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Is this an homage? If so, to or of what?

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Within online discussions among watch enthusiasts, it’s sad how often we hear something along the lines of, “Hmmph! It’s just a knockoff of the Rolex ___ / Tudor ____”, or some variation thereof. Let me address that head on by saying you’re entitled to your opinion about homages, and I’ve never tried to hide the source of inspiration for all the NTH Subs. In fact, I don't mind sharing...

The NTH Subs' case was inspired by the original “MilSub”, short for Military Submariner, the Rolex ref. A/6538, the big-crown, no crown-guards “Bond” sub, issued to combat divers by the British Ministry of Defense in the late 1950’s, and made iconic when Sean Connery wore one as James Bond.

Photo credit: vintage-db.com

However, to that basic recipe, we added another 100m of water resistance, and shaved the total case thickness - including domed crystal, down to 11.5mm, making it the world's thinnest 300m WR diving watch at the time.

The dials, handsets and bezels of the NTH Subs give way to each Subs version, most inspired by various models from Rolex and Tudor, but also taking inspiration from other sources. It’s something about which I get asked a lot, since some of them are somewhat obscure, or the similarities subtle.

With 5 new versions of the NTH Subs recently revealed, and soon to become available, I thought I’d list the inspirations for each, for anyone interested, and hopefully settle some online debate.


Fans of the MilSub should have no trouble recognizing the Amphion (son of Zeus and Antiope) as being inspired by the Rolex ref. 5513/5517 of the early 1970’s, an update on the earlier A/6538, and considered by many to be “The” definitive MilSub.

Photo credit: HQMilton.com

While all versions of the Amphion share the broad sword hands (lifted from the Omega Seamaster 300, issued to British combat divers during an MOD break from Rolex, from 1967-1971), classic Rolex hour indices, and fully-indexed bezel, the Amphion has the no-crown-guards case of the earlier A/6538, and the name printed in red, a nod to various Rolex models with a line of red text on the dial.

The Amphion Vintage Black with its faux patina lume and sandpaper dial most closely resembles the 5513/5517.

But we've taken this version of the MilSub, and re-imagined it in three ways which never existed within the Rolex or Tudor lexicon, giving way to the Amphion Vintage Blue, and two more modern interpretations, the Amphion Modern, with applied indices and red triangle on the bezel, an additional cue taken from the A/6538, and the Amphion Dark Gilt, with gilt hands and dial borrowed from the Tudor Black Bay Black.

Photo Credit: WatchItAllAbout.com

The Amphion takes its name from the Amphion class of submarines, used by the United Kingdom between the mid-‘40’s and mid-‘70’s.


The Barracuda’s snowflake hands and classic Rolex/Tudor indices lead many people to believe it was inspired by the Tudor Black Bay. 

In point of fact, the sunray brown-dialed Barracuda with gilt hands and slightly patina'd lume was primarily inspired by the “Root Beer” Rolex GMT-Master ref. 16753, but given snowflake hands as a nod to the Tudor Black Bay Bronze, which shares a similar color. It was also meant to recall the "tropical" dial some vintage Rolexes have.

In fact, sometimes it's not even a particular reference we're trying to emulate, but a specific picture of a specific reference, the one that really captures the vintage look in all its glory..

Photo Credit: BobsWatches.com

Likewise, while many are sure to see the Black Bay Bronze Blue in the upcoming Barracuda Blue, the inspiration was actually the many two-tone Rolex Submariners with blue dials, though we ditched the two-tone case and gilt print on the dial, keeping only a touch of gilt with the frames of the hands and indices.

The Barracuda Blue is a new model, soon to be available for pre-order. Sign up for our email newsletter at the bottom of the page, or create a customer account to get the pre-order start announcement.

The Barracuda class submarine has been in use by the French Navy since 2007.


Of all the NTH Subs, the Näcken (“nehck-ehn”, a creature from Norse mythology, often depicted naked, and said to lure people into drowning) may be the most misunderstood. More often than not, people think it’s an homage of the Tudor Pelagos. 

It isn’t, really. Their resemblance is because they share a common ancestor – the Tudor Snowflake Submariner, produced between 1969 and the late 1970’s/early 1980’s, particularly the “MN” or Marine Nationale Submariner, issued to combat divers in the French Navy in the early ‘70’s.

The Näcken Vintage Black, Vintage Blue, and Näcken Renegade are all specifically designed to replicate the bare-metal-framed handsets and printed dials of those early Tudors, especially the many vintage examples with cracked and peeling dials, and faded bezels, all aged by the sun.

The Näcken Renegade is a new model, soon to be available for pre-order. Sign up for our email newsletter at the bottom of the page, or create a customer account to get the pre-order start announcement.

