Homage watches, are they are a good purchase?
A common topic of discussion in recent years is the idea of 'homage' watches. These are not fakes and do not pretend to be another watch. Homage watches are watches which look very similar to much more expensive watches but are usually still very well made for a fraction of the price.
For a new watch brand looking to make waves in the market, basing a few watches on the design of famous ones will likely make the collector at least have a second look, instead of scrolling straight past. An example of a brand that has done this effectively is Steinhart. They have produced watches based on the Rolex Milsub and the very early Submariner ref 6200. They made these very similar (other than case size) and are actually very solid watches regardless of the design.
It's important to differentiate between 'Homage' and 'Cheap knock off'. There are various brands with random names printed on the dial, these are basically fakes with a Chinese different name on the dial....avoid these.
The general approval of the 'Homage' idea is split. Some believe copying anther more famous design shows a lack of imagination, individuality and a design shortcut. Others tend to think if a watch is so rare and expensive that it is realistically unachievable, then homage watches provide a chance to wear something that looks and feels the same, but is not a cheap fake.
Image Credit: Blogspot. Image Credit: Watchuseek forums
Take the Rolex ref 6200 for example. It's estimated there were only approx 300 of these made. This means if even if you find one of these, unless you're particularly wealthy you probably aren't buying one anytime soon. So you want a Rolex that is so rare you'll never own one. Along comes the Steinhart Ocean One Vintage, which looks very similar and can be had for no more than £500 (or less on the second hand market). The case style, crown, hands and dial are basically the same minus the wording. You also get an ETA 2824-2, screwed links and solid end links as well as a 120 click bezel. Even if it looked nothing like the Rolex you still have a sturdy dive watch here.
So what's our opinion on 'homage' watches?
I like them. They're not 'the real thing' but they are not trying to be and they are not out to fool anyone. If these watches offer affordable versions of unobtainable watches 'm not against it.
Let's not forget Rolex essentially made homage versions of their own watches when they created Tudor in the earlier part of the century. We have actually built nice homage watches for a number of customers.