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Need an Affordable Rolex Homage? 5 Stunning Parnis Watches

Posted on May 11 2021

Rolex Homage Watch from Parnis

Rolex makes too many great watches for me to choose one.

And it's debatable whether I have the money for one anyway. Aside from the cost, I want more than that. I'd love an Explorer 1 - it's my favourite luxury watch.

But you know what?

I'd like a Milgauss too. And a Datejust. And who doesn't like the Air King?

Don't get me started on the divers. Every watch fan wants to own a Submariner.

Or the Chronographs. The Rolex Daytona is iconic. Paul Newman's was one of the most expensive watches ever sold.

If you're reading this you probably have the same dilemma as me. Not enough money to buy all the Rolex's that you'd love to own.

I've got two teenagers who are bleeding me dry. So for now, when I want a Rolex, I'm sticking to homage models.

An Introduction to Parnis Watches


Parnis are one of the more established Chinese homage brands. They first came to my attention several years ago when they were producing Panerai homages and Flieger style pilots watches.

I actually got a batch in to sell - mainly oversized German aviation watches with large, onion crowns. I liked them.

Many of the similar Chinese brands seem to have sprouted up and then disappeared. Along with Pagani Design and Corgeut, Parnis have been longer lived.

That's reassuring. There seems to be some consistency.

To a degree, these Chinese brands are interchangeable. They often originate in the same factories. In this case, you'll find that when you search online for Parnis you'll find other brands claiming to made in the same factory.

But some do stand out. Parnis, Corgeut and Pagani Design being my favourite Chinese homage brands.

Should you buy a Parnis homage watch?


This can be a difficult question.

What are the ethics of buying a Parnis watch? It's one that you have to answer for yourself. There are good reasons for not buying Chinese homage watches.

  • Parnis watches are using stolen IP
  • Rolex loses money
  • Homage watches are poor quality

So are Parnis Homage Watches Fakes?

Let's be clear, Parnis isn’t making fake watches. I know that I’m splitting hairs, but I do want to stress that a Parnis watch is not a fake watch. It's branded as a Parnis.

I know, it's a subtle difference.

There is no doubt that Parnis is stealing the designs made popular by Rolex.

But they're not the only ones. You can see any number of Rolex Submariner clones online and in brick and mortar stores. Like those other brands, Parnis is not kidding you that you’re getting a Rolex.

There is no deception.

And I'm sure you're not wearing a Parnis piece to trick people into believing that you're wearing a Rolex.

Who notices your watch anyway? And if they did? Who will care that it's a homage?

These affordable alternatives to the luxury brands are for your own enjoyment.

Do Rolex lose money when you buy a Parnis homage watch?

In my case, they don’t. I suspect that you're 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 luxury model.

Or you find yourself in this familiar scenario. You like the luxury brand's designs but don’t have the available cash to buy them.

That's me. And guess what? Even if the wife and kids let me keep some cash - I love watches too much! I'd want more than one or two.

If I had £10k to drop on a Rolex Daytona, I probably wouldn’t. Because there are several other watches that I also have on my wishlist.

Instead, I buy affordable brands. I'm also a fan of Microbrands. And sometimes I'll buy a homage. So no luxury brand loses a sale.

Are Parnis watches poor quality?


The two I currently own aren't. They're both decent quality and I've had them a number of years now.

You'll know that 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.

Parnis isn't selling their watches for £20. In a sense, you are getting what you pay for. But these days, £100 will buy you a pretty good Chinese mechanical watch.

Usually, that will include a branded Japanese movement.

But there are other ethical issues.

These are not limited to Parnis 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 Parnis Watches Any Good?


I’m doing this post on Parnis because the consensus seems to be that they make good watches. I currently own two and I've sold numerous others over the years.

I also hang around watch forums and Facebook groups. For the most part, Parnis get positive reviews.

Like Pagani and Corgeut, Parnis mechanical watches often use Japanese movements. You'll find some sellers offering a choice of movements.

Expect Parnis watches to also have sapphire crystals, good lume and functional water resistance where appropriate.

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.

The 5 Best Parnis Rolex Homage Watches


Parnis' business is producing affordable alternatives to Swiss luxury watches. They do variations of the most popular Rolex models.

Here are the 5 that I believe are the best.

I’ve taken into consideration, the price, build quality and design. And of course, how faithfully they recreate the look of the original.

Parnis Rolex Datejust Homage Watch

This beauty is very similar to one of the Parnis models I own. It's a straightforward homage to the Rolex Datejust.

