6 Affordable Panerai Homages That Do the Icon Justice

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by  Karlton Miko Tyack | Last Updated:  Nov 16, 2020
6 Affordable Panerai Homages That Do the Icon Justice

Looking to strap the iconic design of a Panerai onto your wrist but would rather save that 10-25k or opt for something a little different? As distinct as the Panerai is, it can be difficult to find good alternatives.

After scouring the market, we’ve rounded up six of the most effective Panerai homages and alternatives.

Our Top Pick
  • The case is similar in size and shape to classic Panerais
  • A protection bridge shields the crown, the Panerai Luminor’s defining feature
  • Similar color palette with a leather strap featuring contrast stitching
Best Radiomir California Homage
  • Features the exact California Dial that the Radiomir California does
  • Water resistant 316L stainless steel case
  • Wears large and flat, just like a Panerai
  • Get 15% off with code TAM15
Best Bronze Panerai Homage
  • Luminous watch that can actually be used for diving
  • Distinguished bronze case/rubber strap combo make this watch a statement piece
  • Runs on Seiko’s Automatic movement
Best Luminor Marina Homage
  • Blue, graphic face gives a fun, nautical vibe
  • The crown also features a protection bridge
  • The case has a similar shape and size as the Luminor Marina
Best Swiss Movement Homage
  • Features a sleek but robust bezel inspired by motor racing
  • Powered by a high-caliber Swiss Automatic movement
  • Unique rubber strap with a leather veneer
Best Budget Homage
  • Features a guard for the crown
  • Great attention to detail, such as a mineral glass mirror per subdial
  • A sportier, more casual look than the Panerai

No luxury wristwatch is as unmistakable as the Panerai.

This distinctive timepiece even inspired the “Paneristi” movement, an ongoing cult following with the unbridled enthusiasm of Beatlemania.

Panerai is an Italian brand started in 1860 by Giovanni Panerai. They are known for their signature oversized cases. Today, Panerai has a reputation for being a favorite among action stars including Stallone, Arnold, and The Rock.

Whether you’d rather save ten grand or you just want something slightly different, an effective Panerai homage is a fun way to experience its wear and iconic qualities.

But before we go into the roundup, let’s talk about Panerai’s two core models.

Panerai Radiomir Overview

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The Radiomir was released in 1936 and features the radium-based glowing paint that Panerai previously patented in 1916. At the time, the Radiomir’s luminosity was the best in the industry, only to be beaten by their own tritium-based lume used by the Luminor.

In 1938, the Radiomir was updated with its current iconic design features. The face comprises overlapping plates, and its highly recognizable “sandwich” dial, which takes the place of hour markers.

The middle layer features stenciled numerals, and the bottom layer is the luminescent radium.

The instantly distinguishable cushion-shaped case is featured in both the Radiomir and the Luminor, though the Radiomir is narrower and less flat.

The Radiomir was designed especially for the Italian Navy in 1936, though today’s models retain many of the original’s distinguishing features. 

Panerai Radiomir

The Radiomir is the dressy yin to the Luminor's sporty yang and brings a refined elegance to the classic Panerai style. Best suited to guys seeking a more refined and graceful aesthetic, the Radiomir's hallmarks include a large cushion-shaped case, an unprotected winding crown and wire lugs.

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Panerai Luminor Overview

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The Panerai Luminor was made available to the military in 1950, and features a new self-luminous compound, which was safer and brighter than previous compounds the brand used. Panerai patented this tritium-based compound the previous year.

The Luminor features the design language associated with Panerai watches today. Most notably, it’s the first model to have the now iconic crown-protection bridge, which is a device that seals and secures the winding crown in place for superior water resistance.

The bezel is flatter and wider than those of past lines, which started the tradition of robust action star-worthy watches that Panerai is now known for.

Panerai Luminor

Birthed in 1950 as a byproduct of the patented luminescent material which gives it its name, the Luminor of today best characterizes the Panerai pedigree. With its large crown guard, thicker lugs, and rounded case, it's well suited to die-hard enthusiasts who wish to embrace Panerai's quintessential loud and robust aesthetic.

