It’s an interesting question because even if you have nine or ten grand lying about spare, you may well struggle to buy a Rolex Sub or GMT homage this side of Renata battery expiry date. That’s 2024 by the way.
So if you just want the Rolex look, and don’t care about the Chinese assembly or build quality, here are some alternatives we spotted online.
We actually placed an order for this Milgauss lookalike from China recently, so watch out for a review of this quartz watch which costs a mere $25 including shipping on Aliexpress. At that money it is gonna be hard to find fault even if the second hand falls off after 3 months.
This one is one eBay in various dial/bezel combo; Pepsi, all black, blue/black etc at about £95. You get German tech it says, which could be the sapphire crystal? Seagull movement inside, nice steel bracelet too – VAT and customs duty on top of the ebay price though. We saw a couple of pre-owned examples in the UK if you want to save all that mither.
PAGANI DESIGN DAYTONA DEMON
Pagani are one of the best known Rolex tribute acts around, with some positive reviews online. Priced at about £80-£110 in the UK the Daytona lookalike is undeniably good value with a Seiko movement inside.
Pagani even have their own UK based ebay store, which is handy as regards back-up if things go wrong, plus avoid the import duty racket. Great looking Subs and GMT models too.
REGINALD, YOUR ROLEX IS HERE LUV
The Reginald is another China brand, with this quartz Submariner copy retailing at just over £35 plus taxes on ebay. You get 30m water resistance and…oh come on, do you care? It’s under 50 quid.
The Cadisen Datejust sells for about £70 on ebay or Amazon and again, the dependable Seiko NH35 automatic movement in inside the case. Thinking ahead, that movement is worth about 30 quid, assuming you wanted to build a MOD watch one day.
Anyway, you get a steel bracelet, 100m of claimed depth rsistance and a range of dial colours. Aliexpress has this on for about £50 plus import tariff n VAT, so not too pricey. See-thru caseback as well.
Ball watches has released a classic black dial, black bezel Roadmaster GMT, making it ideal for post-pandemic jet-setters, influencers and international business travellers. The Marine GMT is already available with blue, white and green dial/bezel options, plus a Pepsi bezel by the way. The day/date option also adds a certain businesslike function to this model – this is a watch for someone who wants to know the exact time, and demands Swiss build quality without a prestige brand price tage. It’s COSC certified, just like class-leading Omega, Rolex or AP models, but you pay less to get the same job done. Just saying.
Here’s the word from Ball;
Innovation for fearless exploration, a belief that’s not only held dearly in the BALL Watch family, but also fostered the creation of the Roadmaster Marine GMT series. Engineered to the specifications of a 35-year Navy Mariner veteran, it’s the world’s first GMT timepiece with day and date functions, delivering utmost functionality. The pioneering quick-set GMT push buttons revolutionize the way GMT hand is adjusted with its ease-of-use. The tough titanium material and COSC certified mechanical movement guarantee perfect performance in the most imperfect situations. Topping off with the darkness-conquering luminosity of the micro gas tube. The watch that once ran America’s railroads now empowers world explorers to live freely and fearlessly.
Our specially-made GMT movement module allows for three time zones to be tracked simultaneously. Simply by turning and pressing either one of the patented quick-set buttons, the GMT hand can be easily set instead of turning the main crown. The button at 8 o’clock moves the GMT hand backward, while the 10 o’clock button moves it forward. When travelling, the GMT hand reveals the local time in conjunction with the bi-directional bezel whereas the main hour hand shows the home time.
The classic black bezel version marks the latest addition to the signature Roadmaster Marine GMT ceramic series, a statement piece that fits for all occasions. Limited to 1,000 pieces each. The Roadmaster Marine GMT Black bezel is now available for pre-order until 12 May 2021 at an exclusive price, which is £2110. More info at the Ball website.
The latest from Bell + Ross, who have a new GMT model in their range and yeah, for Family Guy fans, this one is a three-way;
True to its iconic square flagship model, the new BR 03-93 GMT replaces the existing version. Redesigned, more modern, more functional, more readable. This “tool watch” goes back to basics in terms of design and shape which were influenced by two keywords: functionality and legibility. Adding a new functionality from its predecessor, this new GMT provides the time in three different locations around the world thanks to the new bidirectional bezel.
This new updated version differs in many ways from its predecessor. The new BR 03-93 GMT timepiece provides the time in three different locations around the world. How does it work?
The GMT hand now stands out with its large red triangle which is perfectly visible both day and night. Spinning around the dial in 24 hours, this fourth hand displays a second time zone (or the local time on a 24-hour scale). For the first time, the iconic square shape is completed with a bi-directional bezel. The BR 03
case was specifically modified to welcome this new functional bezel. It enables the reading of the second time zone, but it can also show a third time zone. Rotating it clockwise subtracts hours and anti-clockwise adds hours.
The bezel – which borrows the same color combination as the dial – is equipped with a 24-hour scale graduation. Bell & Ross has opted for Black & Red-hot hues. Red is known for its frank, clear and dynamic properties. While the red section indicates daytime, the black backgrounds nighttime. Thus, the two-tone bezel provides a visual contrast / effect for discerning time reading and is made of anodized aluminum.
We think so because Explorer values have been heading up a decent pace of late, as demand for GMT II, new Oyster and Subs becomes a feeding frenzy. There is something to be said the classic Explorer, especially one like this, which we spotted on a watch auction site. It’s in Italy, which often sets off alarm bells, but the period box and booklet looks good, plus there is a certificate of verification with it.
