How to build a Rolex Datejust inspired watch on a budget

Seiko 5 Rolex Datejust Front View

The story of this Seiko Datejust 100% begins with the dial. I saw this dial being sold on eBay and knew that if I could get it for a certain price, I would go for it. I didn't have a particular build in mind; I just wanted the dial! Fortunately, my max bid wasn't exceeded and the dial was mine. For a second hand Seiko 5 dial, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was in particularly good condition. There is a slight dent on the dial between 3 and 4 o'clock, but apart from that, it was fine. That imperfection is also barely noticeable.

What I didn't pre-empt though was how difficult I would find it to match the dial with a case, hands and strap. This dial has seen it all! But, more of that to follow below...

Interestingly, without a specific watch build in mind, I had also purchased a couple of fluted bezel watch cases which were on sale. It was only when I combined the dial and the case that I realised I could put them together to create quite a nice Rolex Datejust homage. So, here is my Seiko 5 Datejust. Read on to find out more about how I created this watch and the story behind the build:


Case: Miuksi 40mm Fluted Case with Sapphire Glass (AliExpress) - £30

Movement: NH36 movement (AliExpress) - £28

Dial: Seiko Cream Dial (Ebay) - £13

Hands: 12.5MM Watch Hands NH36 hands (AliExpress) - £3

Strap: Jubilee Steel Strap Band (AliExpress) - £6

Seiko 5 Rolex Datejust Mod Parts

How did the build go?

The build of this specific watch went quite well. From a technical perspective, there weren't any dial feet on the dial, meaning I had to learn how to attach the dial to the NH36 movement with double sided watchmaker adhesive tape. As a relative beginner, I had to practice a couple of times to line up the tape in the right place, but soon enough, the dial was in place.

Once that was done, adding the hands to the movement and installing to the case went very well. The second hand can sometimes be a bit of a horror to install but the silver on the cream made it quite easy to judge where the movement hole was.

This doesn't paint the full picture of this watch mod though!

Yes, I am happy with the end result but my word, it took a long time to get to this point. The hash mark minute indices on the dial are quite pronounced and due to that I assumed they could be inspiring enough to make the dial stand out irrespective of the case, the hands or the strap. Wrong!

The dial on its own didn't quite have the gravitas to succeed. Statement watch hands then came out - a black hands set with red second hand from a Seiko 5 SNK369K1. Nope, still no luck!

As I do in these situations, I therefore put the watch back in my watch box with the intention to come back to it at another time. It was only when I saw a couple of Rolex Datejust watches on Instagram that this dial immediately came to mind.

After adding a simple set of silver watch hands and a silver bracelet, in my mind, the look was complete.

I therefore have one piece of advice from this experience which is "don't give up"! As my Seiko Datejust proves, there may be times when your build doesn't quite go to plan. But persevere - those watch parts at the bottom of your box could be perfect for another watch build in the future.


Seiko 5 Rolex Datejust Held Up
Seiko 5 Rolex Datejust Side View


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