Best Rolex Submariner Homage – Affordable Look-alikes

tissot seastar rotating the bezel

The next best thing to wearing a Rolex Submariner is wearing a high-quality Submariner homage that looks and functions like the real thing.The Submariner homages in this list are elegant, reliable, and long-lasting – just like the original Submariner is. What’s more, they can be yours at a fraction of the cost. Sound too good to be true? Let’s dive in and see what each one has offer.

Our Top Picks:

Sale Invicta Pro Diver Unisex Wrist Watch Stainless Steel Automatic Black Dial - 8926OB
Mens Automatic Watches Self Wind GMT Silver Stainless Steel Sapphire Crystal Diving Watch
Sale Tissot Men's Seastar 660/1000 Stainless Steel Casual Watch Black T1204071704100

Best Rolex Submariner Homage: Recommendations

Orient Mako II

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ORIENT Men's 'Mako II' Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel Diving Watch
2,324 Reviews
ORIENT Men's 'Mako II' Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel Diving Watch
  • Mineral crystal
  • Crown:Screwed-down.120-Click unidirectional bezel
  • Japanese-automatic Movement

The Orient Mako II is a popular entry-level dive watch that has a number of impressive features. Being the second version, it features numerous improvements over the first and it is also clearly inspired by the Submariner.

Intended to be a value watch, it’s clear that some of the finer details in the Orient Mako II aren’t perfect. However, what Orient have managed to achieve with the Mako II is nothing short of amazing. The Mako II has the boldness that you want from a dive watch, yet it retains a sleekness that adds some subtlety.

The stainless steel case has a diameter of 41.5mm and is 13mm thick. This makes it smaller than most dive watches, and that isn’t something we’re complaining about because dive watches tend to run large. The Mako II should fit snug on most wrist sizes, particularly because of the way the case hugs the edge of the bezel and gives off a contoured look. The lug width is 22mm, a fairly popular size. The result is that the proportions between case and band are perfect.

Looking at the dial, in all variations you will see a sporty and fun watch with a sunburst dial in the color that you selected. In the sunlight, the Mako II shifts the angle of the light and this changes the color of the dial all the more vibrant. The hour markers on this watch are applied and also sporty. Each marker has a polished silver outline and is filled with lume.

What good are the markers without hands pointing to them? The Mako II’s hands are simple, sword-shaped, and exude a touch of elegance. Just like the markers, the hands are also filled with lume and edged in a polished silver. The second hand stands out with its sporty flare and bright red pointer. Its body consists of a long needle in contrast to the thick hour and minute hands; the second hand really stands out.

Next, the Mako II has a stainless steel bezel with a painted top surface and polished, ribbed outer surface. The bezel is a major reason why this dive watch appears to be more reserved and elegant compared to many other divers. The size of the Arabic numbers are subdued, the paint has more of a matte finish, and there is a slant downward from the glass for a more mature look.

The glass on the Mako II is a scratch-resistant mineral glass with a flat face that sits flush against the edge of the bezel. Where the edge of the crystal meets the edge of the bezel, there is an angled groove cut which provides an extra bit of refraction and reflection. This does not interfere with the visibility of the dial at all and is a nice touch. When viewed at severe angles, the image does not distort at all.

At the 3-o’clock position is the crown. Since the Mako II has a water resistance rating of 200m/660ft, it has a screw-down crown to thank for that. The crown guards are a part of the case and smoothly stick out to protect the crown. The crown itself is made of polished silver with grooves cut in the sides for added grip.

Lastly, the Mako II has an oyster style stainless steel bracelet with a polished finish on its end links and brushed finish on its main links. This is a classic look popularized by the Submariner, and the Mako II knows better than to change what works.

Overall, there’s lots to love about the Mako II but it’s not perfect by any means. We had some minor comfort and usability issues, but the diver overall is so affordable and the rest of it is good enough that we’d be crazy not to recommend it. From its 200m water resistance, to its versatile style, automatic movement with hacking and handwinding, and all for around $150. As for as value goes, the Mako II is nearly unbeatable.

Check out our full, in-depth review of the Orient Mako II by clicking here.

