There’s a special place in hell for writers who lean heavily on clichés, so let’s avoid all that talk of ‘icons’ and get right into the reason why you’re here: you love the Rolex Day-Date and you’re curious about what similar watches there are out there in the horological wilds.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of 16 watches that look like the Rolex Day-Date.
What’s So Great About The Rolex Day-Date?
What do LBJ, Michael Jordan, Tony Soprano and the Dalai Lama have in common? They were all fans of the Rolex Day-Date. In fact, since it’s been spotted on a number of US presidents’ wrists it’s actually garnered the moniker, ‘The President’s Watch’.
(Not JFK though, who never wore his Day-Date since it came with a compromising engraving and love poem from his lover Marilyn Monroe.)
Famous owners aside, the Day-Date has really earned its place in the hearts of watch lovers around the world. Released in 1956, it was the first waterproof watch with a self-winding mechanism that also had a day and date function.
Hence the name. A fairly mundane combination by today’s standards but at the time this made it a leader among Swiss watches and that’s why leaders have been seeking it out ever since.
However, being only available in 18-carat gold or platinum makes the Day-Date a bit on the pricey side, to say the least. That being said, we wouldn’t have tempted you into this article if there weren’t any alternatives that could compete with the Rolex aesthetically or technologically.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at our list of 16 watches that look like the Rolex Day-Date.
16 Of Our Favorite Rolex Day-Date Lookalikes, Homages and Alternatives
If you like solid, dependable watches that don’t have you scraping the depths of your pockets then this is a great option. With a decent Japanese quartz movement, this 40mm Casio makes for a lovely watch you can dress up or down. What’s more, the day and date windows are placed along the vertical axis, which gives it a balanced look.12/02/2023 07:14 pm GMT
With a similar dial format to the MTP1370L-1A, the Enticer is equally balanced but has some noticeable upgrades. Just slightly smaller than the robot-sounding cousin in this list, the ion-plated case encloses a quartz movement behind a dial with some impressive space-age machining. This attention to detail makes this little bargain really stand out on your wrist.12/03/2023 02:55 am GMT
I absolutely love the touches of red and the echoes of a pilot watch on this Accurist. Again, there’s a dependable quartz movement inside but it’s the design choices that really make this very affordable watch pop. From the day-date positioning to the broken-tooth style hour markers, it’s astonishingly well-designed for this price.
Charles Huber is a US-based company that specializes in creating homages to more expensive brands. In this case, we have a similar design to the Rolex, with its fluted bezel and two-tone aesthetic. Be careful when reading the water resistance on the dial, though, that’s 100ft not meters so don’t take it any deeper than snorkel-depth at most!12/02/2023 05:49 pm GMT
Before Peugeot started making affordable homages to unaffordable masterpieces, they dedicated themselves to making gold watches exclusively. So, if you’re looking for a 14kt gold or simply gold-tone Day-Date lookalike for a bargain then this is not a bad brand to begin with. Add to the fact that many reviewers have raved about the watches and their lifetime warranty and it might just be a worthy addition to your collection.12/02/2023 10:59 pm GMT
Orient is known for their subtle designs and this example from their Contemporary collection has perhaps the most subtle day and date windows on the list. The fine touches on the silver-tone hour markers and the minimalistic minute markers around the rim give the watch a delicate elegance. Since Orient is a subsidiary of Seiko, they get to give this watch the 46E40 automatic movement with an exhibition case back too, which makes its price all the more impressive.
Bulova’s Classic collection actually contains two watches that are so worthy of this list we couldn’t leave them out. Although the rounded bezel is a more simplistic design than the Rolex, it goes with the collections reserved aesthetic in general and at a slim 39mm it looks more refined than austere. The silver-tone design is especially unpresuming, which adds to the overall appeal.12/02/2023 09:54 pm GMT
For those of you who aren’t married to the day window at 12 o’clock, this could be the simple variant for you. Coming in at a more slight 35.5mm, this watch from the popular SGF range is an understated all gold-tone addition to any collection. The in-house quartz movement is nothing to scoff at either, since Seiko manufactures and supplies these movements for a number of other watchmakers.
Get in there fast because this Mathey-Tissot currently retails at a cool $815! There’s a reason for that price, though, with its popular automatic STP1-11 movement beneath an AR-treated sapphire crystal. There are cheaper quartz alternatives that have the same suave design, any of which would make for a great Rolex alternative.
Rotary is one of those brands that you can depend on whether you’re living in 2021 or 1921. The gold plating is reserved, giving the ocean blue dial depth and the sword hour hands real presence. At 42mm the automatic Henly is a robust timepiece for the savvy gentleman if ever there was one.
Hamilton is one of those brands that has mastered the whole gambit of watches - from rugged beaters to classy showpieces - and the Jazzmaster is Hamilton showing it knows how to do ‘formal chic’. Its sunburst blue dial is an exquisite backdrop for those jagged hour markers and the dauphin hands, and the day and date windows are all the extra flair it needs. The 40mm case also contains Hamilton’s famous H-40 automatic movement with an exhibition case back.
Hailing from Tissot’s ‘T-classic’ collection, the Powermatic is a 39mm gem for both day or night. For me, it’s the equally-sized windows for both day and date that gives the watch balance without making the date look like it’s swimming in some black lagoon. It contains a Swiss-made automatic movement you can marvel at through its exhibition case back and, if you’re looking for a little more flair, there’s a rose gold coated case option too.
Speaking of flair, the Orient President takes after the Rolex’s bejewelled Day-Date variants liberally with its hour markers. It’s probably the closest in style to the Rolex on this list, with its baton hands, day and date windows, the cyclops lens over the date, and the fluted bezel. If the reviewers are right, this is one hell of a Rolex alternative.
Nowadays, you would expect a watch with the word ‘glamour’ in its title to be a gaudy monstrosity but this Tudor makes for a pleasant surprise. The gems as hour markers are not flashy, instead they add detail to an otherwise sedate dial. Its mechanical movement is exceptional and truly defines the term ‘glamour’ as the understated luxury of the early 20th century.12/02/2023 12:24 pm GMT
The Aqua Terra has similar machining to the Tag above except where the Tag employed sturdy blocks the Omega utilizes jagged arrows. Around the fixed bezel, the minutes are marked with numbers that give it a sporty look but don’t be deceived, the curves of its 41.5mm case are as elegant as any watch on this list. Also, there’s a transparent case back so you can enjoy the trademark Omega Co-Axial automatic movement.12/02/2023 08:14 pm GMT
So, What Is The Best Watch That Looks Like The Rolex Date-Date?
Well, although there are some outstanding alternatives to the Rolex on this list for a fraction of the price, let’s hone in on two that look most similar.
At the lower end of the price spectrum, there’s the 14ct gold-plated Peugeot. At a meager $75 you would be forgiven for thinking that this is ‘cheap’ in the ‘knock-off’ sense. But you would be wrong.
We mentioned Peugeot’s long history above and the 14ct gold plating is a nod to their more outlandish beginnings. What most people don’t realize is that they’re getting a pretty reliable Seiko movement inside their Peugeot, which means that $75 is actually buying you a decent addition to your collection.
If you’re looking to spend a little more (but not the 5 figures the Rolex will cost you) then go with the Orient President. It’s a little flashier on the hour markers but the overall design is very close to the Rolex.
Add to that the two-tone scheme and you’re beginning to understand why this ‘presidential’ watch from the Seiko subsidiary is so popular.
So, what do you think of our list of 16 watches that look like Rolex Day-Date? Get in touch with B on Instagram to let him know which one you’ve gone for!