The Näcken Modern Black and Modern Blue were meant to be modern interpretations of those same references, updated with applied indices and white-framed hands, for maximum contrast against the dark dials, in the same way the Tudor Pelagos is a purposeful descendant sharing the same inspiration.

Both Sweden and Denmark employed Näcken class submarines between 1980 and the early 2000’s.


The 25-piece Limited Edition Nazario, named for Italian National hero Nazario Sauro, produced exclusively for sale by Watch Gauge, was inspired by the ultra-rare, mono-pusher Rolex Zerographe chronograph of 1937. The non-chronograph Nazario is updated with a fully lumed bezel, cathedral hands, and honecomb-texture dial.

Italy has been using Nazario Sauro class submarines since the late 1970’s.


Like the Amphion, the Oberon (king of the fairies in medieval and Renaissance literature) was also inspired by the MilSub, particularly the rare 3-6-9 dial “red-depth” version of the original A/6538, also updated with honecomb dial texture, and lumed, charcoal-gray bezel.

Several countries employed Oberon class subs between the early 1960’s and early 1990’s, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile and the United Kingdom.

Santa Cruz

Much like the Näcken, the Santa Cruz is often misunderstood. It started out as an homage to the rare white-dial Rolex ref. 6205 “Oreo”, but updated with honeycomb dial texture, and the black bezel replaced with a shimmering blue, a nod to the modern Rolex Yachtmaster.

It was named “Santa Cruz” due to its colors matching the national flag of Argentina, which has sailed German-built TR-1700 (Santa Cruz) class subs since 1984.

Santa Fe

The Santa Fe is actually inspired by the quartz, full-lume-dial “Night Diver” produced by neither Rolex nor Tudor, but by Heuer (later merged with Tag to become Tag Heuer) in the early 1980’s, a design which borrowed heavily from the Rolex Submariner. The Santa Fe gets updated with a fully lumed bezel and “rice-paper” dial texture.

Argentina sailed Santa Fe class subs produced by Italy and the United States between the 1930’s and early 1980’s.


Also a commonly misunderstood version of the NTH Subs, the Scorpène (“skohr-pehn”, French for Scorpion Fish) most often gets compared to the Sinn 857, the Seiko “Spork”, or various similarly-styled pilot watches from Bell & Ross. Actually, they all share the same copperplate font released in 1901, and the highly-legible “big number” 3-6-9-12 pilot-watch style adapted from cockpit clocks.

The Scorpène Blue is a new model, soon to be available for pre-order. Sign up for our email newsletter at the bottom of the page, or create a customer account to get the pre-order start announcement.

Several nations employ Scorpène/Scorpéne class subs, including Brazil, Chile, India and Malaysia.


The Tiburón (“tee-bore-rrrun”, Spanish for “shark”) was inspired by the Rolex ref. 5513 “Maxi” dial with enlarged indices, aka, the “Bart Simpson”, a nickname given to it because of the logo’s resemblance to the pop culture figure’s head. The Tiburón gets the vintage look from the sandpaper dial, light-patina lume, and dark blue, rather than black bezel.

The Tiburón is a new model, soon to be available for pre-order. Sign up for our email newsletter at the bottom of the page, or create a customer account to get the pre-order start announcement.

Spain only built two of the Tiburón class of mini-subs in 1964, essentially prototypes based on the German Hai-class mini-subs. Despite being better than the Hai-class, the Tiburón never made it into military service.


The Zwaardvis (“zvahrd-fees”, Dutch for “swordfish”) takes its inspiration from two sources, the orange-dialed Heuer Divers of the early 1980’s, and the Tudor “lollipop” Submariners of the early 1970’s.

The Zwaardvis is a new model, soon to be available for pre-order. Sign up for our email newsletter at the bottom of the page, or create a customer account to get the pre-order start announcement.

Because orange is the Dutch Royal Family’s color, the Zwaardvis was named for the class of subs employed by the Netherlands between the early ‘70’s and early 90’s. 

The Barracuda Blue, Näcken Renegade, Scorpène Blue, Tiburón and Zwaardvis are all new, upcoming versions of the NTH Subs, available for pre-order soon. Sign up for our email newsletter at the bottom of the page, or create a customer account to get the pre-order start announcement.

With the exception of the Limited Edition Nazario, we plan to make more of all the NTH Subs which are currently sold out, starting later this year. Sign up for our email newsletter at the bottom of the page, or create a customer account to get the pre-order start announcement.

Chris Vail is the lead designer for NTH. He doesn't mind you saying he ripped off another company, but does want you to at least get your references right.

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