Casio Duro Marlin MDV106-1AV

Casio Men's MDV106-1AV 200M Duro Analog Watch, Black
12,079 Reviews
Casio Men's MDV106-1AV 200M Duro Analog Watch, Black
  • Black Stainless Steel case and Resin Band
  • Black Dial with date window at 3 O'clock
  • Luminous markers and hour hands; sweep second hand

The Casio Duro “Marlin” MDV106-1AV is well-known for its affordable price and great usability. The Casio Duro is a bit of an anomaly, in that it is perhaps the cheapest dive watch that claims to have 200m of water resistance, whereas many watches in a similar price range are merely “diver-style” watches. Other than its above average specifications, the Casio Duro looks amazing; no surprise, considering its source of inspiration.

This Submariner homage has a stainless steel case that is high angular, with a few contoured corners around the crown and lugs. Due to how curved they are, the lugs are relatively short and keep the lug-to-lug distance low. Given the MDV106-1AV’s 44mm case diameter, such short lugs help to keep the watch from looking abnormally large when worn, even on smaller wrists.

Furthermore, the sides of the case are polished to a mirror sheen, and the bottom of the case and tops of the lugs have a more brushed finish. We examined the case closely and could not find any machining imperfections left behind during the manufacturing process. The finish and fit is very high thanks to Casio’s rigorous quality control, and that’s impressive for a watch this affordable.

Looking at the Duro from the front, you are treated to a gorgeous, minimalistic dial. There is almost no text on the dial and the watch looks very clean overall. It’s hard to tell in pictures, but the dial reflects a starburst pattern when viewed at an angle, and that gives this otherwise plain dial a lovely accent. The applied lume markers stand out from the dial and align perfectly with the dashes on the chapter ring and positioning of the hands. The attention to detail is excellent for a watch at this price range.

The unidirectional rotating bezel on the Casio MDV106-1AV is fairly standard. It has Arabic numerals every 10 minutes, and thick rectangular bars for every 5 minute position. The first 15 minutes are marked with smaller bars every minute, similar to the Submariner. The notched edges provide additional grip when rotating, and the 120-click bezel gives off a satisfying “click” as it turns.

Turning to the back, you will find the screw-lock caseback and the Marlin engraving which gave this watch its moniker. One nitpicky complaint we have is that the case is not horizontally aligned but that does not affect the functionality of the watch at all. The screw-lock caseback and screw-down crown contribute to this watch’s 200m water resistance.

Speaking of the crown, it’s located at the 3-o’clock position and has notched edges to provide extra grip. It is highly polished, with a reflective finish on the end of it. Next to it are two crown guards which offer protection. If you look at the crown from the back, you can see that much of the crown extends below the crown guards on the bottom. This is unusual, as that means it is less protected at the bottom.

We are not particularly happy with the crown because of this flaw, as well as the fact that the crown is undersized. The rest of the 44mm case looks massive in comparison and we wish the proportions were better here. On top of that, the crown feels fiddly and cheap when unscrewing and adjusting it. Thankfully the quartz movement is very accurate and you will not need to unscrew the crown often.

Overall, if you are in need of an inexpensive Submariner homage, you can’t really go wrong with the Casio MDV106-1AV. With its 200m of water resistance, it can handle swimming, boating, snorkeling, diving, whatever you want to subject it to. While many of the watches in this list are budget-friendly, this is perhaps the most affordable one. You will be hard-pressed to get a watch at this price point with the same specifications as the Casio Duro Marlin MDV106-1AV.

Check out our full, in-depth review of the Casio Duro MDV106-1AV by clicking here.

Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80

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Tissot Men's Seastar 660/1000 Stainless Steel Casual Watch Black T1204071704100
95 Reviews
Tissot Men's Seastar 660/1000 Stainless Steel Casual Watch Black T1204071704100
  • Case Size: 43.00 millimeters, Bandwidth: 21 millimeters, Case Thickness: 12.70 millimeters
  • Swiss automatic movement, 316L stainless steel case, Index dial type, Date
  • Rubber bracelet, standard buckle closure

The Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80 is a luxury dive watch from Swiss manufacturer Tissot, and it is clearly influenced in both water resistance and style by the Rolex Submariner. The “1000” in its name is a reference to its maximum depth resistance of 1000ft (300m), which the Rolex Submariner is also capable of.

Tissot brings a refined and elegant look to the design of the Seastar, and it wouldn’t look out of place in even the most formal of occasions. Once again, the same can also be said of the Rolex Submariner, so how does this homage watch compare?

