I’m setting myself up to receive some serious heat right now, but I don’t care. Even among my own team, there are several Daytona owners, so to say I’m walking into the lions’ den wearing a meat suit might be a bit of an understatement. But as someone who has become less and less interested in the Swiss movement fake Rolex Daytona and all the nonsense that surrounds it and the trials of its acquisition I thought I should say something. You know what? There are loads of excellent alternatives out there. Forget what the fashion mags tell you. Don’t listen to the brand fawners or status seekers.
One quick note: I get that the white dial copy Rolex Daytona is more than a watch. I understand that it isn’t just a product. The Daytona is a symbol. To some people that is all that matters. If that’s you, that’s cool. You can ignore this article and put me on your list of most hated journalists (don’t worry, I’m used to it). To others, the fact it is a symbol is what turns them off. If you’re sick of all the noise and fluff surrounding the Daytona, this article might be of interest to you. However, it is for the third group — the inbetweeners — that I’m writing this. Those who are close to being swayed by the overwhelming power and presence of the Rolex Daytona but feel — thanks to a nagging little voice in the back of their minds — that they might be being had.
Don’t worry: the steel bracelet replica Rolex Daytona is a good watch. If you truly, honestly like its aesthetic, and you have the readies to lay down for one of these unicorns, I’m sure you’ll be very happy together. But I’m here to tell you it isn’t the be-all and end-all. There are some sweet, creative, and highly credible alternatives for around the same price or less.
Not all lookalikes
Here’s the thing: I decided not to go with “the five best Daytona impersonators”. I’ve thrown in one lookalike on this list because it really can’t be kept out of the conversation these days, but I’ve actually chosen chronograph watches based on availability (second) and merit (first). Why did I choose this route? There are two reasons behind my decision. Firstly, I hate pale imitations of anything. I like character. I like originality. Above all, however, I like quality. Generally, if something is imitating something else’s style, it is of inferior quality. That’s not a hard and fast rule, but it’s pretty consistent in my experience.
Secondly, I hate a blinkered market. We are trained (by exposure) and manipulated (by suspicious scarcity and engineered hype) to keep our focus on very few models. This is a travesty. There are some superb chronographs on the market. Some of these (like my top pick on this list) command similar money to the Daytona and yet, somehow, despite being tangibly better in many ways (in technical aspects and also in my subjective opinion which you’re at liberty to find ridiculous), come across as expensive simply because you can buy them at their asking price. Heck, given the intense obsession with the Daytona, you might even be able to get some of these under list if you’re buddies with a nice AD.
So if this list seems eclectic to you, that’s because it’s supposed to. If you think these watches have nothing to do with the best 1:1 replica Rolex Daytona and couldn’t possibly pose a question to a would-be Daytona owner, I’d beg to differ. Regardless, feel free to let me have it in the comments. I’m looking forward to it.