Dive Watch Deals: Submariner Alternatives

The Rolex Submariner is an icon in the world of luxury watches. Its timeless design and robust functionality make it the ultimate dive watch.

However, with its high price point, owning a Submariner remains a dream for many.  If you love the Submariner’s look but not its price tag, consider the world of homage watches.

AliExpress offers a vast selection of Submariner homage watches that capture the essence of the original at a fraction of the cost.


Choosing the right Submariner homage watch on AliExpress can be a bit overwhelming. Here’s a breakdown of the crucial factors to consider before you make your purchase:

  • Materials:
    • Case: Stainless steel is the standard. Look for 316L stainless steel for its durability and corrosion resistance.
    • Crystal: Sapphire crystal is the most scratch-resistant option. Mineral crystal is more affordable but also more prone to scratches.
  • Movement:
    • Automatic: Reliable automatic movements, like the Seiko NH35 or Miyota movements, offer smooth sweeping hands and the prestige of a mechanical watch.
    • Quartz: Quartz movements are generally more affordable and accurate, but they lack the mechanical charm of automatic watches.
  • Water Resistance: A true dive watch should have at least 100m water resistance. Many homage watches go beyond that, offering 200m or even 300m for added peace of mind.
  • Bezel Functionality: A unidirectional rotating bezel is essential for dive watches. It allows you to track dive time safely. Ensure the bezel on your chosen homage watch rotates smoothly with clear clicks.
  • Brand Reputation: AliExpress offers many lesser-known watch brands. Do your research! Read reviews and explore forums to understand the brand’s history and reputation for quality.

Key Considerations:

  • Looks are Subjective: Focus on the classic Submariner elements, but don’t feel pressured to find an exact copy. Some homage watches offer unique variations in dial color or bezel inserts.
  • Size Matters: Submariners come in various sizes. Consider what will look best on your wrist.
  • Bracelet Quality: A comfortable, well-made bracelet enhances the overall wearing experience. Pay attention to the clasp type and whether the bracelet has solid links.

By prioritizing these features, you’ll find a Submariner homage watch on AliExpress that offers both style and excellent value.


AliExpress is home to a variety of brands specializing in Submariner homage watches. Here are some of the most well-respected names to consider:

  • Pagani Design: Pagani Design is one of the most popular homage watch brands on AliExpress. They offer a vast range of Submariner-inspired watches with diverse design choices and frequent new releases. Pagani Design watches are known for their solid build quality and value for the price.
  • San Martin: San Martin is highly regarded for its excellent build quality and attention to detail. Their Submariner homage watches frequently feature premium materials like sapphire crystal and top-tier automatic movements. If you’re looking for a step up in quality, San Martin is a fantastic choice.
  • Steeldive: Steeldive is a brand that delivers incredible value. Their Submariner homage watches often incorporate reliable automatic movements, sapphire crystals, and solid construction at surprisingly affordable prices. If you’re searching for a budget-friendly option that doesn’t skimp on quality, Steeldive is worth exploring.

Important Note: When browsing homage watch brands on AliExpress, always pay close attention to specifications, reviews, and seller ratings. This will help you make informed purchasing decisions and find watches that align with your expectations.


Now, let’s highlight a few top-rated Submariner homage watches that consistently receive praise from buyers on AliExpress.

Important Note: Prices and availability on AliExpress can fluctuate, so always check the current listings.


The San Martin BB58 stands out among the sea of Submariner homages on AliExpress, offering a blend of vintage-inspired design, high-quality materials, and a touch of refinement. Here’s a closer look at why this watch impresses:

The Look

  • Faithful, not a Fake: San Martin tastefully captures the essence of the Tudor Black Bay 58 without feeling like a cheap Rolex copy. The smaller case size (40mm), gilt accents, and “snowflake” hands nail the vintage diver aesthetic.
  • Quality Construction: The brushed stainless steel case feels solid. The 120-click bezel has a satisfying action and the domed sapphire crystal adds both toughness and a touch of class.

