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The 7 Best Rolex Kermit Affordable Alternatives

Posted on October 26 2020

The Rolex ‘Kermit’ is a green variation of the Submariner. It was released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this iconic dive watch. It has been a favourite among collectors and prices have climbed steeply. I want to offer you a selection of the best affordable alternatives to this highly-priced luxury piece.

What is the Rolex Submariner Kermit?


The Submariner should need no introduction. It is one of the legendary designs from Rolex and a watch that was at the cutting edge of dive watch design.
In the mid-1950s a number of Swiss watch brands were introducing a new breed of watch - watches that could be taken on deep-sea dives. Zodiac introduced the distinctive Sea-Wolf in 1953 and Blancpain launched the Fifty-Fathoms in the same year. The following year, Rolex presented the Submariner at Basel.

In 2003 Rolex released a green bezel model to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Submariner (you do the maths). Named the Rolex Submariner Date 50th Anniversary, this was a beautiful variation of the classic design and it featured the primary brand colour of green. Although very popular, it was discontinued in 2010, making it a very desirable watch for collectors.

 

It features the Submariner elements that have made the design so iconic. There are a couple of minor updates - it sports both a maxi-dial and maxi-hands for example. Basically, the indices and hands are both a little thicker to improve legibility. But essentially, it’s a faithful continuation of the Submariner ethos.

The case is 40mm and with it being a date version, there is a cyclops lens on the crystal. The black dial and deep green bezel contrast and make for a very attractive and notable model. However, as I noted previously, it isn’t the only green Submariner. Let’s clear up any confusion.


The Rolex Hulk and Kermit


In a recent post, I looked at the affordable alternatives to the Rolex Submariner ‘Hulk’. Launched in 2010, this could be seen as a replacement to the Kermit. It has taken the green aesthetic and amplified it.

Rather than just a green bezel, the Hulk has a green bezel and dial - again with the maxi-dial and hands. The green is slightly different - it’s a little lighter and obviously doesn’t have a black to contrast with.

The other major difference between the two models is the shape of the case. Although both are 40mm in diameter, the Hulk has a ‘Super Case’ - meaning it is beefed-up with thicker lugs and crown guards. Essentially, the Kermit is a more subtle and classic Submariner and the Hulk is the more flashy, chunkier modern interpretation.

In September 2020 switched things up by discontinuing the Hulk and replacing it with a new version of the Kermit.

The Best Affordable Alternatives to the Rolex Kermit


As with most Rolex models, there’s a lively market for similar styled and homage models. I’ve chosen my favourites and listed them below. Again, I’ve tried to present a variety of alternatives, watches that I believe are good in their own right.

 

Glycine Combat Sub Kermit Watch

 

For many, Swiss brand Glycine made their name in the watch world when they supplied US Air Force pilots with their Airman watch during the Vietnam War. It was a functional aviation piece that is loved by watch aficionados. Since the 19060s the brand has also produced a ‘Combat’ collection - currently featuring the Classic, Vintage, Chrono and Sub lines.

Glycine’s Combat line was created after the Airman, with the first dive watch released in 1967, more than a decade after the Submariner. This particular model has some of the standard Submariner design cues, but it does also have its own styling.

For example, at just over 10mm, this is very slim for a legitimate divers watch. With curved lugs hugging the wrist there’s been a real attempt to get this 42mm watch to wear smaller. So if the 40mm Rolex is your ideal size, this should work for you - the slim profile should fit neatly under shirt cuffs.

It has the functionality of a divers watch, with the profile of a dress model.

Stylistically, it’s not a homage to the Rolex Kermit. There’s enough of Glycine’s own design - numbers rather than markers, no cyclops etc - to give the watch its own appeal. Read more about Gylcine.

Glycine Combat Sub GL0253

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 11mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • GL224 Swiss Automatic Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


 

    Orient Mako XL Kermit Watch

     

    I recently wrote a guide to the best of Orient’s budget automatic line, the TriStar. This Japanese brand is often featured on my lists of affordable alternatives - because affordable mechanical watches is their specialism. The Mako collection is their modestly priced divers watches.

    Again, this isn’t a homage. But it is a modern diver’s watch in the Submariner vein, with the same choice of colours. This is the XL version of the Mako, so at 44.5mm it’s quite a bit bigger than the Rolex.

    Where this watch is strong, is the value for money that it represents. As a mechanical watch, with an in-house automatic movement, you’d often expect to pay a reasonably high price. That isn’t the case here. And, it’s not due to a lack of quality. Orient watches are well-made and this model has 200M water resistance.

    The design, particularly the hands and markers, are more modern than the Rolex. Where the Kermit is a celebration of the original Submariner, this is a more contemporary take on the diver’s style - while clearly retaining the Rolex as inspiration.

    Orient Mako XL FEM75003B9

    •  44.5mm Diameter
    • 13mm Thick
    • 22mm Lug Width
    • Stainless Steel
    • Japanese Automatic Movement
    • Mineral Crystal
    • 200M Water Resistance


     

    Gigandet Sea Ground Kermit Watch

     

    Gigandet is a brand with some Swiss heritage, having been founded there around 100 years ago. It seems that the brand has been relaunched recently and is now German-owned and based. They make affordable watches that get decent reviews and are often powered by Japanese Seiko movements.

    This is very much a Submariner homage, and I featured the same model in the article about the Hulk as they do a green dialled version too. As I said there

    It’s a very tidy Submariner homage that is powered by Seiko’s reliable NH35A automatic movement. As I’ve emphasised, sometimes you just want a particular style of watch and for it to be done well. The Sea Ground does this. A mineral crystal, an automatic movement and 300M water resistance so you really can take it in the water”.

