If you’re like us, you have a long list of watches you’d love to own. But reality (almost) always steps in, and your desires remain unfulfilled. Gear Patrol’s series Want This, Get This presents a lust-worthy timepiece along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch. With IWC’s Aquatimer due for a refresh at January’s SIHH, we bid it farewell alongside a lookalike that costs a tenth of the price.
IWC Aquatimer Automatic
The IWC Aquatimer ($5,600) has seen several redesigns in its history, but it’s always remained a highly capable dive watch with distinctly Teutonic looks from one of the few big brands in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. The most recent version, which debuted in 2009, has all the hallmarks of what a solid diver needs and then some: a clean, matte black dial, scratch resistant sapphire, luminous rotating bezel, a colored minute hand to match the bezel’s 15-minute counter, and about 1,995 extra meters of water resistance than you could ever hope to use diving in your backyard pool. The brutally angular 44-millimeter case allows for a large dial and bezel, and reminds you (and others) that you have a hefty piece of dive equipment with you at all times. A watchmaker known for elegant finishing, IWC manages to combine their trademarks with robust dive-ready qualities.
Steinhart Ocean Two
The $500 to $1000 range is littered with small-time internet brands putting out homage pieces of popular, more expensive watches. To be clear, Steinhart is no exception. They make watches reminiscent of revered Rolex and Panerai pieces, among others. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with homage watches — especially with the ever increasing price tags of higher-end brands. And Steinhart does homages particularly well, with excellent build quality, high-grade Swiss movements and unique styling touches that save their watches from being mere copycats.
With the Ocean Two (~$600), Steinhart has produced a timepiece that is unmistakably similar to the IWC Aquatimer. Like its inspiration, the Ocean Two has a luminous, rotating sapphire bezel and an easy-to-read dial layout. But Steinhart added knurling to the bezel’s edge and crown to increase the oh-so-important grip…you know, for those times when you’re washing dish — er, diving shipwrecks in Scapa Flow. The dial gets a contrasting chapter ring, elegant hands and markers and a porthole date window at 6:00. The Ocean Two is powered by an elabore (high) grade ETA 2824-2 versus IWC’s modified ETA 2892, which only adds a bit of height to the movement, though we don’t think you’ll notice on a 13-millimeter-high diver. With the Ocean Two, Steinhart puts a quality watch on your wrist without making you break into a cold sweat after seeing your account balance. And it might just be prettier than the Aquatimer (shhhh).
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