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Top Bargain Buys!


chrgod
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UPDATE DECEMBER 27 2011. Updated with Sinn U1/U2 & Vintage Rolex Submariner and Explorer II.

UPDATE AUGUST 8 2009. Updated with IWC Portugese 1939.

UPDATE JUNE 7 2009. Updated with Glashutte Senator.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 20 2009. Updated with Tag Heuer Formula 1 Chrono (Quartz) and Omega Planet Ocean 42mm, Asian movement.

UPDATE APRIL 20 2008. Updated with Franck Muller Crazy Hour.

UPDATE MARCH 25 2008 The guide is extended to include the new Breitling SuperOcean Heritage and IWC St. Exupery with Asian movement. Both which still can be bought for less than 150 USD (perhaps even with shipping included... With the low value of the US dollar, some of the other watches are now more expensive. However, as they still are good buys I keep them in the post. smile.gif

In spite of all the new, expensive "ulitmate" replicas, there are still quite a few bargain-watches out there. There was a similar thread about this some weeks ago, but this deserves even more attention.

While the Cousteau, Big-Bang, Bentleys and other USD 280 ++ 7750-based chronographs get most of the limelight, a number of other excellent reps are living in the shadows. I hope this can bring more attention to some of the the good, cheap watches below 150 USD. smile.gif

This is a short guide, mostly for the newbies, to show that you dont have to buy the USD 300+ Super replicas to get a good quality, accurate replica.

Pros and Cons when buying a "cheap" replica:

You normally don't get the latest "hottest" watch.

Most mechanical chronographs, moonphase-complications etc are too expensive to fit in this category. You miss out on fancy functions, but that also means you get a more robust movement.

You normally don't get an ETA at this price (although some sellers ( Silix) still have excellent ETA non-date Rolex'es like the Explorer I below 150 USD. Grab them while they last!).

The manual wound Chinese Unitas Copy movement in the FA.Jones, Railmaster and Panerais are considered to be a good movement. These watches have a display caseback, which shows off the movement. On the replicas, the "engravings" are normally stickers. On some, like the "Jones", these are very well made.

The "Asian Automatic" which is the normal dealer description of the movement in many of these watches are often a Miyota Copy movement or an ETA-Copy. These movements are generally considered to be good.

In my opinion, the dealers with the best bargains are smaller collectors like River, Silix and Ruby. Sometimes the ordering process is a bit more complicated that the webshop-ordering from Trustytime or Perfect-clones. But, then agian, this is down to personal experiences. Others have good relationship with other dealers. Choose you dealer, then the watch! smile.gif

The following is my personal Top Ten.

******** TOP TEN! ********

1. Breitling SuperOcean Steelfish, Asian movement.

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White, black or blue... You can't go wrong with either!

The SFSO should be well-known to the RWG-members. The Asian version usually runs at about 100-130 USD plus shipping. An excellent buy. Great build quality and very accurate to the gen. The two-three times more expensive ETA version has in addition Sapphire glass and good AR-coating. The ETA-version has also higher beat (28800) and feels a bit smoother in winding and setting.

Stephane did an excellent Review of Asian Steelfish

2. Chopard Mille Miglia GTXLR.

I bought this two weeks ago, for my GF, and it was the inspiration for this post. This can be bought for less than 100 USD shipped!! A big watch with a unique and eye-catching design. For you AR-freeks out there, this actually has a very nice one-sided AR. It gives the watch an expensive look.

Display caseback with a nicely decorated movement, which is a 21 jewels Valgranges copy (correct me if I am wrong). Supposedly 21600 bph. The rotor spins freely both ways. Much more easily than on a 7750. It appears like the text on the rotor is actually engraved/ painted. Excellent date magnification and very good overall finish to the dial, crown and case. The rubber strap is thick and with a secure clasp with twin-button release. Of the flaws, the "Chopard" on the dial is a little brighter on the genuine and there is a weird misspelling on the crown. For some reason they have spelled "MIGLIA" backwards! Also, if you look for it, you can see the edge of the plastic spacer through the display caseback. Still; This is a hell of a watch for 75 USD! In terms of best value.. I actually find it even better than the SFSO

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Weird misspelling on the crown. In reality, you need a magnifier to see this.