The Datejust is a staple of the Rolex line, first introduced in 1945 and worn by Winston Churchill. It's a classic design that is smart casual and versatile.

Parnis has recreated the plain bezel version, maintaining the simplicity of the original. It has the date window at 3 o'clock - a new feature in the 1940s - and the cyclops lens.

I love this watch and the 39.5mm case feels just right. It has a Chinese automatic movement, meaning that this watch is very affordable.

If you're a Rolex fan shopping on a budget, I'd suggest that you start here.

Parnis Datejust

  • 39.5mm Diameter
  • 20mm Lug width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 30M Water Resistance

 


Parnis Root Beer Homage Watch

American airline Pan Am approached Rolex to produce a watch for their pilots. The watch needed to display two timezones. In 1954 the Swiss brand delivered the GMT-Master.

This watch included an extra hand. Along with the bezel this could be used to set the second time zone.

There are a couple of variations, with this colour nicknamed the Root Beer.

This Parnis isn't a direct homage to the Rolex, but it has the general style. The case, dial and hands all resemble the Rolex Root Beer, although it doesn't have the gold touches.

It does have an automatic movement, ceramic bezel and a sapphire crystal. That's a lot of watch for the money. Remember, this watch is well under $100.

If you're after an exact homage, this watch may not be right for you.

But if you're happy with the small differences then this watch is a bargain. It’s nicely sized too. A comfortable 40mm case with a modest 20mm bracelet.

Parnis GMT

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 30M Water Resistance


Parnis Submariner Hulk Homage Watch

The Rolex Submariner is a watch that we all enjoy. It's also the world's most copied watch.

The style is now a classic, with mainstream brands doing their own versions. A list of Submariner homages would be endless.

Of the Rolex models available, a couple stand out. One model that is particularly popular is the green bezel piece. It's nicknamed the Kermit.

It's nice to see that Parnis has singled out this model. The green bezel and black dial contrast well and the touch of colour is very appealing.

The features that you'd expect are here. The Mercedes hands, date window and cyclops lens. It looks like a reproduction of the Swiss legend.

There is a choice of movements too. If you're keen to keep the price down you can opt for a Chinese movement. Personally, I'd pay the extra - it's a modest amount - and get the reliable Japanese Miyota movement.

Parnis Submariner Kermit

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 13mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 30M Water Resistance


Parnis Daytona Homage Watch

The Rolex Daytona is often hailed as the most iconic watch of the 20th Century. Inspired by motorsports and a favourite with drivers, Paul Newman's watch sold for £13m.

It's one of the most expensive watches in history. To get one you have to go on a waiting list that is measured in years.

Even if you could afford a Daytona, you'd have to buy used - and pay more than you would for a new one.

This is where a homage watch is an ideal solution.

The Parnis version of the Daytona ticks the major boxes. Although this is a quartz model, unlike the mechanical Rolex.

It's a comfortable size and reasonably slim. It's not the cheapest Parnis, but it's definitely one of the most eye-catching.

Parnis Daytona

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 13mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Quartz movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 30M Water Resistance


Parnis Milgauss Homage Watch

The Rolex Milgauss is a colourful and distinctive model that boasts a tinted crystal. The original is notable for its orange lightning bolt second hand.

Parnis has again been faithful to the Rolex and built a watch very much in keeping with the original.

The case, dial and hands are similar to their Datejust homage. As are the case and bracelet.

There aren't many other Milgauss homage models on the market, so your options are limited. If you want a watch in the style of the Milgauss, this is a real contender.

I'd have preferred a Japanese movement to the Chinese one offered, but at this price? It's not a dealbreaker.

Parnis Milgauss

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 14mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 30M Water Resistance


Conclusion


Parnis isn't doing anything original. They make watches that take inspiration from, or copy, your favourite Swiss watches. Usually, that means Rolex.

I can't give you a definitive answer about the ethics of buying a homage watch. But as we've seen here with the Daytona, buying the original is unrealistic for most people.

What I can tell you about are the price and the quality. Remember, I currently own two Parnis watches.

So I know that they are good value for money. Often that means an automatic watch with a sapphire crystal for less than a hundred bucks.

Admittedly, they often use Chinese movements. Where possible I'd suggest paying a little extra for a Seiko or Miyota movement. You'll find these movements in much more expensive branded watches.

But, the quality is there. And, for the most part, Parnis is very affordable.

The other components are of good quality too. They are often better than you’d find on most similarly priced high-street watches.

So follow some of the links in this piece. Dig a little deeper and see if there is a Parnis Rolex homage that is right for you.

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