    Once again, it is larger than the Rolex, but I wouldn't expect that to be a deal breaker. 

    Gigandet Sea Ground G2-005

    • 43mm Diameter
    • 15mm Thick
    • 22mm Lug Width
    • Stainless Steel
    • Japanese Automatic Movement
    • Mineral Crystal


     

    Citizen Promaster Marine Kermit Watch

     

    Citizen describes the Promaster collection as a series of professional tool watches. As such, the range includes watches for use on land, in the air and in the sea. They come in a variety of styles, with different features and movements.

    The automatics are concentrated among the diver’s watches and this model is a nice example. It’s a fairly standard diver that comes in a few colour options - including this Kermit colour combination.

    Some of the Promaster series can be quite busy, but this has a practical and legible dial with simple indices. Like the Orient, it’s far from a Submariner homage. But the hands, dial and bezel all mirror the Rolex’s colours, meaning it does draw comparisons.

    The 43mm case is actually titanium, rather than stainless steel, and it contains an in-house Miyota movement (more on titanium watches here).

    It’s a proven style - capable of decent submersion, but equally at home in the office. It’s an alternative to a Rolex, not a replacement or copy.

    Citizen Promaster Marine NY0071-81E

    • 44mm Diameter
    • 13mm Thick
    • 22mm Lug Width
    • Titanium
    • Japanese Automatic Movement
    • Mineral Crystal
    • 200M Water Resistance

     

    Invicta Pro Diver Kermit Watch

     

    As a watch producer Invicta often receive a lot of negativity in the watch collecting community. They’re easy to criticise if you don’t like their affordable and often over the top style. Cheap watches with a lot of gold colouring don’t usually impress watch aficionados. But let us take a step back.

    Although the company is American owned, Invicta has its roots in Switzerland during the late 1880s. Its corporate headquarters are in Switzerland along with its customer service centre and its current president is a fifth-generation watchmaker. Invicta also owns a number of other brands including Glycine. There’s a lot of things that this company does right. (See my article on Invicta Dive watches).

    This over-sized Submariner styled model is one of those things.

    That size might be an issue. It’s 47mm wide and 18mm thick, so it’s not trying to be the same type of watch as the Kermit. Invicta are for younger people - my teenage sons love them.

    But it does some things well. It has 300m water resistance for example. It also has its own distinctive style, complete with the diver motif on the bracelet. There’s a Seiko NH35A movement, with a customised rotor, visible through the exhibition back.

    For some idea of the quality, check out this Invicta I bought a while back.

     



    Invicta Pro Diver 3047

    •  47mm Diameter
    • 17mm Thick
    • 22mm Lug Width
    • Stainless Steel
    • Automatic Movement
    • Mineral Crystal
    • 300M Water Resistance


     

    Festina Kermit Watch

     

    Festina isn’t a brand that I feature much on the blog. I think of them as one of a number of brands that I don’t see much in the UK and then see everywhere when I’m travelling in Europe.

    They have a Swiss heritage, having been founded there at the beginning of the 1900s. Since then the brand has changed hands a few times, settling with a Spanish owner in 1984.

    They do a lot of very affordable models and are probably overdue closer inspection.

    This watch is an automatic, with a 42mm case, sapphire crystal and 100M of water resistance - so it certainly delivers in the specs to cash ratio.

    It takes some design pointers from the Rolex, with other elements - the hands being the most obvious - being significantly different. So it’s lacking the crown guards but does use markers like the Submariner. The dial is different, but there is a cyclops lens. There's neither too much or too little of the Rolex.

    For me, it works. It has the colouring of the Rolex and the diver’s watch aesthetic but with a design all of its own.

    Festina F20480-2

    • 42mm Diameter
    • 13mm Thick
    • 21mm Lug Width
    • Stainless Steel
    • Automatic Movement
    • Sapphire Crystal
    • 100M Water Resistance


     

     

    Oceaneva Marine Explorer II watch

     

    The final watch on the list come from Oceaneva. This US-based company, founded by a veteran of the watch industry, has released a number of collections. They’re very much dive watch focused, with extreme water resistance being a unique selling point. This model has over 1000M water resistance.

    In terms of design, it is very close to the Rolex. In a sense though, it does feel like more than a homage. The original Submariner was built to test the ocean limites that watches could withstand, so this Oceaneva model does seem to be following that mission.

    It’s not a cheap watch, compared to some of the others featured here. But it is more focused on function and specs. It has a Swiss automatic movement, sapphire crystal and the over the top water resistance.

    Oceaneva Deep Marine Explorer II

    • 42mm Diameter
    • 14.8mm Thick
    • 22mm Lug Width
    • Stainless Steel
    • SW200-1 Automatic Movement
    • Sapphire Crystal
    • 1250M Water Resistance


    Conclusion

    Not everyone can afford or is willing to buy a Rolex. They’re pricey, luxury items that are often unavailable anyway. The Rolex Submariner is a good example. It was expensive when new and is now discontinued (although there has recently been a new similar model released).

    Prices on the second-hand market can still be unrealistic for many.

    If you like the general style, then there will always be a more affordable alternative. What I’ve done here is to highlight my favourite watches that are in the spirit of the Kermit. Not design rip-offs for the most part. But, other dive watches with a similar style and colour.

    Do you have more examples?

    Let me know in the comments below.

     

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