The Rolex Datejust could well be the most iconic watch ever made, however, not everyone is willing to take on the cost of owning one. So, here at Cladright we’ve taken it upon ourselves to dive into the murky depths of the watch market and return with 12 of the best watches that look like the Rolex Datejust.
Rolex knew exactly how special the Datejust was when they chose it as a gift for Sir Winston Churchill in 1947, two years after its initial release coincided with the company’s 40th anniversary. But what was it that made it so special?
Well, in short, it represented the pinnacle of Rolex’s craft. At the time, it was the first self-winding wristwatch with a date window that automatically changed at midnight each day. This seems standard today but that would not have been the case without the innovative leap taken with the Datejust.
Since then, the Datejust has gone on to be the best-selling Rolex of all time. Today it is offered with more variety of bracelets, bezels, and dial options than any other Rolex on the market.
Luckily, this variety isn’t reserved only for Rolex’s catalogue. The wider market is packed with excellent alternatives that will still leave you more than satisfied without having to remortgage your home.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the watches!
Our Picks For The Best Watches That Look Like The Rolex Datejust
- Burei Automatic
- Seiko SGF204
- Parnis Datejust Automatic
- Cadisen C8053
- Citizen Two-Tone Corso
- Casio Classic Silver Watch
- Tissot Gentleman
- Rotary ‘Oxford’ GB05092/04
- Seiko Presage Automatic SRPB77
- Longines Les Grandes Classiques Automatic
- Grand Seiko White Snowflake
- Omega Constellation Globemaster
Take a look around the internet at people reviewing the Burei and they will all say one thing: how on earth is this so good? It has a scratch-resistant sapphire case, a date window beneath a Cyclops lens and it even has a Japanese-made automatic movement. What’s more, aside from its ostentatious logo at 12 o’clock, you’d be hard pushed to find a more exact copy - I mean, homage - to the Rolex Datejust.
Seiko is another brand with a history of making excellent watches on a budget and the SGF206 is possibly the most popular Datejust alternative out there. Its quartz movement allows for an 8mm deep case, which rests flush against the wrist and it even has a day marker alongside the date. The workmanship is excellent and any Datejust lover wouldn’t be disappointed with the overall aesthetic nor with the build quality.
Parnis is a Chinese brand that has made a name for itself by unashamedly producing homages to famous watch brands’ models. Much like Cadisen, the build quality is excellent and it looks ten times the price when seen on the wrist. Added to the fact that, at a glance, it’s almost indistinguishable from the Rolex, the Parnis Datejust is an automatic watch you can be genuinely proud to wear.
The hour markers, hands and bezel of the Cadisen look very similar to the Rolex but this watch goes one further than the Casio by including the iconic Cyclops lens over its own date window. What’s great about Cadisen is that, although they’re known for producing cheaper variants of more expensive watches, their build quality is actually excellent. With its Hardlex case and an automatic movement, the Cadisen’s price is shockingly low for what you get.
Citizen is a brand that consistently produces exceptional timepieces at very affordable prices. In the case of the Corso, you have a more subtle bezel than the Rolex but the white detailing on the hands and hour markers make them stand out brilliantly against the black dial. What’s more, the Corso boasts Citizen’s famous Eco-Drive technology, which means it is powered by any light so you’ll never need to buy a battery.
Casio is known for a lot of things but it’s certainly no amateur when it comes to making affordable, dependable watches. In this case, the name doesn’t hide the fact that it’s a homage to the iconic Rolex but its design is definitely for subtler tastes. It has a scratch-resistant mineral glass case and comes in a range of sizes so, for the price, you’re not likely to find a more aesthetically classic and dependable Rolex alternative.
Tissot is a Swiss company famous for producing quality watches at reasonable prices. In this case, we see a more sedate homage to the Datejust but what it lacks in flare it more than makes up for in style. The automatic variant is a must-have in any collection, since the sheen of the dial and the craftsmanship of the hands and hour markers reflect a watch that should be much more expensive than it is.
The Rotary Oxford is the perfect watch to dress up or down as you see fit. Originally based in Switzerland, this now UK-based brand continues to make top-quality watches with their own traditional style. In this case, the elongated hour markers and superbly worked hands give the piece an elegance perfectly befitting its heritage.
The Seiko Presage is a work of art that, although it’s decidedly less flashy than the Datejust, more than warrants a place on this list. The blue hands explode out of the silver sunburst dial and the arrowhead hour markers catch the light brilliantly at certain angles. Perhaps the most eye-catching element to the Presage, however, is the crown that juts out from your shirt sleeve demanding to be seen.
Longines have been making luxury watches since 1832 and it’s for that reason that their alternative to the Datejust carries itself with such confidence. Everything on the dial - from the hands to the date window - is bathed in gold and its sapphire crystal exhibition back gives you the chance to admire its Swiss automatic movement too. The two-tone bracelet is just the icing on the cake for this considerably more affordable, but no less elegant, alternative to the Rolex.
The Grand Seiko Snowflake is an absolute masterpiece of watch design and construction. Its titanium case and bracelet make it durable but also 30% lighter than its stainless steel competitors and its unique Spring Drive automatic movement can be seen through its transparent back. However, it’s the extra long second hand that glides over the crushed velvet dial that really gives the Snowflake a touch of elegance its peers rarely achieve.
If ever a watch could compete with the Rolex Datejust on its own terms, it would be the Omega Constellation Globemaster. The ‘Pie Pan’ opaline silver dial is exquisite and the placement of the date window at 6 o’clock balances it perfectly. Add to that the contrast of the highly detailed bezel against the smooth two-tone links of the bracelet and you have a showpiece watch that will attract as much well-deserved attention as the Rolex or more.
What Is The Best Datejust Alternative?
Well, as always, it all depends on your tastes and budget.
The Seiko Presage definitely holds a special place in my heart and makes for a stylish, elegant conversation piece just like the Datejust.
That being said, if your goal is to buy a watch that looks as much like the Datejust as possible but at a fraction of the price, then I would say look no further than the Burei.
Everything from the bezel to the bracelet is a near-clone of the Datejust and the build quality is spectacular for the price. The fact that it’s an automatic is just the icing on the cake. It even comes in some seriously stylish packaging so you know the brand is putting in effort to make its mark on the watchmaking world.
We hope that this list has helped you find the right Datejust alternative for you.