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The Japanese brand Seiko has been around for more than a century and is one of the most influential watch manufacturers in the world. One remarkable aspect of Seiko is that they develop everything ...
The Omega Speedmaster is a legendary watch. It's a masterpiece that all watch enthusiasts want to have in their collection. The Speedmaster Professional was created in 1957 and its iconic design ...
During the cold war, the USSR and USA competed fiercely in the Space Race to get to the Moon. This competition resulted in historic events achieved on both sides. On the Russian side, Yuri Gagarin ...
The San Martin Vintage Sub should satisfy fans of vintage Rolexes and Tudors who are looking for medium size vintage diver homages. San Martin is a Chinese brand that has become increasingly popular because of its amazing value for money. This model can be seen as a very afforable diving watch with a similar style to the vintage Rolex Submariners like the “big crown” models the San Martin page on Ali Express mentions the 6200 reference, which is a famous Rolex Sumariner model with the 369 dial. The reference SN004-G has a black bezel insert with gold numerals and a black dial with a gilt chapter ring.
This watch can be for many an ideal balance between price and style: the diameter of the SN004-G model is 38mm, the lug-to-lug distance is 46mm and it is 13mm thick, making it a great fit for most wrists. It is powered by the reliable NH35 automatic (self-winding) mechanical movement, but the dial has no date, which might upset a few due to the first “ghost” position when pulling the crown to set the time. The water resistance of this San Martin Vintage Submariner homage is 200m, making it suitable for swimming and diving.
The case has a similar style to the Tudor Black Bay 58, so this could be considered as an affordable alternative to the Tudor Black Bay 58. The C3 lumed indices have the same shapes as the ones of the gilt dial of the vintage 5513 Rolex submariner from the 1960s. They are protected by a sapphire crystal, and will emit a green glow in the dark for hours.
San Martin offers a great and affordable alternative to more luxurious models such as the Rolex Submariner and Tudor Balack Bay 58. If you do not like the vintage-style rivetted stainless steel bracelet, the standard 20mm lug width will allow you to easily find alternative straps. The San Martin SN004 can be found on the used market for less than $200.
The Seiko SNZF17 - part of the Seiko 5 Sports watches family and also called the “Sea Urchin” - can be seen as a very afforable diving watch with a similar style to the Rolex Submariner. The reference SNZF17 has a black bezel insert and a black dial, whereas the SNZF15 has a “Pepsi” (blue and red) bezel and dark blue dial.
This watch can be for many an ideal balance between price and style: the diameter of the SNZF model is 41mm and it is 13.2mm thick, making it a great fit for most wrists. It is powered by the reliable 7S26 automatic (self-winding) mechanical movement, offering a day-date complication. The water resistance of the Seiko “Sea Urchin” is 100m, making it suitable for surface swimming.
Despite its similar case style with the Rolex Submariner, the SNZF models have their own identity: the lumed hands and dial have a totally different design. They are protected by a hardlex mineral crystal, and will glow in the dark for hours. This is what we all love about Seiko watches : they have their own story and will never be blatant copies of other brands/models.
Once again Seiko offers a great and affordable alternative to more luxurious models such as the Rolex Submariner. If you do not like the Oyster-style stainless steel bracelet, the standard 22mm lug width will allow you to easily find alternative straps. The Seiko SNZF17 and SNZF15 can be found on the used market for less than $200.
TThe Omega Seamaster 300 GMT 253X.XX series were made from 1998 to late 2000s for the 50th anniversary of the Omega Seamaster collection.
Although it is the first GMT watch made by Omega this model has been forgotten and seems pretty underrated.
Let's have a look at this 20+ year old Omega model that could be considered as a great Rolex GMT-Master alternative.
The bezel of the 2534.50 is black and white and seems to have a marmite effect in the watch community: some people would have preferred an entirely black one.
The crown also received some criticism: it is considered too small.
