If you’re a watch enthusiast, you’re likely familiar with the term ‘homage watches.’ Additionally, it’s safe to assume that you know no term resonates more with watch enthusiasts than this one. While in other fields, watch enthusiasts may present neutral opinions; when it comes to homage watches, they are either for or against them. In this article, we’ll first try to understand what exactly is an homage watch, what sets a successful homage watch apart, and conversely, what makes an homage watch less successful.
What is “Homage”?
The word “homage” means a show of respect or honor towards someone or something. It can refer to a tribute or acknowledgment of admiration and gratitude, often through an act or expression of reverence, such as a gesture, speech, or gift. For example, a person may pay homage to a beloved musician by covering one of their songs, or a group may build a monument to pay homage to a historical figure.
In art, homage refers to a work that pays tribute to another artist or artwork. An artist may create a piece of art inspired by another artist’s style, subject matter, or techniques, and this new work may be considered an homage to the original.
For example, an artist might create a painting reminiscent of the work of a famous artist such as Pablo Picasso and title it “Homage to Picasso.”
Similarly, a filmmaker may make a movie that pays homage to a classic film by using similar camera angles, lighting, or plot elements.
Homage in art can be a way for artists to show respect and appreciation for those who have come before them and to acknowledge the influence that other artists have had on their work. It can also be a way to engage with art history and tradition while still creating something new and original.
In watchmaking, homage refers to a type of watch design that is intentionally created to resemble a well-known and often expensive watch model while still being distinct enough to avoid trademark infringement.
Homage watches typically borrow design elements from popular luxury watches, such as the Rolex Submariner or the Omega Speedmaster, but they are usually made with less expensive materials and components.
Many people argue and claim that the whole world of diving watches is an homage to iconic diving watches, as we have yet to get any new designs or ideas coming into this field in the past 50-60 years.
So why do people express so much emotion when they approach the conversation about homage watches? Maybe because in their subconscious, homage watches are related to the topic of fake watches and replica watches.
It is important to note that even the most famous watch manufacturers in the world launch homage watches many times, although these are homages to iconic designs of these companies from the past. The most prominent companies in this niche are Longines, Tudor, and Zenith, which launch many watches with inspirations and tributes to the company’s historical watches and other times with exact reproductions of watches from their history.
What’s the Difference between Homage and Replica/Fake Watch?
A fake watch, or, if you prefer to use a more formal term – a replica watch, is a watch that is an exact copy of the original watch, including the manufacturer’s name. Of course, this is done without any authorization from the manufacturer, and buying or even selling such a watch is considered illegal in many countries.
A homage watch, on the other hand, will use the familiar design or some inspirations from the original design, for example – the case of the watch only or a specific element from the watch face and integrate it into a new watch, with the logo of the company that manufactures the watch.
The Benchmark for Homage Watches in the Watchmaking Industry
If you are looking for a watch you can call it “The Benchmark” or simply “The king of homages,” we guess you can tell we are talking about the Rolex Submariner. There’s no other watch in history with so many “homages.”
Of course, the Submariner is also the watch with the most extensive number of fake watches based on its design, so once again, let’s ask this question – what’s the difference between the Submariner homages and replicas?
A Submariner fake watch/replica will use the Rolex logos and trademarks to look like a Rolex watch. Homage watches will use only some of the elements from the iconic design, such as the famous diving bezel, the “Mercedes” hour hand, or the dial layout and design. In some cases, the homage watch will look, at first sight, like a Rolex Submariner, while the difference can be found only in the watch’s logo.
Homage watches – Pros And Cons
Homage watches allow you to experience and enjoy classic and iconic designs at a much lower price tag than the original watches they are based on. The lower price tag of homage watches allows you to build a collection of watches you would never be able to afford with the original watches. Unlike fake watches or cheaper watches, homage watches usually set a certain level of quality, so your entry into the world of watches starts at a higher place. Additionally, in today’s reality, where almost every metal sports watch has an intimidating waiting list that only insiders can get into, in most cases, an homage watch can be your only way to get that coveted design you wanted, unless you’re willing to pay several times more for the original watch.
Let’s be honest; it’s not really an original design. While most watches these days don’t come with an original design, you can’t deny that Rolex owns the design of the Submariner or Audemars Piguet owns the design of the Royal Oak. Plus, you’ll probably have to deal with the question all day – is that a Rolex? Is that an Omega? Is that an Audemars Piguet? Additionally, it’s reasonable to assume that you’ll still want to purchase the original watch, and the homage watch will just be an extra expense on your way to buying the original watch, if you can afford it.
The Final Verdict
For or Against? Truth is, we find ourselves in Microbrand Magazine, a field that heavily relies on homage watches to iconic luxury designs. The economic situation today, with the ongoing recession, turns the dream of owning a Rolex Submariner or an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak into an even more distant dream. Of course, even before the recession, few could afford such watches, but these days the dream becomes even more distant, with continuous layoffs and cuts in many companies worldwide, and many people trying to save on basic expenses. A luxury watch at a price of thousands of dollars is certainly not a product that people are thinking about these days.