Under the Hood

  • Movement Choice: San Martin frequently offers either a reliable Seiko NH35 automatic movement or, for an upgrade, a higher-beat Swiss PT5000 (clone of the ETA 2824). Both are known for accuracy and robustness.
  • Lume Performance: The Super-LumiNova glows brightly and evenly, ensuring legibility in low-light conditions.

On the Wrist

  • Wearable Size The 40mm diameter and slim profile make the BB58 a great choice for both smaller and larger wrists.
  • Bracelet Bliss: The riveted bracelet is comfortable, tapers nicely, and has a secure clasp. San Martin’s attention to detail shines here.

Not Without Its Quirks

  • Faux Rivets: The non-functional rivets on the bracelet side may irk purists, but they contribute to the vintage vibe.
  • Brand Recognition: San Martin is respected among watch enthusiasts, but not a household name like Rolex or Tudor.

The Verdict

The San Martin BB58 is an excellent choice for those desiring the charm of a vintage dive watch without the hefty price tag. Its build quality and attention to detail surpass many homages at its price point. If you want that Tudor Black Bay look and feel, the San Martin delivers in spades.



Cronos has built a reputation for crafting well-made, affordable homage watches. Their Submariner-inspired divers often garner praise, but does the hype live up to reality? Here’s my breakdown:

Appearance & Build

  • Subtle Refinement: Cronos delivers a Submariner homage that doesn’t scream “copy” at first glance. Subtle design cues like slightly softer case lines and varied dial textures offer a touch of originality.
  • Unexpected Quality: For the price point, I was impressed. The case finishing, ceramic bezel insert, and applied indices all show a level of care often lacking in budget-minded homages.
  • Crystal Clarity: The sapphire crystal boasts excellent scratch resistance and offers a nice distortion-free view of the dial.

Movement & Performance

  • Workhorse Inside: Most Cronos divers utilize either Seiko NH35 or PT5000 (ETA 2824 clone) movements. Both are reliable, automatic options. Mine has kept good time over a few weeks of wear.
  • Dive Ready: While boasting 200m water resistance, it’s crucial to remember homages may not have the rigorous testing of true luxury dive watches.

The Wearing Experience

  • Comfort Counts: Depending on model choices, dimensions can vary, but generally, Cronos divers offer a classic and comfortable fit on the wrist.
  • The Bracelet Holds its Own: Links are solid, the clasp feels secure, and it tapers nicely – a surprising plus in this price range.

The Little Things (And a Few Annoyances)

  • Logo Debate: The simple yet modern Cronos logo is a matter of taste. Some may find it detracts from the homage aesthetic.
  • Date Cyclops: Depending on the model, the cyclops over the date window can be polarizing.

Who’s It For?

The Cronos diver is perfect for those who want the Rolex Submariner style without the price tag AND a touch of their own personality. If you appreciate a well-made watch with a bit of understated flair, Cronos delivers impressive value.



Cadisen is known for budget-friendly homages, and their vintage-style Submariner-inspired divers often garner interest. But do they hold up beyond the tempting price tag? Here’s my honest take:

The Look & Feel

  • Vintage Vibes: The faux-gilt dial, domed acrylic crystal, and smaller case size aim to recall an older era of dive watches. It works, but with caveats.
  • Mixed Build Quality: The case itself feels surprisingly decent. However, the bezel action is a bit loose, and there can be slight misalignments in the printing.
  • Acrylic Caveats: The acrylic crystal definitely adds to the old-school charm but is prone to scratching compared to sapphire.

What’s Ticking Inside

  • Tried-and-True: Most Cadisen divers use the Seiko NH35 automatic movement. It’s a popular, reliable choice for affordable watches.
  • Dive Rated, But…: While boasting 100m water resistance, it’s wise to temper expectations. This is more of a splash-resistant daily wearer.

Wearing Experience

  • Size Matters: The sub-40mm diameter can be a big plus for those wanting a classic size.
  • Bracelet Basics: The bracelet is where you feel the budget-conscious nature. It’s functional but has hollow links and a less refined clasp.

