In the world of watches, the term “homage” is synonymous with tribute and respect. Hommage timepieces are watches designed as a tribute to the classics and icons of the watchmaking world. Find out more about them in this article.
Some people see homage timepieces more as a “cheap” copy of the original and as counterfeits while others see it more as an affordable version of a timepiece that would otherwise be unattainable for them. And in the end that is not a bad thing, horology is a passion and there really is room for everyone. To be clear a homage is not an identical copy or “Replica” of a timepiece where one copies a popular watch including the logo and all the details to make it pass as the original. In many cases we talk about a “Chinese” variant but there are many other manufacturers and micro-brands that have built a business model around making tribute timepieces.
For me personally, homages are mostly about the fondness for the timepiece and style. If someone has a preference for a particular design it should be available in different price ranges as it is for practically every other product in the world.
In this article, we want to introduce to you different original versions and their homage variant, and in this way hope to get more people excited about wearing different styles of timepieces in every price range.
1. Rolex Submariner
The brand that, partly due to a fantastic marketing machine, has the greatest name and fame in the world of timepieces is Rolex. So it is not exceptional that the most homages, as well as literal copies, in the world exist of models from this manufacturer.
One of Rolex’s most iconic models is their Submariner line. With an instantly recognizable and timeless design, this is a very practical and beautiful timepiece that never looks out of place on the arm on any occasion. So of this line we find hundreds of manufacturers who have released their versions. Here we put 3 of them on a line: Davosa, Steinhart and San Martin.
Davosa is a Swiss manufacturer with a rich history dating back to the 19th century. They mainly make very good quality homages of existing popular models with their own twist. They use only high quality materials and Swiss movements (ETA, Sellita) giving the timepieces high reliability. For their version of the Submariner homage you will pay around 900 euros.
Steinhart is a German company founded fairly recently in 2001 by Gunther Steinhart in the city of Augsburg. The company is now headquartered in Stadtbergen, Germany. They mainly sell homages with all Swiss-made inner workings at democratic prices. Their interpretation of the Submariner, the Ocean One black ceramic diver, can be yours for about half the price of the Davosa namely about 490 euros.
Third in line is San Martin. This is 1 of the popular Chinese manufacturers who in recent years have been releasing very accessible homages to popular timepieces. They have for their Submariner the cheapest version of the 3. Between 100 and 200 euros you can find one. On November 11 or Black Friday you can purchase them at very attractive prices on Ali Express. For these 100 euros, however, quality is sacrificed in many cases. In this case you get a standard Japanese Seiko NH35 interior. In itself nothing wrong with that but do not expect the same accuracy as the ETA or Selitta elaboré variant as is the case with Davosa or Steinhart. Still, San Martin not only copies but innovates like with their newly released clasp that is “on-the-fly” adjustable for optimal wearing comfort.
- Rolex Submariner: 10250 euro
- Davosa Ternos Ceramic: 928 euro
- Steinhart Ocean One Black: 490 euro
- San martin SN017G-MOP: 100-200 euro
2. Rolex Daytona
A second very popular model from Rolex is the Daytona. It borrows its name from the popular race track and the Paul Newman Daytona version is the most desirable. Paul Newman’s own Daytona brought an astronomical $17.8 million at auction. This year, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Rolex released an anniversary edition of this timepiece, which we previously discussed in an blog article. Of this anniversary edition and also of the previous versions, you can already find several homages. We list some of them here again: Seiko, Steinhart, Sugess and Pagani Design.
First in our list, we highlight the Seiko SRQ047. The story of Seiko began in 1881, when a 21-year-old entrepreneur, Kintaro Hattori, opened a store in downtown Tokyo to sell and repair watches and clocks. Just 11 years later, in 1892, he established the “Seikosha” factory. Seiko has a very large selection of timepieces both automatic and quartz powered and in every price range. For our comparison with the Daytona, Seiko is the most expensive with a price between 2500 and 2900 euros they bring with the Prospex Speedtimer Chronograph SRQ047 their own interpretation of a Daytona alternative but still with their own character and DNA.
In 2nd place in the list we find Steinhart with the Ocean One Vintage Chronograph II. This timepiece is also their own interpretation and has an LJ7772 premium movement by La Joux Peret. With its price of 1250 euros, it sits in the middle of our series.
