Affordable Rolex Day Date Homage Watches (Don't Break The Bank)
The Rolex Day Date (President) is one of those watches we all wish we could afford. Unfortunately, if you are anything like me, you will never have, or be able to spend that kind of money on a watch!
That is why finding the near perfect homage is your next best option. A watch that is very similar to the original Rolex, but still different enough to be unique. All at a fraction of the cost of a Rolex.
Let’s see some of the best homages the watch industry came up with…
Our Top Picks
1. Orient Classic
Models: EV0J002C, EV0J003W, EV0J001G, EV0J002B
The Orient Classic “President” is perhaps the closest and best homage to the Rolex Day Date in this list. Not only is “the look” almost spot on, the features are worth the money too.
Why do I say that? Because it comes with an automatic movement, sapphire glass and 100m water -resistance. Something most watches on this list (below $500) will not manage. Orient are well-known, like Seiko, for their affordable and reliable watches (like the Ray & Mako).
All the elements of the Rolex Day Date are also there with the jeweled hour markers, the undulating bezel, the 12 o’clock weekday and 3 o’clock date with cyclops lens. The only thing it is missing is the “swiss made”. But hey, for the price, it’s a bargain!
2. Bulova Classic
Models: 96C127, 96C125, 98C60, 97C106
Bulova make super-affordable watches that are also worthy of sitting on your wrist. Their classic collection features a whole ream of different watches, but these four are the closest to the Rolex Day Date you will find.
And with four different colors (see below), along with a two-tone or leather band, you also have quite a bit of choice. And, the similarities are quite extensive with the baton hands, rectangular hour markers and full weekday display.
Of course, being an affordable watch, they have had to make some compromises over the Rolex. After all, you can’t get a solid gold watch for 200 bucks.
So, Bulova used a Quartz movement, a mineral crystal and offering only 30m of water resistance. However, many would not see these as problem because this watch is hardly going diving with you or out in the yard to do chores. So, for a great looking dress watch it certainly fits the bill
3. Charles Hubert, Paris - Classic
Models: 3400-OH, 3400-OB, 3400-OY, 3401
Charles Hubert are another smaller manufacturer who make watches out of Paris. Their homage of the Rolex Day Date is in their classic collection and features 4 models – 3 gold plated, and one dual tone with a blue dial. You can see all 4 below.
Again, the homage is quite near with the baton hands and rectangle hour markers. The day and date windows are also in the correct places, with the cyclops lens on the date.
It is also quite a small watch at 36mm, but this is not unusual for dress watches which should be small and slim, to fit comfortably under a shirt.
The rest of the specifications (below) are the usual suspects for these watches: quartz, stainless steel, 30m waterproof etc.
4. Peugot - The Bedford
Models: 1029G, 1029BK, 1029WT, 1029S
Peugot are more of a brand you would associate with French cars, but there is actually a different company with the same name that makes affordable watches.
One of the watches they have set their sites on as an inspiration is the Rolex Day Date. And in some ways they have come closer to it than the Bulova above. The undulating bezel, along with the cylops lens on the date window are all classic Rolex features. The Roman numerals marking the hours is on a lot of Day Date 40 models.
This watch also comes in 4 distinct colors, 3 gold-toned with various dial colors and a stainless steel with silver face. All of them offer classic style to the watch lover.
Peugots are even cheaper than the Bulovas above, but lack water resistance and to me look a little cheaper in terms of finish.
5. Rotary Men's Havana
A surprisingly unknown Swiss watchmaker, Rotary is yet another boutique brand out of the Jura mountains in Switzerland.
This Rolex homage is yet another that is very close to the original yet very very affordable. The case, day and date functions and the overall look are a great match, but of course there are some variations in the hour markers and hands to the original Day Date. Not a bad thing in my opinion as I like my homages to be similar, not copies.
One other thing to keep in mind with this watch is that although the brand is Swiss, it is not “Swiss Made” which means they do not meet the Swiss government standard of 60% made in Switzerland. Which is not to say none of this watch is, it just does not meet those criteria.
6. Claude Bernard 83014
One of the more niche watch makers out of Switzerland, Claude Bernard, based in Les Genevez, are proud to be Swiss Made.
They have dozens of variants in their Sophisticated Classics range and this one is a homage to the Day Date. It is less exact in terms of features than some of the models above, but if you are after a classic dress watch with only similar looks to the Rolex, this might be the one for you.
Being on the higher end of affordable, this is more of a watch-lovers watch, but comes with some of the features you expect from a true Swiss watchmaker – Swiss Made Automatic movement, Sapphire glass, tight-weave steel bracelet.
The only minor downside of this watch is its 42mm case, which might put some people off. Dress watches typically sit below 40mm.
7. Casio Day Date
Moving a little bit away from the original look of the Day Date is this Casio. It is still a very attractive watch with some nice homage features such as the simple hour markers and hands (as well as the 12 o’clock weekday).
Many of the other features a more in line with a standard dress watch with the simple flat brushed steel case and crown protectors. And the date window has been moved to 6 o’clock, which is the first of this variation we have seen (more below).
This is a very affordable option being a Casio, however that is not to say it is a waste of your money. Many a Casio will last you for years to come. They just won’t empty your wallet in the process.
8. TAG Heuer Link
Another shift away from the classic Day Date look is the TAG Heuer Link. Being a top-notch Swiss brand though, and having a unique spin on the positioning of the day date, I had to mention this watch.
As you can see, the day/date combo is positioned both at 6 o’clock, one on top of the other. It’s a fun idea, and one you won’t see used a lot in the watch industry. Their stainless steel band also has a very unique look with the split down the centre, giving it a modern angle. The bezel has the hour numbers on it in arabic numerials, however the internal hour markers on the dial are more in line with the Rolex original.
Being a Tag Heuer, this watch is not cheap of course, but is far below the cost of the Rolex Day Date.
9. Hamilton Jazzmaster
The Hamilton Jazzmaster is a well-known watch in its own right. And they have also been influenced by their watchmaking brethren at Rolex over the years.
This version of the Jazzmaster with the weekday/date windows is similar to the Casio above with the weekday at 12 o’clock and the date window at 6 o’clock. The tapered hands and hour markers are classic dress watch features, along with the clean dial and case.
The Jazzmaster sits in the sub-1000 range, so is not cheap, but if you want a true Swiss made watch from a former US-owned brand, that is high-quality but not Rolex prices, this is a great choice!
Which Rolex Day Date Homage Should You Buy?
The closest to the original with the best features at a reasonable price is the Orient Classic. It looks just like the Rolex, but won’t cost you an arm and a leg. This is our favorite for sure.
For the rest, it really comes down to taste and money. There are a lot of options that are close homages, and others that just have a taste of the Rolex. On top of that, there is a huge price range in all the watches, but most are a few hundred bucks or less.
It’s your choice!