Honest Considerations

  • The Imperfection Factor: If you’re a stickler for meticulous details, the Cadisen might frustrate. Its charm lies partly in accepting a bit of vintage-inspired roughness.
  • Price is King: The appeal here is the price point. You’re getting decent looks and a reliable movement for well under $100.

Is It For You?

The Cadisen Diver Vintage is best for those wanting a taste of vintage dive watch style on an extremely tight budget. If you’re okay with imperfections and prioritize affordability above all else, it might surprise you.



San Martin has a knack for delivering impressive homages, and their Retro Diver is a standout offering. Here’s why it’s more than just another Submariner copycat:

The Nostalgic Aesthetic

  • True to its Roots: With its domed sapphire crystal, gilt accents, “fauxtina” lume, and coin-edge bezel, the Retro Diver nails the look of a well-loved vintage dive watch.
  • Size Matters: Depending on the variant, case sizes around 39mm-40mm offer that sweet spot for both classic proportions and contemporary wearability.
  • Not All About the Bezel: Some retro-style homages get carried away with fauxtina. San Martin uses it tastefully, making the watch feel authentically aged without going overboard.

Beyond the Surface

  • Build Quality You Notice: The case finishing, crisp bezel action, and overall solidity are hallmarks of San Martin’s quality control.
  • Movement Options: As with many San Martin watches, you’ll often find reliable Seiko NH35 or higher-end Swiss movement choices, like the PT5000.
  • The Little Things: The attention to detail shines through with touches like a signed crown and a well-articulating bracelet.

Daily Wear Appeal

  • Comfortable Classic: The dimensions and comfortable bracelet make the Retro Diver a joy to wear for extended periods.
  • Subtle Yet Striking: The vintage-inspired design has an understated presence that works with various styles.
  • Water-Ready: With a 200m water resistance rating, you can enjoy aquatic adventures without undue worry.

Not Without Its Quirks

  • Fauxtina Debate: Some may find the faux aged lume a turn-off. However, San Martin keeps it less cartoonish than many brands.
  • Not a True Relic: Remember, it’s a modern homage. It evokes a vintage spirit but won’t fool anyone into thinking it’s a watch from the 1960s.

The Verdict

The San Martin Retro Diver delivers a delightful blend of vintage inspiration and modern craftsmanship. If you long for the character of an old-school diver but demand reliable performance and quality worthy of its price point, this might be your perfect timepiece.




San Martin has earned a reputation for delivering well-made homage watches that go beyond simple copies. Their Sub 41mm watches exemplify this, offering a compelling blend of classic design and modern refinement.

The Look

  • Tasteful Tribute: San Martin skillfully captures the essence of the Rolex Submariner without feeling like a cheap imitation. Clean lines, balanced proportions, and a choice of classic colorways make these watches timeless.
  • Materials Matter: Brushed and polished stainless steel, sapphire crystal, and ceramic bezel inserts create a sense of quality unmatched by many budget homage brands.

Under the Hood

  • Reliable Movements: Expect either the workhorse Seiko NH35 automatic or a Swiss alternative like the PT5000 (ETA 2824 clone). Both offer smooth operation and proven reliability.
  • Lume that Lasts: Super-LumiNova on the hands, indices, and often the bezel pip ensures visibility in dark conditions.

The Wearing Experience

  • Sized for All: The 41mm case offers a middle ground that works for a wide range of wrists.
  • Bracelet Bliss: San Martin’s bracelets are a standout. Expect solid construction, a secure clasp, and a comfortable taper.
  • Dive Ready: With 200m water resistance, the Sub 41mm is a true dive watch, not just a fashion statement.

Things to Note

  • Details vs. Exactness: San Martin homages may have small differences from a genuine Submariner. This is intentional, adding a touch of their own personality.
  • The Brand Factor: San Martin is respected among enthusiasts, but awareness isn’t as widespread as with major luxury brands.

The Verdict

The San Martin Sub 41mm is an excellent choice for those desiring the Submariner look with superior build quality compared to ultra-budget homages. If you appreciate attention to detail and value for money, San Martin delivers in spades.



