Homage watches have become very popular, and some brands build their whole existence on making lookalike watches of more luxurious and popular brands. Brands such as Steinhart and Parnis are two well-known watch brands focused on making homage watches.
A homage watch is designed to look like a more luxurious or popular watch at a cheaper price point. Homage watches is made of lower quality than the original watches. It can be worth it to buy homage watches to save money. Homage watches is legal, whereas replica watches is not.
Steinhart and Parnis is 2 brands dedicated to mostly “coping” the style of Rolex watches. However, some brands which have their own styles also make homage watches. A good example is Frederique Constant’s flyback chronograph, which looks a lot like a Patek Philippe chronograph.
But why are people buy homage watches instead of the real deal? Are homage watches better?
What Does Homage Watch Mean?
For the longest time, there has been a discussion in the watch community centered around “lookalike watches.” What “lookalike watches” mean is very simple. It’s watches made to replicate the style of a more popular or luxurious watch. However, this is not to be confused with actual replica watches; there is a difference.
Homage means paying respect to something publicly (source). Homage watches mean a watch that looks close to identical to a more popular watch but made by another brand. E.g., Steinhart making a watch with a similar design to the Rolex Submariner, but under the Steinhart brand instead of Rolex.
Making a homage watch is a typical design choice for some watch brands. It offers you and me a better price for a watch that looks identical. However, when it comes down to the watch’s actual quality, homage watches are rarely made in the same quality as the “real” watches.
Despite the lower quality, most homage watches are made in a fairly good quality, which can be accepted by most people if the main factor is the looks.
In the picture above, you can see a clear replication in design from the Rolex Daytona by a brand called Alpha. The watches are very much alike and have all the same elements, with just a few differentiating details.
Most people would see the Alpha watch and call it a replica. And although you might be tempted to, it’s actually not a replica.
An expression of great respect and honorSource
Homage watches is made to look almost exactly like the copied watch. However, to avoid legal claims, some things have to change. In the example above, the watch uses its own name with some additional text not found on the Rolex. Furthermore, the chronograph pushers is not the same shape and form.
Benefits of Homage Watches
One of the biggest benefits of homage watches is that you can acquire a watch that looks identical to a watch way out of your price range. This can be seen from the many homage watches replicating Rolex, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Philippe.
The benefits of homage watches are quite simple:
- You can own a luxury (looking) watch for a fraction of the price.
- You won’t have the same level of fear wearing the watch.
Obviously, you get to own something that looks like a very exclusive watch for a fraction of the price. A watch that has been a popular homage model is the Rolex Submariner. A Rolex Submariner goes for more than $10,000, whereas a homage watch can be bought for less than $100.
Another key benefit is that you don’t fear wearing your watch. I mean, sure, $100 is also a kind of money to worry about. But I’m confident that everyone would be much more worried going around with $10,000 on the wrist. The fear of scratching the watch and being robbed can be a real fear when wearing luxury watches.
Brands such as Invicta made themselves known by making a homage watch of the Rolex Submariner for under $100 (Link to Amazon). It’s not uncommon to find watches that look a lot like a more popular brand. Therefore, you should also be cautious that you is not buying a replica.
Disadvantages of Homage Watches
The disadvantage of homage watches is kind of two-fold. On the one hand, you are getting a cheaper watch that looks like a luxury watch. However, on the other hand, you are getting lower quality, no heritage, and most of all, if people know the watch is not a genuine luxury watch, some will get snobby about it.
The disadvantages of homage watches:
- Homage watches look fake to the untrained eye.
- The general quality of the watch is lower.
- Some people have a snobby attitude towards homage watches.
When you’re looking at homage watches from a distance, they look like the real deal. However, when you get closer to the watch, you will see the differences between the real and the homage watch.
Not only will people think you’re wearing a fake watch, but you will most likely also have a watch that is lower quality than the “real” watch.
Most homage watches are built using standard ETA or Sellita movements. Now, don’t get me wrong. ETA and Sellita have some very solid movements. Still, you just can’t compare ETA or Sellita to a Rolex, Omega, Patek Philippe movement.
Now just to clarify. I own a watch (Certina DS-1) with an ETA 2824-2 movement, which almost runs within the chronometer/COSC time requirements. A mass-produced movement that doesn’t get the same attention in the manufacturing process as some of the higher-end watch movements is very impressive timekeeping.
