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View Full Version : Review & comparison of genuine and replica ROLEX GMT Master II's



By-Tor
08-12-2008, 07:22 PM
http://i.imgur.com/snsB1GL.jpg

Why I bought a genuine GMT Master II?

Well, my beautiful correct hand stack version broke. The adjustable hour hand was problematic from the beginning. This movement has been discussed a lot lately, because some new reps of ceramic GMT IIc versions use this "system". My personal advice is to avoid this modification, unless you want to play Russian Roulette with 3 bullets. Read Ziggy's review (http://www.rwg.cc/members/index.php?showtopic=78321) for more.

I fooled myself and thought that it could be kept in sync with the "rolling over the dial" hoodoo and voodoo trick. Well it worked temporarily, but in reality the whole movement was just an accident waiting to happen. Eventually the hour hand adjustment stopped working (completely), and on top of this the tube of the GMT hand cracked. According to my watch repair guy, the "Mystery Modder" (greetings man!), this is very typical with the chs movement.

The diagnose: The hour hand gear can't be sourced. This means the movement is trashable. It really pissed me off because I had spent lots of time and effort to modify this watch to excellent condition.

See the review of this extremely fine replica watch (now unfortunately only in past tense) here. (http://www.rwg.cc/members/index.php?showtopic=71771)

Well, (just like my movement) I finally had enough with this piece of JUNK timebomb Chinese modification, which is kept together with glue, rubber bands and iron wires, and bought the gen. As much as I love reps, I'm going to stay away from all kinds of unnatural modifications from now on. I should have believed what Ziggy told me.

Another reason why I wanted a gen now, rather than later, was that all reports in the watch world say that the 16710 prices would skyrocket in the next 10 years. Talked to the owner of Preownedrolex.com and he said these are the hottest items right now, and he actually has a waiting list for them.

I especially wanted the hour hand adjustable 16710, because the 3185 movement in the modern GMT II (and Explorer II) is both fascinating and impressive. Think about it, what's so special about the 3135 inside the Submariner, Sea Dweller and other basic Rolexes? Yes, 3135 is a damn fine workhorse, but then again so is ETA 2836-2 and the function is just the same.


http://i.imgur.com/dBsREg4.jpg



Let's start the review itself:

First, who wants to read a sterile review of a genuine Rolex? They're boring and Web is full of them, written by genuine and sterile watch snobs. Ok, just kidding... but you get the picture. We want something counterfeit and shady here, don't we? So I decided to do a little comparison between the rep and gen. I still have one perfectly working GMT replica left. This "Noobfactory" version is equipped with a "wrong hand stack" Asian movement, and has some excessive mods performed on it. For clarity, all pictures of the rep are with the "Coke" bezel.


http://i.imgur.com/QyLcFTp.jpg

Mods done for this replica:

1. New thinner and longer GMT hand with perfect "triangle" shape. From Joshua! Takashi glued an unfitting hand over the old one. Very cleverly done.
2. Genuine crown and tube (JustAsGood)
3. New bezel with sharp teeth like gen (bklm1234)
4. New, high quality gen-like bezel insert with Sans Serif font (Ebay). (Not installed on the photo above).
5. Crown guards modified (by yours truly)

Let's start picking up the details and breaking the myths (if necessary).

MYTH 1: Bracelet and clasp:

Genuine modern Rolexes use the higher grade 904 steel, and it gives somewhat "whiter" appearance in the daylight. It's always funny when people (who don't know what they're talking about) tell that "genuine bracelet feels so much better and heavier". The difference is actually minimal with properly oiled and polished replica bracelet, and what people don't realize is that there are actually differences between the replica bracelets too.

Yes, the genuine clasp feels a bit better, but how could there be any kind of dramatic difference when both are made of stainless steel for Christ's sakes... and the weight difference is probably measured in grams or half-grams! I don't feel much difference between the gen and rep at all, except the gen has smoother and softer bracelet edges. But so what, making the rep band edges smoother isn't probably a big task. The steel color difference is extremely minimal, and can be only noticed on a direct heavy light exposure like on the next photo. People who say that they can "detect" even a good Rolex rep from the steel color (from someone's wrist) are either delusional, or have some kind of super-human eyesight. It's utter bs. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the good rep bracelets.

