The $480 Swiss-Powered Submariner Homage
The only real antidote to a Rolex Submariner craving is a Rolex Submariner — that is not up for debate — but there are certainly some watches out there that can hold off that thirst until you can afford the Holy Grail. While we've extolled the $180 workhorse Seiko SKX007 automatic as an affordable stopgap, some people might require something a little closer to the big daddy with a Swiss movement — something like the Steinhart Ocean Series.
Made in Germany, the Steinhart Ocean Series may be a clear homage to the classic Rolex, but it does a few things differently, most notably the case size. Although the Submariner is a solid 40 millimeters wide, the Ocean reflects modern trends a bit more with its stouter 42-millimeter diameter.
Inside the case, the Steinhart Ocean is powered by a very respectable ETA 2824-2 movement, which features 25 jewels, hacking seconds, and Swiss pedigree.
In addition to the classic Rolex Sub homage, the "Ocean One," Steinhart has a take on the classic military submariner, with a slightly different bezel and dial that reflects the British Frogmen's old requirements. Performance-wise, however, they're both rated to 30 ATMs of pressure, which is about 1,000 feet underwater. With looks this good, it's easy to forget its original purpose as a tool for measuring time under adverse conditions, even with that big number printed on the dial.
Though it does sound too good to be true, the Steinhart Ocean Series really doesn't compromise despite the fact that you can get 16 of them for the price of the original above. It's Swiss, the company is legit with an excellent reputation for customer service, and the watches have received nothing but praise. The only mark in the con column? It's still not a Rolex. So for some people, it might be a stop along the way rather than a journey's end.