It’s probably the most popular wristwatch design in the world – and certainly the most copied. Few of us can afford a Rolex Submariner, but it is possible to get the look for less than you might think by buying an “homage” watch.
Rolex Submariner Homage: Best Budget Buys
Opinion is divided in the world of watch enthusiasts about homage watches. Though most agree that it is wrong to buy a fake Rolex, homages occupy a slightly different space. Some watches are clearly inspired by more famous watches, whereas others are almost Rolex replicas with a different name on the dial. Ultimately, the choice is yours – here are some we found on eBay and Amazon.
The Invicta 8926 is one of the most popular Rolex Submariner homages. It closely resembles a “5 digit” 16610 model at first glance, but dig deeper and it has some notable differences. The engraved “Invicta” on the side of the watch case is the most obvious deviation from the standard diver’s watch template – as is the display case back. Many enthusiasts use a Dremel to remove this as it is too gaudy for their taste. The watch itself is well built: water resistant to 200 metres, a high-quality Seiko movement. You can buy an Invicta 8926 from Amazon for under £100 – often a lot less. At the time of writing, they are £67.
Probably the closest Rolex Submariner homage watch is the Parnis. Available in both branded and unbranded (“sterile”) dial variants, it matches the Rolex 116610 pound for pound. It has a ceramic bezel insert, solid, screwed bracelet links and a great “wrist-feel”. On the downside, the Chinese 21 jewel movement inside is uninspiring (though cheap to replace) and it’s a little too close to counterfeit for comfort in a lot of enthusiasts’ eyes. Nevertheless, at about £150 from Amazon – and about half that from eBay direct from China – it represents a lot of watch for the money.
Seiko SNZF17 “Sea Urchin”
Finally, we have Seiko’s popular budget diver, nicknamed the “Sea Urchin”. We reviewed the Pepsi-bezel version (the SNZF15) last year and it really is a great watch for the money. It is clearly inspired by the Rolex Submariner but it’s bigger, bolder and offers a great alternative if the other homages are a little too close to their inspiration for you. You will pay a little more – closer to £200 on Amazon or a little less if you can find a used Seiko Sea Urchin on eBay but you get your money’s worth. Seiko watches are renowned for quality and reliability at their price point, and this is a great little watch for the money.
Buy a Rolex Submariner Homage in the UK
All of these watches are available online – only the Seiko is likely to turn up in a retail shop and even then it is rare to see one. We tend to use Amazon for new watches and eBay for used – but there are other alternatives such as Watch Shop and the Watch Hut if you are looking to buy a watch from a UK business.