Cronos is known for its straightforward approach to homage watches, and their Diver Date series offers a no-nonsense take on the classic Submariner design. Here’s what you can expect:

The Look & Feel

  • Classic, Not Copycat: The overall design hits familiar Submariner notes but feels fresh enough to avoid being a cheap Rolex knockoff. Clean dial layouts and varied bezel/dial color options add to the appeal.
  • Solid Construction: Case finishing is surprisingly good for the price point. The sapphire crystal and ceramic bezel insert add scratch resistance for active wear.
  • Workhorse Inside: Most Cronos Diver Date models utilize reliable movements like the Seiko NH35 or PT5000 (ETA 2824 clone) – they get the job done without breaking the bank.

On the Wrist

  • Comfort & Versatility: Case sizes tend to fall in the versatile 40-42mm range, offering a classic fit without feeling overly bulky.
  • Bracelet Surprise: The bracelet quality often exceeds expectations at this price point. Solid links, a good clasp, and a comfortable taper make it wearable for extended periods.
  • Water-Ready: 200m water resistance means you can confidently take this watch on aquatic adventures.

The Little Things

  • The Logo Debate: Cronos’ simple “C” logo is modern but might detract from the pure homage aesthetic for some.
  • Cyclops Conundrum: Depending on the model, the date magnifier (“cyclops”) can be a love-it-or-hate-it feature.
  • Details vs. Perfection: There may be minor dial printing imperfections if you inspect with a loupe – a reminder of the budget-friendly nature.

Who’s It For?

The Cronos Diver Date is ideal for those wanting the Submariner spirit on a budget AND a watch that feels like its own thing. If you prioritize value, appreciate a slightly understated design, and can overlook minor imperfections, Cronos delivers.



Phylida occupies an interesting space in the homage watch world. Their SU-11N is technically an Aqua Terra homage, but with a few modifications, it transforms into a surprisingly convincing Submariner alternative, making it a darling of the modding community.

The Basics

  • Affordable Foundation: The SU-11N is very budget-friendly. Expect to find it well under $100, often with a Seiko NH35 automatic movement.
  • Mixed Build Quality: The case itself is decent for the price, but finishing isn’t top-tier. The bracelet is functional but nothing to write home about.
  • The Mod Factor: The SU-11N’s real draw lies in its potential. A simple bezel swap and potentially a dial change make it a surprisingly convincing Submariner homage base.


  • Reliable Movement: The Seiko NH35 is a workhorse, known for its accuracy and robustness.
  • Water Resistance Caveat: While it might claim “dive watch” status, it’s wiser to treat this as splash-proof unless you have it pressure tested after modifications.

The Wearability

  • Classic Size: The 41mm case is a crowd-pleaser, offering a comfortable fit for most wrists.
  • Aesthetics with Mods: As an unmodified Aqua Terra homage, it has its charm. But its true potential shines after bezel and dial swaps for that Submariner look.

Who It’s Best For

  • Modding Enthusiasts: If you’re into DIY watch tinkering, the SU-11N offers a cost-effective platform for customization.
  • Bargain Hunters (with Skills): If you’re willing to do mods yourself, you can end up with a Submariner-esque watch for a fraction of the cost.
  • Not for Purists: Those wanting a meticulously detailed, ready-to-wear Submariner homage should look elsewhere.

The Verdict

The Phylida SU-11N isn’t amazing out of the box. But for the dedicated modder or bargain hunter willing to put in the work, it offers a surprising gateway to affordable Submariner-inspired style.



San Martin’s “Bluesy”-inspired SN0017-G-A offers a taste of the classic two-tone Rolex Submariner style at a fraction of the cost. But does it deliver on looks and substance alone? Here’s a breakdown:

Appearance and Presence

  • Eye-Catching Contrast: The combination of stainless steel and gold-tone accents is undeniably striking and captures the “Bluesy” vibe.
  • Well-Executed Details: Brushed and polished finishes, applied indices, and the ceramic bezel insert add a sense of quality unexpected at the price.
  • Not a Perfect Match: While inspired by the Rolex, keen eyes will notice subtle case shape and dial font differences when compared side-by-side.

