date at 3 o’clock with raised indices and a stainless steel caseback. Movement is controlled by a Cal. 504 manual winding chronometer.
Whilst the King’s Omega Constellation probably won’t be coming up for auction again anytime soon, Omega still makes the Constellation if you share similar tastes to Elvis and want to own one yourself.
Elvis was a true watch aficionado with tastes ranging through all price points. On the more exclusive end was his collection of Rolex’s, including the Rolex Submariner “Big Crown” worn in the 1962 movie Girls, Girls, Girls. There’s numerous scenes in the movie where he proudly sports the Rolex Submariner 6538 “Big Crown”, as shown in the image above. Coincidentally, this watch became famous for being the watch that Sean Connery wore in the first Bond film, Dr No, which also came out in 1962. It’s fitting that such a revered pop icon chose to wear a watch that would also go on to become an icon in its own right.
As the nickname suggests, the watch features an over sized winding crown without any crown guards. Controlled by Rolex’s Calibre 1030 movement, the early Submariner’s dial focuses on simplicity, as they don’t have day or date functions as these only came in later models (1960 onwards).We aren’t sure what happened to Elvis’s Submariner. Given how popular the “Big Crown” is with watch collectors anyway, adding certified Elvis ownership would certainly have this watch fetching big money at auctions – perhaps even rivaling the $1.8M of the Tiffany Omega. If you want your own Girls, Girls, Girls watch, you can always invest in a modern Rolex Submariner, or for something more affordable, a Casio MDV106-1A is a solid, practical option, or you can check out or article devoted to Rolex Submariner homages for more choice.