At a glance, the Seastar has a beautiful 316L stainless steel case with a 43mm diameter and 12.7mm thickness. By dive watch standards, the Seastar is not small by any means, but far from being a big watch. The fact that it is somewhat sleek helps it to pass as a watch suitable for more formal occasions despite being capable of underwater diving.

Furthermore, the case has a smooth, brushed finish. The lugs are slender to maintain a sleek profile, and the lug-to-lug distance runs 47.3mm long. With a lug width of 21mm, it makes things a little awkward if you are looking to replace the bracelet. However, it’s a decent width that matches the proportions of the overall watch. The lugs are not drilled so spring bar access is more difficult, but this helps keep the look clean.

Looking at the dial, it is clear that Tissot wanted the Seastar to have a simple and elegant look, with a few quality touches that exhibit its Swiss luxury watch status. The dial is black but has a sunburst finish, making it look like a deep charcoal color. The hour markers are applied and consist of simple shapes – a triangle for the 12-o’clock, rectangles for 3, 6, and 9-o’clock, and small dots for the rest.

Additional markers can be found on the outside edge of the dial on a chapter ring. The bezel also contributes with Arabic numbers for every 10 minutes, and a major tick for every 5 minutes. The markers strike the perfect balance of being simple enough to look elegant, yet still being very functional for the user to tell the time quickly.

Next, the Tissot Seastar has a beautiful black ceramic bezel with silver accents. It has a reflective sheen that is attention-grabbing, and the ribbed outer surface provides excellent grip and looks sleek.

Additionally, the Tissot Seastar has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal that is flat and sits perfectly flush against the edge of the bezel. The crystal provides exceptional clarity; even when viewed at extreme angles, the image is not distorted. Honestly, it does its job so well you’d hardly even know it’s there, and it contributes to the overall classiness and appeal of this watch.

Turning to the back of the watch, the case back is made of stainless steel with a glass exhibition window so you can see the Tissot Powermatic 80 automatic movement inside. If you are a fan of seeing the complex engineering in action, like we are, then this is a sight to behold.

Located at the 3-o’clock position is the crown. It is surrounded by two crown guards that jut off the main case sharply to ensure the crown is protected. The crown itself has a domed outer surface and ribbed sides for extra grip. You will notice this is highly reminiscent of the Submariner’s design.

Overall, the Tissot Seastar is one classy dive watch. Though it is clearly inspired by the Rolex Submariner, it also has its own distinct style that is simple and elegant enough to be worn for any occasion. All of its components, from its silver and white hands, applied markers, and black ceramic dial add up to a quality product that is a worthy alternative to the original.

Check out our full, in-depth review of the Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80 by clicking here.

Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB

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Invicta Pro Diver Unisex Wrist Watch Stainless Steel Automatic Black Dial - 8926OB
12,323 Reviews
Invicta Pro Diver Unisex Wrist Watch Stainless Steel Automatic Black Dial - 8926OB
  • Stainless steel case 40mm diameter x 14mm thick, Exhibition case back, Black dial, Luminous hands and hour markers
  • Japanese 24 jewel automatic movement, NH35A Caliber, Assembled in Malaysia, watch weight: 155 grams
  • Stainless steel band, 210mm L x 20mm W, Band is adjustable by adding/removing links, Fold over safety clasp

First introduced in the 90s, the Invicta Pro Diver 8900 series introduced many Rolex Submariner homage watches, and the most popular one is their 8926OB model which bucks many design trends and provides incredible value for the money. You can get it for less than $100 and there is an even cheaper quartz version, but we don’t recommend that one.

Being a Submariner homage, it’s not surprising that many aspects of it are virtually identical to the original. Its size, shape, and overall appearance make it seem almost like a 1:1 copy. Some watch collectors have berated it, calling it the “cheap copy” or the “poor man’s version” of the Submariner. However, when the real thing has a cost of 5-figures what’s wrong with getting a more affordable alternative?

Taking a closer look at the watch, we see that the 8926OB’s case is made of stainless steel with a mixture of polished and brushed surfaces. Both are done impressively well considering the price point of this watch. The proportions are nearly identical to the Submariner: 40mm case diameter, 14mm thickness, 20mm lug width, but the lug-to-lug distance is a bit larger than indicated, meaning it wears slightly larger.

