Watch tribute, replica or counterfeit?


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This is a discussion that we often see in watchmaking forums, a sometimes lively debate that is played with personal opinions but also with words. Is a tribute watch an excuse to reproduce an existing luxury model, or does it show a real desire to honor a particularly appreciated watch?

Tribute, replica or fake watch?


Let’s start with him tribute clock, which acts as a replica or as an inspiration, the name of the initial house in general will be clearly mentioned, but will not necessarily appear on the object itself. Normally there is no desire to deceive the buyer. He can also be a great watchmaker who decides to create a new piece with the same design as one of his old creations (Seiko, Orient, Timex …). Therefore, its purpose is, as the term suggests, to pay tribute to another watch by using common elements (particular design, style, etc.). Some tribute watches are also replicas of models that are no longer produced today.


See tribute, replica or counterfeit?


For the definition of the word ” replica “According to the Larousse dictionary, this designates the” copy of a work with or without variants (dimensions, composition, invoice, etc.), executed, under the control or not of the artist, in an ancient era (Davosa, Steinhart, Magrette …).


A falsification, meanwhile, rather designates a ” work, object that is the imitation or fraudulent reproduction of another.

The nuance is, therefore, very clear between these two terms. A lambda watch that mimics a Tag Heuer, a Rolex, an Omega, etc., marked with the mark (or to the letter), will undoubtedly be a fake. The idea is to deliberately deceive the person who buys it by believing that it is a real model when this is not the case.

See tribute, replica or counterfeit?


The Rolex Submariner It is a good example of a legendary watch that has inspired many watch brands. They made their own watches, with their name, but including design elements of the Submarine. Obviously, the price will be much more affordable than the basic model, while maintaining a certain quality. A good alternative for some watchmaking fans who don’t have the budget to pay for a prestigious model. We are not talking about the fake Brietling at € 20 sold in a dark online store. This will be a fake.


As you can see, the border is very thin between these different terms, even non-existent for some purists who will not tolerate replication. Some will be open to “inspiration after …”, while others will see this as an excuse to make a copy without success. Therefore, it will depend on the point of view of each person.

Nicolas Forni

Passionate about watchmaking, I launched Mr Watch at the end of 2015! Join me and discover new brands and follow the latest news from the world of watchmaking.