Homage Watch, What is It?
Homage watch, it is something controversial. But what is it?
If I have to explain it in a few words, a homage watch is "a watch that looks like another watch".
Most of the time this "another watch", the homage watch is based on, is more expensive, and more well known.
But a homage watch is not a copy or a fake watch of the said timepiece. A copy or a fake makes, for example, a Rolex Submariner with a similar case design and completed with the Rolex logo. Pretending to be the Rolex Submariner. That is illegal, a bad thing to do.
A homage watch, on the other hand, is produced by a watch brand that has an own logo. There is a clear difference. And a homage is in a way established sub-genre of watches.
But you have a bad image on homage watches, right? Is a homage a bad thing? Let's try to think about the following.
-Copy or Natural Evolution?
The word "homage" means "A demonstration of respect", "An artistic work imitating another in a flattering style", according to wikitionary.
Sure most of the homage watches look eerily similar to the one it's paying respect to. But then again, not only small shady brands are making homage watches.
In the end, a watch looks similar to another watch, or even to a clock. Most of these share similar elements, the minute and hour hand, the dial with 12 indexes, the round case... Especially if there are a group of watches that shares the common idea, for example, made to be a tool to withstand water = dive watch, then the shared elements look more and more similar.
Especially known is the Rolex Submariner. It is so well designed, the readability, usability, wearability is all so well. It is only natural that when someone started to design a dive watch, some of the elements would look similar to it.
But let's assume that you don't know anything about the Rolex Submariner. And see dive watches from other known brands, such as Tudor, Omega, Seiko, Tissot, Oris, etc. If you didn't know much about the Submariner, do you think you could have recognized what is original, and most of all could you have differentiated any of them?
-Can Rolex Make A Homage Watch?
Tudor is a sister brand of Rolex. They do make watches very similar to Rolex's, sometimes with the exact same material, materials "made for Rolex".
Rolex also updates the designs of their models, what would be the difference between another company trying to make a homage of a Rolex, and Rolex trying to make the same Rolex anew?
There are some Seiko models nicknamed as "Baby Grand Seiko". Grand Seiko offers, as the name suggests, more "grand", expensive models of watches compared to Seiko. And those Seiko watches called "Baby Grand Seiko" look similar to some of the Grand Seiko models. Could these be called homage?
Is it a good homage if a person who bought a homage watch later saved money to buy the watch it based on? (and presumably, the person would have never bought the watch if he/she didn't buy the homage watch.)
Hmm, that is a good hypothetical question, isn't it?
-Is a Homage of a Watch Unavailable a Bad Thing?
Seiko MM300 is not produced anymore. But Heimdallr makes a homage.
Rolex is known to have a so-called "waiting list" system, and from what I have heard, you can pay your money to buy watches you don't want to own to cut into a better position in the list. That sounds... shady?
Then is it OK to make or to have these kinds of homages compared to, say a cheap Casio you can buy anytime anywhere?
-Homage is Better Than the Original?
Sure cheap homage watches can't beat Rolex with the specs. But in some rare cases, a homage watch could be better than the watch it has based on.
For example, Heimdallr SKX007 (which is available on our store!) is based on (at least its case is) Seiko SKX007. But while Seiko SKX007 has Hardlex crystal, non-hacking 7s26, and Aluminium bezel, Heimdallr's counterpart has Sapphire crystal, hacking NH36A, and Ceramic bezel.
A lot better than the original, and the price is also cheaper than the original. Can you still call it a homage then?
-Is Homage Bad Because They Are Not As Famous As the Original?
Big brands also make products similar to other company's. And they often get away with it. A well-known example is Apple. Yes that iPhone, iPad, iMac producing giant. Apple used to make "homage" designs to the product designs of Braun.
While they got away with all these homages, Apple was claiming that Samsung was copying their design.
I don't want to draw any conclusion here. But I would be grateful if this article (which is roughly based on an article I originally posted on my blog) would make you think again about homage watches. Especially if you only had a negative impression on this subject.