Posted on May 13 2021
And I want an Omega Speedmaster. And an Aqua Terra.
I'd also like a Longines. If I had any money left I'd also love a Zodiac Sea Wolf - it's a watch I've lusted after for years.
But you can see where I'm going with this right?
I've got a wife, two teenagers, two dogs and a mortgage.
There's not much chance that I'm filling my watch box with these luxury pieces. So I've had to compromise.
Instead, I've spent years collecting affordable watches. I've bought from large inexpensive brands and cool little microbrands. I've looked for watches from unlikely sources - you'll have seen how passionate I am about Russian watches.
I've also bought homage watches.
Benyar Chinese Homage Watches
Most homage watches come from China. Later I'll discuss the ethics of buying from these Chinese companies and I'll look closer at Benyar.
But first, I'd like to jump straight in with my 6 favourite Benyar watches.
So bear that in mind. This watch is under £40.
Stylistically, it resembles Rolex's motorsports watch. It has the same style case, tachymeter and sub-dials. At a glance, it looks the part.
In terms of specs?
It has an inexpensive quartz movement and a stainless steel case and bracelet. For the money, it's what I'd expect. There's nothing that stands out in terms of value for money, but neither is it poorly made.
At 40mm the case is nicely sized and the 20mm bracelet is easy to replace if you'd prefer a leather strap.
Don't know if a Daytona style chronograph is for you? This is the most affordable way to find out.
Benyar Daytona BY-5169M-S
Benyar's offering is a simple quartz piece that again costs less than £40.
It gets the basic right. It looks like a Rolex Submariner. In fact, it looks like a specific, now discontinued model. This Benyar is a homage to Rolex's 'Hulk' model.
At 43mm it's a little larger than a Rolex but other than that it's a good attempt to mirror the Submariner aesthetics.
There is token water resistance, a Hardlex crystal and a stainless steel case. The green Hulk colouring isn't too common, so this is a very easy way to get that bold style.
Benyar Submariner Hulk BY-5161
Given the choice, I prefer Corgeut's Black Bay homage. But the Benyar is half the price. And that's for an automatic watch with 100m of water resistance.
You get a lot of watch for your money.
And the design works well because we know that it has already been a great success for Tudor. This variation, with the maroon bezel, is a real beauty. It's eye-catching.
This is enhanced by the snowflake hands and bold markers.
It might not be the best Black Bay homage, but it's definitely a contender.
Benyar Black Bay 58 BY5179BY-ER
That's not as common now and Benyar is one of the few that still do a Panerai Radiomir homage.
If you're unfamiliar with the original, it was an oversized watch created for the Italian Navy. It's most famous today as the watch that Sylvester Stallone promotes - he first wore it in Daylight.
Benyar's version is 45mm wide and powered by an automatic movement. To keep costs down - and this is a very inexpensive watch - it is equipped with a Hardlex crystal.
And remember, with 30m it's not a legitimate dive watch.
But it does look the part. It has Panerai's spartan design, with a large legible dial and simple colouring. It also has a stainless steel cushion case and a neat sub-second dial at 6 o'clock.
This is a great option for a Panerai styled piece.
Benyar Panerai BY5174-M
The Explorer is Rolex's simple sports watch. It's my favourite Rolex. It's plain, uncluttered and does nothing more than telling the time.
The most recent incarnation of the Explorer I is back to its original case size - 36mm. Benyar has opted for a more modern 39mm. Again, they aren't creating a replica.
If you're unsure about the ethics of buying a Chinese homage watch bear that in mind. This isn't an exact copy.
But it's still very similar to the Swiss legend. It has the Mercedes hands and bold numerals at 3, 6 and 9.
Benyar doesn't make many mechanical watches, so I'm glad that the Explorer piece is automatic. Admittedly, it has a Chinese movement. But the G2666Z calibre used has a pretty good reputation.
At the risk of repeating myself, you won't get an Explorer homage watch for less than the Benyar.
Benyar Explorer 1 BY5176
This is the same watch as the Benyar Explorer. The same case, the same sizing and the same Chinese automatic movement.
Where it differs is the design and layout of the dial. This time the watch is a homage to the Rolex Milgauss. This is Rolex's only model to feature a tinted crystal.
Again, I'm a big fan of the original. Rolex is quite a conservative brand, but the Milgauss is quirky. It has that green crystal, colourful markers and a distinctive lightning bolt hand.
Each of these is recreated in the Benyar.
Once more, it's a touch bigger than the original - but this time it's less noticeable.
The Milgauss isn't one of Rolex's most popular designs. Its colour doesn't appeal to everyone. But if you do like it - Benyar is a good place to start.