As 3rd and my personal favorite we find the Sugess Chronograph 418-2 Ceramic Bezel Professional. This one leans closest to the Daytona anniversary edition and there are also versions corresponding to the dial of the other Rolex Daytona versions. The inner movement is the new compact Chinese Peacock SL4801 High-Beat inner movement, resulting in a thickness of only 12.5mm. This beautifully executed timepiece is available between 400 to 450 euros which is a bargain.
Last on our list is the Pagani Design variant of the Daytona which is quasi the same in terms of looks but with the major difference that this is a quartz version, more specifically, the movement is powered by a Seiko VK63 mecaquartz movement inside. Due to the use of a quartz movement, this timepiece is available at a price of about 75 euros.
- Rolex Cosmograph Daytona: 51300 euro
- Seiko SRQ047: 2500 – 2900 euro
- Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Chronograph II: 1250 euro
- Sugess Chronograph 418-2: 400 – 450 euro
- Pagani Design Daytona: 75 euro
3. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms
Created 70 years ago by a passionate diver, the original Fifty Fathoms timepiece revolutionized watchmaking by becoming the first timepiece to successfully meet all the needs of underwater exploration. This year a playful Swatch version of the Blancpain Fifty Fatoms was released of which you can read all about in our article from earlier this year.
For our homage editions of this timeless diving timepiece, we selected the following: the Bonaire by Belgian Méraud, the Aquascape by French Baltic, the aforementioned Swatch x Blancpain and finally the Fleuss by Chinese Spinnaker.
With a bit of healthy chauvinism, we present the Bonaire from the Belgian company Méraud as the first in our list. We discussed this timepiece in detail in a previous article where you can find all the specifications and information here. Of the 4 homages, this timepiece is for us the version with best inner workings and finishing. For around 1100 euros you get a huge amount of bang for your buck.
As 2nd we have the Aquascape from Baltic, a diving timepiece from a microbrand that has released hugely popular models in recent years with a nice design and good value for money. With a price of 700 euros, this is cheaper than the Méraud but here you get back a Japanese Miyota 9039 movement with 42 hours of power reserve instead of a Swiss La Joux Perret G101 movement with 68 hours of power reserve.
3rd we have the Swatch x Blancpain which was launched earlier this year as a collaboration between Swatch and Blancpain. Here, in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, the Swatch group, of which Blancpain is part, wanted to try to repeat the huge success of the previous Omega MoonSwatch collaboration. And with success, in no time all the playful editions were sold out. Still, with a price of 390 euros, we don’t think a plastic movement, which is not repairable, is a sustainable choice.
The last in our list is also the most affordable one and comes from Hong Kong-based Spinnaker which has an affordable version of the Blancpain with its Fleuss model for around 185 to 285 euros. The Fleuss is available with a black dial with asphalt texture or a red sunburst dial.
- Blancpain Fifty Fathoms: 17050 euro
- Méraud Bonaire: 1100 euro
- Baltic Aquascape: 700 euro
- Blancpain x Swatch: 390 euro
- Spinnaker Fleuss: 285 euro
4. TAG Heuer Monaco
A timepiece that has great name recognition in the automotive world is the TAG Heuer Monaco. The most famous version is the Steve McQueen edition that Steve Mc Queen wore in the legendary movie “Le Mans.” A while ago we also discussed here the “Dark Lord” edition of the Monaco about which you can read more about here. Recently, the name recognition of the Monaco timepiece has only increased partly due to Formula 1 champion Max Verstappen being an ambassador for the brand. If you don’t have 7900 euros to spare for this beaty but would still like a similar design then we would like to suggest some alternatives here: the Fastback by the French company Depancel, the Hugo Boss HB-1005 Chrono, the Specht & Sohn Monaco Le Mans edition and last but not least the Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date.
We already discussed the Fastback by French company Depancel last year in another article about watches that match your car. It is their interpretation of the Monaco with enough of their own design elements that give a nod to the Monaco but are still different so the timepiece is not a copy. Priced at 755 euros with an automatic Japanese Miyota 9120 movement, you still have a similar look and feel around your wrist for a tenth of the price of the Monaco. With a choice of 4 different colors (white, blue, black and green) of dial, you are sure to find the version that suits you.
