Budget-Friendly Alternatives To The Tudor Pelagos 39 From Certina, Citizen, Baltic, And Unimatic
I don’t know about you, but I like the heft of stainless steel on the wrist. I also think it perfectly suits the tool-watch character of a dive watch. But sometimes you may want to wear something lighter, and a titanium diver could be a great option. It still looks the part but doesn’t weigh as much as a similar watch in stainless steel. The Tudor Pelagos 39 in titanium really changed the game last year. It’s a great-looking dive watch that feels very light and comfortable on the wrist. But if you suspect that you won’t be wearing it daily, you might not want to spend €4,600 to get one. In that case, it might be worth testing the waters with some more affordable alternatives.
That’s the situation I find myself in. The titanium Tudor Pelagos 39 is a great watch with very nice dimensions, and it’s probably one of the nicest-wearing dive watches out there. I also really like its brushed bezel and subtle satin-brushed sunburst finish on the dial. I’m just not sure whether I would wear it a lot, simply because I’m more used to stainless steel watches. So maybe I should just try to get a not-so-expensive titanium watch first and try it out without immediately breaking the bank. That’s why I went out and looked for a few more affordable titanium diver’s watches. Here are the results.
Alternative #1: Baltic Aquascaphe Titanium
This first one is inspired by my colleague Thomas, who sits across from me in the Fratello office. Last year, he bought the titanium Baltic Aquascaphe Titanium in blue. He and I share the same wrist size, so whatever looks good on his wrist shouldn’t look too bad on mine either. And that titanium Aquascaphe looks very nice when I see him wearing it around the office. It’s got the perfect mix between vintage inspiration and modern touches. At 41mm, it’s a little wider than the Pelagos 39, but both watches have a 47mm lug-to-lug, a brushed ceramic bezel, and a very legible dial. The only thing the Aquascaphe Titanium doesn’t offer is a matching bracelet.
Instead, it comes on one of Baltic’s own Tropic-style rubber straps in either black or blue, depending on the dial color you choose. To be honest, I think that’s totally acceptable for the €860 price that Baltic is asking. For that money, you get a domed sapphire crystal, a fully lumed bezel, and a Miyota 9039 automatic caliber. No, that movement isn’t Swiss, and it certainly doesn’t run within COSC standards like the Tudor. But then again, what can you expect for less than a fifth of the price? Besides, the Baltic Aquascaphe Titanium will still work very well as your next watch for the summer holidays.
Alternative #2: Citizen Promaster Mechanical Diver 200M
The next candidate on the list is the Citizen Promaster Mechanical Diver 200M that came out last year. Yes, it’s also a bit bigger than the Pelagos 39 at 41mm, but trust me, this one really wears smaller than that. The titanium also ensures that it won’t feel too heavy on your wrist. The Promaster Mechanical Diver is a re-edition that stays quite close to the original one from the 1970s. In that sense, it has more of a vintage look than the Pelagos. The font on the aluminum bezel and the more classic hands fit that description nicely. But that certainly doesn’t mean that it can’t compete with the looks of the Pelagos 39. I guess it just depends on which aesthetic you prefer.
Just like on the Baltic, there are no crown guards here, and the lume pip is the only thing that will be visible on the bezel at night. For some, though, having a date window at 3 o’clock might be an advantage over the no-date dials of both the Baltic and the Tudor. And what I love about the Promaster is that a titanium bracelet is available for it. So apart from the fact that it’s an absolute strap monster, you can also pair it with its original bracelet. And at €649 on a strap or €749 on the bracelet, it’s even cheaper than the Baltic. Now that really allows you to try out a titanium diver to see whether you like it or not.
Alternative #3: Certina DS Action Diver (38mm)
But wait, there’s another contender here that also has a titanium bracelet. And this one comes even closer to the Pelagos with its 38mm size and more modern looks. Balazs reviewed the 43mm Certina DS Action Diver a few years back and already mentioned that it was quite the watch for its sub-€1,000 price. Now there’s a new 38mm version, which boasts the same Powermatic 80 movement and 300m water resistance. Over the years, it has gotten a little more expensive, of course, but at €1,065, it’s still an impressive package.
Especially because it beats the Pelagos 39 in terms of both power reserve (80 hours vs. 70 hours) and water resistance. It probably won’t be as accurate as the Tudor, and both the finishing and bracelet will feel less refined. But still, at less than a fourth of the price, it doesn’t hurt as much to just give it a try. I prefer the styling of the Aquascaphe Titanium and the Promaster, but the DS does match the Pelagos 39’s more modern looks, and it even comes with similar crown guards. Just like the Citizen Promaster, the DS also comes with an aluminum bezel and a date window at 3 o’clock. Both the dial and the bezel match the dark gray hue of the titanium. At first glance, it looks a bit plain, but I’m sure the lumed hour-markers will make up for that.
Alternative #4: Unimatic Modello Uno (U1S-T-MP)
And now we arrive at the final option for today, the Unimatic Modello Uno in a titanium case with a blue bezel and blue dial. At almost €1,430 including taxes, it’s quite a bit more expensive than the watches mentioned above, but I still think it deserves the spotlight here. Just like the Certina DS Action Diver, it’s water resistant to 300 meters, and instead of a date window at 3 o’clock, it has one at 6 o’clock. The case itself is 40mm wide, while the bezel comes in at 41.5mm. Inside, a Sellita SW200-1 ticks away at 28,800vph. With an advertised accuracy of -12 to +30 seconds a day, it’s still not very accurate. Luckily, though, the Sellita movement can be regulated by any watchmaker in your neighborhood.
I do feel that, of all the watches mentioned today, this Modello Uno has the most original and powerful look to it. Of course, you can clearly see where the inspiration comes from, but the watches still feel very unique. Besides, the guys at Unimatic are experts at pairing their watches with the right straps. This Modello Uno comes with both a perfectly matching blue rubber strap and a blue NATO strap. This edition in blue and titanium is limited to 500 pieces, so you might have to be quick. But I can understand if its price makes you want to think about it for a little longer than the other options above. Oh, and there’s no bracelet available for this watch yet.
For me, a titanium watch is still more of a nice thing to have than an absolute necessity for my collection. That’s why I think the watches above could be great options to see how much I would actually wear one. I would at least feel a lot more comfortable spending around €1,000 or less on such a watch than I would throwing a whopping €4,600 down for the Tudor Pelagos 39. I know there will be a difference in quality, but for a watch that I know I won’t be wearing all day every day, I think I can accept that.
Which of the titanium divers mentioned above is your favorite? Would you go for a more expensive one like the Tudor Pelagos 39, or would you go for a more affordable one? Let me know in the comments below. And if you have any other suggestions to add to the list of recommendations, please feel free to share those as well.
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