Homage and Counterfeit Watches [6 Differences]

Homage watches are beautiful. These timepieces are created to honor the design of iconic watches while being more affordable and accessible to a wider audience. However, many watch fans can be confused between the two. How are they different?

Homage watches are made to be legal and to support the original creator. It does not try to pass itself as the original. Counterfeit watches are made to copy and steal the intellectual property of the original. It tries to pretend to be the original, which means counterfeit watches are illegal.

In this article, we explore the differences between homage and counterfeit watches. We also look at how you can prevent yourself from buying a counterfeit.

6 Differences Between Homage And Counterfeit Watches

Homage and counterfeit watches differ in several areas:

IntentionTo pay homage to the originalTo survive as a small watch companyTo pretend to be the original
LegalityLegalRespects intellectual property of the originalIllegalSteals the intellectual property of the original
MaterialsControlled, higher quality materialsUncontrolled material use
MovementUses workhorse, affordable movementUsually uses regular movements with altered appearance.
PriceGenerally does not cross $2,000Superclones can cost a lot more than $2,000
MaintenanceUsually comes with warrantyEasily serviceableUsually without warrantyMay be hard to service.
Feeling When WornHonesty and genuinenessPretentious and fakery


Homage watches were made by watchmakers that aimed to pay homage to the design of a famous watch. 

They do this by incorporating certain design elements that resemble the original watch. However, these watchmakers also ensure they do not copy outright to avoid producing fakes.

Homage watches may have design elements from the original, but they intend to stand on their own two feet and build their own brands.

Not with counterfeit watches. These are made to pass themselves as if they were original. They do not incorporate their designs but simply copy the original to the last screw. 


Homage watches are legal, while counterfeit watches are not. The reason is simple: one respects intellectual property rights and does not. 

Homage Watches design, build, and market its own watches under its brand. The only thing they do is to use design cues from the original. 

This means homage watchmakers remain respectful of intellectual property rights and trademarks of the original watchmaker.

Take, for example, the Steeldive SD1953. It may be a Rolex Submariner homage, but it does not pretend to be ‘Rolex.’ It prints its own logo and has design elements different from the actual Submariner. 

You cannot say the same with counterfeit watches. They will happily print the Rolex logo on their watches and copy the design as best as possible. In fact, they market their watches as Rolex as well. 

homage and counterfeit watches


Homage watches tend to be more consistent with their material use, as they must comply with regulations and consumer law. The same cannot be said with counterfeit watches.

Homage watches usually use traditional watchmaking materials to keep costs low. These include stainless steel cases, sapphire crystals, and pressed instead of hand-drawn Guilloches. 

However, you can guarantee that all homage watches would have the same materials, as these companies need to ensure they give their customers what they promote in their marketing materials. 

With counterfeit watches, you may have inconsistencies in materials. Say that during production, they ran out of 314 stainless steel. They may just switch to 306 stainless steel instead. 

Counterfeit watches operate outside the law, so they do not worry about using the wrong materials to build their watches. As long as the watch looks like the original, that will pass.


Homage watches may use cheaper movements, but these movements are genuine. For example, many homage watches use movements such as Miyota 8215 or Seiko NH35 for their automatic watches

These are decent, workhorse movements that can run well for a very long time. They also help the watchmakers to keep their costs low too.

Counterfeit watches may be inconsistent with their movement choices. Some may use these workhorse movements outright. 

Some may modify these movements to make them look like the original watch it tries to copy. The modification may make the movement perform less well.

Some counterfeit watchmakers may try to build their own movements, which may not perform well. These movements may also be hard to service since parts will be hard to find. 


For pricing, homages may be more transparent, with a more predictable pricing range. 

Homages generally cost between two digits to lower 4 digits. These higher-end homages are very well made, so their production cost is higher. Some high-end homage makers include Steinhart. 

Homage watchmakers also keep a consistent price, as they need to comply with consumer law. For example, they cannot sell a watch at $200 to you and $250 to the next customer. 

You cannot assume this with counterfeit watches. They operate outside the law, meaning they can sell the watch at whatever price they want. As a result, their prices can be hard to predict. 

In fact, counterfeit super-clones sell for multiple thousands of dollars. These are usually counterfeits of expensive original models, such as those from Patek Philippe or Audemars Piguet.

homage and replica watches


Homage watches are much easier to service and maintain than counterfeits. Homage watchmakers must provide after-sales service to comply with commercial law. 

Many home watchmakers will have service centers or have a way to have you send in your watch and then have it serviced. Homage watchmakers also offer a watch warranty, which you can easily claim for issues.

Watchmakers will also happily service a homage watch, especially if the movement inside is something they are familiar with. This is because homage watches are ethical, and the parts are easy to find. 

With counterfeit watches, maintenance will be difficult. This is because you will not find any authorized dealer or service center for these watches. You do not get a warranty from these watches too. Even if you get one, it will be hard to claim it. 

Many watchmakers will simply refuse to service it out of their conscience. On top of that, even if they are willing to service it, they may find it hard to pick up the parts.

Feeling When Worn

You feel honesty, genuineness, and morality when you wear a homage watch. This is because you purchase a homage watch instead of a counterfeit. 

Sure, you may be telling people you cannot afford an Omega Speedmaster Moon Watch. But by wearing a Pagani Design PD1701, you tell the world you have ethical and moral standards. 

You may even get a good handshake from people who understand your decision. 

When you wear a counterfeit, you may feel like a cheater and constantly fear that you will be found out as a fake. 

You may impress people with your counterfeit Rolex, but in the end, you cannot lie to yourself. You’re wearing a fake, and you are misleading people around you. 

Worse, your money may be going to support shady enterprises that make these watches. Your money may also be paying for sweatshop child labor in some third-world countries.

Wrapping Up

To conclude, homage and counterfeit watches are two different watches. One is legal and ethical, and the other illegal and unethical. 

In the end, you are the master of your own money, and you should know which side to support. We leave this to your own moral compass. 

If you are ready to check out homage watches, we discussed the 13 most popular homage watches your money can buy. If you are a fan of Rolex watches, check out our homage suggestions for popular Rolex models.

Nigel Ignatius

Nigel is the principal creator of WatchPursuits.com, a website dedicated to watches. Inspired by the dedication and effort of watchmakers now and old, Nigel has a passion for watches and looks forward to share his passion with the world.

Recent Posts

error: Content is protected !!