The Rolex Datejust is regarded by many as the best example of what a good, classic Rolex watch should be. It was first created in 1945 and was hailed as the first-ever self-winding waterproof chronometer wristwatch that has a window showing the date at 3 o’clock on the dial. This is where the name comes from. It features a classic look and timeless functions. It is definitely a watchmaking icon that will stand the test of time. It comes in a number of varieties, starting MSRP prices ranging from $6,300 to over $13,000 depending on your choice of bezel and bracelet.
The classic look of the Datejust includes the Jubilee bracelet. This iconic Rolex five-piece metal link bracelet was specially designed for the 1945 launch of the Oyster Perpetual Datejust and is one of the well-known features of the watch that makes it instantly recognizable on your wrist. Another key feature of the Datejust is the Cyclops lens in the 3 O’clock position that magnifies the date and makes it easier to read. Rolex invented the Cyclops in 1953 and the Datejust was the first model to feature it.
While there are some collectors that are not fans of the Datejust specifically because of the Cyclops, it is one of the hallmark features that the Datejust is known for (on models made since ’53). It has since been used it on other models with date display such as the Rolex Submariner, Explorer II and the Yachtmaster.
If you love the Rolex Datejust but can’t justify paying the high price tag, here’s our list of stylish dress watches that either draws inspiration from Rolex or deliver style and timeless design at a much more affordable price point. We’ve listed several starting from the most affordable, working our way up to a few luxury models.
Below, we list some of the best and most affordable alternatives for the iconic Datejust watch. Let’s take a look.
Best Affordable Rolex Datejust Alternatives
The Orient Maestro is the first off our list. The initial impression of this watch is its simplicity. Its details, while intricate, are subtle at best. It features a faint sunburst effect on a matte finish on the dial. The hour markers and hands are thin and quaint, but with amazing mirror-like polish. This makes this model one of the few from Orient watches that mix together the color of the date window with the rest of the dial. This sort of detail gives the next level of luxury to an otherwise simple and “uniform” watch.
The Maestro is encased sandwich-style in a 40mm enclosure, 11.9 mm thick. The case flaunts an impressive 100m water resistance capability and is polished thoroughly. It measures 46.1 mm lug to lug. The back of this exhibition case shows the Orient caliber F6722 movement, hacking, hand-winding, and automatic.
Seiko Men’s Japanese-Automatic Watch SARB033
The Seiko SARB033 uses the Seiko 6R15 self-winding caliber movement, which is also capable of being hacked and hand-wound. This premium caliber is used for most of the models under the Seiko Prospex collection of watches. It allows for a great 50-hour power reserve.
It is enclosed in a finely brushed finish case. The hands come in a black dial luminous and sporty look, with silvertone hour markers. You can see the date display at the 3 o’clock position, similar to the Rolex Datejust. It features a stainless steel bracelet with a deployable clasp using a dual push-button mechanism.
The exhibition back uses a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, letting you see the watch’s movement in action. It is water-resistant for 100 meters. It is a great luxury watch that is accessible at a more affordable price range.
Citizen Eco-Drive Men’s Two-Tone Corso Watch
The Citizen Corso features a surprising bezel that’s 12-sided. This not only makes it make unique but contributes to its overall style. The Corso is a three-hand watch under the Eco-Drive design. It comes in a stainless steel two-tone, enclosed in a 37mm screw-back case.
You’ll enjoy features such as 100m water resistance, luminous hands, a day-date indicator set within a white dial, and a foldover clasp with a push-button. As mentioned, it comes with the signature Eco-Drive technology, which means it is powered by any type of light. You’ll never require a battery. It uses the Citizen caliber E101. As with all Citizen watches, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and free returns.
Seiko Presage Prestige line SARX033
Another watch from Seiko makes it to our list. The Presage SARX033 is noteworthy for several reasons. It also gets its power from the Seiko 6R15 caliber, featuring premium self-winding, hacking, and hand-winding movement. This grants a 50-hour power reserve. What’s more impressive is its +25/-15 seconds/day accuracy.
All this performance is encased in a 10.8mm finely brushed case with a polished finish. It also comes with the Dia-Shield protective coating for added durability. It features silvertone hour markers, with a white dial and blue hands, creating a luxurious look.
Like the Datejust, its date display is found at the 3 o’clock position. It comes with a high-quality stainless steel bracelet which can be opened and closed using a deployant clasp and a dual push-button release. The sapphire crystal and the Hardlex exhibition back is not only scratch-resistant but also lets you enjoy the watch’s movement in action. It also eliminates the need to decide between which is better: sapphire crystal or Hardlex, because you get both. Plus, it is water-resistant for 100 meters.
Oris Big Crown Original Pointer Date Automatic
This particular watch is great for those of you who can’t decide between a sporty watch and one that’s more traditional in design. The Pointer Date blends the best of these two styles while being comfortable on your wrist. There are a number of length variations, but we recommend either the 36mm or 40mm ones.
The 36mm is very charming and is reeking of vintage goodness. It has polished sides, a big screw-down crown, brushed lugs, a thin coin-edge bezel, and a classic look all over. The bezel and dial style screams vintage and old school. All of this is encased in a brushed finish enclosure that features just the right amount of sportiness.
