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
1. Alpha 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.
2. Parnis Stainless Steel Automatic
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.
3. Ball Engineer II Ohio
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!
4. Seiko SNE327 Solar
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!
5. Seiko Presage SRPB07J1
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.
6. Oris Classic Date Black
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.
7. Tudor Heritage Ranger
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.