Value Time

Want a Rolex Submariner? Here Are Three Worthy Alternatives That Won’t Cost as Much


April 10, 2020 Watches By Photo by Rolex
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There’s nothing quite like the original Rolex Submariner, but with a base price of $7,900 (in steel and without a date display), even the most affordable iterations of it remain out of reach for aspiring owners.

The iconic dive watch is handsome and versatile, with its balance of conservative and sporty design. So any alternative should offer similar qualities without feeling like a knockoff. Here are three, clocking in at different price points, each selected for their comparable wearing experience.

The Alternatives

Seiko Prospex “Sumo” SPB101

One of Seiko’s nicknamed models, the “Sumo” has a traditional look compared to many of the Japanese brand’s often quirky dive watches. It differs from the Submariner in small details like its handset and bezel markings, as well as in more substantial ways, such as its case shape and 4 o’clock crown. Of course, it’s got an in-house automatic movement, as well. The overall impression, however, is of a classically styled modern dive watch that offers something like a Submariner feel. Dot indices look particularly “Rolex,” but as with all Seiko watches, its own character becomes apparent on the wrist.

Movement: Seiko 6R35 Automatic
Diameter: 45mm
Water Resistance: 200m
Price: $850

Monta Oceanking

Monta interprets Rolex not as a specific look but as the concept of a perfect, refined tool watch. This has informed the brand’s entire approach and lineup, including the Oceanking dive watch. Your Submariner alternative doesn’t have to look like a Submariner if it feels like one in certain key ways. Monta isn’t exactly offering in-house movements at this price point, but it is offering an incredibly strong value, with a refined diver that punches well above its weight.

Movement: Sellita SW300 Automatic Elaborè Grade
Diameter: 40.7mm
Water Resistance: 300m
Price: $1,745+

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight

Tudor is Rolex’s own alternative to Rolex watches. As a corporate sibling to the mighty Crown, Tudor makes watches of extremely high quality, just at a lower price point. With in-house-made, COSC chronometer-certified Tudor movements, the Black Bay collection has long been a worthy Rolex surrogate — but the Black Bay Fifty-Eight hits even closer to the ideal mark with its 39mm case size.

Movement: Tudor MT5402 Automatic
Diameter: 39mm
Water Resistance: 200m
Price: $3,375+

The Complete Rolex Buying Guide

We distill down the world of modern Rolex to something easily decipherable to help give you a leg up for your next purchase. Read the Story

Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

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