3. IWC F.A. Jones.

The Jones was a big hit when it came out a year ago, but are now in the shadows of more recent releases like the 3717. The use of the almost bulletproof Unitas-copy movement makes it a safe buy. Big, classic design. The strap is from Chinese plastic crocodile.. The skeleton version is quite a attention grabber, my girlfriend really likes hers!

The replica FA Jones with its decorated movement caused a stir on Timezone when it was launched.

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4. Omega Railmaster XL.

Cool, big 47mm Omega with the same movement as the FA Jones and Panerais.

The big-boys Railmaster has for some reason not received much attention here. Still, it is a good replica, with a nicely decorated movement. Available from moste dealers for about 110 USD. *Update June 08: This model seems to have been discontinued.*

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Pictures by Ruby

5. Panerai

I am not a great Panerai-fan, but most of the basic Unitas-copy powered models like Luminor Marina, Radiomir and "Fiddy" can be bought for about 110-130 USD. Some Pams models with working power reserve are also well below 150 USD.

These are big, heavy watches that are good value for money.

The watch below is a basic 47mm Panerai "Marina Militare" with lefty crown. It runs for about 110 USD. This has actually become my Friday-watch, when I feel for wearing something slightly odd at the office.

The standard strap feels crappy, but it is actually leather, which is painted with brown "plastic-paint". A simple bleaching (Chlorine) gives it a nice vintage look like this. smile.gif

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6. Rolex Submariner "Noobmariner"/ Yachtmaster "Noob"

Another well-known watch, and maybe the best Submariner yet! Go for the version with the ETA-copy movement!

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Picture by By-Tor

Noobmariner review

The Noobie version of the Yacht-Master has also received very good reviews! The Yacht-Master is a difficult watch to get 100% correct. It has a distinctive and flashy style. You either love it or hate it.

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Picture by By-Tor

Yacht-Master Noob review

7. Rolex Explorer I and Air-King.

These smaller Rolexes might be the most accurate Rolex-replicas out there, thanks to the simple design without date, date magnificaton and crown guards. The no-frills Air-King is a personal favorite of mine.. The ETA-version of these can still be picked up for less than 150 USD (update October 2008: The cheapest ETAs is now about 180 USD). The Asian versions are dirt cheap, and usually has a decent movement.

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Rolex Explorer I review.

9. TAG Heuer Indy 500.

The only chronograph in the top 10. This usually sells for a tad above 100 USD. The replica is powered by the same ETA-quartz movement as the original, with a 1/10 seconds totalizer. (Some sellers have a jap quartz version). The latest version has a more accurate logo on the dial and is quite accurate to the gen. It appears to be missing the "TAG Heuer" on the side of the case.. but I would not be surprised if there is a version/batch without this. There is also a white dial replica which is very good looking, but does not exist as genuine.

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Picture by Azerbyjam.

This has been on my shortlist for a while. For some reason I am actually more tempted by this, than the new Aquaracer or the 3717.. Read "Azerbyjams" review of his Indy 500 HERE.. ( Bytors excellent Guide to TAG Heuer replicas are also worth a visit!)

An excellent replica of the "normal" Tag Heuer Formula 1 chronograph was revealed in 2008. Being powered by the same ETA-quartz movement as the gen, it is a very safe buy for less than 150USD! Read my review HERE. D¤M has a great review HERE. And finally Morlock has a great review with movement information HERE.

Normal replica flaws for this watch are slightly grayish TH-logo, different clasp and shorter running seconds hand. There is also a newer version of this, with racetrack dial.

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Replica versus catalog picture.

10. TAG Heuer "Golf"

Another quartz. Its unique character and the qualities of the latest version of the replicas gives it a place in the top 10. .

Keyhole has an excellent Review of the TAG Heuer Golf

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Picture by Keyhole

*** Bonus section! New additions to the original Top 10***

11. Breitling SuperOcean Heritage

As I know, the SuperOcean Heritage was a project by Silix. Another project where a genuine watch was bought for replication. According to reviews and side-by side comparison pictures, It was well done. At 46mm, it is a very big watch!!

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Comparison picture from Silix. The gen is to the right. The beautiful mesh bracelet is sadly not yet available as replica.

The minor flaws on the watch is slightly different date font and different thickness in the "Automatic" on the dial. Sharp eyes will also spot that on the genuine, the "p" in SuperOcean touches the "a" in Automatic, while on the rep, the "p" touches the "u". Nevertheless, well worth its 130 USD.

