It’s no secret that the Rolex Submariner is immensely popular. In fact, for many, (watch enthusiasts or otherwise) it is the watch to own. It’s a status watch thanks to its Rolex name, yet sporty thanks to its dive watch build and functionality. It can be paired with jeans and a tee for a casual approach or with a black tux à la James Bond. Plus, although the Submariner comes in a host of variations–vintage or modern, steel or gold, with date or no date, black, blue or green–its strong design codes means that it’s always instantly recognized as Rolex’s famous dive watch. However, the Submariner is far from the only luxury dive watch to consider. There are so many out there to choose from. So, today, we’re taking a look at a modern Rolex Submariner and other dive watch alternatives.
The stainless steel Rolex Submariner ref. 114060 is the most current version of the Sub without a date. Fans of this style appreciate the watch’s cleaner look due to the lack of a date window at 3 o’clock and no Cyclops magnification lens protruding above the sapphire crystal. What’s more, this is the current equivalent to the very first Submariner since that was a no-date steel model too.
As a modern Rolex sports watch, the Submariner ref. 114060 comes with all the usual suspects including a 40mm Oyster case, an Oyster bracelet with a diver’s extension, a black Cerachrom ceramic unidirectional bezel, and water resistance to 300 meters. The black dial offers plenty of lume from the round and baton indexes to the center Mercedes-style hands. Beneath the caseback is the COSC-certified Cal. 3130 self-winding movement with about 48 hours of power reserve.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms
In the early 1950s, Captain Robert “Bob” Maloubier was in need of precise, waterproof, and robust dive watches for his newly formed French frogmen unit. After sketching out his vision and requesting help from several watch manufacturers to build his watch, it was Blancpain that finally accepted the challenge. And in 1953, the now iconic Blancpain Fifty Fathoms was born as the world’s first modern diver’s watch. The watch was water resistant to 50 fathoms (hence the name), which is a British measure equivalent to 91.45 meters.
A part of the current brand’s catalog, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms ref. 5085F-1130-52 is not just a dive watch, but a flyback chronograph too. It features a large 45mm steel case with screw-down chronograph pushers and winding crown, a black fully luminescent unidirectional bezel protected by sapphire, and a virtually indestructible sail canvas strap attached to the lugs via screws. The black dial houses three registers, a discreet date window at 6 o’clock, broad sword-style center hands, and plenty of lume for optimal legibility. Powered by the F185 automatic movement, this Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Flyback Chronograph is water resistant to 300 meters, antimagnetic due to an iron shield, and provides a 40-hour power reserve.
In the 1950s, Breitling took steps to enhance their already impressive collection of military aviation watches and instruments with military grade dive watches. In honor of the company’s 25th anniversary, the SuperOcean was introduced in 1957 and boasted water resistance of 200 meters.
The SuperOcean lineup has evolved dramatically since then and the brand currently offers modern SuperOcean models as well as vintage-inspired ones. The Breitling SuperOcean Chronograph ref. A13341 is a modern take on Breitling’s dive watch with a 44mm case, black unidirectional rotating bezel, and steel link bracelet. The black dial includes a trio of registers in a 6/9/12 layout along with a date window at 3 o’clock. As is customary with dive watches, the dial features luminescent accents such as the oversized center hands and thick baton hour markers. On this particular Breitling SuperOcean, there are bright orange details on the dial, emphasizing the watch’s sporty style. Driving the 500-meter water resistant diver’s watch is the automatic Caliber 13 with a 42-hour power reserve.
Cartier Pasha Seatimer
In the 1930s, Louis Cartier created a special water-resistant watch for the Pasha of Marrakesh, who happened to be an avid swimmer. Inspired by this timepiece, Cartier officially added the Pasha watch to its collection in the 1940s. Over the following decades, the maison created countless versions of the Pasha de Cartier including a diver, the Pasha Seatimer.
The Cartier Pasha Seatimer W3107702 sports a very wearable 40.5mm steel case with the essential unidirectional bezel, in steel and engraved with lacquered numerals and markings. The black dial does not feature Roman numerals typically associated with Cartier watches, but instead, a mix of oversized luminescent Arabic numerals and stick indices. There’s also a date window tucked in between 4 and 5 o’clock. A highlight of this Cartier dive watch is its rubber and steel bracelet with a double deployant clasp. Water resistant to 100 meters, the Cartier Pasha Seatimer runs on an automatic movement hidden beneath the solid steel caseback.
Whether you opt for the Rolex Submariner or any of the dive watch alternatives we’ve highlighted from Blancpain, Breitling, or Cartier, these luxury watches offer an appealing blend of functionality, incredible quality, and classic design.