5 Affordable Alternatives to the Rolex Daytona
 

5 Affordable Alternatives to the Rolex Daytona

4 min read
Charlotte Harris

Brands

Rolex

Categories

WatchGecko Top Choice Series

Charlotte Harris

Brands

Rolex

Categories

WatchGecko Top Choice Series

For many, a must-have timepiece is the Rolex Daytona. This luxury chronograph has become something of an emblem of Rolex’s illustrious sporting past, first making its debut during the 1960’s when Rolex forged a partnership with the Daytona International Speedway. In name of the race, Rolex launched the Daytona with a chronograph dial, a complication designed to become an essential tool for measuring elapsed time on the track. 

Rolex DaytonaRolex Daytona - Credit WatchGecko

And yet, it isn’t really the sport of motor racing that the Daytona must thank for its worldwide popularity. Instead, it owes actor and race car driver Paul Newman for much of its notoriety. It seems Newman, at the start of his racing career, purchased a Daytona at Tiffany & Co with his wife. The design had what many collectors call these days an “Exotic” black and white dial. The watch became the most expensive timepiece ever sold when it went to auction in 2017, selling for a whopping $17.8 million.  

Rolex DaytonaRolex Daytona - Credit WatchGecko

But it’s not just the popular “Paul Newman” Daytona that’s wanted by collectors. The chronograph has been launched in various dial colours and styles over the years, but only in small quantities. As Rolex likes to do, they’ve capitalised from the laws of supply and demand and made this watch extremely rare and thus coveted. So, finding a Rolex Daytona for yourself is no easy feat and affording one is a whole other issue.  

So that’s where we come in, with our top 5 affordable alternatives to the Rolex Daytona. We know these watches don’t have the same motor sporting history as the Daytona, nor do they have some of the high-end Swiss made technology, but if you’re looking for a watch with a similar design and a price tag just a fraction of a second-hand Rolex Daytona, then keep on reading… 

Baltic Tricompax Panda 

Baltic Tricompax PandaBaltic Tricompax Panda - Credit Baltic

A watch with a look similar look to the original Paul Newman Daytona is the Baltic Tricompax Panda, and you’ll be pleased to know this doesn’t sell in the millions, but for just €1,645. It has a wonderful vintage spirit cemented by a light beige dial with contrasting black guilloche subsidiary dials. The dauphine hour and minute hands and triangular markers are coated with Super-LumiNova and silvered to match the 39.5mm 316L stainless steel case. The latter is topped by a brushed aluminium tachymeter bezel and houses the Swiss SW510-M Calibre hand-wound chronograph movement. 

Orient Mako Chronograph  

Orient Mako ChronographOrient Mako Chronograph

Orient Mako Chronograph - Credit Orient

Japanese watchmaker Orient are well-known for their entry level timepieces, and whether intentional or not, their Mako Chronograph model has a close resemblance to the Rolex Daytona. It’s a pretty large watch with a 42.8mm wide stainless steel case inclusive of a unidirectional rotating 60-minute scale bezel, sapphire crystal and a 200 metre water resistance. There are several dial colours available including a panda dial with three subdial indicators: a 24-hour indicator at 3 o’clock, a 60-minute counter at 6 o’clock, and a small second subdial at 9 o’clock. For just £324.99, it also arrives with a solar-powered dial fuelled by natural and artificial light. No battery changes required here. 

Seiko Prospex Speedtimer 

Seiko Prospex SpeedtimerSeiko Prospex Speedtimer - Credit Seiko

Another affordable alternative to the Rolex Daytona is the Seiko Prospex Speedtimer. This comes from another Japanese watch manufacturer, Seiko, also well-known for their accessibly priced timepieces. The Prospex Speedtimer is inspired by Seiko’s own history in sports timing and celebrates a 1969 model known as the world’s first chronograph with a column wheel and vertical clutch. There are several Speedtimer models with similar design traits to the Daytona, but those with reference numbers beginning with “SSC” are our personal favourites. They arrive with 39mm steel cases, curved sapphire crystal, tachymeter bezels and sporty tricompax dials. Like the Orient Mako, they are fuelled by solar-powered quartz calibres and have impressive price tags of £590. 

Raymond Weil Freelancer Chronograph 

Raymond Weil Freelancer ChronographRaymond Weil Freelancer Chronograph

Raymond Weil Freelancer ChronographRaymond Weil Freelancer Chronograph

Raymond Weil Freelancer Chronograph - Credit Raymond Weil

A watch brand that flies under the radar far too often is Raymond Weil, but upon close inspection of their vast portfolio, they have some really impressive designs under their horological belt. One being the Freelancer Chronograph which has an overall aesthetic very similar to the Rolex Daytona. The 43.5mm stainless steel case arrives with sapphire crystal glass, a 100 metre water resistance and a tachymeter bezel. The dials are wonderfully executed with unique grooving around the circumference and recessed subsidiary dials. These retail from £2,995 and are Swiss made, offering the cam-operated RW5030 movement with a 56 hour power reserve. 

Longines Conquest Chronograph 

Longines Conquest ChronographLongines Conquest Chronograph - Credit Longines

Finally, our “priciest” alternative to the Rolex Daytona, yet one still just a fraction of the cost of those on the second-hand market, we have the Longines Conquest Chronograph. For £3,650, this sporty chronograph delivers a whole lot of Swiss made spec including the Calibre L898 automatic winding movement with a 59 hour power, a 42mm wide steel case, ceramic tachymeter bezel and sapphire crystal. The dial has an undeniably sporty personality with contrasting black counters and matte dials in silver, gold, black or blue.  For this price, you also get a solid three-row link bracelet equipped with a triple safety folding clasp and push-piece opening mechanism. 

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Charlotte Harris

About the Author: Charlotte Harris

Writing and watches are two of my biggest passions in life so being able to unite them on a daily basis is a wonderful thing. I hope through my writing that I can bring a fresh, feminine perspective on the watch space and encourage more men and women to get excited about all that’s happening.

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