Turning our attention to the dial, we can see that the 8926OB is covered by a mineral crystal glass. This is par for the course for budget watches, as a sapphire crystal would increase the cost of the watch. Even though it can be reflective, the dial can still be easily read in most situations.

The design of the dial is also very similar to the Submariner. From the hands, the bezel, and the markings; it all looks like the Submariner. There are a few notable differences, however. First, the logo. Second, the hour makers are slightly smaller and have a yellow-green tinge. Third, the dial sits deeper in the watch, resulting in a thick chapter ring. While this design is far from unique, there’s a reason why the Submariner has inspired so many watches: the design just works.

In low visibility conditions, the lume applied on the hands, markers, and the 12-o’clock position on the bezel will light up. Don’t expect anything special, however. Its brightness and duration is subpar, and at this price point, that’s about what we expected. The same can be said of its supposed 200m/660ft water resistance rating. We highly doubt that it can go that far, and will go as far as to say we don’t think you should be diving with it.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the bracelet. Other than the hollow end-links, the bracelet is composed of solid, stainless steel links with alternating polished and brushed finishes. The bracelet works with the overall aesthetic of the watch and is weighty which gives it a solid feel. Unfortunately, the fold-over clasp is lower-quality and makes the bracelet feel cheap.

Overall, the Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB retains a surprisingly high amount of quality despite being so affordable. With its Seiko movement and great build-quality for the cost, it’s not surprising that the Pro Diver series, particularly the 8926OB is selling so well. If you are after a low-cost watch that can pass as a Rolex Submariner, then the Invicta 8926OB is worth considering.

Check out our full, in-depth review of the Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB and other watches in the Pro Diver line by clicking here.

Loreo Submariner

Mens Automatic Watches Self Wind GMT Silver Stainless Steel Sapphire Crystal Diving Watch
32 Reviews
Mens Automatic Watches Self Wind GMT Silver Stainless Steel Sapphire Crystal Diving Watch
  • LEREO Dive Watch: 200M/20ATM waterproof , is suitable for various occasions like swimming and diving
  • Automatic Self-Wind Movement Designed for accuracy and longevity,with date function
  • Synthetic Sapphire Crystal ,Screw-Down Crown ,With Hacking Function,Unidirectional Rotatable Bezel(Set Second Time Zone or As a Timer)

The Loreo Submariner is an homage watch from a manufacturer that we honestly haven’t heard of. It’s also unbelievably affordable, and so our guard up was up. Clearly some corners were cut somewhere, and it’s obvious that Loreo is a Chinese company looking to cash in with this Submariner look alike. We were looking to trash it until we tried the watch and found it to be a surprisingly good product for its price.

First off, this homage watch is available for around $100. We’re gonna be upfront about this, but if you are on a tight budget, then this watch is actually a good deal. It has a case diameter of 40mm, with 13mm thickness, 48mm lug-to-lug distance, lug width of 20mm and a low weight of 150g. These specs are very similar to the Submariner; so far so good.

The case is made of stainless steel, and the overall design looks almost like a carbon copy of the Rolex Submariner; in other words, it looks very good. If there is one watch you want to look like, it’s that one. We have no complaints about the design, which means it does the job well.

Depending on which version you ordered, the dial will either be a black, blue, or green color. We personally think the green color looks vibrant and makes the watch stand out. The overall look and feel of the dial is very much like the Rolex which it is based on. The hand and hour markers have been applied with lume so that it can be used in the dark. Particularly if you have the green version, the Loreo gleams in the sunlight beautifully. The hands rotate smoothly and we had no issues with them.

Next, the crown is located at the 3-o’clock position. It is a solid screw-down crown which turns smoothly and is easy to operate. The crown does have an “L” inscribed on it which may be a downside to some. Loreo is not a household name like Rolex is, but we can hardly fault the company for trying to promote their brand.

Apparently this watch has a maximum depth rating of 200m (660ft), which we absolutely do not trust despite having a screw-down crown. In fact, we don’t recommend you take this watch scuba diving at all. It is not ISO 6425 certified, and the watch is too cheap for us to believe its material is high-quality enough to withstand the water pressure at depth.

