Against The Grain: 7 Interesting Alternative Steel Watches to Consider


It seems that every time you scroll through Instagram all you see is some variation of the Patek Philippe Nautilus or Aquanaut, some kind of Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, a stainless steel Rolex or a Richard Mille. As incredible as they all are, it can get a touch boring seeing the same thing over and over again. And for a prospective buyer looking to add to their collection, it may prove difficult to think about other timepieces at your disposal, especially so when you're bombarded day in and day out with the usual suspects. With that in mind, we put together a handful of steel watches that we consider fantastic alternatives that tick many of the boxes that those other watches tick, that aren't exactly considered "hype", that the market may have overlooked and that all have a common similarity of flying under the radar. Enjoy!


Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15450ST

With all of the tell-tale signs of its iconic bigger brother like the distinctive octagonal case and the Grande Tapisserie dial, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15450ST has tremendous appeal and offers so much value for money. Measuring 37mm across and only 9.8mm in thickness, the 15450ST's proportions really do sit in that Goldilocks' zone, while the beautifully finished case and dial round off what is such an appealing package. The crowning jewel for me is that solid gold rotor on full display through the open sapphire caseback.


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Vacheron Constantin Overseas 

Another steel watch that I think deserves more time in the limelight is Vacheron Constantin's delightful Overseas collection. Here we have the incredible Vacheron Constantin Overseas in its stainless steel guise with a blue dial. I love the gleam of that blue, complimented by the coldness of the steel case. The pattern of Vacheron Constantin's Maltese Cross is evident on the bezel and bracelet, too. Oh, and like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15450ST, there is a solid gold rotor to drool over through the open sapphire caseback, too.


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Patek Philippe 5167/1A Aquanaut

Patek Philippe's 5167/1A Aquanaut is another piece you don't see all that often, even on social media. The 5167/1A Aquanaut sports a stainless steel bracelet and features a black embossed dial whose pattern is instantly identifiable and unique to the Aquanaut line. This is a sporty, casual-luxe timepiece that has flown under the radar in lieu of the collection's other more popular models. But there's a lot of charm to the 5167/1A Aquanaut, especially so with its stainless steel bracelet, with the 5167/1A being the only model in the Aquanaut collection to have a steel bracelet. 


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Rolex Oyster Perpetual 126000

I was tossing up between this and the champagne dial Rolex Oyster Perpetual. What pushed me towards the green-dialled 36mm Rolex Oyster Perpetual 126000 was just how different it looked amongst the rest of the new Oyster Perpetual models. I really like the shade of green Rolex used for the Oyster Perpetual 126000. It's bold and confident, but it doesn't take away too much from the piece's overall under-the-radar look. Easy enough to dress up or down, especially so at 36mm, too.


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Patek Philippe 5726A Nautilus Annual Calendar

Another piece from Patek Philippe, this time in the shape of the5726A Nautilus Annual Calendar. I feel that the5726A Nautilus Annual Calendar is another overlooked piece from Patek Philippe's Nautilus collection, especially when the blue-dialled 5726/1A was released. On its black leather strap, the5726A Nautilus Annual Calendar looks incredibly classical despite its avant-garde porthole-shaped case. A soft grey palette has been employed throughout the5726A Nautilus Annual Calendar, offset subtly by the blue moonphase and lume-filled hands and hour numerals. 


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Girard-Perregaux Laureato

The Girard-Perregaux Laureato should need no introduction, having been introduced to the world in 1975 initially as a quartz chronometer (which was right around the time that the Royal Oak, the Nautilus and the Overseas were unveiled -- what a time for watches!). And yet it continues to be overlooked and overshadowed. Be that as it may, I personally feel that the Girard-Perregaux Laureato holds merit as being a fantastic watch, and in its latest most contemporary iteration it hits a lot of the right boxes for me. 


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Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Automatic

With its bi-textured blue dial, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Automatic combines elegance with classism in a package that is as wearable as it is beautiful. This is a watch that I've spent some time with so I can attest to its finishings and build quality. I feel that the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Automatic is the list's dark horse but it's certainly a piece that I think can hold its own. 


Find out more here.


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