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Steeldive - The Best Affordable Homage Dive Watches?

Posted on May 18 2021

Steeldive Homage Dive Watches
There are several reasons why you're shopping for a homage watch.

But let's be honest, price is at the top of that list.

I'm the same. I haven't got the spare cash to buy all the watches that I'd like. It's what first attracted me to homage watches. These companies make affordable alternatives to my favourite luxury watches.

But Steeldive does more than that.

They've focused on a small niche - classic dive watches.

Yes, they make Rolex and Blancpain homages. But they've also taken inspiration from early Seiko and Omega watches.

So if vintage style divers are your thing, let me show you five of the best Steeldive watches.

But first, a little more about the brand.

Are Steeldive Watches Any Good?


The consensus is that they are.

I spend a lot of time with watches and even more on forums and Youtube. Steeldive gets positive feedback from the watch community.

That shouldn't be a surprise.

Like Pagani Design, Corgeut and Parnis, Steeldive is a young Chinese brand. I suspect they're made in the same Chinese factories as those other names.

And yes, those are the same factories that make many of the big-name brands that you're comfortable wearing. Steeldive uses the same stainless steel, the same sapphire crystal and the same rubber straps.



Importantly, Steeldive uses reliable branded automatic movements from Japanese giant Seiko.

Quality isn't an issue.

It's what makes the brand so appealing. They create great quality watches, inspired by your favourite dive watches from the past.

The 5 Best Steeldive Automatic Watches


I'd like to walk you through five of my favourite Steeldive watches. I've picked a selection of designs, with an emphasis on iconic and vintage-inspired pieces.

Steeldive Seiko 62MAS Homage Watch

The Seiko 62MAS represents the birth of the Seiko dive watch. It's a distinctive and functional piece that has the appearance of a classic Skin Diver's watch. That means a slim case, with prominent lugs and a simple black bezel.

First released in the mid-1960s, this watch went on to influence most future Seiko divers.

Steeldive's watch is a modern take on the Skin Diver concept. The case size has increased to 42mm, rather than the Seiko's 37mm. But it retains the simplicity and functionality of the original. The styling is still there.

I also like that it uses a Seiko movement. In a homage to the Japanese brand's debut dive watch Steeldive has used components from the original manufacturer. It's probably not intentional, but it's a nice touch nonetheless.

So if want vintage style - slightly updated - the SD1962 could be the place to start.

Steeldive SD1962

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 15.6mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


Steeldive Omega Ploprof Homage Watch
The Ploprof, Omega's diving beast, isn't a watch that is often imitated. It's chunky, awkward and highly distinctive. Collectors love it.

This is what I find compelling about Steeldive. They've created a homage to a watch that only watch nerds find appealing. It's not a design that other Chinese homage brands have mimicked.

The Ploprof look isn't for everyone. But if it's a style that you like, this is an affordable way to get it.

It's a large watch, with the crown positioned on the left. It's also angular and stylistically dated. And once again, the Steeldive version uses a Seiko automatic movement.

I like the mesh bracelet. It reinforces that this is a tool watch and not a piece of jewellery. Although there is some colour in the design, it's functional rather than fashionable and limited to the hands and dial text.

To repeat myself, the SD1969 is one of the only affordable ways to get this look.

Steeldive Ploprof SD1969

  • 46mm Diameter
  • 13.8mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 1200M Water Resistance


Steeldive Vintage Divers Watch

This model references the Fifty Fathoms, one of the first modern dive watches. It's a straightforward dive watch, with nice colouring and a NATO strap.

It's a lot smaller than the Ploprof and Steeldive have stuck with the 41mm case size of the original.

As a whole, this watch is faithful to Blancpain's legendary diver. Remember, this was a watch that pre-dated the Rolex Submariner. For me, it's important that the homage is authentic.

The rest you'll be familiar with. It has a sapphire crystal, water-resistance and a Seiko NH35A movement.

This is a tasteful and versatile watch. Ideal if you'd like something vintage, subtle and adaptable.

Steeldive Diver SD1952T

  • 41mm Diameter
  • 15mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 300M Water Resistance


Steeldive Turtle Homage Watch

The 6105 was on my list of must-have Seiko watches. Nicknamed the Turtle, it was the watch worn by Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now.

It's a very desirable vintage Seiko, often worn by military personnel rather than divers. The original was black, but of the Steeldive variations, I favour this green version.

It's another chunky watch, with a 44mm cushion case. You can see where the Turtle nickname comes from.

Like many Seiko's, the crown is repositioned at 4 o'clock. It's an ergonomic design that keeps larger watches comfortable. Steeldive has retained this feature.

Unsurprisingly, it is powered by a Seiko engine and has a sapphire crystal. It's another very affordable way to get a classic design.

Steeldive Turtle SD1970

  • 44mm Diameter
  • 12mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


Steeldive SKX007 Homage

I bought a Seiko SKX007 a couple of years before it was discontinued. It was the watch that best represented Seiko's affordable dive watches. Good looking, affordable and practical.

But in 2019 Seiko decided to replace it with their new Seiko 5 sports watches. Steeldive have kept the design alive with the SD1996.

Again, it's a very close copy of the original. It's also a lot more affordable than the SKX007 - which now commands a premium.

So what do we have?

It's an attractive, mid-sized diver with a crown at 4 o'clock. The markers are large, bold and highly legible. It's another automatic too.

With the Seiko original now discontinued, the Steeldive makes a very realistic alternative.

Steeldive SKX007 SD1996

  • 41mm Diameter
  • 13.5mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


Conclusion


There are several great Chinese homage brands.

Steeldive has set itself apart by doing two things differently. They only make dive watches and they concentrate on well-loved vintage designs.

It appears to be working. Watch fans - on blogs, forums and Youtube - have been mostly positive. Their recreations of classic models like the Seiko 62MAS have been well received.

I hope I've piqued your interest in this brand.

Their watches are inexpensive, well-made and use branded Japanese mechanical movements. Some of these watches aren't much over £100.

That's got to be worth a closer look.

I'd suggest you follow some of the links in this article and dig a little deeper yourself.


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