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· Watch Freek
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340 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have been looking at dive watches and seeing what's out there at the 3k or less price range. Dive watches are the largest segment of watches when you consider all the different brands including the affordable watch market and mid-tier brands. There is also no doubt when it comes to diving watches Rolex Submariner is the icon, it is not the first, nor did Rolex invent the dive watch but no one can argue that there are hundreds of watches that pay homage or outright copy the design of the Submariner. There are other watches like Blancpain 50 Fathoms that can claim they manufactured the first dive watch and then there are others like Omega with its own icon the Seamaster, Doxa and than their is Seiko who has made a huge contribution to the dive watch.

For people like me, I will never be able to afford a Submariner, I do own an Omega SMP 3000 Chronograph but I rarely wear the watch because it is not very comfortable due to its heft, the watch is like a tank. I do own a Seiko Orange Monster a first generation it is a nice watch but does not excite me all that much, I can't complain as it was given top me for free by a fellow watch enthusiast. Now I do own watches that have adequate water resistance to engage in water activities like my Seiko Alpinist, Marice Lacroix Aikon, and my Yema Bronze GMT Superman, each has 20 bar water resistance but they are not per say diving watches.

So I have been looking at divers from many brands Zelos, Axios, Seiko, Longines, Mido, Oris, Tag Huer to name just a few. There are so many watch brands with so many divers you could spend days going through all the different watch brands. There are divers that follow the same formula with external bezels like the majrotiy of dive watches, some with internal bezels that are manipulated by a second crown like the Longines legacy diver, JLC Polaris and Mausrice Lacroix Pontos diver. External bezels can be aluminum, sapphire, and ceramic. In the under 3k you can find Stainless steel, and Bronze cases and. maybe an old vintage diver in solid gold but that would be hard to come by.

I do like some microbrands and they offer very value-oriented watches with great specifications but they just do not seem like a long-term proposition for me, if I spend five hundred bucks for a microbrand with a Seiko movement, am I really going to have it serviced in ten years when it starts losing time, or just throw it away and buy another. I have Seikos, Orient Star, and a Yema and I wonder if I will ever pay a few hundred for service or just shelve them when they no longer keep accurate time. I am the type of collector that does not flip watches, every one of my watches was not purchased impulsively. I have always researched and made watch comparisons when buying a watch, and that is why buying a dive watch is such a hard proposition when the amount of product out there is so vast.

There are many watch brands that I would love to own, but out of my price range like Breitling, Omega, Zenith, JLC, Rolex, Piaget, etc So as I stated above I am sticking to new watches that can be found for under 2.5k range, I would make Rolex or Tudor an exception to buy pre owned at the under 2.5k but that is not a reality

These are the brands I am choosing from

Seiko Marine master if I could found at a good price. The problem with Seikos is they have so many to choose from
Tuna, Samarai, Sumo, Marine Master, I can go on with all the Seiko dive watches. Choosing the right Seiko is like choosing a needle in a haystack

Certina watches nice watches pretty much with the same styling queues as the Submariner.

Longines has many models from Conquest, Hydroconquest, and Heritage lines, they are priced right and they have a great movement. Now the problem with Longines is that they kind of steal the design queues of other watches, like their hands are too similar to the Tudor snowflake for instance but even so nice watches at a good price.

Maurice Lacroix Pontos Diver is a really nice watch but a bit at the upper end but if I found one at a good price definitely be under consideration. I am not so much a fan of the internal rotating bezel.

Tag Huer: Great design with one cavaet, same movement as most Swiss mid-tier watches using Sellitta movements, on average they are pricier than others on the list with the exception of Tudor. Top of my list of choices with Oris. There is one negative about the Tag and that is the cyclops why did the f&*^ did they ruin the dial with a cyclops.

Tissot Nice watches but none of their models really excites me. Good prices

Tudor: If I had the money a Black Bay would be my first choice and do not even mention a Pelagos I would love to own a Pelagos but I am not going to spend over 3k. I looked in the pre-owned market and like Rolex Tudor does maintain its values I could not find a Black Bay or Pelagos under 3.8k

Mido: Nice looking watches and a strong competitor with Longines Hydroconquest but inferior movements to the Hydroconquest. most not all of their watches come with a day-date complication and I detest day-date complications on dive watches. Midos are nice but just do not stick out from the crowd

Alpina: Better than Mido very competitive with Longines

Doxa: I love Doxa watches they are eye-catching and definitely a conversation piece and they come in some really nice colors like tiffany blue, fluorescent yellow, red, and oranges. The problem with this is that I do not think they would be a daily wearer. I love tiffany blue but I do not think I would like to wear it every day. The price is at the top of the list but more affordable than Tag and Tudor.

Rado Captian Cook is a nice watch, many are priced right and have unique styling, definitely under consideration

Sinn I really like Sinn but they are more then what I want to spend and you can't find them discounted anywhere. They are also big and heavy. The U1 is in the running but the diameter is 44mm and 14mm off the wrist which are both negatives.