The crown guards are a bit thicker on the gen, but after modding the shape on the rep is perfect. Almost impossible to notice any difference in real life.


http://i.imgur.com/M2A1jcM.jpg

The biggest problem with most replica bracelets is fitting of the SELs. There are usually noticeable gaps between the SEL and lugs. However, my franken-ExpII has utterly BRILLIANT SELs. But not all Noobfactory watches are so good in this regard. There are QC issues, and the SEL on my replica GMT tends to be a bit "wobbly". This could probably be fixed with thicker gen springbars. Gen SELs sit there extremely tight and the fit is perfect. This, of course, is more than reasonable exceptation from rather simplistic sport watch that retails (or retailed) at $6K.

On the next photo, please notice the white "matter" crystal ring on top of the rehaut (on the rep). We'll talk about that later.


http://i.imgur.com/1Xvr67e.jpg


The dial:

The date magnification on genuine GMT Master II actually close to 2x, and the rep magnifications are always too big, as the next picture demonstrates. However, the difference is a bit exaggerated here as the rep is closer to the camera. And I've owned some ETA versions of the "Noob" GMT which probably had slightly smaller mags. Still too big though, and the date font on the rep is only 95% correct. There are some subtle differences, especially with certain date numbers like 10.


http://i.imgur.com/Vw0fmnR.jpg

The dial itself is very close on this brilliant Noobfactory version. Of course gen has very strong superluminova on the dial markers and hands, which the rep naturally can't compete against.


http://i.imgur.com/zNTxzNf.jpg



Rehaut:

The biggest visual difference is the rehaut, even compared to the best of the best Rolex replicas. It's not the depth, it's how the crystal and rehaut merge with eachother. Gen rehaut merges smoothly, leaving that very characteristic looking "dent" just below the crystal line, and the rehaut itself has very fine and shiny brushed finish. I've never seen a rep where this area looks completely accurate.

Notice also the crystal height. I spent quite a lot of time to fit the insert there... make it properly recessed, and the height is perfect.

The Noobfactory GMT has very good rehaut thickness, depth and shape... perfect actually... but as stated before, the appearance is too "matte" and "plasticy". MBK/TW watches are a bit better in this regard, but even they don't look all correct.

I'm not certain, but the gen crystal might help with this problem.

Look at the gen: The rehaut finish and crystal merging is "exact", and it looks shiny and beautiful. The actual rehaut depth on 16710 is lower than on 16610 Submariner, which might explain the smaller magnification.

This is the angle where I can ALWAYS detect a Rolex replica. Yes, this all sounds very hardcore WIS Trekkie bastard stuff, but sometimes these smallest of details are so revealing.


http://i.imgur.com/9h9hPrx.jpg





Value for money:

This is difficult. You might want to ask how a plain, pretty simplistic stainless steel sports watch costs so much? Well, it has an inhouse movement, and everything actually is very well machined and scream quality, especially when you take zoomed pictures. But $6K... come on, it doesn't make any sense. These 16710's go for around $4.200 preowned right now, and the European prices are a bit higher. After long and hard search I managed to net my watch for $3550, which I consider very, very good deal for a superluminova/SEL GMT II with the "jumping hour hand" 3185 movement. Of course it will eventually need servicing, and a basic one costs 400 Euros!


HOW CLOSE IS THE REP?

On the next photo, which is which?


http://i.imgur.com/Xc1MWJM.jpg

Of course these two watches aren't comparable at all (technically), but visually they're extremely close (after the mods have been performed)... even by the replica "Trekkie" standards. The biggest difference is the rehaut. Although the depth is exact, it still looks a bit different on the gen. The gen, of course has a bit better "wrist presence", but the difference isn't that dramatic at all. Actually the gen feels a lot like "TW Best" GMT, or the "Retro" GMT that I sold to my friend TwoTone. Although being visually super accurate, the "Noobfactory" version somehow can't catch the same "wrist presence". It feels smaller, although the dimensions are exact and the rehaut depth is exact. It's impossible to explain why, the only thing I noticed that the outer diameter of gen bezel is about a millimeter wider.