As the 2nd in line, we introduce a fashion brand namely Hugo Boss. They have a similar design to the Monaco with their HB-1005 Chrono. The version they have is an all-black timepiece with both the case, watch and dial in a deep black color. The movement is a battery powered quartz movement from Movado resulting in a cheaper price of about 395 euros.
The third player, Specht & Sohne, is a brand that primarily makes exact copy homages to existing timepieces. This is less our preference but for someone looking for an affordable alternative of a Monaco, their Monaco Le Mans model is what comes closest to the “real deal” in appearance. Doch they also use a quartz movement (Seiko VK64 mecaquartz) instead of an automatic movement and with 5 ATM water resistance you cannot swim with this timepiece.
A homage timepiece is normally cheaper than the original and we talked in the intro about suggesting cheaper editions. Nevertheless, we want to make an exception for the fourth in our list namely the Glashütte Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date. With its square design, this timepiece has a similar shape to the Monaco but goes up a serious notch in all different aspects. Both in terms of finish, use of materials and inner workings this is of a different level than the Monaco making it one of our holy grail timepieces. All this unfortunately also shows in the price which starts from 15200 euros.
- Tag Heuer Monaco: 7900 euro
- Depancel R-Series Fastback: 755 euro
- Hugo Boss HB-1005 Chrono: 395 euro
- Specht & Sohne Monaco Le Mans: 342 euro
- Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date: 15200 euro
5. IWC Ingenieur
This year at Watches and Wonders, International Watch Company, better known through its acronym IWC, surprised everyone with a modern reissue of the Ingenieur based on the Ingenieur SL launched in 1970 and designed by the famous Gérald Genta. This beautiful timepiece with an integrated steel bracelet was a very successful reissue but stood out especially with its excessive price tag of 12900 euros. High time, then, to present some alternatives: the Urban Traveler by Yema, the Engineer by IXDAO and the Architect by Specht & Sohne.
First we look at the Urban Traveler from France’s Yema, which with its Yema2000 in-house designed movement and integrated steel watch strap is an excellent alternative to the IWC Ingenieur. All of Yema’s timepieces are designed, assembled and produced in France. It has slightly different elements that still give it just its own character. It also reminds us a bit of design elements of the Perception by Atelier Wen. At 39mm, it is slightly more compact than the IWC’s 40mm and also with its price of about 1000 euros, it is a formidable alternative to the IWC Ingenieur.
As 2nd in the list we look at the unknown and founded in 2023, IXDAO, a Chinese microbrand. Their version leaves little to the imagination and apart from the logo and the inscription Engineer instead of Engineer is an exact copy of the IWC. But if you want to get closest to the IWC, this is the best choice. The IXDAO is available in the same dial colors as the IWC and in addition to the Chinese PT5000 movement, it is also available with a Selitta SW200 or an ETA2824. The finish of the IXDAO is pretty ok so all in all for a price between 279 and 479, depending on the chosen movement this seems like a bargain to us if you agree with an almost exact copy.
The same goes for our 3rd manufacturer Specht & Sohne who also go for a copy with a slightly more original name namely Architect. They also choose an automatic movement but from Citizen instead of a PT5000 or Swiss movement. In addition, the water resistance of 50M makes the watch not suitable for swimming which for us is a missed opportunity. For the price of 185 euros you have the cheapest variant here but we would opt for the IXDAO due to the lesser water resistance.
- IWC Ingenieur: 12900 euro
- Yema Urban Traveler: 1000 euro
- IXDAO Engineer: 279 euro
- Specht & Sohne Architect: 185 euro
6. Richard Mille
You either hate it or you love it, those are usually one of the 2 feelings you get when you see a Richard Mille watch. Richard Mille mainly makes barrel-shaped timepieces from extraordinary materials and has them worn by famous people in the sports and film world as marketing. Because of their exclusivity and complexity, Richard Mille’s timepieces are often simply priceless with amounts going up to over 1 million euros. If you are still charmed by their design we list here some affordable alternatives: the Vanguard series by Swiss Franck Muller, the M2 Subaru by Japanese Zeroo Time, the Challenger Automatic by original American Ingersoll and finally the Quartz by German-Chinese Tsar Bomba.