Under the Surface

  • Reliable Workhorse: Expect either the tried-and-true Seiko NH35 or a Swiss alternative movement depending on when you purchase it. Both offer smooth, automatic operation.
  • Scratch-Resistant Sapphire: The crystal offers excellent clarity and durability, a welcome feature in this price range.
  • Dive Ready: The 200m water resistance rating means worry-free wear in wet conditions.

The Wearing Experience

  • Substantial, Not Overbearing: The size and two-tone style make a statement but shouldn’t overwhelm average wrists.
  • Bracelet Surprise: The bracelet is often a weak point in budget homages, but San Martin’s feels solid, with a secure clasp and comfortable articulation.

Important Things to Note:

  • The Bling Factor: Two-tone isn’t for everyone. This watch is unapologetically flashy and best suited to those who enjoy that aesthetic.
  • Brand Recognition: San Martin is well-regarded, but it lacks the mainstream name recognition of Seiko, Citizen, etc.

The Verdict

The San Martin SN0017-G-A offers a compelling package for those wanting the “Bluesy” look without the Rolex price tag. Its build quality and attention to detail make it stand out among budget Submariner homages. If you’re bold enough to rock the two-tone style, this watch delivers surprising value.



The Pagani Design PD-1639 offers a bold and budget-friendly take on the iconic Rolex “Hulk” Submariner. With its green bezel and dial, it’s a head-turner – but does it live up to its popularity?

The Look

  • Unapologetically Green: The sunburst green dial and matching ceramic bezel insert are eye-catching and surprisingly vibrant.
  • Solid Construction: The stainless steel case has a satisfying heft, and the sapphire crystal offers excellent scratch resistance.
  • Homage, not Replica: While clearly inspired by the “Hulk,” Pagani Design makes enough subtle tweaks to avoid feeling like a counterfeit.

What’s Inside

  • Reliable Movement: The Seiko NH35 automatic movement is a workhorse, known for its accuracy and robustness.
  • Dive Ready: 100m water resistance lets you enjoy aquatic adventures without undue worry.
  • Bright Illumination: The Super-LumiNova lume offers decent visibility in low light, though it may not be as strong as higher-end watches.

On the Wrist

  • The Size Factor: At 43mm, it’s on the larger side of dive watches. Those with smaller wrists might find it bulky.
  • Bracelet Basics: The bracelet is functional, with solid links and a secure clasp. However, it may lack the refinement of higher-end homage bracelets.

A Few Things to Consider

  • Color Vibrancy: The green hue can vary slightly depending on lighting conditions.
  • Cyclops Love/Hate: The magnifier (“cyclops”) over the date is a classic Rolex touch but can be polarizing.
  • Brand Awareness: Pagani Design is popular among enthusiasts but lacks mainstream recognition.

The Verdict

The Pagani Design PD-1639 delivers a surprisingly satisfying “Hulk” homage experience considering its price point. If you love the bold look, value solid construction, and don’t mind the slightly larger size, it’s a compelling option.



Steeldive has a reputation for delivering solid homage watches that won’t break the bank. Their SD1953 stands out for offering excellent quality and classic Submariner styling at an accessible price point.

Appearance & Build

  • Faithful Design: The SD1953 captures the essence of the Submariner with its clean lines, applied indices, and “Mercedes” hands.
  • Impressive Materials: The use of a sapphire crystal and a ceramic bezel insert elevates it above many budget-focused rivals.
  • Solid Construction: The stainless steel case features a mix of brushed and polished finishes, providing a sense of refinement.

Inside the Watch

  • Reliable Movement: The Seiko NH35 automatic movement is a staple in affordable watches, known for its precision and durability.
  • True Dive Capability: With 300m water resistance, the SD1953 is suitable for serious aquatic adventures, not just desk diving.
  • Bright Illumination: Generous application of Super-LumiNova ensures good visibility in low-light conditions.

The Wearing Experience

  • A Classic Size: The 41mm case diameter is a Submariner staple, delivering a comfortable fit for a wide range of wrists.
  • Bracelet Comfort: The bracelet features solid links, a secure clasp, and good articulation, making it wearable for long periods.