Nomos Club Automat Date Men’s Watch
This Nomos watch is anything but ordinary. It features an extra-large date display, with digits that are readable even during foggy, stormy, and dark conditions – making it perfect for those who are always on the go. And don’t worry about harsh conditions taking a toll on the watch, because it is enclosed in an extremely durable case that can withstand anything you might encounter during your day. Looking at the back case, you’ll see the whale engraving and the indication that you CAN use it even when diving. “20 atm” means it is dive-proof.
It’s not just the ultimate physical watch. It also has a lot of space. The Club’s automatic date is among the biggest to come from the Nomos collections, going as big as 41.5 mm in diameter. If you’re a man who’s always on the go, but cannot afford to not have a luxury timepiece, this one’s a top recommendation. It is powered by an automatic caliber that has great accuracy and an excellent winding rate. It is equipped with the signature and patented date mechanism from Nomos. And it’s also a nice sight for sore eyes.
Grand Seiko SBGV245
The Grand Seiko SBGV245 is as bold as they come. You get a durable bezel with a striking vertical streak. It says “I’m tough” and “I’m stylish” all at the same time. It comes with the new Grand Seiko case structure, which features details made for rugged and tough lifestyles, as laid down by the Grammar of Design Philosophy.
Its hands and markers are Lumi Brite, allowing you to see the time in the dark, without compromising the watch’s appearance. The bracelet is made of a ballistic nylon strap that is lightweight, and a Cordura fabric that’s among the most durable materials of its kind. It is powered by the caliber 9F, a high-precision choice that delivers amazing durability and performance – ensuring you of dependability and accuracy no matter how harsh the environments may be.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Automatic Men’s
The Seamaster comes in a durable stainless steel 41.5 mm case. The bracelet is polished and brushed stainless steel with a fixed steel bezel. The dial comes in a silver-tone and wave pattern. The hands and index hour markers are luminous, too. You’ll find minute markers around the exterior rim. The dial is analog, with a date display at the 3 o’clock position, just like the Rolex Datejust.
It is powered by the Omega caliber 8500 automatic movement. It boasts of a 60-hour power reserve and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. The back of the case is transparent, too, for you to enjoy viewing the mechanism. It is water-resistant up to 150 meters (500 feet), which is greater than the other watches we’ve listed in this post. Enjoy this anti-magnetic luxury watch which features the hour, minute, second, and date.
Men’s Tudor Glamour Date
Tudor, as a brand, has created a trademark look of retro-chic style. This watch is no exception. Glamour features a sophisticated elegance on top of its amazing features. From the smallest model from this line to the bigger variations (Date+Day, Double Date), there is one style that will fit you.
The day display is found at the 12 o’clock position, the word spelled out in full. You can also opt for this feature in different languages. The date display is found at the 3 o’clock position. It has a double bezel that comes on a neatly rounded case, giving it a truly retro-chich look. You can get the double bezel in either all steel or steel with yellow gold. Whichever you pick, you can be sure that the design is clean and is in harmony with the watch’s dials. For a fully vintage look, it has leather straps and steel bracelets.
IWC Ingenieur Automatic Black Dial Men’s Watch IW357002
In the 1950s, two watch companies noticed the need for specialized timepieces for scientists and engineers. These were Rolex and IWC. They worked to blend the feature water-resistant cases, anti-magnetic properties, rugged automatic movements, and other advanced technologies. The result was the Rolex Milgauss and the IWC Ingenieur.
For over 50 years, the basic concepts of their designs remained in the industry. The IWC Ingenieur gave birth to various models and variations. Today, IW 3570 is the standard model that’s renowned globally. It resembles the INGENIEUR logo. At the 6 o’clock position, it says Automatic. Unlike previous models, the anti-magnetic core is not used today.
Omega Constellation Globemaster
The Globemaster is one of Omega’s most iconic lines. Today, it features several updates, enough for it to become the first Master Chronometer in the world, cementing its legacy in the field of watchmaking. Besides the major quality upgrade, the design remains simple but sophisticated.
This model, in particular, uses a stainless steel case with an 18k yellow gold fluted bezel. The “Pie Pan” opaline silver dial is an original feature that dates back to the first-ever Constellation (1952). The Constellation star is made of yellow gold. The indexes and hands are filled with luminous material, Super-LumiNova. It has a new three-row bracelet that has slightly curved stainless steel and 18k yellow gold central links.
Topping it off, it is powered by the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 8900, which uses revolutionary anti-magnetic technology.
Rolex Datejust & Celebrities
Because of the massive impact that this watch has, many celebrities have become ambassadors of the model. One of them is tennis superstar Roger Federer. Regarded as one of the best players in the history of the sport, he holds 20 Grand Slam titles. 2009 was a huge year for Federer. His first twins were born, and he flew past Pete Sampras’ record of Grand Slam wins at Wimbledon. Since then, Roger found a new meaning for the word “great”. That day, he was wearing a Rolex Datejust.
Another celebrity beloved around the world is Michael Bublé. He has always wanted to be a singer, even when he was young. Today, he holds four Grammy awards, 50 million records sold, four number one albums in the Billboard 200, and more achievements under his belt. It wasn’t always easy for him, and it took 10 years and then some to arrive where he is today. As his first record became a hit, a Rolex watch was one of the first gifts given to Michael, courtesy of his record label. It became a symbol of his dedication and perseverance to reach his dreams.
Here’s a quick promo video for the Rolex Datejust 41 showing off its finer details: