Watch Guru: The Best Rolex Submariner Alternatives for Every Budget

Watch Guru: The Best Rolex Submariner Alternatives for Every Budget


The Rolex Submariner: possibly the most recognisable watch, by the most well known in the world! With its peerless and timeless design nothing compares to what it’s done for the watch world since it was first released in 1954, and continues to showcase innovation throughout the decades.

If you, like most others, have yearned for one over the years but can't bare to face paying the high price, we have found the 5 best alternatives at every budget, starting at just £189.

Although none of these timepieces are exact replicas, they all include at least a few of the following features that are characteristic of the iconic Rolex Submariner watch:

  1. Versatile design to suit any occasion.
  2. A standout rotating bezel with a bezel insert
  3. The functionality of a dive watch
  4. Swissmade with a mechanical watch movement
  5. Readily available for purchase

Rotary GMT Henley Watch B05108/30, £189

Technically, this is homage to Rolex GMT Master II - but in reality that watch is a Submariner with a GMT function and a pepsi bezel insert.

It ticks all the criteria apart from being Swiss Made and with a mechanical movement. It boasts a sapphire crystal face, with 100m Water Resistance, plus a cool GMT function. The GMT hand rotates around once every 24 hours at half speed and when used in conjunction with the 24hr bezel insert it allows you to tell the time in 2 different time zones.

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Seiko 5 Sport Watch SRPD55K3, £250

The Seiko 5 Sports range, launched in September 2019, has been incredibly well received. They look great, with a wide range of options, and the build quality and specs are impressive for the price. They replace the timeless Seiko SKX007, one of the greatest dive watches in history.

The good news is that they can also be classed as a great Rolex Submariner alternative, ticking all the right boxes.

It has the same classy dress diver look with a casual feel, and benefits from a water resistance of 100m. It has Seiko’s own 4R36 automatic movement - which is very highly regarded as being solid and dependable - expertly displayed by means of an exhibition caseback. The upgrade of the popular movement found in the SKX007 offers hacking and hand-winding functionality.

This is a solid watch in it’s own right. But, if you want a modern remake of a cult classic then this could be the one for you.

Davosa Ternos Ceramic Automatic Watch 16155550, £695

If you’re after a spitting image of the Rolex Submariner, then look no further than the Davosa Ternos.

With the ultimate specifications it has Sapphire crystal face with 200m water resistance and is Swissmade with a ceramic bezel insert. It glows bright thanks to the SuperLumiNova BGW09. The Davosa DAV3021 movement is based on ETA 2824-2 - one of the best auto movements going!

With a 40mm diameter size, the glossy ceramic bezel insert within the 120-click uni-directional bezel is tremendously eye-catching.

For £695, it’s a mightily impressive amount of watch for the money and if you’re after the Submariner style, then this is the choice for you.

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Certina DS Action Diver Powermatic 80 C0324071105100, £725

At £725, the Certina DS Action Diver Powermatic 80 has a key trick up its sleeve: the movement. Whilst the POWERMATIC 80.111 might sound like something from robocop, it’s actually an automatic mechanical movement made by Tissot which has a whopping 80 hours PR - double that of the standard auto movements found in the other watches. It’s Swismade, and at £725, that’s pretty outstanding.

Visually, it’s more sporty and less dressy than the Sub, but if you’re after something a bit different and love geeking over special movements, this could be for you.

The water resistance is the joint top of our bunch at 300m; a match to the Rolex Submariner; so you can definitely take it diving - especially considering the clasp features a diving extension, which allows you to easily fit it over your wetsuit. The lume is Super-LumiNova, and the size is on the larger side, coming in at 43mm in diameter. This is a watch that demands attention and has a lot of wrist presence.

Another sensational alternative to the Submariner!

Oris Aquis Automatic Watch 0173377304159-0782405PEB, £1520

The Oris Aquis is a serious contender for best affordable luxury watch hands down. It also puts in a solid case for being a great alternative to the Submariner. It easily meets all the requirements, but differs in the sense that it has its own distinctive design.

It matches the Certina as the best water resistance and equal to the Sub at 300m and is the same size as the Certina at 43mm in diameter.

It’s the most expensive of the bunch, at £1520, but the difference in quality is evident. The movement is the Oris 733, which is basically a Sellita SW 200-1 with a custom rotor; very cool and easy to enjoy from the exhibition caseback.

It features an eye-catching glossy ceramic bezel, similar to the Davosa, and the orange accents on this particular model increases the engaging appearance.

This watch is damn-near perfect in every regard. Serious build quality, impressive specs, and a bold, handsome design.

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