While the word “iconic” is overused in the luxury watch world, the Rolex Submariner is one watch that is well-deserving of that title. Born in 1953 as a tool watch for the then-nascent sport of SCUBA diving, the Submariner has grown to become one of the most—if not the most—famous high-end watches ever made. However, with its hefty price tag and exceedingly high demand across the globe, getting your hands on a Submariner isn’t an easy feat. Enter the Submariner homage watch.
But you may be asking yourself, what are homage watches? They are simply watches made to look like well-known timepieces (such as the Rolex Submariner), sold by other companies at much lower prices. Homage watches are not replica watches since they are not pretending to be the genuine model—for example, they do not have the original brand name anywhere on the timepiece. They do however, mimic a particular watch design.
It’s worth mentioning that homage watches aren’t without controversy. Some disapprove of watches that are meant to look like specific models while some appreciate their availability if buying the original just isn’t possible. If you’re in the latter camp and are looking for the best Rolex Submariner homage watch, take a look at these 7 solid options.
Prices starting at $799
The Ternos collection by Davosa houses a wide assortment of styles inspired by popular Rolex sports watches.
The Submariner look-alike is the Ternos 40mm Automatic Diver model with a date window at 3 o’clock, complete with the protruding magnification lens sitting above it. Plus, much like the original Submariner, there are Ternos watches with black, blue, or green bezels to choose from. The Davosa Ternos 40mm Automatic Diver watches are Swiss-made, have ceramic bezels, are water-resistant to 200 meters, and run on automatic movements.
Prices starting at $500
The Swiss-made Steinhart Ocean One BLACK Ceramic watch is an homage to modern steel Rolex Submariner watches—but slightly bigger. The automatic Ocean One BLACK Ceramic sports a 42mm stainless steel case water-resistant to 300 meters and it’s topped with, as its name implies, a black ceramic bezel. The dial is also black, punctuated with the famed Mercedes-style hands common to most Rolex sports watches. There’s also the customary date on the dial, followed by the magnification bubble lens on the sapphire crystal, while the three-link bracelet is fashioned after the Submariner’s Oyster bracelet.
If you’re looking for a Submariner Hulk-like variant, there’s also the more expensive OCEAN One Double-GREEN Ceramic premium model.
Ginault Ocean Rover
Prices starting at $1,299
For a no-date Submariner homage, Ginault offers up the Ocean-Rover 181070GSLN. The watch borrows heavily from older Submariner models with aluminum bezels and even features beige-colored “Gold Sand Lume” to imitate the patina that can develop with older vintage watches.
However, Ginault also includes details that aren’t found on the original Rolex diver. For example, rather than Mercedes-style hands, the Ocean-Rover has sword-shaped ones, along with a red seconds hand. Also, instead of hailing from Switzerland, Ginault watches have “Hand Built in America” emblazoned on the dials. However, other details, such as a 40mm steel case with 300-meter water resistance, the hour markers, the automatic movement, and a three-link steel bracelet with an extension clasp are all clearly inspired by the Rolex Sub.
Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB
Prices starting at $78
Coming in at less than $80, the Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB is one of the most affordable Rolex Submariner homage watches in the market. The watch comes with a 40mm steel case, black aluminum bezel, and a black dial with a date window at 3 o’clock. Of course, to match the Submariner date, the Pro Diver also has a date magnifying lens. However, the crystal is not sapphire but mineral crystal, and the lume plots, although in the same shape as the Sub, are quite small.
The back of the Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB includes a display caseback to show the automatic Seiko NH35A movement that powers the watch. The three-link steel bracelet has polished center links and this particular Invicta Pro Diver is water-resistant to 200 meters.
Stührling Regatta 792 Automatic
Prices starting at $250
The Regatta 792 Automatic collection by Stührling offers several Submariner homage watches in various color iterations. Regardless of the color, the Stührling Regatta 792 Diver watches feature 42mm steel cases water-resistant to 200 meters. The bezels are aluminum while the crystal is “Krysterna,” which according to the brand is “more shatter-resistant than sapphire crystal.”
The three-link Oyster-inspired bracelets fasten around the wrist using a push-button deployant clasp and the automatic movement inside the case is visible via a display caseback.
Squale 20 ATMOS MAXI Ceramic 1545
Prices starting at $570
Squale has had a long history of making diving watches and the company’s origins date back to the 1950s. Among the vast assortment of solid dive watches offered by Squale, the model that looks most like a modern Rolex Submariner is the 20 ATMOS MAXI Ceramic 1545.
The Squale 20 ATMOS MAXI Ceramic 1545 watch is equipped with a 40mm 316L steel case, furnished with a screw-down winding crown and a water-resistance rating of 200 meters. The black ceramic bezel is a nice contrast to the matte black dial while the generously sized hour markers are coated with SuperLuminova. There’s also a date window and a magnification lens on the flat sapphire crystal. This Squale diving watch runs on the Swiss ETA 2824-2/SW200 automatic movement.
Tudor Black Bay 79230
Prices starting at $3,475
Not so much a Submariner homage but rather a more affordable option (by luxury watch standards), the Black Bay 79230 is a fantastic offering by Rolex’s sibling brand, Tudor. Those who are familiar with Tudor will likely know that the brand used to make Submariner watches too, complete with Rolex-made components. The Black Bay is a collection of dive watches that include design details inspired by vintage Tudor Submariner models but executed to modern standards.
With 41mm steel cases water-resistant to 200 meters, time-only dials accented with vintage “snowflake style” hands, and in-house made automatic movements, the Tudor Black Bay ref. 79230 marries the old and the new. Plus, you can choose from black, blue, or red bezels, in addition to leather bands, fabric straps, or three-link metal bracelets.
Whether you agree with owning a Submariner homage watch or not, there are plenty of them out there. As the old saying goes, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” What are your thoughts about homage watches? Let us know in the comments below.