We gather the world’s most collectable replica watches which you should expect to own them
Rolex is one of the few watchmakers that is a definite investment proposition. The iconic “Pepsi Cola”, so named for its red and blue bezel, may have been recently revived, but the original – and some might say best – cheap rolex watches GMT is a crown jewel fit for any collection. It’s not the rarest Rolex, however, and prices can vary from below £10,000 to nearing £20,000.
Thinking of Tudor as Rolex’s little brother is not entirely inaccurate, but falls a little short of the full picture. The brand was originally conceived as an entry level equivalent to Rolex, but its watches went through precisely the same level of technical development; even its Submariner was created at exactly the same time as Rolex’s now iconic piece. Like their modern equivalent, vintage Tudors replica watches – especially the Submariners – are some of the best value watches you can find. If you discover a 1970s version with original snowflake dial for under £5,000, you’ve done very well.
This is the granddaddy of all diving watches. The Radiomir hasn’t changed all that much since the 1940s, but that first model, commissioned for the frogmen of the Italian navy, is the panerai imitationholy grail to collectors. With a case and movement made by Rolex, it’s also incredibly rare – £20,000 – £30,000 worth of rare.
There are plenty of rarer, more sought-after versions of Omega’s iconic Speedmaster replica out there, but the model that actually travelled to the moon and back on the wrist of Buzz Aldrin is a very safe investment – at worst, there’s a hell of a story behind it. A running one in need of some love will likely set you back somewhere in the region of £3,000.
Having celebrated its 50th birthday last year, we were reminded just how big an impact the original replica Carerra had on watchmaking. Along with the Rolex Daytona, it laid the blueprints of the driving watch. Clean, clear and sleek, it has aged exceptionally well. Prices vary, but if you’re after the much coveted panda-dialled Valjoux 72-equipped version you’re looking at around £4,000.
Seiko are one of the few watchmakers you’ll never hear anything negative about. They’ve been steadily and quietly making phenomenal watches for a century and, if you can find a 1960s Grand Seiko – arguably the pinnacle of Japanese watchmaking – you won’t be disappointed. There was a model prior to the self-dated, but this is where fake swiss Grand Seiko‘s now signature look first came in. Plus you won’t find a better watch around the £3,000 mark.
One of the oldest watches on this list, the Tank has been around since it was allegedly presented to General Pershing in 1917. Whether that was the case or not, it has remained one of the most iconic watches in the world and, if you can get your hands on an early 1920s model, it’s a serious investment piece. Even more recent models are great finds and can cut the £25,000-£30,000 price tag down about half. The ultimate is that 1917 Tank cheap cartier watches Normale, although the later 1960s Tank JC requires a few miracles and plenty of capital to get hold of.
The Reverso is without a doubt the most iconic replica Jaeger-LeCoultre, but the 1960s Polaris is quite possible the grand maison’s most sought-after vintage piece. Far rarer than the basic Memovox, the Polaris’s mechanical alarm is an unusual complication to find on a diving watch but is all the more interesting for it. You can expect to pay somewhere in the region of £10,000 and £25,000 for a good, working version so if you’re on a budget, you may want to opt for the standard Memovox, which is still a brilliant timepiece in its own right.
You’d probably expect an early Royal Oak to be here – and it would certainly deserve a place – but Audemars Piguet swiss replica had a life before its seminal timepiece. At the time, this was the thinnest tourbillon ever made and is still pretty high on the list today. It’s also a rather unique looking watch, one that won’t easily be mistaken for anything else. They don’t appear on the market all that often, which is understandable given the nature of tourbillons, but as a guide, the last one at auction achieved £19,300.
Being precious and being rare aren’t always the same thing, as Patek’s record-breaking Only Watch showed. The auctioned high-complication achieved a staggering £5.7m by virtue of being a rarity in steel rather than being made of gold and diamonds. The same holds true for vintage replica patek philippe calatrava. They may be on the expensive side – you can expect to pay up to £30,000 for a flawless example from the 1960s and far more for earlier models – but they’re worth the investment.