Homage watches are a bit of a complicated topic amongst the watch enthusiast community. While some pay no mind to them (and some actively buy them), others are extremely vocal against them existing. In this article we’ll explore what homage watches are and if they are what you are looking for in your watch journey.
What exactly are homage watches?
Technically speaking, homage watches are watches that “pay homage” to another pre-existing design.
In practice, it implies that the homage watch is “heavily inspired” by the original timepiece, without being an exact replica. However, it’s detractors believe it approaches the rip off category.
For example, here is perhaps the most "homaged" watch of all time, the Rolex Submariner.
And here is one rather infamous homage, the Invicta Pro Diver.
As you can see from this in depth review, the Pro Diver is clearly importing several key design points from the Submariner: the bezel design and font, the mercedes hands, etc.
So, why companies make Homage Watches?
While some people dismiss homages as just imitations, there is a proven market for them. This is mainly for a number of reasons, mainly accessibility.
1. Accessibility to rather expensive, high end designs.
Luxury watches are, by definition, expensive. This price is of course linked to the quality of the timepiece in itself, with its materials, finishing and movement requiring many hours of specialized labor.
However, the overall style of a watch can be recreated using less nuanced components (for example: mineral glass instead of sapphire, or a less accurate movement). This makes it possible for non – luxury brands to recreate the likeness of other, more expensive watches, at a fraction of the price. With this, it is possible for regular people to get the actual feel of a high – end watch, without paying the premium (and without resorting to buying a fake watch).
And, well, not everyone can afford a Rolex, right?
This accessibility to classic / established designs is what draws many new enthusiasts into homages. And it has played an important role in horology too, with examples being rather common through history.
One famous example is Tudor. The brand was conceived by Hans Wilsdorf to be an affordable alternative to Rolex (Wilsdorf owned both companies). While Rolex invested heavily in research and development for unique movements – which in turn produced many innovations for wristwatches, Tudor would use outsourced movements while still retaining Rolex cases other components. Therefore, several early Tudor watches would technically qualify as Rolex homages.
Rolex and Tudor Submariners. Photo @ https://www.xupes.com
And no one in it’s right mind will go out of their way to dis on Tudor pieces.
2. Accessibility to discontinued pieces.
Much like any other manufacturing industry, watches come in and out of flavor with time. For example, decades ago, smaller watches were the norm, even for men. That changed over the years, and the industry experienced an increased demand for bigger watches. That’s why you could see companies going off their way to produce 44mm or bigger watches -Pontvs is of course proud of this.
In order to accommodate to newer tastes, some watches are updated with newer design ques or other perks, while others are just completely discontinued. Because of this, besides the rather expensive and sometimes shady vintage market, it is very complicated to actually find these older designs.
Seeing this, some companies have created homages to this discontinued models, with great success.
One example of this is the excellent Islander watch series, created by Mark from Long Island Watch. His earlier Islander models were homages to the Seiko SKX 007, iconic timepieces which were just discontinued by Seiko. Mark also improved on the original design with several popular upgrades or mods, such as a hand winding movement and sapphire crystal. Now, with these models, enthusiasts can access the feel of an SKX without having to pay a premium price, while also enjoying key updates that were lacking on Seiko’s behalf.
And this is of course a recent example. It is now possible to access the look and feel of many awesome designs from the last century through these homages, and it is what inspired us to Create Diving Armour!
Being able to present these vintage designs - and update them - is what made us create Diving Armour, a new collection by Pontvs. You can check out our two first models in our shop through this link.
In all, homages are a thing. Whatever the reasons you may have for pursuing an homage, don’t let the vocal critics deter you from owning a timepiece you enjoy!