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
- Orient Contemporary Collection
- Mathey-Tissot Mathy III Automatic
- Rotary Men’s Henley GB05381/05
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.
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.
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!