View Full Version : By-Tor's tribute to replica ROLEX Explorer II's

11-21-2008, 02:31 AM
I'm a huge Explorer II fan. So big that I absolutely had to get both versions, black and white. Actually I already owned a black ExpII quite a while back. You can read the review HERE.

However, that version had many problems, the biggest one being the cyclops/datewheel position. They were placed way too right on the crystal/dial. The SELs were less than stellar (didn't fit very well), and the hour markers were positioned too close to the minute ticks. I traded that one, and I had to wait for over a year to find the correct black version. Beware of the wrong version... many dealers carry it. Pay attention to the hour markers at '6 and '12 (too close to the minute ticks). Those are the easiest "tells" of the inferior CN version.

Actually the correct WHS version was available all the time from bklm1234 but it had an ugly, thick 24h hand which was a major turnoff for me. But miracles happen, sometimes the factories actually make improvements, even without screwing up anything! Now Eurotimez is able to get this best version (with thin 24h hand), and BK has access to this as well. It was time to make another purchase!

My new black one is visually identical base with my white franken-Explorer II. It has the correct datewheel/cyclops position and as I said, now even the WHS version uses a thin, excellent 24h hand. Other improvements are almost perfect date magnification (small) and perfect bezel numerals. They were either too thick - or too close to the bezel edge (on the older versions).

The only small complaint are the SEL endpieces, which are a bit too "rounded" in typical "Noobfactory" fashion. Also, the etched crown is the same as on the Noobmariner. Not disturbingly oversized, but still too visible. Other than that, the black version is extremely accurate "out of the box". Besides replacing the thick and ugly default crown (and tube) with genuine parts, there's absolutely no need to do any modifications. The black replica dial is excellent and I didn't even touch the crown guards. They're virtually identical with my gen 16710, which is technically the same watch as 16570.

I've mentioned all the good points of this version in my previous ExpII writeups and the issue about those two different ETA GMT movements has been beaten to death, so I don't want to go there any more. All I can say, I've owned countless of ETA WHS versions and never had one single problem with them.

And as I've said many times, there are many stupid myths about genuine Rolexes floating around (even in this forum) that simply aren't true. Like "heavier bracelet" and "it's easy call out the rep from the steel color", etc. Another myth is that "all replica Rolexes have wrong crown position". Nice myth, but it has nothing to do with reality. The CHS Explorer II has 100% perfect crown position, and the crown position on the WHS version is 98% exact.

Does the genuine dial fit?

To make things more complicated, there are two different "batches" of even this best version. Visually, they're indistinguishable from eachother, but unfortunately none of these newer versions will accept genuine dials. For some reason the factory has changed the dial diameter at some point.

This is what Dluddy said (after experiencing with gen dial w/ Noobfactory Explorer II):

"The issue I had with my genuine dial and new "Noob" Explorer II' dials is as follows:

Gen dial is 27.5MM
Current Rep Dials are either 28MM or 29MM and the gen dial does not work.

I had to find an older 2006 Trusty model through resale as this one works fine since the dial is 27MM."

My franken is 3 years old, so apparently it's the older Trusty version. My personal advice (if you want to avoid stress): Forget the white one, and forget about the mods. Just exchange the fat crown and enjoy! What there's not to like on the black version?

If it's so good, why this replica never became a big seller?

I simply don't know. It's one of the mysteries in life. One reason might be that the "Noob" ExpII was never "hyped" like some "megasellers", although it's better than GMTIIc (which has a bad rehaut engraving) and light years more accurate than the "Super" Sea Dweller, which looks fundamentally wrong. Another reason might be that people simply don't like the black version.

Personally, I love both versions (almost) equally. In my opinion, the black version has been the king of otb Rolex replicas for many years, but I predict the new WM9 v2 Submariner and possibly the WM9 Yacht-Master will inherit the crown (or at least offer a good challenge) very soon.

Sorry folks, I couldn't think of anything new to write about this replica model, which has always been one of my favorites, and definitely the most underrated Rolex replica ever... a real "sleeper". It's no surprise so many HC Rolex guys (like BK and dluddy) own this rep, and have used the base watch in their franken projects.

In short: I'm lovin' them both... and I finally have them both!

Click HERE (http://anonym.to/?http://www.rwg.cc/members/redirect.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fi169.photobucket.com %2Falbums%2Fu214%2Ftp2112%2F3-6.jpg) for the wallpaper sized version.

11-21-2008, 02:48 AM
another excellent review, thanks ByT

11-21-2008, 03:09 AM
My eye is drawn towards the white dial version, but, because of your reviews, I picked the black one. Thanks for the write-up.

11-21-2008, 03:19 AM
My eye is drawn towards the white dial version, but, because of your reviews, I picked the black one. Thanks for the write-up.

Thanks AD.

Yeah, at the end of the day I prefer the white version as well. But unfortunately it's not an option for the members (without genuine dial).

That being said, the black one is just too good replica to pass. And definitely good enough to make me forget the gen.

11-21-2008, 03:37 AM
i want a white one soo bad, next watch on my list is either a white daytona or white Explorer II

11-21-2008, 11:13 AM
Thanks. Added a wristshot. Enjoy! ;)

05-26-2013, 05:30 PM
Great review, man! Please more from this...

02-28-2015, 11:13 AM
Excellent review. Love the Rolex explorer II too.

10-05-2016, 07:22 AM
Have one, (black dial), its a keeper, always gets a second look.

02-20-2018, 07:32 AM
Which version of the explorer is this? Would love for this to be my first rep! I also love the black one and you consider that a super rep. Sign me up!!

11-28-2018, 09:45 PM
This is the Noob Explorer II, a legendary rep that went out of production maybe 9 years ago. This review is from 2008.