Swiss Franck Muller is no stranger in the world of watchmaking and has been around since 1992. The brand is best known for their complex inner movements and high level of finishing. We put their Vanguard series here as an alternative to the astronomically expensive Richard Mille but keep in mind that at about 8000 euros, this is certainly not a cheap timepiece. However, if you search well on the internet you can find them back for ca 5000 euro. Paying retail price or more, as is sometimes the case with Rolex and other brands, is not recommended for this timepiece.
Japan’s Zeroo Time is a micro brand founded fairly recently in 2017. They market high-quality homage timepieces, each with their own twist. The Subaru M2 is a compact, beautifully designed timepiece that weighs only 96 grams. Only pity we find the water resistance of only 30m which we find too little to use it as a sports watch. With a price of 2350 euros, the timepiece cannot be called directly cheap. They also have 2 other barrel models with 1 cheaper one, the ZEROO M1D, with a hand-winding movement at 605 euros and the T4 Archer Full Skeleton Tourbillon, a model with a real tourbillon complication at 2780 euros.
Ingersoll , the third in line, is a brand that mainly markets affordable timepieces with different designs. This is reflected in the price of the Challenger Automatic, which at 465 euros is very reasonable. For this, some concessions were made such as a Chinese automatic movement, mineral glass instead of sapphire and a water resistance of 50m. At Ingersoll, however, they are convinced that their products must be reliable and durable and therefore they give a lifetime warranty on the timepiece !
Finally, as with the previous homages, we have the cheapest one in the list, the Tsar Bomba Quartz. As an entry-level model, this one has a quartz movement but if you still want to spend more for your Richard Mille homage, you can also buy a version with an automatic movement from them. For the price of 235 euros here you have an accurate quartz movement with an iconic Richard Mille design but if you look carefully around the internet you will find one around 160 euros. There are even versions where you can customize the case and straps in terms of color so you can make several different versions of 1 timepiece through the click-on color cases, interchangeable colored crown and rubber straps in different colors.
- Richard Mille RM 005: 125 000 euro
- Franck Muller Vanguard: 8000 euro
- Zeroo Time T4 Archer: 2780 euro
- Zeroo Time M2 Subaru: 2350 euro
- Zeroo Time M1D: 605 euro
- Ingersoll Challenger Automatic: 465 euro
- Tsar Bomba Quartz: 160-235 euro
7. Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch
When we talk about the brand Omega, the first thing that comes to mind is their Speedmaster model. This timepiece designed in 1957 as a racing watch but it only gained real fame when it was worn by the American astronauts during the Apollo 11 mission. This icon was not to be missed in our series and we are happy to present some alternatives here: Tudor Black Bay Chrono, Maen Skymaster, Bulova Lunar Pilot, Omega x Swatch Moonswatch, Pagani Design PD-1701.
Before we introduce the first in our list, we would like to point out that there is also a model from Omega’s own line that can be used as an alternative namely the Speedmaster Reduced. Launched in 1988, this version is no longer made but can be found on the second-hand market for less than half the price. At 39mm, the reduced is smaller than the 42mm of the Professional and also has a different interior. In terms of looks, it is almost identical to its bigger brother.
The first in our list is not directly a 1-to-1 comparison but definitely stands its ground against the speedmaster, the Black Bay Chrono. This model was launched by Tudor, Rolex’s sister brand, in 2017 and its updated version was released in 2021 with a B01 based movement from Breitling. At 5550 euros on a steel strap, it is more than 2000 euros cheaper than the 7700 euros of the Speedmaster Professional.
As 2nd we present a lesser known micro fire from our Dutch neighbors MAEN. The name Maen is the old spelling of the Dutch word moon and so for this comparison with the Moonwatch quite a fun pun. Maen sells directly to the end customer and their mission is to market reliable and affordable timepieces. Their Skymaster 38 model, as with the reduced one, is also a lot more compact than the 42mm of the Omega Professional making it suitable for a slightly smaller wrist as well. With a price of 2099 euros for a movement with a TOP Grade Sellita SW510Mb manual movement you get a lot of movement for a reasonable price.