Then there’s the general wear. It’s been used, with big scratches on the crystal and quite a bit on the bracelet. That’s a good thing, because fakes tend to be much more minty, and we love that bold, big orange GMT hand too. This watch stands out, even if it is just 39mm. Yes, the bezel is non-original and those hands could be replacements fitted sometime in the early 2000s perhaps. They look too clean somehow, not a trace of fading over 40 years of sunshine – which you do get in Milan, has to be said.
But taken all round, yeah, well worth considering as an investment. There are still 13 days left on this one and we are going to guess it makes £6100.
The latest twist on the Ball Roadmaster GMT features quickset buttons, to make international travel that bit easier. Now that lockdown is ending this could be the year for a GMT watch. Here’s the word from Ball;
As a testimonial to our commitment to excellence, the new Roadmaster Pilot GMT is equipped with two remarkable timekeeping functions that soar to new levels of convenience. When travelling, simply push the quick-set buttons to jump the local 12-hour hand to its desired position without stopping the second hand. Then easily turn the crown to jump the date correctly into position, eliminating the need to circle the dial with the hour hand. Complete with a virtually-scratchproof ceramic bezel, amazingly bright micro gas lights and chronometer-grade precision, the Pilot GMT is an ingenious everyday watch for the modern explorer.
Limited to 1,000 pieces each. Now available for pre-order until 14 April 2021 at an exclusive price.
Ball have released a blue dial/bezel combo edition of their Roadmaster Marine GMT model. Same beautiful finish, luminous markers and hands, see-thru caseback and the GMT hand of course. Just blue.
The calming blue bezel version marks the sixth addition to the signature Roadmaster Marine GMT ceramic series, a statement piece that fits all occasions. Limited to 1,000 pieces each. The Roadmaster Marine GMT blue bezel is now available for pre-order until 3 March 2021 at an exclusive price of £2110.
The latest Ball Roadmaster Vanguard II now has a ceramic bezel for extra durability, taking this Swiss made watch up a notch. Ball are already producing handsome GMT models that feature striking gas-tube type lume on the hands and markers, bold dial designs and superb in-house, COSC level, movements. If you look at the polished steel cases and overall finish Ball are right up there with some of the best known Swiss brands, they just don’t get the High Street retailer exposure they deserve.
The latest Vanguard also has a day/night indicator at the 6pm position, so you can see if it’s night time back in GMT London when you’re travelling the world. Assuming you’re allowed to travel like a Towie celeb of course.
With quickset button features, steel bracelet and four variations on the familiar Blue/Black colour combinatuion that Rolex Batman lovers know so well, this watch is very good value at £1,525 on a pre-order deal (or £1,830 with a steel bracelet) until the 17th Feb 2021. It’s also a 1000 pieces limited edition.
It has a 200m depth rating as well, so it’s a GMT you can keep on your wrist when swimming.
Verdict; This is a serious, Swiss amde alternative to the 3 year waiting game for a Rolex Sub Batman, plus you get to save around 6 grand on the entry price. OK, you’ll never have that Rolex cachet or re-sale value, but you will own a beautifully made GMT for the same price as a military/retro piece from Longines, Rado, Tissot et al.
We missed out on these great Citizen launches earlier in 2020, so just in case you also missed out, here are two future collectable watches from the famous Japanese brand.
Promaster Titanium Diver GMT: Great looking dive watches under £500 are thin on the ground when it comes to Swiss brands. But if you can live without the prestige label on the dial, the n a Citizen Promaster GMT makes a decent alternative. This is a physically big case watch at 43mm, which is actually quite a good idea if you do venture underwater sometimes. Sapphire crystal, titanium case, big bezel numbers, plus long life power cell that should transmit light into second hand power for a decade or so – it ticks a great many boxes, and we have to say looks stunning in blue too.
The Super Titanium™ Promaster Diver GMT is fully equipped with all the features you’d expect from an ISO compliant Citizen diving watch. This watch is packed with great features to accompany you on your next diving adventure, including dual time, shock resistance, anti-magnetic, one-way rotating elapsed-time bezel, GMT display, screw-back case and screw-down crown, divers expansion clasp, anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass and water resistant to 200 metres. Featuring Eco-Drive technology – powered by light, any light. Never needs a battery.
Bullhead Racing Chronograph, Limited Edition: Yes, each watch comes in a numbered case and the design captures the essence of the 70s Bullhead case as well. Having those chrono pushers digging into your hand might not suit everyone, but this model is retro heaven for us. It has a modern day depth rating, the green colour scheme, funky power indicator feature, and that fab Paddy Hopkirk style Rally strap. You get that genuine hand-assembled kudos, all for £695.
That’s a stack of features that should make this Bullhead – with just 1,973 pieces being made – a future collectors item, unlike the many variations on the Red Arrows theme which you will find in Cash Convertors windows, often gathering dust. Just saying, fashion is a fickle thing…
The spec from Citizen;
A hand-assembled movement, the Bullhead Racing Chronograph features a 1/5 second flyback chronograph, alarm, instantaneous fly back, power reserve indicator, anti-reflective spherical sapphire crystal, date and water resistance to 200 metres. Featuring Citizen Eco-Drive technology too.
Bamford have worked with Time+Tide to create a handsome GMT automatic for 2021. The watch features a Sellita SW300 movement, 40mm case and a rotating inner bezel. There is some good looking superlume applied to the numbers and hands too, sapphire crystal, plus that GMT hand of course. The strap is black cordura, with blue or orange stitching. There are two variations on the blue/black dial and case design by the way.
The watch is only available for 2021, then production will cease. Price is £1200, plus postage.
Verdict: Expensive for a Sellita SW300 powered watch, but great looks and collectability factor.