With that said, the Loreo Submariner somehow has a sapphire crystal. Yes, you read that right, it has a sapphire crystal. Most budget watches have some cheap mineral crystal, but this watch from Loreo legitimately has a sapphire crystal. However, it doesn’t have an anti-reflective coating on it, but at this price point we can hardly complain.

To sum it up, the Loreo is perhaps one of the best affordable Rolex Submariner homages that isn’t an Invicta. In our testing, we found its Seagull movement to perform on the same level as the reputable Miyota and Seiko movements found in more expensive watches. For around $100, you are getting a watch that is surprisingly high-quality for its price point. If you are on a tight budget then this one’s for you.

Check out our full, in-depth review of the Loreo Submariner by clicking here.

Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster BN0151-09

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Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Quartz Mens Watch, Stainless Steel with Polyurethane strap, Black...
5,551 Reviews
Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Quartz Mens Watch, Stainless Steel with Polyurethane strap, Black...
  • LIGHT-POWERED ECO-DRIVE: Converts any light, whether natural or artificial, into energy. Energy is stored in a permanently rechargeable power cell....
  • WATER RESISTANT TO 200 M: This Citizen tactical watch is water resistant to 200 meters (660 feet). In general, it’s suitable to wear in the shower,...
  • ANTI-REFLECTIVE MINERAL CRYSTAL: With a mineral crystal dial window, Citizen men’s watches are the epitome of rugged and wearable style. The key to...

There are many useful and interesting watches in Citizen’s Eco-Drive Promaster Diver range. Most notable among them is the BN0151-09 for several reasons: it looks great, it’s solar-powered, and it is affordable. Let’s dive into what else this watch has to offer.

When you wear the BN0151-09, you will be shocked at how lightweight it is (for a dive watch). You may even forget that you are wearing it on your wrist as you go about your day. With a thickness of only 12mm, the Citizen Promaster has a slim profile, particularly if you are using the stock strap. Switching it to a NATO strap would make it stand up more. The case diameter is 43mm, which is suitable for 7” wrists. Furthermore, the lug-to-lug distance is short so it helps this watch fit on smaller wrists.

Looking at the dial closely, you’ll find that the Eco-Drive Promaster is clean and all of the components of the dial are laid out well. The only unusual design choice is that the date window is located at the 4-o’clock position instead of the usual 3-o’clock, which means it is at an angle and breaks symmetry. The silver lining is that the 3-o’clock marker is preserved, whereas most watches would only have a half marker or no marker at that position.

All of the markers are applied which helps them literally stand out. They are also generously filled with lume and lined in chrome. Most of the hour markers are simple circles, but the markers in the 3, 6, 9, and 12-o’clock positions are distinctly shaped so wearers can tell the orientation of the watch even in complete darkness.

The bezel on the BN0151-09 is relatively simple. Each marking is painted onto the aluminum insert, and unfortunately we found that scratches show up on it easily. Arabic numerals are present at every 10-minute increment, the 5-minute increments are thick rectangular bars, and small circles mark each minute. None of the markings on the bezel have lume in them except the pip at the 12-o’clock position.

The outer edge of the bezel has an interesting design not often seen. For the most part, it’s smooth; these are areas where it’d be harder to turn the bezel since they provide no grip advantage. At set distances apart are groups of grooves that provide grip, and we counted 6 of these groupings. This design style reduces the amount of machining required and is functional, albeit less so. When turned, the bezel has a pleasant clicking action and can be rotated easily even with thick gloves on.

As with all dive watches, the BN0151-09 has a screw-down caseback and screw-down crown. The crown is a decent size and easy to operate as well. Two crown guards extend outwards about half the length of the crown, offering some protection.

Next, the stock strap that comes in the box is supple and we found it comfortable to wear. It’s even long enough (though just so) to be worn over dry gloves when diving, depending on your wrist size. A strap extender may be necessary for those with larger wrists. Printed on the strap itself is a small table of the no-decompression limits for air diving.

The Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster BN0151-09 is a fantastic watch at a low price. With its Eco-Drive technology, all you need to do is expose it to light to charge it. It has great features, a quartz movement, and it looks good. For a solar-powered diver, the price point of this watch is a steal.

Check out our full, in-depth review of the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster BN0151-09 by clicking here.

