Of Rolex, replicas, and alternatives

Franz Rivoira
4 min readNov 25, 2020


Loving Rolex or loving what Rolex makes us before others?

A good homage is much better than a replica

I love Rolex but I can’t afford one because its too expensive, so I want to buy a good replica…

How many times do I get asked this question? Almost daily. And every time people do, I feel there is something utterly wrong with this.

To put it very bluntly, a question posed like this reveals that there is no love for Rolex at all.

If someone really “loved” Rolex in the way it is professed, with a sort of admiration and awe, he or she would not even think about buying and wearing a fake (let’s call it like this, without sugar-coating, as it is more fitting to explain the real deal).

If you “loved” the company the way you profess you would not even remotely imagine doing something like this on the company you love — that is, basically, cheating on it. This seems to me something on the line as “I can’t have you, so I am having an affair with your cousin”

So, let’s rephrase that to make it more fitting to the situation: you love the idea of how wearing a Rolex would make you look before others.

And I am not making any kind of moral judgments over here — it is you and your conscience, so wear whatever you like and make yourself feel good. But do not hide from yourself your true motivation. Owning a Rolex means having shelled out a fair amount of money. It is a sort of accomplishment, if you believe in this, and primarily, a gift that you make to yourself to reward you for your work or whatever.

If you buy a good replica — and trust me, there are some which are definitely good-looking — you are not rewarding yourself. You are just putting some visual candy around your wrist to deceive others into thinking that you have bought the real deal — while you did not.

What is the original and what is the replica?

More, when you do take this kind of decision, you would want to buy a good replica so no-one would discover that it is a replica.

Imagine one of your friends discovering you have a Rolex replica around your wrist. “A Rolex replica? Hey bud, how gross is that? LMAO”

Making the whole affair a complete mess of unsaid truths and self-told lies.

So, my friend, trust me, and do not do this.

The money you are spending on a good AAA replica — that is, around $500 or more— would be better spent into buying a homage, or a good watch from another company. Trust me, it is possible.

And I present for you, my gentle readers, two recent examples of what alternatives to a replica could be.

What you see in the image on top of this article is a Steinhart Ocean One. It is a homage — that is, a watch looking like a more famous model from a famous manufacturer, but you cannot mistake it for the real thing because it is labelled differently.

Steinhart is a good German manufacturer making quality homages of famous watches, especially inspired by Rolex, as well as its own models. These timepieces are great-looking, well-made, mount Swiss movements from ETA and Sellita, and cost around $600 new — less so if bought second-wrist. I have personally suggested them for a longtime as a very good homage to Rolex watches, and people who bought them are thanking me profusely for the suggestion.

A Tissot Datejust? How quaint.

This is a Tissot Gentleman — a recently-introduced automatic watch featuring an 80-hour power reserve and a silicium escapement — that is, the caliber is quite new and with advanced materials, As you can see, it is lovely — and well-finished as well (look at the matte and shiny finishing on the bracelet).

As you can see, it looks quite similar to a Rolex Datejust. I dare to say, I like its design a bit more than the Rolex, here:

I am the original — look at my cyclops lens.

This watch has a list price of around $750 new — this means that you can find it online for around $500. And it is the real thing, not a copy — even if you could get a good copy for the same price.

In watches, “fake it till you make it” does not work, believe me.

Read more about all things of watches and watchmaking in my book, The Watch Manual.



Franz Rivoira

Book author, global marcomm, luxury and design product pro, specialized in architecture, furniture, design and watches.