The Rolex Day-Date, a watch that commands unparalleled prestige and fame.
A favorite of the world’s powerful, influential, and elite, this Rolex icon elevated to a status symbol over the decades. As the name suggests, the Day-Date showcases the date and the day, spelled in full. As a result of its stature, the Rolex Day-Date commands a staggering price.
Owning this exclusive watch today can set you back by over thirty-three thousand USD for the most economical configuration. In other words, this watch is out of reach for many. On the other hand, there are watches out there from different brands that are great alternatives to the Rolex Day-Date.
In this article, we will recommend alternatives that offer the Day-Date feature, Rolex like styling, and alternative luxury brands. These homages, affordable, or brand alternatives will include details on features offered but, before we get to it, let’s take deep dive into the Rolex Day-Date.
The Day-Date is also called the Rolex “President”, or “Presidential” (after President Dwight D. Eisenhower)
A true jewel and a power statement in every sense, the Rolex Day-Date debuted in 1956. It made history as the first waterproof and self-winding watch to showcase date and day, spelled in full. This timeless Rolex watch soon became a favorite of the powerful and influential. As more presidents preferred the Rolex Day-Date, it earned its ‘President’s Watch’ identity. Consequently, many advertisements for the watch boasted its connection with the who’s who of the world.
The current Rolex Day-Date is available in two sizes – 36mm and 40mm. With a Rolex watch, you can only expect the ultimate material, craftsmanship, and design. As a result, these watches are available in only 18-carat gold or 950 platinum. In addition, the iconic President bracelet is emblematic of the watch’s prestige. Powered by the newly developed, in-house calibre 3255 self-winding mechanical movements, the watch guarantees superior reliability and precision.
Water-resistant up to 100m, the model also offers resistance against shocks, pressure, and dust. Above all, Rolex’s configuration options ensure unrivaled exclusivity. From gem-set bezels, language options for the day, case material to bejeweled dial options, the price only skyrockets.
The Rolex Day-Date is simply a legend on its own and it is no surprise that it costs as much. More importantly, now that we know why here is our list of alternatives.
Best Affordable Rolex Day-Date Alternatives
Bulova 98C127 and 96C127
A subsidiary of Japanese watch brand Citizen, the Bulova brand traces its origin back to 1875. Founded by Joseph Bulova in New York, the brand offers two alternatives to the Rolex Day-Date from its Classic collection. 98C127 and 96C127 – Both these models share a similar design to the Rolex. However, the case remains a clean and rounded one as opposed to the flute edged Rolex.
The 39mm stainless steel case hosts the day/date feature in the same position as the Rolex. Under the silver-tone hands and markers, a quartz movement powers the watch. In addition, these models are water-resistant up to 30m and come with a 3-year limited warranty.
Hamilton Jazzmaster Day-Date Auto
Hamilton combines American craftsmanship with Swiss precision in their timepieces. Founded in 1892, the brand has now moved from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Biel, Switzerland. Well regarded for its stylish models, the brand offers the Jazzmaster Day-Date Auto as an affordable alternative to the Rolex.
The 40mm stainless steel case hosts H-40 automatic movement under the sapphire crystal. While the day display remains similarly placed like the Rolex, the date display is at 6 o’clock. Furthermore, the dial features sharper and refined indices. In addition, the model is water-resistant up to 50m.
Tissot Couturier Powermatic 80
Luxury watchmaker Tissot offers a great Swiss alternative to the Rolex Day-Date at a much smaller price tag. Founded by Charles-Félicien Tissot and his son, Charles-Émile Tissot, it is now a subsidiary of the Swiss Swatch Group. The brand’s T-classic collection features the Couturier Powermatic 80, our recommended alternative.
Made of 316L stainless steel, the 39mm case features a date and day display. The day, spelled in full at 12 and the date at 6. This bestows the dial with a balanced and refined design. Under the dial, Swiss-made Powematic 80.121 automatic movement powers the watch. This movement is visible through the see-through case back. In addition, the watch is water-resistant up to 100m, and Tissot offers 2 Years of warranty. Also, the watch is available in a leather strap and rose gold coated case options.
Rotary Men’s Havana
Watch brand Rotary makes a great case as a Rolex Day-Date alternative with its watches from the Havana collection. Specifically, models GB02661/20 and GB02662/06. The brand itself took off in 1895 at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Currently headquartered in the United Kingdom, the brand’s recommended models share a striking resemblance with the Rolex Day-Date.
