Our cigars are lit and our flasks are filled: It's time to pop a squat and talk timepieces. Particularly nice watches—though beautiful and functional—are usually not in the cards for our instant-ramen-and-PBR budget, and just glancing at the price tag of some of the more expensive pieces makes our blood pressure spike. “Affordable with a touch of class” is more our style, along with a good pair of chinos and some white leather kicks. We just want to save our hard-earned clams for splurging on something more worthwhile—such as CBD gummies or a pair of stunner shades, for example.
We love a good, affordable dupe—we are bargain hunters, after all—and there are loads of doppelgängers for top-tier watch brands including Rolex, Grand Seiko, and Richard Mille, whose style we love, but whose price tags make us dry heave and rock back and forth in the fetal position. Plus, not blowing a paycheck or five on a small, wearable clock seems like a prudent, adult financial decision. (Though we’re still not exactly sure how to do our taxes—sure glad we learned about parallelograms!) Alright, enough small talk—let’s wrist roll and bling-bling, baby.
Summer is right around the corner, which means it's about to be skinny-dipping season. All those swim sessions with your sneaky link call for some dope, waterproof bling. The Rolex Submariner was launched in 1953 and was the first diver’s watch to sustain underwater depths of 330 feet. There’s only one obstacle—pricing starts at a depressing $8,950. If you haven’t fainted yet, the Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80 looks eerily similar so you can still get down in large bodies of water. This Swiss-made watch is literally made for the beach and is water resistant to an underwater depth of about a thousand feet.
Grand Seiko 62GS
The Grand Seiko’s first timepiece with automatic movement, the 62GS is a Japanese classic that has been turning heads since 1967. It has a bezel-free, suave aesthetic and a midnight blue dial. One problem—it comes in at a jaw-dropping $6,300. Good thing the lads over at Citizen crafted a look-alike model: the Paradigm. This affordable watch is battery-free and instead powered and operated by any light source. It also features a sapphire crystal and date indicator.
Richard Mille Rafael Nadal Automatic
This brand really knocks the wind out of us with its prices. Richard Mille launched in 2001, introducing itself to the boujie watch market with its RM 001 Tourbillon collection. Since then, a model has been created and inspired by Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal for $195,000. We know, terrifying, but there’s a very affordable watch dupe by Guess for under $80. The style has an industrial-style dial along with a red translucent strap for some much needed color in our wardrobe. Hell yeah.
This model may be the finest old chap in the Rolex catalog with its fluted bezel and president bracelet. It looks very regal and prestigious, like a fine bottle of Scotch on a black marble table. But it goes for $40,350—nasty. The Seiko Quartz, the Grand Seiko’s more affordable watch cousin we still love dearly, is only a fraction of the price. We also found this stupid-good Armitron model for the ladies. Both possess a coin-edge bezel and date window, the best aesthetically pleasing watch duo we know.
IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot's Monopusher Le Petit Prince
Anything that has the words “le petit” is fancy in our books and probably requires daddy’s old money to own. We’re right—this model costs a frightening $16,600—BRB while we take a puff to relax. The watch was made to honor the beloved literary work The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Don’t get it twisted, we appreciate a classic book over here, but you’re gonna have to pry the wallets out of our tired hands to get us to pay that fee. The Citizen Brycen will do just fine for us. If your style is more on the preppy side, this one's for you. It features a brown leather strap and denim blue dial—nautical zaddy vibes.
We hope you liked these affordable watch dupes—now, fancy a Noguchi look-alike?
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.