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6 Best Panerai Homages and Alternatives in 2020

Our Top Pick: Peugeot Sport

Peugeot Sport

With its combined key design elements from both the Panerai Luminor (the crown guard) and the Radiomir (the use of subdials), the Peugeot Sport tops out as our best overall Panerai homage. Further, the polished bezel and calfskin leather elevate the value of the watch beyond its modest price tag.

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Peugeot’s mission statement is to make luxury designs more affordable. They admittedly have a mixed reputation in their actual ability to do this. However, Peugeot at least does their Panerai homage justice and are popular for it.

As a good homage should be, the Peugeot Sport isn’t exactly the same as a Panerai. It takes cues from the most recognizable components of the Panerai’s design, and wears like the classic Luminor.

Of course, it doesn’t use the same high-quality raw material that Panerai uses, but its minimalistic design gives viewers less opportunity to spot inferiority.

The Peugeot Sport tops our list as the best overall because it combines key design elements from both the Luminor (the crown guard) and the Radiomir (the use of subdials).

The polished bezel and calfskin leather elevates the value of the watch beyond its modest price tag.

What Makes it Similar?

  • This Peugeot has a 44mm oversized case with a similar overblown square shape.

  • The crown is shielded with a protection bridge.

  • The face has a prominent 12 marker with subdials.

  • The palette is generally similar and the leather strap features contrast stitching.

What Makes it Different?

  • The face features multiple subdials instead of just one.

  • As a fashion watch, the overall functionalities are missing: It’s not truly water resistant and features a quartz movement.

  • Some users had issues with receiving dead batteries, so check that return policy date.

Is It for You?

The Peugeot Sport Watch is truly a fashion watch above all else. It has all of the important design elements that make Panerai so recognizable without completely cloning it. If what you love about the Panerai is distinct features and the large wear, this is the best affordable homage out there.

Best Overall Homage
Peugeot Sport

With its combined key design elements from both the Panerai Luminor (the crown guard) and the Radiomir (the use of subdials), the Peugeot Sport tops out as our best overall Panerai homage. Further, the polished bezel and calfskin leather elevate the value of the watch beyond its modest price tag.

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Best Radiomir California Homage: Spinnaker Hull California

Spinnaker Hull California
(Get 15% off with code TAM15)

There are two reasons to buy the Spinnaker Hull California. The first is if you like Panerai Radiomir California’s unique dial or nautical heritage. The second is if you’re a fan of the automatic movement.

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Spinnaker is a Hong Kong brand known for nautical style watches, which is a perfect pedigree to take on a Panerai homage.

The most important feature is the Spinnaker Hull California is the dial, which simply means the dial consists of half Roman and half Arabic numbers. The same hour markers that are Roman versus Arabic in the original Radiomir are reflected in this Spinnaker.

The vintage-style leather straps are thick and rich looking, the 316L stainless steel case is 100m water resistant, and the domed crystal is a sapphire blend with anti-reflective coating.

Finally, this watch features a Japanese NH35 Automatic movement, which is Seiko’s famously precise workhorse movement.

What Makes it Similar?

  • The face has the exact same California Dial as the Radiomir.

  • Both watches have a large but flat wear.

  • Both timepieces are built with water resistant 316L stainless steel.

What Makes it Different?

  • The lugs of the Spinnaker are heavier for a slightly bulkier wear.

  • The face has a beautiful blue design, which is reminiscent of the ocean, but unlike the original simple dial of the Panerai.

Is It for You?

There are two reasons to buy the Spinnaker Hull California. The first is if you like Panerai Radiomir California’s unique dial or nautical heritage. The second is if you’re a fan of the automatic movement. This watch is the most visually similar automatic homage on the list.

Best Radiomir California Homage
Spinnaker Hull California
(Get 15% off with code TAM15)

There are two reasons to buy the Spinnaker Hull California. The first is if you like Panerai Radiomir California’s unique dial or nautical heritage. The second is if you’re a fan of the automatic movement.

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Best Bronze Panerai Homage: San Martin Bronze Waterproof Automatic

San Martin Bronze Waterproof Automatic

The San Martin pulls from the Bronze Panerai’s vintage tool aesthetic. Just like the classic utilitarian-style Panerai Submersible, the submarine-like case works well with its rubber strap. If you want a Panerai homage that you can actually get wet, this is the timepiece for you.