I knew they're going to be close, but it was still a shock to me how good the replica is visually, and also how close the overall "feel" is. This, of course, isn't very flattering to Rolex at all. The funniest thing after the photoshoot yesterday was when I was going to put on the gen and started to roll the crown & set the time correctly (I set the hands at 9:10 for my Rolex photoshoots) and I thought I was setting the gen. Then I noticed that it was the rep. Even now, I have to look them twice to tell them apart. And I doubt there are many who know the 16710 as well as I do.

I've always said how close this rep is (providing you do the mods), and I don't know why the modders haven't found it yet. For some reason they waste fortunes for modding those MBW vintages, which require a lot of more work and money. The "Noob" GMT can be modified to superb condition for very moderate amount of money. And I'm 100% sure guys like Tribal and Ubi could do much better work than me. Maybe it's the handstack/movement issue... I never understood all the fuss about the hand stack, really... but people have different priorities.


http://i.imgur.com/tiIz00C.jpg



Myth 3: The "feel":

Of course I'm happy that I finally got my perfect GMT Master II, perhaps my all-time favorite watch. I remember 2 years ago, when I discussed with Richard Lawton about purchasing one of his GMT reps... I bugged him with all kinds of weird questions (weird for a non-GMT freak), and he eventually said (in good spirit) that "the gen is the only one which is good enough for you". You were right my friend, you were right...

Now you probably except me to say something along the lines of "Gen is gen, and it's an incredible feeling to have it on my wrist, reps won't cut it for me anymore, blah blah blah..." It's amazing how some people turn to boring "gen snobs" and start to look reps down their noses, immediately after they get their first expensive gen... like they "born again" or something. I actually find it quite pathetic.

That won't happen to me. I have owned nice gens before, but I will always love the reps... and to me watch is a watch. I bought the gen for the reasons I described above, and because the Asian chs movement is such a terrible piece of toxic waste... and also because I actually think 16710 is a good investment (in the long run). I grew up with genuine Rolexes (my father is a collector) and there has never been anything "larger than life" on these watches for me. I'm sure the magnificent replica Ebel 1911 Discovery that I will get next, will give me the exact same thrill and excitement.

Special thanks to my good friends Stephane and Jetsons. They offered to arrange me a GMT II from Stephane's New York trip. We considered this, because of the weak dollar prices are better in the US, but I managed to find this one from Europe, and for an excellent price. Also big thanks to all members who were so genuinely delighted that I got this watch. Probably more than me... I'm more of a rep guy, they're WAY more fascinating. :D

Anyway... great guys, and great friends!


Thanks for reading once again. Now that I broke my 9 months of "no new watches" rule, the floodgates broke and there's more to come.

PS: I have received many requests of people who want to buy the rep now, and I think it's fair that I'll raffle it soon. If you're interested, watch them closely.


http://i.imgur.com/rVsRvZ5.jpg

swissaddict
08-12-2008, 07:47 PM
Wonderful review and comparison. The photos are great, as always. This will be helpful to many people. Thanks :)

PS: When are you going to do this with a Sub? ;)

AllergyDoc
08-12-2008, 07:50 PM
Better writing than in any of your other "reviews," By-Tor. A fun read. And congrats on finally getting your dream watch!

J-C
08-12-2008, 07:50 PM
Terrific BT - said many times before; outstanding review and really a great read for all watch aficionado's.

Kudos!

Jackjo
08-12-2008, 08:15 PM
BT, you are the review master. I have never read a better review.

It seems you have found one of your grail-ultimate watch. Something many of us are still searching for.


Congrats on the new piece my friend.

rocky
08-12-2008, 08:42 PM
Congrats BT! Enjoy!

By-Tor
08-12-2008, 08:45 PM
Wow, thanks guys! Appreciated.

@Jackjo: You hit the nail on the head man... reps are perfect for that. Buy the rep, wear it a few years and see if it's really the correct watch for you.

However some reps are so nice that you never even consider the gen. The more I see gens, more I actually appreciate the reps. There are lots of stupid myths surrounding the Rolex (gen vs. reps), and I hope my article clears up some of them.

Thanks again guys! :hi:

Jackjo
08-12-2008, 08:49 PM
The big tell for me especially after seeing your comparison from rep to gen is the end links. They Rolexes fit so much tighter. The gaps on rep are obvious.

By-Tor
08-12-2008, 08:57 PM
The big tell for me especially after seeing your comparison from rep to gen is the end links. They Rolexes fit so much tighter. The gaps on rep are obvious.

