rolex explorer homage

Best Rolex Explorer Homage Watches
A Lot Cheaper, Yet Very Similar

Ok, ok, you can’t afford a Rolex, and to be honest, neither can I! But, that does not mean that we don’t appreciate the class, style and design flair that they have given the watch world with the likes of the Submariner and the ageless Explorer I.

The simple all stainless steel case and bad, with clean black dial and minimal markings, is an elegant watch that is almost a classic dress watch, without being like all the rest.

Over the years there have obviously been a number of homages, and outright copies, and in this review I have gone wide and deep to find them all for you.

So, without further ado, here are 7 Rolex Explorer homages worthy of your consideration…

Our Top Picks

Most Affordable

Parnis Stainless Steel

Parnis Stainless Steel Luminous Automatic Sapphire Crystal Men's Wristwatch Stainless Bracelet

Swiss Made Alternative

Ball Engineer II Ohio

Ball Engineer II Ohio Automatic Steel Mens Watch Black Dial Day Date NM2026C-S5J-BK

1. Alpha Explorer

alpha explorer
rolex explorer

If an almost exact match to the original Rolex Explorer is what you are looking for then you should grab the Alpha Explorer. Usually available on Ebay for just over $100, this is about as close as you are going to get for a fraction of the price.

You can see from the two images here that the likeness is astounding – black dial, squared arabic numerals at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. A field watch style down arrow at 12 o’clock, A tapered round bezel and a jubilee style band. All stainless steel.

The only slight differences are in the minute train at the hours where the Rolex has thicker markers, and the crown being slightly narrower.

And let’s not forget that you are not getting a bad deal here either. Sure, it’s not a Rolex, but with a Japanese Miyoto automatic movement it’s a great buy in my opinion.

  • Specifications
  • Japanese Miyoto automatic movement
  • Hardened Mineral crystal
  • Stainless steel strap with fold-over clasp & safety
  • Water resistant to 50m (165ft)
  • Case size: 43.5 x 12.5mm

2. Parnis Stainless Steel Automatic

Parnis Stainless Steel Luminous Automatic Sapphire Crystal Men's Wristwatch Stainless Bracelet
Parnis Stainless Steel Luminous Automatic Sapphire Crystal Men's Wristwatch Stainless Bracelet

Yet another homage that is true to the original Exlprer, Parnis have not held back with this watch. With an automatic movement, sapphire crytal and all stainless steel, it is a bargain for something that could pass as a true Rolex.

Where this watch differs from the Alpha is in the more clean appearance due to lack of any writing on the watch, and the sizing is closer to the Explorer I, at 39mm. Aside from the Arabic numerals of course.

And this watch is a little easier to come by on Amazon, where the Alpha can only be found on their site or Ebay. Not ideal if you ask me.

  • Specifications
  • Automatic movement
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Stainless steel strap with double push closure
  • Case size: 39 x 13mm

3. Ball Engineer II Ohio

Ball Engineer II Ohio Automatic Steel Mens Watch Black Dial Day Date NM2026C-S5J-BK
Ball Engineer II Ohio Automatic Steel Mens Watch Black Dial Day Date NM2026C-S5J-BK

If you want something a little more upmarket, and Swiss made, the Ball Engineer II is a stunning homage that does not exactly copy the Explorer.

The black dial and clean stainless steel bezel are clear homages, however Ball strays far from the original. They use the inward arrow at all hour markers, and have a 12 o’clock arabic numeral as well. There are also a micro gas tubes on the hour, minute second hands and the hour markers (the small circles) which make reading this a cinch in the dark.

On top of that, they have added a day/date window at 3 o’clock and this baby is 5G shock proof, anti-magnetic (4,800A/m) and 100m water resistant. Something an engineer can certainly take into the field! 

  • Specifications
  • Swiss automatic movement (caliber BALL RR1102)
  • Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
  • Day window at 4-5 o'clock
  • Stainless steel strap with double push closure
  • Water resistant to 100m (330ft)
    Shock resistant to 5G
    Anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m
  • Case size: 40 x 13.8mm

4. Seiko SNE327 Solar

Seiko Men's SNE327 Sport Solar Analog Display Japanese Quartz Silver Watch

Seiko love trying that hand at almost any kind of watch, and they usually succeed. This solar variation of an Explorer homage is no different.

The Arabic numerals are perhaps a little on the larger side, and the arrow at 12 o’clock is on the bezel, but otherwise it bears a striking resemblance.

They have snuck in an unobtrusive day/date inside the 3, with the black background making it somewhat harder to see. The hands a more sword-like than the Explorer too, but it still holds its own in terms of a clean design.

And last but not least, being a Seiko, you get top-notch quality for a very reasonable price!

  • Specifications
  • Japanese quartz movement with 10 month reserve (Solar)
  • Hardlex mineral crystal
  • Day/Date window at 3 o'clock
  • Stainless steel bracelet with deployant clasp
  • Water resistant to 100m (330ft)
  • Case size: 43 x 10.7mm

5. Seiko Presage SRPB07J1

Seiko presage SRPB07J1 Mens automatic-self-wind watch

Seiko’s Presage range is a little on the higher end than the above model, which you can tell from the automatic movement (4R35) and the sapphire crystal that they have included.

The calf-leather band is of course a little different to the original all-stainless steel Explorer, but for those who want the look of the watch, without the steel band, it’s a great alternative.

  • Specifications
  • Japanese Automatic Movement (4R35)
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • Date function
  • Stainless steel case with calf-leather band.
  • Water resistant to 100m (330ft)
  • Case size: 41 x 11mm

6. Oris Classic Date Black

Oris Classic Date Black Dial Stainless Steel Mens Watch 733-7578-4034MB
oris explorer homage dial

Venturing into more expensive Swiss made territory now, this watch from Oris is another stunning Explorer homage, without being a blatant copy.

Somehow, this model comes off as a little more refined than the rest, which in part is due to the jubilee band with it’s finer inner elements. Also, the hour markers are thinner lines and the hands very straight. The Arabic hour markers are also far more classic in font type, without the harder corners of the Explorer.

Of course, there is non-standard placement of the date window at 6 o’clock to add yet another original element. But what is perhaps most stand-out on this watch is the varying circles of black overlay on the watch, which gives it a few more interesting dial to analyse.

Lastly, this watch is one of the smallest in this list, with a 37mm diameter dial, so will definitely suit people with smaller wrists.

  • Specifications
  • Swiss Automatic Movement
  • Scratch Resistant Sapphire
  • Date function at 6 o'clock
  • Stainless steel bracelet with deployant & safety
  • Water resistant to 50m (165ft)
  • Case size: 37 x 10mm

7. Tudor Heritage Ranger

Tudor Heritage Ranger Black Dial Stainless Steel Mens Watch 79910-BKASSS

Another mid-range Swiss watch maker from Geneva, Tudor, has a great Explorer Homage called the Heritage Ranger.

It comes with a Swiss made automatic movement (ETA 2824) with 38 hours reserve, and a screw down crown. The bezel is stainless steel with a satin finish, as is the band with fold-over lock down clasp.

This watch has no huge differences to the Explorer save for the 12 o’clock marker and the missing arrow at that position. 

  • Specifications
  • Swiss Automatic Movement (Calibre 2824)
  • Mineral crystal
  • Stainless steel bracelet
  • Date window at 4-5 o'clock
  • Case size: 41mm
  • Water resistance: 150 m (500 ft)