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Now we’re getting into the homages with some functionality. I know many of you won’t use these for diving, but the functionalities also manifest themselves into cool design features.

The San Martin pulls from the Bronze Panerai’s vintage tool aesthetic. Just like the classic utilitarian-style Panerai Luminor Submersible, the submarine-like case works well with its rubber strap.

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Because of the bulk of the strap and the distinguished color of the case, I consider this watch to be a statement piece.

Another design highlight is the shark embossed on the crown and the caseback.

The bronze case of the San Martin is water resistant at 200m and resistant to seawater corrosion, and will eventually oxidize and change color.

It features a unidirectional rotating bezel and the crystal is a synthetic sapphire with anti-reflective treatment.

Like the Spinnaker, this homage runs on Seiko’s NH35 Automatic movement.

What Makes it Similar

  • Both watches have a similar color palette with a vintage utilitarian-chic feel.

  • Both watches are water resistant, though the San Martin has 100m less resistance.

  • The San Martin is a luminous watch and can actually be used for diving.

What Makes it Different?

  • With a case at 40mm, this homage isn’t as massive as Panerais are known to be.

Is it for You?

If you want a Panerai homage that you can actually get wet, the San Martin Bronze Waterproof Automatic is for you. Aesthetically, it pays tribute to its inspiration using color and general aesthetic, as opposed to specific details.

Best Bronze Panerai Homage
San Martin Bronze Waterproof Automatic

The San Martin pulls from the Bronze Panerai’s vintage tool aesthetic. Just like the classic utilitarian-style Panerai Submersible, the submarine-like case works well with its rubber strap. If you want a Panerai homage that you can actually get wet, this is the timepiece for you.

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Best Luminor Marina Homage: Peugeot Sport in Blue and Brown

Peugeot Sport in Blue and Brown

The brown leather strap, steel case, and blue dial give this Peugeot the same extra layer of visual dimension over the monochrome version that the Luminor Marina has over the regular Luminor. I recommend this to homage-seeking Panerai fans who prefer the Luminor Marine’s slightly louder look when compared to the Luminor Base.

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This variant of the Peugeot Sport is technically the same model as our first pick, but the color variation makes such a vast difference that it may as well be a different watch.

The Panerai Luminor Marina is distinct from its Base counterpart because of an extra subdial on the face and an embossed tribute to the Miami Bal Harbour Panerai boutique on the caseback.

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It leans harder into its dive heritage, and this is why I think the blue Peugeot is such an effective homage.

The brown leather strap, steel case, and blue dial give this Peugeot the same extra layer of visual dimension over the monochrome version that the Luminor Marina has over the regular Luminor.

Also, Peugeot offers a limited lifetime warranty, replaces batteries for free, and repairs watches for just the cost of parts.

What Makes it Similar?

  • Just like the Luminor Marina, this Peugeot model wears heavy and has a similar shape.

  • The watches feature a comparable face and strap design, and the crown is shielded with a protection bridge.

  • Both watches have a fun, nautical vibe. 

What Makes it Different?

  • The Peugeot doesn’t feature the same dive watch functionalities as the Panerai.

Is it for You?

This Peugeot Sport Watch is a shinier, fancier looking version of the simple black variant. I recommend this to Panerai fans who prefer the Luminor Marine’s slightly louder look when compared to the Luminor Base.

Best Luminor Marina Homage
Peugeot Sport in Blue and Brown

The brown leather strap, steel case, and blue dial give this Peugeot the same extra layer of visual dimension over the monochrome version that the Luminor Marina has over the regular Luminor. I recommend this to homage-seeking Panerai fans who prefer the Luminor Marine’s slightly louder look when compared to the Luminor Base.

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Best Swiss Movement Homage: Tissot T-Race Swiss Automatic Sport

Tissot T-Race Swiss Automatic Sport

The Tissot T-Race Automatic Sport is a genuine luxury sports watch at a reasonable price. If what you like about Panerai is its high-end design and fancy qualities, this watch can offer something quite similar for much less than you’d pay for an actual Panerai.