Stührling Depthmaster 893

Mens Swiss Automatic Stainless Steel Professional'DEPTHMASTER' Dive Watch, 200 Meters Water...
31 Reviews
Mens Swiss Automatic Stainless Steel Professional"DEPTHMASTER" Dive Watch, 200 Meters Water...
  • SWISS AUTOMATIC MOVEMENT - High Quality Swiss Made Automatic Self-Winding Mechanism 36 Hr Power Reserve - fully assembled and produced in Switzerland...
  • WATER-RESISTANCE 660 Feet / 200 Meters with screw down crown and rubber gaskets, Suitable for Professional Marine Activity - Diving Snorkeling and...
  • NO BATTEIES NEEDED: Automatic self-winding mechanical movement utilizes your natural movements to keep your wristwatch running for as long as you wear...

Stührling is a brand that makes beautiful homage watches at affordable prices. Their secret: they source most of their components from China to offer you rock-bottom prices. Chinese components, particularly movements, are surprisingly reliable and cost-effective. With the Stührling Depthmaster 893, you have a Submariner look-alike that also provides similar functionality.

To start, the Stührling Depthmaster has a 42mm stainless steel case with a water resistance rating of 200m/660ft thanks to its screw-down crown. It has a unidirectional rotating bezel with 120 clicks for smooth and satisfying rotating action. The case is 14mm thick, and it has a lug width of 22mm. Its hands and hour markers are filled with lume, and the Depthmaster has a three-link stainless steel bracelet with push-button clasp. The Depthmaster 893 is available in both blue and black dial versions.

As we mentioned, and the reason why you’re here, the Stührling Depthmaster is basically identical in its design to the Submariner. Other than the differences in quality and price, there are a few other notable differences. First is the caseback, which is transparent in the Depthmaster and shows off its self-winding movement. Second is the date window in the 3-o’clock window which is not present in the Submariner.

More than just a pretty looking watch, the Stührling Depthmaster 893 is rugged. It can withstand the water pressure at depth thanks to its screw-down crown, rubber gaskets, and durable scratch and impact-resistant Krysterna crystal. This crystal is not only durable, but offers great clarity for you to read the time. The case is made from 316L surgical grade steel, and the luminous hands and indices make this watch the perfect companion for low-visibility conditions..

The heart of all dive watches – their movement – affects how accurately the watch keeps time which is their primary purpose. Thus, a low-quality movement means a low-quality watch. So what’s the movement in the Stührling Depthmaster like? We couldn’t find the exact information, but we strongly suspect it is the Claro CL-888 which is made by Claro Watch SA, a company based in Hong Kong that has been in business for over 50 years.

Marketed as Swiss calibre despite coming from a Hong Kong based company, the manufacturer has an operation in Switzerland where they perform some kind of operation, thus allowing the company to say their movement is Swiss. Honestly, this is kind of scummy on their part, and we are providing this information for full transparency.

So even though there is some shady stuff going on behind the scenes, how good is the movement exactly? It features a self-winding mechanical movement and 36 hour power reserve so you never need to worry about its battery. Your natural wrist movement should keep the watch going assuming you wear it daily. Some users have complained about inaccurate timekeeping, but others have had no issues so your mileage may vary.

Stührling is a company with a mixed reputation. While most of their reviews are positive, there is the occasional negative review claiming the watch was dead on arrival. It’s clear that a lot of work went into designing these watches, but some of their components are sourced from cheap factories. However, many people stand by their Stührling watches, and if you want an affordable Submariner homage then this is one to consider.

Seiko 5 SNZF17 Sea Urchin

Seiko 5 Automatic Black Dial Stainless Steel Men's Watch SNZF17
604 Reviews
Seiko 5 Automatic Black Dial Stainless Steel Men's Watch SNZF17
  • Stainless Steel Case and Band with Push Button Deployment Clasp and Safety Lock Feature
  • Day/Date Display with Spanish Option, Luminous Markers, Hardlex Crystal for Durability
  • Unidirectional Bezel

As far as affordable automatic dive watches are concerned, Seiko makes some of the best in the industry. The Seiko 5 “Sea Urchin” SNZF17 is one such watch. It has everything you want in a watch at this price range plus extra: excellent build-quality, reliable and accurate movement, well-finished, and long-lasting. It is clear to see that this watch was also inspired by the high bar set by the Rolex Submariner. Let’s see how the Sea Urchin holds up.

