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What Are Homage Watches? Should You Buy One?

Homage watches are timepieces designed to pay tribute to or mimic the design elements of high-end luxury or iconic watch models, often from renowned brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, or Omega.  They might closely resemble the look and feel of these iconic watches but are typically produced by other, often more affordable, watch manufacturers.
Steinhart Ocean Vintage GMT (left) homage of the Rolex Explorer II 1655 (right)
An homage watch is one that apes the look of a more famous existing timepiece — sometimes vintage, sometimes contemporary — but sells for a fraction of the price of its inspiration. Homage watches should not be confused with fakes or replicas. Their builders don’t try to pass them off as the real things, or (illegally) put the names of the originals on their dials. Rather, homage watches provide more affordable versions of timepieces that would otherwise be forever out of the majority of watch buyers’ price range.
Pagani Design (left) homage of the Rolex (right)

This Pagani Design is a 'clone homage.' While masquerading as a 'homage,' it's essentially a direct copy of the Rolex Submariner, with the vast majority of the watch looking identical outside of the logo. If you switched the logo, you'd likely think it was a Rolex (at least from a distance).

€200 Feice FM019(right) homage of the $80K AP Royal Oak Skeleton(left)

I have the watch in my small collection. Actually, as an example of what you can get from China for €200 today. It's okay. But nothing more than that. When you first look at the dial, you immediately see that the Royal Oak was not meant to be copied here It is completely different. The automatic, sapphire, and stainless steel straps are definitely worth the price of admission.

The AP Openworked model is now trading at $175,000. No joke. I'd rather own this watch and save 174,800.

I am also an owner of Rolex, Tudor, AP and Omega watches, i.e. watches with value, but I have been wondering for a long time whether I really need the image and prestige of the big names. Of course, I like the workmanship, the movement and the feeling of wearing a Rolex, for example, but when I see watches (let's say Lorier, Phoibos, Zelos, etc. with a naturally inexpensive but reliable off-the-shelf movement and otherwise very good workmanship) with such a favorable price (in relation to each other), I am now more taken with the small brands as a watch fan than with the big players, and then I have to say that the feeling of wearing a Rolex has become more and more irrelevant to me. That's just my opinion.

With regard to homages, I would say 1) we should all appreciate watch enthusiasts no matter what watch they wear and 2) just because we own an homage (and please remember an homage is different than a fake i.e. not trying to pass itself off as the original no matter how close it looks) it doesn't mean that we can't appreciate other more expensive, and or harder to obtain originals or don't aspire/ are working towards owning them. We are all at different income levels and different stages in our watch collecting journeys.


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