As with the SuperOcean Steelfish, the Asian version is similar to the ETA-powered, except for the movement and crystal. The Asian version has mineral glass without AR, where the ETA-version has AR covered shappire.

Seadweller4000s review of the SuperOcean Heritage should tell you all you want to know about this watch! smile.gif

A long discussion about the SO Heritage replica, with some inforamtion from Silix.

12. IWC St. Exupery

This IWC (Reference 3201), is a limited edition launched in 2007. It is another watch in the series hounoring the French Aviator. The caseback has engraved a map showing the air-mail route from Toulouse to Dakar. St. Exuperys adventures transporting mail on this route is the background for his novel "Currier Sud". The watch measures 44mm and is made in 250 examples in white gold and 1178 in stainless steel.

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Pictures from Kingwatch and Perfect Clones

The replica hit the streets in early 2008. It has double AR, working Power reserve and rather good caseback engravings. The biggest tells are that the Power reserve subdial sits slightly lower and that the caseback has 6 notches, not 8 as on the genuine. They have used the 001/250 serial number from the white gold version. A weird flaw is that the replica uses a date font close to the ETA-type, while IWC on this one uses a date font similar to the usual Asian style.. well well..

All in all, an interesting, big watch for small money. 135 USD.

Check out these threads to know more:

New IWC replica: St Exupery Power reserve

Lanikais excellent review of the St. Exupery!

13. Omega Seamaster GMT

Another very well made "Diver" which can be bought for about 100 USD with Asian movement. There are several different versions of the Seamaster. Usually, they have the great bracelet and well made construction in common. The GMT-version gets my vote for "Best buy" of the bunch.

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Picture from By-Tor.

Check out By-Tors extensive review on the Asian Seamaster GMT

Pugwash' pictorial

14. Franck Muller Crazy Hours

If you want a cheap replica that looks and functions like nothing else, as well as will get lot of comments... Look no further than the Franck Muller crazy hours! This replica uses an Asian movement with real jump hour function. A real eye-catcher which can be bought from less than 150 USD from most dealers! For the ultimate look, go for the "Color Dreams version!

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Picture from Toad.

Read Toadtorrents Crazy Hours Color Dream review.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 42mm

It went a long time before we received a decent replica of the UPOs little brother, the 42mm PO. Finally, as one of the first good replicas of 2009, Nariika started to supply a good version of this watch. It is a long discussion of this watch in THIS Review. This bargain replica sells for less than 100USD. It has a few flaws: "Professional" engraving on the clasp, which only the 45mm UPO should have, slightly wrong edge on the bezel and date font. Still, the fundamentals of the watch is right and it has become a popular watch. This is powered by one of the sturdy standard Asian movements. Other dealers like Trustytime also has this watch.

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The new 42mm PO replica, picture by Nariika.

Glashutte Senator Sixties

The Glashutte Senator replica is a big dress watch, measuring 43mm where the original is 39mm. Its design echoes the classic 1960ties style and it has a manual wind Asian movement which is nicely decorated. Best news is that it costs only 100- 120 USD, where the genuine costs about 5600 USD. smile.gif

Read Condemores review or b16a2s review2, b16a2s review1.

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The Glashutte Senator replica, pictures by Condemore.

IWC Portugese 1939

Another big IWC, in the same style as the F.A. Jones. This watch use the same Chineese Unitas movement, but unlike the Jones, it has AR coating on the crystal. AR is rare on a budget replica.

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Picture by Lanikai

A great buy for the 108 USD it costs from the major vendors!

Check out THIS thread for pictures and reviews. smile.gif

Sinn U1 and U2.

This German brand is not usually associated with replicas, so it came as a surprise when the first batch of U1 and U2 replicas hit the web. These German Submarine Steel watches are though looking pieces, and are recognized as good replications. The first batch of U1 had correct white lume hour markers, while as far as I know the rest has slightly greenish lume. Good AR on this. The screws on the crown has proved to be a bit weak. One particular thing I like is the good caseback engravings.. By the way, the replicas all seems to have the same serial numbers on the back.

With an Asian DG2813 movement, these cost less than 150 USD (ex shipping), which must be good value!

The DG2813 movement has a design issue, with an indirectly driven seconds hand, which might cause the seconds hand to "skip", compared to the 2824/2836 design. More info in this thread.