Benyar Milgauss BY5177
An Introduction to Benyar Watches
Benyar is one of the lesser-known Chinese homage brands. They're a brand I've only taken an interest in recently. Mainly because they seem to have links to Pagani Design.
You may have noticed the two brands showing up together in searches and Pagani Design watches are featured on the Benyar website.
Many of the similar Chinese brands seem to have sprouted up and then disappeared. Along with Pagani Design and Corgeut, Benyar does seem to have lasted longer.
I find that reassuring. There does seem to be some consistency.
Some of these Chinese brands are interchangeable. Benyar and Pagani appear to originate in the same factory. Benyar are the cheaper of the two and feature more quartz than mechanical movements.
Should you buy a Benyar homage watch?
This isn't a straightforward question.
Are you concerned about the ethics of buying a Benyar watch? It's one that you have to answer for yourself. There are good reasons for not buying Chinese homage watches.
- Benyar watches clearly steal IP
- The Original brands could lose money
- Homage watches may be poor quality
But are Benyar Watches Fakes?
Let's be clear, Benyar doesn't make fake watches. I know that I’m splitting hairs, but I do want to stress that a Benyar watch is not a fake Panerai or Tudor.
I know, it's a subtle difference, but these watches are honestly branded as Benyar.
There is no doubt that Benyar steals their watch designs from Swiss luxury manufacturers.
But they're not the only ones. You can see any number of Rolex Submariner clones online and in brick and mortar stores. Some brands, like Steinhart, make their business around homage watches. Like those other brands, Benyar is not kidding you that you’re getting a Rolex or a Panerai.
There is no deception.
And I'm sure you're not wearing a Benyar watch to convince people that you have a Rolex.
Who notices your watch anyway? And if they did? Would they know or care that it's a homage?
These affordable alternatives to the luxury brands are for your own enjoyment. Don't get too worried about the details of a £40 watch.
Do Swiss brands lose money when you buy a Benyar homage watch?
I know that in my case, they don’t.
You're probably the same. You may browse Amazon and see an affordable watch that you like. You buy it without knowing, checking or caring that it is similar to a Swiss model.
Or you find yourself in this familiar scenario.
You like the Swiss brand's watch but don’t have the available cash to buy it.
That's my life. And guess what? Even if my wife and kids let me keep some cash - I want too many watches.
If I had £5k to drop on a Rolex Explorer, I wouldn’t buy it. Because there are several other watches that I also have on my wishlist.
Instead, I buy more affordable brands. I'm also a big fan of Microbrands.
And sometimes I'll buy a homage. So no luxury brand loses a sale.
Are Benyar watches poor quality?
The quality seems to be as you'd expect. They're less half the price of Pagani Design and also cheaper than Corgeut and Parnis. So bear that in mind.
Be realistic for what you can expect at this price-point.
Many well-respected watch brands have their watches built in China. It’s where I get my own brand, Northwind, made. These Chinese factories can produce high-quality watches - have a look at SeaGull for proof.
But Benyar is selling watches for £40. You are getting what you pay for. These days that will buy you a half-decent Chinese watch.
But if you want a branded Japanese movement, you will have to pay more.
There are also a few other ethical issues to consider.
But these are not limited to Benyar watches. Environmental and labour issues for example.
Or they are down to your own conscience. Do you believe that meaningful intellectual property been stolen?
Are Benyar Watches Any Good?
I hang around watch forums and Facebook groups. For the most part, Benyar gets positive reviews.
But that is based on the price. I can't stress this enough. They're good for the money - but they're far from perfect. You'll see a few people who have been disappointed. Usually with the quality control more than anything else.
If you are worried about the reliability of Benyar you're best to opt for a quartz movement. There's less to go wrong.
Try following the affiliate links I’ve included in this article. Read some of the customer reviews yourself. You'll then get an idea of how others have found the quality.
Benyar makes inexpensive homage watches. There is nothing unique in that. What they do, and it's their main selling point, is release very affordable watches.
If you want a watch that looks like a Rolex Milgauss and costs the same as a takeaway meal, Benyar has a watch for you.
I can't give you a definitive answer about the ethics of buying it. But as I've suggested, buying an original is often unrealistic.
What I can tell you about are the price and the quality. And in general, buyers seem to be happy with both.
They don't have the specs of some of the other homage brands, but they're more affordable.
Admittedly, they often use Chinese movements. That may be a deal-breaker for some, but it's what you have to expect at this price point.
So follow some of the links in this piece. Dig a little deeper and see if there is a Benyar homage that is right for you. They're cheap enough for you to give it a go.