Yep... but not on all of them. I have owned Rolex reps that have very tight and fitting end links. See my franken-Explorer II review (http://www.repgeek.com/showthread.php?t=8016) for example.

It's a QC issue.

But yeah, on most reps there are gaps and they're never perfectly "recessed"... the gen looks more "vigorous" in many ways.

By-Tor
08-12-2008, 08:58 PM
Actually, I also forgot to mention that the gen has a polished "bevel" on the lug edges, which the rep doesn't have. Hardly noticeable, but it's there.

Terje
08-12-2008, 09:00 PM
Very well written. I enjoyed it immensely!

Kollektor
08-12-2008, 09:04 PM
BT, another winner, Sir. You are a living legend among us in the review department. The visual differences are just so negligible between the two. Really a testimonial to the quality of the Noobs. My BKMaster is truly among my flagship watches. I think I'll go put it on right now. Thanks again, and enjoy your gen!

Londonboy
08-12-2008, 09:04 PM
Great review By-Tor.

Congrats on your new watch.

bklm1234
08-12-2008, 09:44 PM
A great review and a great watch. I think it's an excellent price you paid. Very reasonable. I've been saying Rolex's GMT is super value. GMT is priced the same as the Sub at least that's how the ADs price them in Hong Kong. But think about the movement. It's so much more complex. No other manufacturers' GMT movement work the same and is as smart and practical, as far as I know. I too will eventually buy the gen.

-bk

By-Tor
08-12-2008, 09:59 PM
A great review and a great watch. I think it's an excellent price you paid. Very reasonable. I've been saying Rolex's GMT is super value. GMT is priced the same as the Sub at least that's how the ADs price them in Hong Kong. But think about the movement. It's so much more complex. No other manufacturers' GMT movement work the same and is as smart and practical, as far as I know. I too will eventually buy the gen.


I agree... and when you have the gen you don't have to worry about the damn hour gear. :D

Yep, the movement in GMT II and Exp II is excellent machinery, and as you said much more complex and sophisticated than the basic 3135.

kungpow79
08-13-2008, 12:38 AM
Great read By-Tor.

Pretty shocking how incredibly accurate the reps are... visually.

I'm actually trying to decide if I keep my GMTIIc when it arrives or sell it off for a BKGMTII. We shall see.

jaykeem
08-13-2008, 12:50 AM
Bytor this was a great read, and am looking to reading more of your reviews.

dtan888
08-13-2008, 12:52 AM
Another awesome review and pictures By-Tor :applause: Its amazing what you can do with words... I enjoy reading this very much and the watch porn.. oh my, i am still drooling. :D


The gen on the right pictures (wristie pictures)

Congrats on your baby :D and thank you for doing the review

Dan

By-Tor
08-13-2008, 01:04 AM
Thanks all.

@Dan: No, you chose wrong. The gen is on the left wristie pic. Those are small pictures though. :D

PS: Your GMTIIc rep vs. gen comparison inspired me to do this. That was a great one.

spekoli
08-13-2008, 03:45 AM
great review again BT, and good timing too.
i have a transformer on the way so i can see if a rollie is in the cards for me yet (eyeballing the gmtII for resale purposes)

zardoz337
08-13-2008, 04:12 AM
OK...I guess I will jump in and add my take here...(for what its worth) I began coveting a Rolex many years ago (actually a blue dial serti Lapis luzindi sub tt). But the thought of paying for it made me green. Well, I understand the quality checks that go into the timepiece and the "mysteque" of the rolex moneker....but 22k? Is there really a timepiece worth that kind of money? I suppose the last question is subjective but to me at least close enough is good enough. I like the look of my hearts desire but I also understand I would be paying a very high premium for a gen Rolex brand name. If Timex made this watch how much would it cost? Yes this is a hyperbole, but I hope you see my point. If you can justify the price of the quality of a gen...then by all means! But just how much is that worth? To me close is ok...when you consider the extra cost of the "best"...anyhow thats my two cents....
Lee

By-Tor
08-13-2008, 11:49 AM
Thanks all.

