Luxe for Less: Rolex “Homage” from Citizen

Posted on January 28, 2011

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At 43 mm side to side (excl. crown), it's a little bigger than the usual Submariner

I’d never knock Rolex. It’s a good brand. They make great watches. Mr. Bond wears them. They’re the only watch company in Geneva that makes all components, cases and movements in-house (that’s why they’re so darned expensive). The only grouse I have about this luxury watchmaking behemoth is that tiny fib about turning down the Zenith El Primero frequency to “increase” reliability- but that’s another story.

Introducing the Rolex Inspired Citizen 7 Diver

Today, I want to introduce you to this retrotastic men’s watch: Citizen 7 Diver. Featuring a 21 jewel in-house automatic Citizen movement, the 1990s release though labeled “Diver” is only capable of depths of up to 100m (most regular Rolex wearers don’t even dive that deep or bring in near water). It follows similar aesthetic to the Rolex Submariner, with deep set black dial, quick set date window and date magnifier. This Citizen 7 Diver watch has an added design accent which I thoroughly enjoy- red second hand.

The Citizen 7 diver on left also replicates the "Jubilee" band famous on many retro-Rolexes circa 1970s. New Submariners have the usual steel bracelet as seen on the right.

How they stack up: Citizen 7 vs. Rolex Submariner

Citizen 7 Rolex Submariner
40 hr Power Reserve 50 hr power reserve
Stainless steel band and case Stainless steel band and case
In-house movement In-house movement
Date calender with magnifier Date calender with magnifier
Screw down crown Screw down crown
100m water resist 300m water resist
US$100 US$6000

Admittedly, the table over simplifies things a little: In terms of movement and case finishing, the Submariner is much MUCH better decorated and polished. However, you are saving over USD5900 for the Citizen 7 Diver. Citizen and Seiko designed the working man’s automatic movements and as such- you get the working man’s price tag without any of the serious refinement that goes into a men’s luxury watch. In terms of aesthetics, the Citizen 7 is no lightweight to the Rolex, consider getting it if you don’t want to spend serious money on a timepiece- No one will notice it’s not a Rolex (it’s a psychological thing) and best of all, it’s not some cheap knock off that will die on you in two weeks- It’s luxe for less.

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Posted in: watches