Tisell Ceramic Sub Review

by Carl Hellstenius Heuch 0



I really like this watch. It offers incredible value for money, with very few of the drawbacks that we've come to expect from small, independent watchmakers.

Our Rating:

Tisell Ceramic Sub Review

Sub homages are everywhere; from the sub-$100 legendary Invicta 8926OB to $50,000 Bamford frankenwatches – there’s something for everyone in every price bracket. If it has a round face and a dive bezel – chances are it takes styling cues from the Rolex Submariner in one way or another. Today I take a closer look at a watch I believe to represent incredible value – the Tisell Ceramic Sub.


I first heard about Tisell about a year ago. I read on Watchuseek about a one-man operation who built and sold high-quality watches out of Korea. At the time I was a poor student with a watch addiction in full bloom, and I was feeling the hunger and despair of wanting watches I had no way of paying for. I was researching homages left, right and center, so when I heard about Tisell I immediately started an intense googling session. After about a week of research I was convinced. My next watch was going to be a Tisell.


I placed my order via Paypal and started waiting. After about a week of agony a package came from the far east (a week from Korea to Norway is pretty amazing, way better than most online stores). The cardboard box was filled with two layers of dense foam, and sandwiced between them lay my newest treasure.


The first thing that hit me when I gingerly picked it up was the weight of it. It felt solid. It was completely wrapped in clear plastic, which I immediately ripped off like a kid on christmas morning (I wish I could say that I’ve improved my patience since then). After sizing it, I wore it for about a month straight. It was everything I wanted. Understated, sleek and rugged at the same time, and felt great on the wrist. For a hair over $200, this is an amazing watch:

Technical specifications:

  • 40mm stainless steel case and 20mm solid end link oyster bracelet
  • Sapphire crystal
  • 120-click unidirectional bezel with ceramic insert
  • Miyota 9015 automatic movement, 28,800 bph
  • BGW9 Super – Luminova (I own the v1, which does not have this lume. Version 2, which is currently being sold, has the upgraded BGW9 lume).


The design of the Tisell Sub is obviously based on the Rolex Submariner. It’s almost a 1:1 on the dimensions of the new ceramic sub with the wider lugs, and has a modern look to it. It has a great wrist presence, but it does not look obtrusive or out of place.


I elected for my sub to have a date window, but no cyclops (you can specify if you want date/no date and cyclops/no cyclops when you place your order). The dial is a beautiful, glossy, deep black, a feature best observed in person as it’s very hard to capture in photos. Combined with the bezel insert which ranges from deep black to a matte, almost gray-ish shine, it makes for a killer combo in my eyes.



When placing your order for the Tisell Ceramic Sub, you have an array of different options. You can choose three different colorways; green, black or blue. You can alternate bezel insert colors with dials, and choose between date/no date and cyclops/no cyclops. You can make yours look like the famous “Hulk”, “Kermit” or “Smurf sub”, or even combine a black bezel insert with a blue dial for a Deepsea Seadweller D-Blue lookalike. I went for the black/black with no cyclops, as I wanted it to resemble the Rolex Deepsea Seadweller.


As mentioned earlier in this article, the Tisell Sub has some drawbacks. First and foremost is the lume, but that point is moot unless you buy a pre-owned v1. The v2 currently in stock has upgraded lume, and looks killer.

The second drawback is the bezel action. It’s definitely room for improvement here. It feels rather “tinny”, and turns too easily for my tastes. However, it has very little play. I do not know if the bezel action has been improved on the v2. These are minor drawbacks in my eyes, and I believe they should not deter you from trying one out.

Why you should consider purchasing one

It’s simple; it represents incredible value for money. The movement is Citizen Miyota’s equivalent to the ubiquitous ETA 2824-2, found in watches from $500 to $5000. The 9015 is incredibly durable and servicable, and very accurate. My watch gains +3 seconds a day, a number well withing the famous COSC-standards. That much for swiss precision, huh? The 9015 is a favorite of Microbrands, and this workhorse movement is found in watches of all price brackets. It’s a great, solid movement, punching way above it’s weight. Any watch with this movement below $300 I consider to be a great deal. Add to that a ceramic bezel and sapphire crystal, a great bracelet for the price, BGW9 lume (the new version 2 of the sub has this upgraded lume. My version 1 has rather weak lume – one of it’s few slight drawbacks) and you have a package that is frankly quite an unbelievable deal for $220. If you are on the lookout for a quality watch with a classic design, that punches several classes above it’s weight – give it a try.

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