Affordable Equivalent: Rolex vs Steinhart


So I’m back with another post inspired by a request for watch advice from a friend. About a week ago, a buddy of mine approaching his 30th wrote me that he is in the market for a nice time piece.

20-something at heart, he has his eye on this this custom Rolex Submariner by Black-Out. Worn by Kanye, and adored by many, this watch is stunning. I mean, just look at it. Unfortunately, the $7,000+ price tag for the Submariner is a bit prohibitive, and my friend is looking for a more affordable alternative. I’ve looked high and low for the perfect stand in, and I think I’ve found a watch that doesn’t sacrifice an ounce of style, luxury or mechanical excellence, for a fraction of the price.

So the first thing you notice about the Black-Out Rolex Submariner is that it is drop-dead gorgeous. Take classic Submariner styling, combine it with super durable diamond like coating (DLC), and you have a piece that you wouldn’t be surprised to see come out of one of Rolex’s very own workshops. Another watch that partners classic diver looks with a more contemporary color palate very well is the Seiko SNZH59, the all black version of a watch we mentioned on worn&wound not too long ago. You can read Zach’s initial thoughts for a more complete picture, but the SNZH in any color brings a lot of bang for your buck. At just $170 (or thereabout), you get a tried and tested Seiko automatic moment, hardlex crystal, day/date function and outstanding build quality. Coat that package in black ion plating, and you have a really attractive watch.

But lets be honest, a Seiko automatic doesn’t quite match up to a Rolex Caliber 3135. But you know what does? A 25 jewel, ETA 2824-2 automatic. And do you know what watch takes this movement and puts it in a beautiful black DLC classic diver body? The Steinhart Ocean Black DLC. I love this watch. It’s really the perfect combination of classic and contemporary styling at an incredibly reasonable price. Beyond it’s movement, the Steinhart Ocean Black offers a number of features also found in the classic Submariner. Both house highly accurate automatic movements in black DLC coated stainless steel cases, both are water resistent to 300 meters, both have a sapphire crystal, both offer a date function, and the list goes on. Meanwhile, the Black-Out Submariner will run you about $7,000, and the Ocean Black can be yours for just over $400.

I really can’t imagine a watch that offers this much quality and styling for the price (a statement I find myself making about a lot of Steinhart watches). For those of you interested in the Ocean Black DLC, head over to the Steinhart website.

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Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
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