Now at the top of my list

Oris: Oris offers a large offering in the diver arena from the Oris Diver to the Oris Aquis. Most of the watches I like from Oris are priced higher than the Longines but they offer quite a bit more for the price increase. At the top of the Oris divers is the Aquis. Now Aqui comes with two diffewrent movements at two different prices. The one I am interested in ios the one with its own manufactured movement. The Oris of interest is a really beautiful modern styled watch at 41.5mm and 13.5. high off the wrist. It has an extremely beautiful gradient blue dial. it reminds me of what Zelos is doing with its dials but with its own unique styling and like Doxa does not borrow from other brands. The Oris like Rolex and Tudor uses screwed-in bracelet links and a ceramic bezel. With Oris's own manufactured movement, you are now competing with Tudor. This new Oris movement comes with a ten-year warranty, ten-year service interval, a double barrel movement which has a five-day power reserve, a 28,8000 BPH high beat movement, it has a see-through case back where you can see the movement and if you hold the watch at a certain angle you could see that the movement resembles a bear the Oris mascot with the double barrels resembling bears ears, two blued screws looking like the eyes and the rotor resembling a smiling mouth. Now the negatives, this watch is an integrated watch which means you are limited to only swapping straps with Oris, this may bother some people but the bracelet is top notch and so are the Oris rubber straps. The next problem is the price I wanted to keep the price under 2k where Longines Rado and Mido live, this particular watch retails at thirty-five hundred dollars but is heavily discounted at grey market sellers at under 2.4k and even discounted at ADs, no one pays full retail for this watch.

So now I continue my search

So far on my shortlist are Oris Aquis with the new 400 movement, Rado Captain Cook, the Longines Hydrocoinquest, Sinn, If I can find a Tudor Black Bay at an affordable price. The Oris is definitely in the lead but the price is stopping it from being the clear winner. I am still looking at other brands I might have missed.


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· Senior Member
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8,259 Posts
Interesting post! In the long run all watches need to be serviced and it is usually the time it costs that makes up the bill, not the parts. And of course the brand involved (Rolex's service costs are notoriously painful). If one does not practice any form of diving or underwater activity (like myself, I'm the king of desk divers), true ISO dive watch specs or ultra pressure resistance ratings don't really matter, it's the style of watch that counts. (But not the style of some 70s watches that fogged up under the shower of course). For me, the Certina DS PH200M (ETA movement) would more than fit the bill. But I lean towards the more 'vintage' re-edition watches. I'm sort of saving up for this one but I will purchase it on the second-hand market (Chrono24). When I don't know yet, the cost of living has sky-rocketed over here.
 
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· Super Moderator
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Yeah yowza, epic topic here Bob. 😀😉 THX so so much for
taking the time post this !!!

You really know your dive watches, not to mention have some
excellent taste to boot. 🏆 We just spent the last days of 2022
seeing all those best of lists, and honestly you put together an
amazing bunch of divers here. ..I swear any ONE of them would
put a smile on your face I think. 🙂 And you could put all the
model names in a hat to tell the truth and any one you chose
would be the right one. It’s that great of a line-up you have there.

All I can add is that it will be exhilarating seeing which direction
you go sir. Because like I said above, I don’t think you can go
wrong no matter what direction you go. (y)

P.S. In keeping with Frans’s Certina thoughts, the DS500M is really
dynamic and a fraction of the cost of a lot of divers...


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· Senior Novice
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Well done.

I compared an Aquis 400, the Oris 65, some Black Bays, and 58s at my AD. The Oris is beautiful! A bit thinner (+) than the original and a sight better looking. The love, & hate of the 400 that helped make up my mind was how beautiful it is. It felt like a flashy dress watch, too pretty for regular wear. I changed my Tudor preference when I tried them on too. What I preferred on my wrist, and would be apt to wear more often wasn't what I'd originally fallen for in photos.
 

· Super Moderator
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You've clearly done some homework in your search and as mentioned, there are pro's and con's to them all.
I won't dare suggest how you should spend your bucks but give it enough time and look at the one/s that "speak" to you most clearly.
Enjoy the hunt
 

· Watch Freek
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340 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Two more watches to add to the list, Zodiac and Eterna. Eterna is a company with a rich history and of course, brought us the ETA movement. I like the looks of Eterna Kontiki watches but they are quite chunky being 44mm. Then there is Zodiac really nice looking dive watches that stick out from the crowd with their assortment of dial colors and bezels. I do not think they are at the same build quality as Eterna but make great conversation pieces. Between the Eterna and the Zodiac I think I would select the Eterna I just think that the Zodiac does not take itself to seriously as Eterna which is a serious dive watch.

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· Senior Member
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^ Eterna hands down. Would like to own one myself.
 

· Super Moderator
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But then maybe try Zodiac down the road after the Eterna Bob. 😊

Zodiac has really kicked it up a few notches in recent years. (y)😉
The way they have brought back so many of their classics,
and made them as cutting edge as can be has been really
fun to watch. And it’s ridiculously fun keeping tabs on your
search here, so thanks so very very with that as well !!!
 