Things to Note:

  • Not a Perfect Copycat: Expect minor variations in design nuances compared to a genuine Submariner.
  • Brand Recognition: While respected by enthusiasts, Steeldive doesn’t carry the same cachet as luxury brands.

The Verdict

The Steeldive SD1953 is an outstanding Submariner homage for those seeking excellent value. If you want a sturdy and reliable dive watch with classic styling without sacrificing quality materials, Steeldive delivers.



Sugess is gaining a reputation for upping the quality ante in the homage watch world. Their SU126610LV, a Rolex “Hulk” Submariner homage, showcases why this brand is worth considering if you want something a bit more refined than ultra-budget options.

Appearance and Quality

  • “Hulk” Done Right: The vibrant green ceramic bezel insert and sunburst dial capture the “Hulk” essence with surprising accuracy.
  • Quality Touches: Sapphire crystal, a well-finished stainless steel case, and applied indices create a sense of refinement often lacking in sub-$200 homage watches.
  • Subtle, Not Slapstick: Sugess wisely avoids making this a pure copycat, incorporating subtle design cues to distinguish it from a genuine Rolex.

Inside the Case

  • Choice is Good: Sugess frequently offers either the reliable Seiko NH35 or a higher-end Swiss movement option (like the Sellita SW200) for additional cost.
  • Dive Ready: A 200m water resistance rating makes this a true dive watch contender.
  • Lume Performance: Super-LumiNova application is generous and offers good visibility in dim conditions.

Wearing Experience

  • Comfortable Classic: The 40mm size feels at home on a variety of wrists.
  • Bracelet Upgrade: Expect a solid oyster-style bracelet with a well-made clasp – a pleasant surprise at this price point.

Things to Consider

  • Premium Price: Compared to ultra-budget homages, Sugess comes with a higher price tag (though still very affordable relative to luxury watches).
  • Brand Awareness: Sugess is gaining traction among watch enthusiasts, but it isn’t a household name.

The Verdict

The Sugess SU126610LV offers an impressive blend of “Hulk” style, quality materials, and reliable performance. If you’re willing to invest a bit more for a step up in refinement from super-budget homage watches, Sugess delivers a compelling option.



While AliExpress offers amazing deals on Submariner homage watches, it’s important to make an informed decision. Here are some key aspects to consider before clicking the “buy” button:

  • Shipping and Customs:
    • Factor in Costs: Be prepared for potential import duties or taxes depending on your country’s regulations. These charges are in addition to the watch price.
    • Shipping Times: Shipping from China can take several weeks. Plan accordingly, especially if you’re buying the watch as a gift.
  • Returns:
    • Seller Policies: Carefully examine the seller’s return policy. Understand the conditions for returns and who would be responsible for return shipping costs.
    • Challenges: Returning an item to China can be complex and costly depending on your location.
  • Expectations:
    • Homage vs. Replica: Remember, homage watches are inspired by the Submariner’s design, but they are not exact replicas built with Rolex’s level of craftsmanship.
    • Quality Variation: While many homage watches offer excellent value, understand that there will be differences in overall quality compared to a genuine Rolex.

Additional Tips

  • Research: Invest time in reading reviews, comparing specs, and watching videos about potential purchases. A well-informed decision will increase satisfaction with your watch.
  • Communication: Don’t hesitate to contact the seller on AliExpress if you have questions about the product or shipping.
  • Buy What You Love: Most importantly, choose a Submariner homage that you genuinely love the look of!

By considering these factors, you’ll ensure a smooth buying experience and end up with a Submariner homage watch on AliExpress that gives you that classic dive watch style without breaking the bank.

Before You Go

If you’ve always dreamed of owning a Submariner but found the price to be an obstacle, homage watches open up a whole new world of possibilities.

Remember, it’s not about matching a Rolex one-to-one but about enjoying the timeless design and the thrill of finding a great watch at an accessible price.

With so many fantastic options on AliExpress, your own Submariner-inspired adventure awaits!

Was this article helpful?

Similar Posts