The 3rd in our list, Bulova, is another well-known brand with a rich history and was founded in 1875. Their Lunar Pilot was effectively also used during a space mission namely the Apollo 15 mission in 1971. The quartz movement is powered by a high-precision quartz resonating at a frequency of 262 kHz for unparalleled accuracy and with a chronograph hand and smooth-running seconds hand. The original Lunar Pilot was not directly for the small wrist with its 45mm diameter, and Bulova launched a slightly more compact 43mm version this year that is still larger than the Omega variety. So if you have a smaller wrist this is not the appropriate choice. You can find the Lunar Pilot at a price between 500 and 600 euros.
In 2022, Omega teamed up with Swatch to do something no one expected. They launched a bio-ceramic (plastic) version of the Moonwatch at a very low price of 270 euros. This resulted in unprecedented queues of kilometers long in front of official Swatch stores hours before the launch and in every major city in the world.
Last in line, we present another quartz movement namely the Pagani Design PD-1701. This timepiece has a Seiko VK63 Chronograph Quartz movement inside and is practically a copy of the Omega. At a price of around 90 euros, this is the cheapest way to get a Moonwatch look a like in your possession.
8. Audemar Piguet Royal Oak
The Gérald Genta-designed Royal Oak was unveiled at the Baselworld Fair in 1972. With its unconventional octagonal case secured by eight hexagonal screws, an integrated bracelet and large case, the Royal Oak was a stark departure from traditional watch designs of the time. This timepiece is the holy grail for many and with a starting price of around 60000 euros, here we present you with some alternatives that can be yours for a lot less euros: the Alpine Eagle by Swiss Chopard – the previously discussed Engenieur by Swiss IWC – the Aikon by Swiss Maurice Lacroix – the CasioAok by Japanese Casio – the PD-1673 by Chinese Pagani Design.
Chopard was founded in Switzerland in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard and has been owned by the Scheufele family of Germany since 1963. Chopard is best known for making high-quality Swiss watches and jewelry. The Alpine Eagle has a similar design to the Royal Oak including the screws on the case but has its own design with its Roman hour markers and a sunburst embossed pattern instead of the typical block pattern on the Royal Oak. Also the high quality inner workings that are completely manufactured in-house ensure that this is a technically very good timepiece. All this translates into a price of about 15600 euros for the 41 mm version. The Alpine Eagle is available in different sizes (36mm, 39mm, 41mm and 44mm) and as a standard or chrono version.
The 2nd is a timepiece that we discussed above as number 5, the IWC Ingenieur. It has a slightly more rounded design but can also be seen as an alternative to the Royal Oak and, at 12900, is just under 3000 euros cheaper than the Chopard Alpine Eagle.
In 3rd we have another Swiss brand, Maurice Lacroix. They market affordable Swiss timepieces with their Masterpiece series as the top series. For this we present the Aikon model as their alternative to the Royal Oak. With its different versions and sizes, there is again something here for every enthusiast. The automatic version of 39mm or 42 mm comes with both a steel and rubber strap and costs 2350 euros. Yet, you also have a quartz version of this Aikon series in executed in #tide recycled ocean plastic for 800 euros.
The fourth on our list initially came about based on a group of avid watch enthusiasts who customized a Casio G-Shock GA2110SU-3A via a custom-made case and watchband to resemble a Royal Oak. So here you have a digital watch with a serious hint of the Royal Oak hence the name CasioOak. This custom case was so popular that Casio itself wanted a piece of the action and launched an all-metal G-Shock in 2021 called the GM-B2100. This one has all aspects of the G-Shock DNA and with a Royal Oak shape for a list price of 550 euros and if you look hard you can even find it for around 450 euros.
Last we look at a Chinese clone homage from Pagani Design the PD-1673. This is practically a 1 on 1 copy of the Royal Oak with all the aesthetic features carried over but with a standard Seiko NH35 automatic movement and at a very low price of 150 euros. Do not expect high finish and precision here but if you want a look closest to that of the Royal Oak for very little money this is the most economical choice.
The choice between homage and the original version of a timepiece ultimately depends on personal preferences, budget and ethical considerations. While some prefer the authenticity and invest in the heritage of renowned brands, others may enjoy the aesthetics of hommage timepieces without compromising on their wallets. Above all, we hope to show with this article that there is a version for everyone who likes watches that fits their budget.