Being part of the Seiko’s “5” collection, the Sea Urchin meets the following 5 specifications: automatic winding, water resistant, date/date display, recessed crown, as well as durable case and bracelet. This collection was first released way back in 1963, and these 5 criteria were the pillars which each watch was designed around. The fact this line is still popular over 50 years later is a testament to their quality.

The SNZF17’s stainless steel case is 41mm in diameter, 13mm thick, and is heavily inspired by the Submariner. It is an optimal size for a dive watch; large enough to feel sturdy and reliable, but small enough so it doesn’t feel too bulky or weighty. It sits nicely even on smaller wrists yet has a notable presence. This is exactly what you want from a sporty dive watch.

Next, the dial of the SNZF17 offers great legibility thanks to its large hands and hour markers which contrast against the dark dial. The minimal, clean look of the dial reveals this watch’s personality instantly. It oozes elegance and class, much like the watch that it is inspired by. The markers are applied and filled with lume, as are the hands.

The lugs have a brushed, satin finish which is contrasted by its polished sides. Its width is 22mm, and the case has an overall lug-to-lug distance of 46mm. At the 3-o’clock position sits a push-pull crown that is guarded by two discreet crown guards. The crown itself is recessed with deep grooves that provide additional grip.

This dive watch will sit snug on your hand thanks to the 22mm three-link stainless steel bracelet with removable end links. It uses a fold-over clasp with spring-loaded release buttons to stay secure on your wrist or detach as needed. The bracelet is serviceable and you can easily swap it to a NATO strap if you want. The one downside is that this bracelet has folded end links.

It’s no secret that dive watches are not only used for diving; this versatility is part of their appeal. You can wear the Seiko SNZF17 for all manner of occasions, from casual to formal. It works extremely well when worn with a suit, just as the Rolex Submariner has proven itself able to do.

In fact, even if you wanted to dive with the SNZF17, its  water resistance rating of only 100m/330ft means this watch is only suitable for swimming or snorkeling but not scuba diving. This is one area where the Sea Urchin falls far short of the Submariner; the Submariner is a true dive watch whereas the Sea Urchin can more accurately be described as dive-inspired.

With that said, the SNZF17 does come with a 120-click unidirectional rotating bezel to help you keep track of elapsed time. When rotating it, the action is smooth and the audible clicks are satisfying to hear. Unfortunately, the bezel does not have as good of a grip to help with rotating, but it works.

Seiko watches all come with Seiko’s own in-house movements, and this one is fitted with the 7S36 automatic movement. This movement has a 40-hour power reserve and is equipped with 23 jewels. Capable of displaying hours, minutes, seconds, day, and date, it has proven itself to be durable, sturdy, and reliable.

Overall, the Seiko 5 “Sea Urchin” SNZF17 is a stylish and sporty timepiece that gives you a whole lot of watch for the price. It is durable, robust, and timeless in design much like the Rolex Submariner. With that said, it’s no Submariner, but it’s not trying to be either. This watch is excellent on its own right and worth buying as an affordable alternative to the Submariner.

Seiko Prospex SBDC051

SEIKO PROSPEX diver watch mechanical self-winding (with manual winding) Waterproof 200m SBDC051...
39 Reviews

Yet another candidate for the title of best Submariner homage is the Seiko Prospex SBDC051. This watch is part of Seiko’s Prospex line, which is short for “Professional Specification.” It is designed for sports lovers that “challenge every limit” and can be used in the water, sky, or on land.

Ever since Seiko launched Japan’s first dive watch in 1965, they have continued to perfect their watches to provide even more safety and reliability for both recreational and professional divers.

Visually, the SBDC051 is perhaps one of the most beautiful Seiko watches we have seen. It has an elegant, clean, yet sporty design. These are the same things you could say about the Submariner. Let’s look at this watch in greater detail and see why it is so popular.

Looking at the case, the SBDC051 is beautifully finished with a combination of both polished and brushed surfaces. Polished bevels can be found all around the case which helps to make the case look smaller. The lugs have a special design where they appear to be cut off, creating a sharp 90 degree edge that ends the case.