Lastly, you have the people who are actually into watches who don’t like homage watches. Those people are mostly purists who see homage watches as a clever way of avoiding the “replica” tag from authorities.
That is not to say that there aren’t watch enthusiasts who like homage watches. But this is like any other generalization – there is always exceptions.
What Is Replica Watches?
Now we have an understanding of homage watches and the benefits and drawbacks. But I have talked so much about replica watches I feel like we need to clarify what a replica watch is.
A replica watch is the exact reproduction of an authentic watch without legal rights, making it illegal. Replica watches is often referred to as counterfeit watches due to the illegal act of profiting from another brand.
The Federation of the Swiss Watch industry estimates that over 1.6 million fake/counterfeit watches are produced every year. While it’s stated that the total Swiss watch production is about 30 million per year (source). These numbers mean you have an approximately 5% chance of finding a replica watch.
Now to make things even scarier. A lot of the 30 million watches are not worth replicating. Counterfeiters is commonly replicating Rolex, Omega, Breitling, Patek Philippe, and luxury brands alike. Those brands is maybe 20-30% of the total Swiss watch production. This just makes the chance of finding a replica even higher.
Some people like replica watches because you get a watch identical to the real deal with the original brand name, logo, and all. This can get people to think you are of higher wealth. Some people want to attain that “attention” while not being able to afford the real status symbol, so they buy a fake.
Fake it until you make it!Unknown
The thing is, replica watches, or should I say counterfeit watches, are illegal. You’re not allowed to purchase them, own them, or resell them. Hence don’t go for replica watches. You won’t be fooling anyone but yourself.
Another major no-no concerning replica watches is their quality. They are simply horrible quality. The counterfeiters make the watches look like the real deal on the outside but go complete cheapskates on the inside.
This means the watch won’t be accurate, waterproof (even though it might state it is), durable, or have good functions complications such as chronograph or moonphase.
Super Clone Watches
There is a new phenomenon in the watch industry called “super clones.” The increase in technology advancement and the cheaper cost of better-performing machinery make counterfeiters able to increase their quality to make their fake watches look even more like authentic watches.
A super clone watch is an unauthentic watch replicated to such a degree they can’t be told apart. Super clone watches can be made with such finesse that only experts can tell them apart from authentic watches.
These are watches you would consider of such high quality you would need an expert to tell apart from the real. This is also why these super clones can cost upwards of $1000s, plural.
Super clone watches are a surreal experience. Seeing two watches side by side, one authentic and one super clone, might not even be enough to be able to tell them apart.
Super clone watches are nothing like homage watches, though. Super clone watches are just like replica/fake/counterfeit watches, illegal. It’s just harder to identify whether or not it’s fake.
What Is the Difference Between Homage and Replica Watches?
A lot of people won’t recognize the difference between a homage watch and a replica. Some might even judge you for wearing a homage watch calling it a replica. However, let them judge you. Their own ignorance causes it. So let’s educate ourselves.
Homage watches are a legal replication of a popular design using small alterations. Replica watches is the illegal reproduction of a popular design under unauthorized use of another brand name.
Homage watches, while controversial, is not illegal and can be a good way of testing different styles of watches before going for the original brand. This is a common practice for people who just got into watches or has had the same style for many years and want to try something new.
It can also be a financial priority because the authentic or original watch typically is +$10,000 luxury watches. Having the possibility to buy a watch that looks a lot like a high-end luxury watch is great.
To make it financially possible to own what looks to be a high-end watch is to make a close representation of said watch with small design changes, a new brand name, and cheaper materials/manufacturing.
Some say that you will not get taken serious if you’re wearing a homage watch. But ain’t your watches for you and not for others? Watch enthusiasts argue that they don’t “accept” homage watches in their circle of friends. But if your friends are not watch enthusiasts, who will really care?
When it comes to fake watches, the story is a little different. We established that counterfeit watches are illegal. So there is that. But when you look at the argument of why enthusiasts don’t like homage watches, you might avoid some hassle by having fake watches, right?
Well, I wouldn’t bother. First of all, replica watches is illegal and could end up costing you a big fine. Secondly, you could end up getting the replica watch confiscated.
Suppose multiple of your friends is actually hardcore watch enthusiasts. They would know when the watch is fake and might look down on you for owning a fake.
