Best Swiss powered Diver Sub under $1000

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So four watches walk into a blog! I know, sounds like the start of a bad joke, so I’ll leave it alone and you can figure out your own punchline. As you may have guessed, this is a comparison review. I have owned each one of these watches, most of them have loads of info and opinions on the internet, but I haven’t seen them compared all together, so I thought I’d fill a void with this review.

 



If you’ve been collecting for some time, you probably started with cheaper watches and then worked your way up to the more expensive pieces. Somewhere between Invicta and Rolex you are going to run across these. Since affordable means different things to different people, I’m going to label these as well made watches for good value. None of these brands have taken any shortcuts in quality, they all have Swiss ETA based movements, most of them have a decent degree of heritage or pedigree, they all look great, and they can all be had for less than $1000. So if they were on Tinder, which one would you swipe right and which would you swipe left. (Assuming any of them would have YOU…)

Here’s what’s on the Menu for this review.

Squale 30 Atmos Vintage Ceramica 


  • Width 42mm (46.5 with crown)
  • Lug to lug 49mm
  • Height 14mm
  • Movement ETA 2824-2
  • Domed Sapphire Crystal
  • Water resistant 300meter
  • Radium superluminova
  • Ceramic 120 click bezel
  • Screw down crown
  • Engraved case back
  • MSRP $630 USD
  • Years in business 71

Glycine Combat Sub GL0078


  • width 42mm (46.8 with crown)
  • Lug to lug 50mm
  • Height 10.6mm
  • Movement Glycine GL224
  • Flat sapphire Crystal
  • 200 meter water resistant
  • Superluminova
  • Aluminum 60 click Bezel
  • Signed screw down Crown
  • Engraved Case back
  • MSRP $990
  • Years in business 103

Hamilton Khaki King Scuba


  • Width 41mm (43.7 with crown)
  • Lug to lug 50mm
  • Height 14mm
  • Movement ETA 2824-2
  • Domed Sapphire Crystal
  • Water resistant 100meter
  • C3 superluminova 
  • 60 click aluminum bezel
  • Screw down crown
  • Exhibition case back
  • MSRP $695 USD
  • Years in business 125

Steinhart Ocean 1 Vintage Military  


  • Width 42mm
  • Lug to lug 50mm
  • Height 14.5mm
  • Movement ETA 2824-2
  • Domed Sapphire Crystal
  • Water resistant 300 meter
  • Radium superluminova
  • 120 click bezel
  • Screw down crown
  • Engraved case back
  • MSRP $375 USD
  • Years in business 16

Ok so there’s the specs, I don’t usually post them because that’s something you can google, but for the sake of a comparison let’s get it all out in front of you and save you the time. So let’s break this down by category and I’ll rank them best to worst. 4 points for the winner of each category down to 1 for last, the Watch with the most points wins it at the end!


Movement

  • 1st Glycine – 2nd Hamilton – 3rd Squale and Steinhart tie

Now all watches here essentially use the same movement Glycine takes it because while being based on the 2824 it is modified in house and named their own Calibre. Hamilton comes second because it uses a day and date complication and the other two tie for third.

Design

  • 1st Glycine – 2nd Hamilton – 3rd Squale – 4th Steinhart

Glycine takes it because while it is a familiar shape, it is not an homage, it’s its own thing and everything is designed for function. Hamilton is a very close second and while the full day complication is extremely useful, the lack of lume on the indices I find irritating. Squale and Steinhart being homage pieces bring up the rear however the Squale I feel is just slightly better designed with its lovely curved lugs compared to the poorly fitting straight lugs of the OVM.

Affordability 

  • 1st Steinhart – 2nd Squale – 3rd Hamilton – 4th Glycine

No contest here the OVM is in a league of its own from a cost standpoint, and while the Hamilton and Glycine can both be had for much less on the grey market this is based off MSRP values.

Value

  • 1st Squale – 2nd Steinhart – 3rd Hamilton – 4th Glycine

While being a tad more money the Squale is really of the finest quality, in fact it just oozes refinement in every aspect, the finish of the watch is just spectacular Squale’s experience of making cases for companies such as Blanc Pain and Tag etc… really show here. The Steinhart takes second purely because of the low cost it comes in at.

Experience 

  • 1st Hamilton – 2nd Glycine – 3rd Squale – 4th Steinhart

Their years in business speak volumes.

Quality

  • 1st Squale – 2nd Hamilton – 3rd Glycine – 4th Steinhart

It’s really really close between the Squale and the Hamilton in fact the Hamilton is better when it comes to the clasp and bracelet, but the Squale is just so refined and nicely finished in every other aspect and the ceramic bezel is just wonderful. The Glycine and Steinhart are very close and I say they tie if it was based on the Watch only, but the OVM clasp is a bit of a let down, feels like thin pressed metal and the bracelet has a bit more play in it.

Durability

  • 1st Squale – 2nd Glycine – 3rd Steinhart – 4th Hamilton

The ceramic bezel and greater water resistance give the edge to the Squale but the Glycine has a reputation for going to war on the wrists of soldiers. For everyone else the Hamilton and Steinhart can handle everything thrown at them but the mere 100 meter water resistance rating of the Khaki knock it to the bottom.

Versatility 

  • 1st Squale – 2nd Hamilton – 3rd Steinhart – 4th Glycine

There isn’t much you couldn’t do with that Squale on your wrist, it will dress up and down accordingly and is tough enough to go on your adventures too. The Hamilton is a tad too dressy perhaps to go for a jog with you and the Glycine is a little too rugged to put in a suit. The grey dial of the Steinhart dresses it down a bit too much to be a dressy contender.

Style points

  • 1st Steinhart – 2nd Squale – 3rd Glycine – 4th Hamilton

The OVM really has a “cool” factor about it, an intangible more so than the others. The Squale is pretty close and the Glycine is the bruiser of the group it’s tough and adventurous but won’t get you any girlfriends.The Hamilton is the quiet achiever stunning and extremely well made but I think is the most inconspicuous on the wrist.

The results 

  1. Squale 28
  2. Hamilton 22
  3. Glycine 21
  4. Steinhart 20

Well you honestly wouldn’t be disappointed with any of these watches, however the Squale is absolutely spectacular and if you were to hold these 4 in your hands at the same time you’d see why. The Hamilton and the Glycine are really close, it comes down to one being slightly more rugged and the other slightly more beautiful. Steinhart comes really closely in 4th place but for a company that have only been around since 2001 and the fact that you could buy 2 of them for the price of 1 of most of the others make this Watch an excellent choice as well. But in all seriousness if you have to choose just one. Get the Squale. It’s such an astonishing balance of heritage, quality, value, finish and style. So if you are on your journey from Invicta to Rolex while it may not be your grail watch the Squale will help scratch that itch better than the rest. But whatever you choose enjoy it until your next milestone (I’m gonna guess it’s Omega, Tudor, Breitling or something in that price range before taking that Rolex plunge.)