Thus, this watch has a 42.6mm diameter and 49.5mm lug-to-lug distance. Its lug width is a standard 20mm. With a thickness of 13.8mm, it is not exactly small but it’s not too big either. One element that makes this watch so convenient to use are the lug holes that makes removing the bracelet easy.

Located at the 3-o’clock position is the screw-down crown and crown guards. The crown is slightly recessed, and it should be screwed-down if you want to create a seal to keep water out. Thanks to the tight seal that the crown creates, the SBDC051 is water resistant to 200m/660ft. This is sufficient for swimming, snorkeling, and diving, but not enough for deep dives.

To further assist with diving, the unidirectional rotating bezel has 120-clicks which allows it to operate smoothly and accurately. The bezel insert is slightly domed and has a glossy finish which gives it a high-quality look and greater depth. The luminous pip at the 12-o’clock position helps you see how much time is remaining in the dark.

Protecting the dial is a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating. This is a marked improvement since Seiko often uses Hardlex crystal in their more affordable watches.

Powering the SBDC051 is an automatic mechanical movement, the Seiko 6R15. Two notable features present in this movement are the hacking and handwinding functionality that you don’t often see in Seiko’s budget watches. The movement beats at 21,600bph (6 beats per second) for extremely smooth hand movements.

The 6R15 has a 50-hour power reserve, and the energy is stored in the Spron 510 mainspring. It has 23 jewels which reduces friction and improves accuracy. Based on our experience and on other reviews, the 6R15 is accurate, durable, and long-lasting. Based on the official specifications, it has an accuracy rating of +25/-15 seconds per day, but ours typically fell within +/-10 seconds a day.

Turning our attention to the dial, the Seiko Prospex SBDC051 has everything you’d want from a sporty dive watch. As we mentioned already, the watch is clean, minimalistic, and elegant. That means that the dial is uncluttered and offers excellent legibility.

To start, the dial is a lovely matte black that has a rich texture and prevents glare and reflections. At the outer edges of the dial is a chapter ring with printed second markers. The dial has rectangular hour markers that tapers towards the end that points to the center of the dial. Each marker is filled with Lumibrite, as are the hands. In the dark, the indices and hands glow to allow continued operation.

At the 3-o’clock position of the dial is the date window. It has a white background and black text with a white frame around the window. The marker here has been completely replaced by the date window.

Next, the printing found on the dial is clean and provides only the most salient information: the Seiko logo, the Prospex logo, depth rating, and “automatic” in reference to its automatic movement.

The hands are easy to read thanks to how wide some of them are. The hour hand is literally just a fat arrow. The minute hand is a thick sword, and the second hand is just a thin piece of metal.

Overall, if you are looking for a watch that has an elegant design that punches well above its weight in terms of price and quality, then you should consider the Seiko Prospex SBDC051.

If you are interested in other Seiko watches, then check out our review of the Seiko Turtle SRP777 by clicking here.

Best Rolex Submariner Look-Alikes: The Verdict

If you really want to wear a Rolex Submariner but you can’t afford its 5-figure price tag, then your next best option is to wear an homage watch. However, even an homage watch can get quite pricey, but thankfully there are some high-quality alternatives that won’t break the bank.

In this article we reviewed a list of the best affordable Rolex Submariner homage watches that will turn heads and “wow” people as if you were wearing a bona fide Submariner on your wrist. You can’t really go wrong with any of these watches, but if you skipped our main review and came straight here for the summary then this is what we recommend.

For those who want the absolute best price to performance ratio, then we recommend the Casio Duro MDV-106AV. As far as we can tell, this is the holy grail of affordable dive watches. Not only does it look good, but it actually does everything it says on the box. Oftentimes you have to take watch specs with a grain of salt unless they are ISO 6425 certified, but the Casio Duro holds up well and can be yours for less than $100. The downside is that its case diameter is 44mm which is quite large, so those with smaller wrists may want to look for something else.

Our next recommendation is the Orient Mako II. This is yet another watch that we consider a “steal” for its price. It is a modern classic and can be your first serious dive watch. It is suitable for any and all occasions. Whether you want to go for a dive or wear it with a suit, it will feel right at home. It is incredibly accurate and durable enough to withstand whatever you put it through. Its case diameter is 41mm, so those with smaller wrists won’t feel left out. All in all, this watch is a modern classic and provides fantastic value for its price.

Last update on 2021-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API