If you are thinking of getting a replica watch because you really like a particular watch, please don’t buy it, just don’t. You are supporting crime and disrespect the quality and precision going into making good quality watches.
However, don’t let anyone discourage you from buying homage watches. Homage watches is a good way to test styles or another way to buy watches you are otherwise not able to afford.
I would suggest you do some reason before buying a homage watch since some brands are mass-producing trash that looks like high-end watches.
Are Homage Watches Legal?
There is a big controversy when it comes to the legality of homage watches. When it comes to the legal protection of a design, watchmakers face some challenges. One of which is the alternation in design and calling it a “homage.”
Homage watches are legal replications of other brand’s designs with small design adjustments. Homage watches are legal and can easily be identified by looking at the branding on the watch.
Although homage watches is legal, it’s seen before that a homage brand has lost against the original design owner/brand. In 2014 Audemars Piguet won a case against a company that got some inspiration from Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak (source).
The problem some watch companies are facing is lacking trademark protection or loss of patent protection. Suppose there is no trademark protection or the patent has run out. In that case, the “original” design owner can’t claim any rights to the design.
However, when there isn’t trademark protection or a patent in place, some homage brands get “clever.” They make small adjustments to the design and call the watch a homage to the original design to milk on the popular designs that aren’t within the average Joe’s budget.
Whether you like homage watches or not, they are not illegal by definition. The word homage means paying respect or honoring something. Typically, you would make a homage to a design when it’s has been extinct for a long time. This could be making a watch with the design of a watch from the first world war.
However, homage manufacturers do this to current watch designs, which is also why many watch enthusiasts don’t like homage watches.
Are Homage Watches Bad?
We see this type of debate quite often. When entering the deep trenches of watch forums, you will experience the mud throwing and dirty mouth used to despite homage watches. But are homage watches really that bad?
Some homage watches are made by good quality manufacturers. However, some homage brands compete on the lowest possible price, giving the lowest possible quality. Low-quality watches can usually be avoided by looking for the “swiss made” at 6 o’clock.
Some homage watches are made by manufacturers providing an acceptable quality. Typically you will spot ETA and Sellita movements in homage watches. The use of ETA and Sellita is common in entry-level watches. ETA and Sellita make some fairly good movements that keep time okay and have acceptable durability.
Therefore, when it comes to brands such as Steinhart and Parnis, you will most likely find an ETA movement in the watch. Now, we can always debate their unoriginal design choice. Still, one thing that is hard to argue is that their movements is of fair quality.
We could also reverse the logic and say what don’t we get when buying homage watches compared to the “original” watch? One thing is for sure. You don’t get the original design, that’s a given. The second thing is that you will not get the same quality in the watch’s movement in 9.9 out of 10 cases.
Lastly, you will experience why the homage watch is much cheaper than the “original” watch. It comes down to a simple yet groundbreaking factor: production quality and finishes.
The watches that are worth “copying” with a homage watch are typically innovating to make their watches better year after year. Therefore, they will always use top of the line technology to reach the cleanest cuts, best polish, and nicest materials.
Are Homage Watches Worth It?
It’s a very personal preference to whether a homage watch is worth it or not. It ultimately comes down to whether you like the design of a watch, you don’t have the economy to have and maintain. The main purpose of homage watches is to try a new style or get a watch you can’t afford.
Homage watches is a good way to explore your style of watches. Furthermore, homage watches are offered at a much lower price than the original watch, making it financially worth it.
Homage watches can pay off when you want to try different styles of watches before deciding where to drop the big bucks. E.g., if you were trying to figure out if you like the style better of a Rolex Submariner or a Panerai Luminor.
Suppose the purpose is to figure out a style before buying the “original” watch. In that case, you will save a lot of money buying 2 homage watches, compared to buying both “original” watches.
Then, suppose you simply can’t afford the “original” design or don’t want to pay the full price. In that case, homage watches is a gateway to owning a particular design anyway.
It’s not uncommon to hear people don’t want to buy a watch for $10,000 if it can also be bought at $500. They think the price is unreasonable, which is a fair argument.
And suppose a certain style has piqued your interest, instead of going for the $10,000 watch. In that case, you can just go for the $500 homage watch instead – cost-effective and with a similar design.
Should I Buy a Homage Watch?