Regarding the "steel color difference due to higher grade of Rolex steel", which has been talked about a lot... here's a comparison photo of the gen and rep bracelets side-by-side. Straight out of the camera, no editing of anything. Keep in mind, that I have polished the rep bracelet rather heavily, and given it the standard treatment of cleaning up, etc. Rep is on the left. Yes, there's a difference but it's extremely small. The gen bezel seems to be a bit thicker, and the crystal is definitely brighter from the edges.

PS: The gen sits on my wrist bone, that's why it looks higher.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u214/tp2112/IMG_9829.jpg

luckyman
08-13-2008, 11:58 AM
So BT, would you consider this a super rep by today's standards? which in your opinion is better? the new GMT2c or the old school 16710? :rolleyes:

By-Tor
08-13-2008, 12:11 PM
Keep in mind that several modifications have been done for the replica here. Crown guards, genuine crown & tube, insert, new GMT hand, etc.

In otb condition this isn't a great rep, that's for sure... it comes with terrible crown guards, ugly and thick GMT hand, way oversized crown, dull bezel, etc. but it's a great "base".

The new GMTIIc is very good rep without any mods, but the rehaut engraving is terrible. It's all wrong, and it can't be fixed. In my eyes, that's a serious flaw.

By-Tor
08-14-2008, 12:36 AM
Okay, a few requests of buying from this forum as well, so it's only fair to announce that this review watch is now for sale (the Chinese one, LOL) at RWG fundraiser forum.

Not looking to make any profit, so don't make stupid bids. I just want a good home for it.

Who's the first bidder? ;)

http://www.rwg.cc/members/index.php?showtopic=80321

dtan888
08-15-2008, 06:51 AM
Thanks all.

Regarding the "steel color difference due to higher grade of Rolex steel", which has been talked about a lot... here's a comparison photo of the gen and rep bracelets side-by-side. Straight out of the camera, no editing of anything. Keep in mind, that I have polished the rep bracelet rather heavily, and given it the standard treatment of cleaning up, etc. Rep is on the left. Yes, there's a difference but it's extremely small. The gen bezel seems to be a bit thicker, and the crystal is definitely brighter from the edges.

PS: The gen sits on my wrist bone, that's why it looks higher.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u214/tp2112/IMG_9829.jpg


Really nice brother.... Its so small different... Its definetly worth the buy.. but I still have to do the same mod as yours ;) :D

Enjoy it.. and hopefully this one last a life time.

Dan

teartray
09-03-2008, 11:15 AM
Fantastic review and pics!

glennmichael
08-06-2011, 02:30 PM
great review.... I must get one of those in some point in life

goiyr
08-07-2011, 01:57 AM
awesome review!

AdamR
03-09-2012, 06:35 PM
Hi everyone,
There is a question I've been wanting to ask since I found repgeek but quickly realized it was most likely an annoying question so I never asked. In another thread about Omegas I believe, By-Tor mentions that asking who carries the best rep of such and such model isn't the right question, the question is which version do they carry. Correct me if I'm wrong here.

But I'm still confused so here it goes!
In this review for example, you talk about the noob GMT. I understand that means from teh noob factory. But when I go through our TD I only see "versions" but none I saw say noob. The idea of versions makes sense now, but how do you know which factory made a watch on PT for example?

Sorry for this obvious question... but many of repgeeks talents are on this thread and I think for newer guys like me it's a relevant question.

mikeyriz1024
02-11-2013, 06:25 PM
Another great review.

mbenzgeek
02-21-2013, 01:31 PM
Good reading, impressive review.

clevelandy
03-11-2013, 02:31 AM
Thank you again for such great info.

thegman70
03-25-2013, 07:02 PM
Nice review.

By-Tor
07-27-2017, 09:28 PM
A lot of my old reviews have pictures back up. Go and check my section.

Cheers.

wimpie007
07-31-2017, 11:47 PM
A lot of my old reviews have pictures back up. Go and check my section.

Cheers.

Nice mate thanks for fixing it!
Damn photobucket!

Plymouth
08-08-2017, 11:25 AM
Hello, this 16710 isn't sold anymore, no ? Thank you for the review

miquel
08-10-2017, 07:33 PM
No, it has been discontinued for many years now.

You might be able to find one through M2M sales.

XBMX
08-10-2017, 11:46 PM
Hope to place my order in the very near future, stainless GTM BatMan from Noob