· Watch Freek
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340 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
But then maybe try Zodiac down the road after the Eterna Bob. 😊

Zodiac has really kicked it up a few notches in recent years. (y)😉
The way they have brought back so many of their classics,
and made them as cutting edge as can be has been really
fun to watch. And it’s ridiculously fun keeping tabs on your
search here, so thanks so very very with that as well !!!
I like Eterna love the looks and I am betting that they are the kind of watch you can wear during the apocalypse but they are too big at 45mm plus their thickness, they are also heavy watches which is a huge negative. I am still leaning towards the Oris over the Eterna, the Oris has incredible movement with a beautiful dial, and like the big boys like Tudor and Rolex has a ceramic bezel and screwed-in bracelet links. I was looking for a 39mm but from what I read about the Oris is wears like a 40mm, I could live with that.

Just today I got another bit of good news my villa has been rented through February so this purchase just got funded (don't tell my wife) whatever watch I choose, I am still going to keep it under 3k. I believe Oris are sold with huge discounts, Tudor I would have to buy used and it still would probably be over 3k. Eterna is about 2k, Zodiac about 1 to 1.5k, and most of the others in the run are under 2.5k. Longines and Certina are still in the running but I still like the Oris.
 

· Super Moderator
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I like Eterna love the looks and I am betting that they are the kind of watch you can wear during the apocalypse but they are too big at 45mm plus their thickness, they are also heavy watches which is a huge negative. I am still leaning towards the Oris over the Eterna, the Oris has incredible movement with a beautiful dial, and like the big boys like Tudor and Rolex has a ceramic bezel and screwed-in bracelet links. I was looking for a 39mm but from what I read about the Oris is wears like a 40mm, I could live with that.

Just today I got another bit of good news my villa has been rented through February so this purchase just got funded (don't tell my wife) whatever watch I choose, I am still going to keep it under 3k. I believe Oris are sold with huge discounts, Tudor I would have to buy used and it still would probably be over 3k. Eterna is about 2k, Zodiac about 1 to 1.5k, and most of the others in the run are under 2.5k. Longines and Certina are still in the running but I still like the Oris.
Honestly you picked out such a great bunch here Bob, that you put
the nam s in a hat and be a winner no matter what you pulled out. (y)
However, Ithink you have to go with your heart which seems to have
Oris in mind sir.😉😎 Which I think is a wonderful way to go, because
I think they are everything you are like looking for and more in a Diver.
AllI can say, is keep having fun in the search, and piling get up all of
these secondary as well as tertiary beauties as well. 😉
 

· Watch Freek
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340 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Honestly you picked out such a great bunch here Bob, that you put
the nam s in a hat and be a winner no matter what you pulled out. (y)
However, Ithink you have to go with your heart which seems to have
Oris in mind sir.😉😎 Which I think is a wonderful way to go, because
I think they are everything you are like looking for and more in a Diver.
AllI can say, is keep having fun in the search, and piling get up all of
these secondary as well as tertiary beauties as well. 😉
Yes, you are right Tom, as usual. I think my heart is leaning towards the Oris, there are so many things about Oris not only the watch but the company itself that I really like. Now if I had many thousand more I would be considering other options like JLC Polaris, Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and of course the Rolex Submariner
 

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Yes, you are right Tom, as usual. I think my heart is leaning towards the Oris, there are so many things about Oris not only the watch but the company itself that I really like. Now if I had many thousand more I would be considering other options like JLC Polaris, Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and of course the Rolex Submariner
Well I don't know how often I am right sir, but you are right on about Oris
as well as their reputation. (y)😀I mean you can't go wrong with them to
tell the truth. 😉From divers to every other type of watch and collection,
they have it all, and do it all in the coolest of ways. 😎🏆So, honestly, you
can put your mind at ease, and know ahead of time that whichever Oris
you end up getting will be awesome !

Then down the road, you can always go after those great grails from JLC,
as well as Blancpain, and Rolex too. 😀..You can't lose.
 

· Senior Freek
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I enjoyed reading your post and thoughts about your search. I picked up on the servicing part of the post. I have a Seiko 5 SNKM95 that I bought in 2015 new for under $75. About 3years ago it was not keeping time well, I looked into replacing it, but the model is discontinued. And it was a special edition made as an “Amazon Exclusive.” I like the watch and decided to have it repaired. It ran me approximately $80 with tax to get the watch serviced, and now it runs better than ever. I figured that considering I was willing to buy a replacement for up to $100, getting a watch I like fixed for $80 was a good deal.

Below is a picture of the watch as I got it. I’ve seen this watch on the used market for $300 recently. Im not sure if people actually have paid that much.

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After getting it serviced, I decided to change the strap. So here is how it looks today:

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My intention here is not to hijack your excellent thread. I can’t add more knowledge or insight to your quest. I have not ventured over $750 price range in watches. But, like you, I’m not a watch flipper. I buy watches and keep them. I don’t necessarily have a daily beater. I have about 7-8 watches I keep in a pretty regular rotation. And I absolutely felt good paying to have a watch I like services. Now if that service cost a lot more and I could buy a replacement cheaper, then that’s what I’d do.
 
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