There is no right or wrong when it comes to buying a homage watch. If you like a certain style and can’t afford the “original” watch, homage is the perfect gateway. Additionally, you shouldn’t think about what other people think. You are the wearer of the watch – you have to like it.
Buying homage watches is a personal preference. Buying homage watches is advantageous when you want to explore your watch style or get a reputable design at a lower cost. It’s not advantageous when caring for the original design producer or the higher quality usually associated with the non-homage watch.
There is 2 bigger viewpoints when it comes to owning homage watches. The first is that it’s a good way to own popular designs which don’t cost half a year’s salary. The counter-argument is that homage brands are milking money out of the original designer/brand.
When everything comes together, you have to decide between a lower quality watch with the benefit of a popular design and your political/ethical role in “copying” designs from other brands.
Personally, you can do whatever you want. I accept people wearing homage watches just as much as I accept the people wearing the “original.” However, you will not see me complimenting the homage watch the same way as I would be complimenting the “original.”
Rolex Homage Watches
When it comes to homage watches, Rolex is very popular. Especially the Submariner or the Daytona. The Submariner has become really popular. Since its introduction in 1953, the design stock has become the popular way of designing the dive watch.
A couple of brands has made some very look-alike homage watches that replicate the design of the Rolex. Most noteworthy isStuhrling, Invicta, Neymar, Steinhart, and Pagani Design.
Stuhrling is an interesting brand. Stuhrling is a bigger brand and not niched so much as other homage brands. The typical homage brands maybe have 10 different models that replicate the most popular designs from the biggest brands.
However, Stuhrling is making many different styles of watches. Most of the watches are some type of homage watch or have taken big inspiration, but they also make their own designs.
Stuhrling’s homage watch can be found on Amazon for just around $70.
Now a watch brand you might have heard of: Invicta. Invicta is a brand you either hate or love. There seems to be no middle ground when it comes to having an opinion of Invicta.
The reason you can only be right-wing or left-wing here is because of their watch designs. Invicta is either making homage watches or some very freaky looking watches. Personally, they are not for me.
Invicta is a good value for money. Their watches is very cheap, yet not of the greatest quality. If you look for reviews around the internet, you will get some mixed opinions about the brand.
I find that many of the complaints people have are related to the handling of the watch. I have seen reviews saying their watch wasn’t water-resistant. However, in the picture shown, they have pulled the crown (which will allow water to flow straight into the watch).
However, the Invicta brand is good for first-time watches. They aren’t at a price point that would hurt you financially if you broke the watch. At the same time, you can choose almost any style you want with Invicta.
The Invicta Pro diver is one of the cheapest options for a Rolex Submariner design. The watch can be found for $60-$80 on Amazon.
Neymar is a brand you probably haven’t heard of before. They are trying to get good quality with actual good internal components. For example, their SeaDweller homage watch is made with an ETA 2824 movement. And although it’s far from the best in the industry, it’s considered good quality by watchmakers and enthusiasts.
Now, so far, Neymar’s watches haven’t “pop’d” as a watch brand. However, with the specifications provided, they seem to be a promising watch brand.
Neymar has taken inspiration from the Rolex SeaDweller. The watch can be found for around $550 on Amazon. This is the watch I would go for around the previewed homage watches in this post.
Pagani Design is probably the worse quality when it comes to Rolex homage watches. Pagani Design is using a quartz movement rather than an automatic movement. This means when looking at the watch’s ticking, it won’t sweep like a regular Rolex. Yet, their watches are very cheap.
The watches from Pagani Design can be found on Amazon for just $100.
Steinhart is one of the higher quality homage watches. However, they come at a bigger expense. Steinhart is known to be one of the best watch brands producing homage watches.
Steinhart is selling their products based on acceptable quality and automatic watches. The automatic watches makes it easier to get the aesthetics of a luxurious timepiece with a sweeping second hand.
Homage watches is a controversial topic in the watch environment. You can hate it or love it. However, when it comes to owning and wearing one, you have to decide what you want.
Since homage watches are copying other brands’ styles, you (might) have some ethical/moral problems with supporting manufacturers who aren’t making their own things.
Since homage watches are legal, you will not face any problems. However, you should, of course, stay away from replicas and beware of super clones.
Many people could find homage watches, worth it when trying a different style of watch. It can also be a financial limitation that makes you go for a homage watch instead of the “original,” which is also perfectly fine.
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