However, the Omega 1128 is a true GMT movement that is very accurate and COSC certified. It is a true traveler's GMT with a quick set hour hand. It’s a great looking watch overshadowed by the Rolex GMTs!
This Seamaster GMT has a 41.5mm diameter with a thickness of 13.6mm. The lug to lug distance is 51mm so this watch has a generous wrist presence. If you compare the case with the classic Omega Seamaster of that era: the GMT complication adds about 2mm to the case depth which means it is more different from the 2531/2254 than you would think, the crown is more shrouded and the bezel is deeper. However, the Seamaster GMT also provides you with a reliable 300m water resistance rating!
The numbers on the bezel are bold, maybe too bold for some, but it still works well with the black dial. We feel, however, that the bold numbers of the bezel take away some of the refined aspects of the white dial version (the great white).
We love the butterfly clasp on the Bond-style bracelet that originally came with this watch. We also love the black date wheel and the fact that Omega deleted the helium escape valve. It's touches like this that make this watch such a winner.
The pop of red on the GMT hand and the red lettered GMT text of the dial is a thing of beauty. It's worth knowing that the dial is not interchangeable between the black and white dial GMTs as the white dial takes more space in the case.
In our opinion, the Seamaster 300 GMT 50th anniversary is one of Omega's finest GMTs. It is surprising how undervalued and unloved they seem to be. It’s a fine watch which stacks up well vs the similar Rolex Explorer II or even the Rolex GMT Master II, at a much affordable price range.
If you want something different from the crowd that is a true travelers' GMT, then the distinctive Omega Seamaster GMT 253X.XX is certainly worth a look. You can find some below the $2000 mark.
The Stowa brand has been a game changer since 1927 by producing watches with a timeless design. The Bauhaus design of its Antea collection has inspired many other watch brands ever since STOWA introduced it in 1937. At the time, not many companies realized the dramatic impact and success the Bauhaus design would have later on. Today, the Bauhaus design that Walter Gropius introduced in 1917 has become iconic and well established.
The current Antea design is based on the first Stowa 1937 model, reissued in 2004 by Jörg Schauer. The Antea Classic is produced unchanged and in different watch case sizes since then (36.5mm or 39mm) and with manual wind or automatic movement.
The watch has a polished stainless steel watch case. The silver-plated dial version has gorgeous blued steel-watch-hands, whereas a black dial version is available with silver hands.
The Stowa Antea is very elegant and captivatingly beautiful. The Antea 390 offers reasonable dimensions with a diameter of 39mm and convenient a lug width on 20mm. The thickness of this Bauhaus timepiece is 9.20mm and it provides a 50m water resistance.
It wears quite big though, with a lug to lug distance of 47.80mm. If you have small wrists the Antea 365 is worth looking at.
The transaperent case back lets you admire the top version ETA 2824-2 movement equipped with magnificent looking blued screws. The rotor is handmade produly bearing the Stowa logo. The strap has a deployment buckle.
Steinhart is quite famous for its homage models of the modern Rolex Submariner, but it also issued some watches inspired by some vintage Rolex Submariner watches, that have their own identity:
The OCEAN One VINTAGE Red (ref 103-0657)
The dimensions of these vintage-looking models are: 42mm diameter, 13mm thick, 22mm lug width.
It is also worth noting that a limited edition with a 39mm of the OVM was launched by Gnomon watches, limited to 500 pieces. They are sold out but you can find some on the used market, with a little bit of patience and research.
The lume on the dial and hands of those models is Super Luminova “Old Radium”, giving those new watches a vintage look.
The watch sports a classic yet reliable Swiss ETA 2824-2 (or Selita SW 200) élaboré ( +/- 7sec/day max +/-20sec/day).
Each of those models can be seen as a great alternative to the vintage Rolex models like the Rolex Milsub, or the Rolex Submariner 1680 (famous for its red text) - which are now prohibitively expensive. Despite their vintage look, those Steinhart models have a 300m water resistance!
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