Fortunately for us, the world of homage watches allows us to purchase a watch with an iconic and luxurious design without tearing our wallets apart or getting into high expenses we might regret later. Additionally, even if you have the money to buy the original watch, as mentioned, it’s reasonable to assume that you can’t find this watch in a store, and you will need to wait a long time for an authorized dealer to agree to sell you the watch at its retail price.
However, it’s important to emphasize that we are not trying to convince anyone to change their mind. If you love homage watches – we are glad to hear it. If you don’t like them – we are glad to hear that too. It’s your full right, and we are here in the magazine and in the world of microbrand watches to provide information and opinions and let you decide what suits you best.
The best homage watch manufacturers
There are countless manufacturers of homage watches, and to try and rate them all, we would likely need a full-time writing team working on an encyclopedia like this for many months. Instead of trying to survey all the companies and list them, we decided to focus on the standout companies in the various price and quality categories so that you can understand who the major players are in the world of homage watches.
As we mentioned throughout the article, the watches that receive the largest amount of homage watch attention are Rolex watches, so typically, the largest manufacturers of homage watches will focus primarily on Rolex homage watches. However, there is a wide range of homage watch manufacturers at a wide range of price points and with a great variety of quality and finishes for their watches.
At the low end, we find companies like Parnis and Pagani Design, Chinese homage watch manufacturers that produce watches at price points between $100 and $250 USD. In many cases, these are identical copies of Rolex watches, except for the logo on the watch dial. Of course, the quality you will receive will correspond to what you pay, so you cannot really expect to get a particularly high-quality watch. However, it is important to emphasize that many people will be satisfied with a watch from one of these manufacturers and enjoy it, and will not understand why they should pay more money for a higher-quality homage watch, let alone for a Rolex watch.
In the mid-high homage watches market, we can mention Steinhart. This German company, which is very popular among watch enthusiasts, produces successful homage watches in Europe based on iconic designs from Rolex and Omega. The company’s watches come with a look that is almost identical to those of the aforementioned brands, although Steinhart tries to make occasional design changes such as color combinations to make their watches slightly more unique in the endless world of homage watches. The company’s watches are priced between $500 and $1500, with the higher price ranges generally reserved for limited editions and designs that are more unique to the company rather than homage models.
In the higher-end homage watches market, we can mention the American company Ginault, which produces homage watches to Rolex watches but always tries to incorporate unique elements into them. For example, their homage watch to the Rolex Submariner, but with completely different hands borrowed from Omega watches. Their prices range from $1,000 to $1,800, and their quality is generally high, although again, it’s almost “homage” and not truly original design, which can sometimes lead people to think it’s a poorly executed fake…
But, when it comes to high-end homage watches, one company stands out above the rest and is widely considered the best at making Rolex homage watches. We’ve talked about them before in the magazine, and that company is Davosa. Their watches are of exceptional quality, made in Switzerland using top-of-the-line Swiss movements. While they produce watches that are perfect homages to Rolex, they also have several innovative and exclusive designs that are all their own. So, if you’re looking for a watch that combines the best of both worlds, Davosa is definitely worth checking out.
The homage watches of Davosa are, as mentioned, the most faithful watches to the original designs of Rolex. At first glance, they look like Rolex watches, and if you look closely at the logo, you might think it is a Rolex watch. They come in high quality finishes with elements such as quality ceramic bezels, Swiss mechanisms, polished bracelets and special finishes, quality leather and rubber straps, and more. A significant advantage of Davosa watches is that they are produced in a variety of sizes. For example, if you like the design of the Submariner but don’t want to wear a 40mm watch, Rolex has no solution for you. In contrast, Davosa has a solution in its Medium series, which offers diving watches with a diameter of 36.6mm, a unisex size.
What if your problem is the opposite? Do you have particularly large wrists and a watch with a diameter of 36.5-40mm will simply look small on your hand? Here, too, Davosa has a solution for you. Take, for example, the Ternos Pro GMT series, in which Davosa offers GMT watches that cover almost all popular GMT designs (Batman, Pepsi, Coca-Cola) in diameters of 40mm and even 42mm. So, you can choose any size that suits your wrist.
The price range of these watches (it is important to emphasize that throughout the article, we are talking about automatic watches) ranges from $1,000 to $2,000, but as you can already understand from our lines – you get a high-quality watch at a more reasonable price than Rolex.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line, as we hope you understand, is that there isn’t really a bottom line. We believe that everyone has their own opinion and, more importantly, the right to their own opinion about Homage watches. You can love them, you can hate them, but the most important thing is to respect each other’s opinions and decisions. We’re pretty sure that if you’re here in the world of microbrand watches, you’re probably a bit less “watch snobs” and likely appreciate Homage watches for the wide range of styles and designs they offer. We hope this article helped you get to know this term a little better and, as always, we’d love to hear what you think about Homage watches in the comments here and on our social networks.