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As an official Timekeeper for the NBA and Tour de France, Tissot holds its own as an important watch brand. The Tissot T-Race Sport is in a much lower price range than a Panerai, but it isn’t too far off when it comes to quality.

The overall aesthetic is inspired by motorsports, and the bezel is designed to look like a brake-disc. Both the Tissot T-Race and Panerai watches have a clean but robust face that wears large on the wrist, but not in a bulky way.

The case is 316L stainless steel, just like a Panerai’s, and is almost 49mm making it the biggest watch on this roundup. A scratch-resistant sapphire protects the watch’s face.

The bracelet is a unique mix of rubber and leather. The strap itself is rubber, but it’s covered on the outside by a thin piece of alligator-embossed leather, adding a dimension of richness.

And of course, this watch is powered by a Swiss automatic movement.

What Makes it Similar?

  • The Tissot T-Race Automatic is a large sport watch with a clean but strong bezel.

  • Both watches feature a rich looking leather strap.

  • Both watches have high-caliber Swiss movements.

What Makes it Different?

  • The face doesn’t feature any Arabic numerals, and contains a date window.

Is it for You?

The Tissot T-Race Automatic Sport is a genuine luxury sports watch at a reasonable price. If what you like about Panerai is its high-end design and fancy qualities, this watch can offer something quite similar for much less than you’d pay for an actual Panerai.

Best Swiss Movement Homage
Tissot T-Race Swiss Automatic Sport

The Tissot T-Race Automatic Sport is a genuine luxury sports watch at a reasonable price. If what you like about Panerai is its high-end design and fancy qualities, this watch can offer something quite similar for much less than you’d pay for an actual Panerai.

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Best Budget Luminor Homage: Megir Military Chronograph

Megir Military Chronograph

Panerais are luxury sport watches, and this budget homage laser focuses on that athletic aspect. The slanted font of the Arabic numerals and detailed subdials give the watch a frenetic look, and the visible screws on the case add an industrial flare.

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Despite how affordable the Megir Military Chronograph is, it’s a fully functional and durable chronograph.

Like Panerai watches, the face features bold Arabic numerals, the 45mm alloy case is paired with a leather strap, and there’s even a protection bridge over the crown.

The subdials on the face each feature a mineral glass mirror, a small detail not usually considered for watches in this price point. The alloy case is lightweight and anti-corrosion, and the genuine leather strap is soft, comfortable, and durable.

Panerais are luxury sport watches, and this budget homage laser focuses on that athletic aspect. The slanted font of the Arabic numerals and detailed subdials give the watch a frenetic look, and the visible screws on the case add an industrial flare.

What Makes it Similar?

  • The Megir Military Chronograph features a crown guard.

  • The alloy case is paired with a leather strap.

  • At 45mm, this watch wears large on any wrist, just like Panerais do.

What Makes it Different?

  • This watch has a more casual, athletic aesthetic than Panerais generally do.

Is it for You?

At such an affordable price point, I think the Megir Military Chronograph is for everyone. It’s a more sporty Panerai homage; that along with its no-frills color palette, makes it the most versatile watch on the list.

Because of its bold numbers and large size though, this dynamic casual watch still grabs attention as the Panerai does.

Best Budget Homage
Megir Military Chronograph

Panerais are luxury sport watches, and this budget homage laser focuses on that athletic aspect. The slanted font of the Arabic numerals and detailed subdials give the watch a frenetic look, and the visible screws on the case add an industrial flare.

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Which Panerai Homage Should You Get?

What makes the homages on this list so good is that they take their cue from the strengths of the Panerai to create uniquely good watches on their own.

The Peugeots are detail-oriented homages, while the San Martin uses the Panerai’s palette and overall aesthetic as inspiration to feature unique details.

Peugeot Sport

With its combined key design elements from both the Panerai Luminor (the crown guard) and the Radiomir (the use of subdials), the Peugeot Sport tops out as our best overall Panerai homage. Further, the polished bezel and calfskin leather elevate the value of the watch beyond its modest price tag.

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Prefer an automatic? The Spinnaker Hull looks just like the Radiomir California. A Swiss Automatic, you say? The Tissot T-Race has a similarly strong and clean look as the Luminor.

It goes to show that you don’t need to drop five digits to get the Panerai’s iconic qualities on your wrist!