There are also the Hydro UX replica, which uses a mechanical movement where the genuine has a quartz.

Here is "unregistered"s excellent U1 review and comparison with a genuine U1.

"Raguse"s U1 review:

Rolex 1680 and 1655

Vintage Rolex replicas have come along way recently. There are quite good out of the box replicas of the 1680 and the 1655. With Asian movement, these cost less than 150 USD. Proof that more than four years after the initial article was written, you can still get a good watch for less than 150USD. Even though the ETA-movements are beyond the limit by now, the Chineese movements have improved. :-)

Chiman12s excellent Asian 1655 review

Several people have used the 1655 as a basis to build a vintage 1675 GMT-Master replica!

*

Other bargain buys might be the Asian-powered Omega Seamaster GMT or the Bond-Submariners.. The PO-lite seems to be discontinued?

Feel free to fill in YOUR best bargain buys! :-)

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Thanks for the comments, guys! @giorgio: I forgot about the PO Chronograph.. Amazing that you can get a 7750-based chronofor 150 USD.. :)

ETA Air Kings and Explorer ones don't go below $178... if they do... may I ask from which dealer?

Yes, Silix is the guy for cheap ETA Rolex'es, the vintage 5517 with sword hands for 140 USD is also a gem... But please dont spread the word, or he will raise the prices... ;)

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Yes, Silix is the guy for cheap ETA Rolex'es, the vintage 5517 with sword hands for 140 USD is also a gem... But please dont spread the word, or he will raise the prices... ;)

Great deals, but it took 29 days for my Carrera and Indy to come, so you have to be patient sometimes. Others get their stuff in a week from him, so I guess it's hit 'n miss with the service.

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Narikaa has been always an specialist in some of the best reps at the best price. I wonder why people buy from the cartel having dealers as Narikaa.

Frankly I think it is because the cartel has lots of pictures online, accepts many forms of payments, show their prices, and have a good reputation. Especially as a noob, these things make me feel more secure buying something that might be total crap. Pictures especially help reassure us that they (the cartel) have good stuff.

I'm sure Narikaa has fantastic stuff, but it's hard to tell the quality from the pics, and I don't see any prices. That creates a few barriers to ordering from Narikaa.

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Great Thread !!!!

I would agree with all,.. and have quite a few to look forward to..

My personal favorite is Narikaa's JLC Memovox with working alarm,...

I've had it for many months now and it never fails to awaken me,..

Not to mention that it's the perfect all location watch,...!

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Awesome Post! I can personally vouch for the Railmaster XXL...get it off that god-awful plastic strap, put on your 24mm strap of choice (I think it's even more versatile than PAMs in that respect), and rock out with an awesome rep! However...one of the best beaters was mentioned, but didn't get photo love, and that is the Omega Seamaster GMT. Although the clasp sucks (mine completely fell off after only wearing it 5 times), the actual watch is awesome. I put it on a Squinky oyster bracelet with straight end links, and it is now my beater of choice whenever I need to take a trip to Hell and back...

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Andrew has a Tag Link Quartz that is the same build quality/with same braclet as the "best" $258 version for $118--OK it's quartz, but Tag sells lots of quartz versions, and this one gives you quartz accuracy/durability at a bargain price.

For price-value relationship, on one of the better reps out there, this is one to consider.

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Amazing post... and what a great idea!!!

I agree, the Asian powered 21J Omega Seamaster black GMT belongs to the list as well. But maybe not to top-10 because of its non-sapphire glass. Perhaps you'll enlarge this post later (please do) and include it to top-20. :)

Good idea of linking the reviews. Here's the original Noobmariner review.

Here's Andreww's review of the UPO "Lite". This is a no-brainer and should definitely be on the list, imho.

Edit: I see you mentioned it's discontinued. Didn't know this.

PS: I'll pin this thread later if you plan of keep maintaining and updating it. This kind of guide is very useful... and proves that you don't have to spend a fortune to get a decent rep. Big thanks!

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By-Tor, credit goes to you for inspiring me to get the Seamaster GMT in the first place (mine is blue, however) *EDIT* Your guide to top Omega reps *EDIT*. I really put mine through hell and back over the past year, and amazingly, the mineral crystal on mine hasn't received a single blemish. It really is a great workhorse. I should also mention that mine only gains 8 seconds a day. Pretty great for the price. I second a move for this as a sticky, and an expansion to a top-20 list

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