Details like the magnified dome on the date display, flute edged bezel, dial design are almost alike. In addition, the 38mm stainless Steel Case features a Rolex like a bracelet. Powered by Quartz movement, the Havana model is available in Rose Gold and Gold finish. The brand offers a 2-year guarantee on these watches.
Tudor Glamour Date+Day
Where better to look for a Rolex alternative other than its closest brand. Founded in 1926, Swiss luxury brand Tudor is a sister concern of Rolex. As a result, Rolex like quality and craftsmanship remains guaranteed. The brand’s Glamour Date+Day collection features an array of watches for you to choose from, all great alternatives.
As the name suggests, these watches are nothing short of glamorous. Like Rolex, this collection offers dial, strap, material, and gem-set options. The 39mm case hosts self-winding Calibre 2834 mechanical movement under the sapphire crystal. The positioning of the day and date display too matches that of the Rolex. In addition to 100m waterproofness, Tudor offers a five-year guarantee.
Orient Contemporary Collection
In 1959 Shogoro Yoshida founded the Orient Watch brand. Currently owned by Seiko Epson, the Japanese brand primarily manufactures mechanical watches. Orient’s Contemporary collection offers timepieces that work as good alternatives.
The Orient’s dial shares similar design elements with the Rolex Day-Date. Most notable, the placement of the day and date window on the dial. The 41mm watch runs on the Japanese made Cal.46E45 mechanical movement. In addition, the case features a crystal glass clear rear and is water-resistant up to 100m. Seiko’s ownership ensures affordable and trustworthy technology making these good Japanese alternatives.
For the Rolex look at an incredibly small fraction of the price, consider the Peugeot Bedford. Established in 1957, the American brand moved from luxury timepieces to affordable fashion watches in 1982. This was the outcome of rising gold prices. As a result, Peugeot watches are affordable and make our list with its Bedford model.
Almost alike to the Rolex Day-Date in every way, it is hard to tell them apart. For instance, the Bedford model shares the Rolex’s fluted edge bezel, presidential style bracelet, and dial design. The 40mm gold-tone case features a date and day display at 3 o’clock and w12 o’clock respectively just like the Rolex. Powered by the Japanese quartz movement, the model is available in steel finish also. In addition, the affordable brand also offers a lifetime warranty on their products.
Charles Hubert Paris Classic Collection
The three-decade-old brand based out of the United States manufactures affordable homage watches. Models like the 3400-OY, 3400-OB, 3400-OH, and 3401 are good alternatives to consider. The 36mm stainless steel case holds the Japanese quartz movement and looks very much like the Rolex Day-Date.
For instance, the dial design, day/date positing, flute edged bezel, overall look mirror that of the iconic Rolex. If its only looks that you are after, Charles-Hubert Paris remains a good bet. The four models include three gold-colored and a dual-toned (silver & gold) option. Furthermore, the watches are water-resistant up to 30m. Additionally, the brand offers a limited lifetime warranty on these models.
Japanese Multinational brand Casio remains well renowned for offering well built and technically capable watches at affordable prices. The Tokyo based brand offers a few models to this list – MTP-1381D-7AV, MTP-1381D-1AV, MTP-1381D-9AV, MTP-1381G-1AV, MTP-1381G-9AV to name a few. Like the Rolex Day-Date, the Enticer models showcase the day, spelled in full at 12 o’clock. However, the date window is at 6 o’clock.
The dial and overall design of the watch echo elegance and style. The 39.9mm ion-plated case hosts a quartz movement under the mineral glass. In addition, these models are water-resistant up to 50m and come with a two-year warranty. Casio also offers this alternative with genuine leather straps if steel bracelets aren’t your preference.
Founded in 1993, watch brand Alpha focuses on the production of Homage watches. The Hong Kong-based company recreates designs from Swiss brands under the Alpha name at affordable prices. The Alpha Day-Date model shares incredible similarities with the Rolex design.
This includes the bulge over the date window, the day display at 12, dial design, and the flute edged bezel. The 39mm case features an automatic movement and is water-resistant up to 3ATM. The bracelet also shares the Rolex’s president design but, can be flimsy. Furthermore, the brand offers a one year warranty and mentions the watch has undergone testing using ‘sophisticated Swiss instruments’.