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View Full Version : Review of ROLEX Explorer II Frankenwatch



By-Tor
12-08-2007, 05:16 PM
http://i.imgur.com/g6VZjy8.jpg

I bought my first white Explorer II rep in May. The writeup is here. (http://www.repgeek.com/showthread.php?t=953) I fell in love with the watch immediately. Unfortunately that watch had grey/silver hour marker surroundings, and datewheel/cyclops positioned too right. Another problem with the hour markers was that they were positioned too close to the seconds markers. The GMT hand was way too dark as well.

To get rid of the dial flaw I bought the black version, which has been reviewed here. (http://www.repgeek.com/showthread.php?t=654) The rep was brilliant, but besides the hour marker issue, the other problems were still there. And the black one didn't "speak" to me as much as the white.

Actually, when I wrote my reviews I wasn't aware that the factory had somehow screwed up this rep at some point, and introduced these annoying flaws later. This finally dawned on me when I saw avitt's picture of the old, much nicer version. Here's Avitt's brilliant photo of his watch:


http://i.imgur.com/xtT8kko.jpg

Being the geek that I am, I absolutely needed that best version. Traded my old ones, and I requested it from almost every single dealer. None of them were able to source it anymore. Only the new and inferior correct hand stack version was available. Bummer!

Be careful: Some dealers still use factory photos of the old version, but can only source the new one. I'm sure this is not intentional, because for an average guy the differences aren't so apparent.

Even the older (better) white version used those "gun metal" greyish hour markers. Though according to member reports the problem wasn't as bad on the old version. But either way, I had to rule the white dial out (unfortunately)... and settle for the black one.

So... I started to track down the members' Explorer II's, and PM'd Avitt, FEDERolex and a few other guys who owned this particular version, and tried to buy their watches. I think my offers were fair, but the guys didn't want to sell. Can't blame them, really.

Finally, I found out that a member Kingkitesurf wasn't wearing his franken-Explorer II anymore, and considered to sell it. He had installed a genuine white dial into his watch, which was the best solution I could ever imagine. Black Explorer II is very nice, but like the seconds at '6 Daytona, white is the purists' only dial choice for the modern Explorer II.

So we negotiated a deal. The deal went smooth as a silk, just like all my other member trades during the years. Big thanks to Job, who's a perfect gentleman and a great guy to deal with! I was the new owner of his beautiful franken now.


http://i.imgur.com/8APoAtQ.jpg

I was really happy to finally get this rep. Genuine dial was a fantastic addition, and the rep overall is extremely accurate. It has good crown guards, excellent date mag/font, perfect long and thin (and not too dark) GMT hand, and correct cyclops position.


http://i.imgur.com/Otgfs4V.jpg[/center}

Because this ExpII comes from the same factory as the amazing "Noob" GMT Master II's. It has the same problem: Oversized crown, which should be replaced with a gen part. My watch has thinner and more accurate bezel numbers than Avitt's, but they're positioned a bit too close to the bezel edge. If you want perfection, you need to install the bezel from the new version (the number position is pretty much perfect, see my reviews).

Here's a photo of my genuine dial. Once again: Notice the perfect rehaut thickness and its cylindrical shape, which is characteristic for the "Noob factory" Rolexes. This is very important detail for me. Another thing that I never spotted before are the thicker "5 seconds" markers.

[center]http://i.imgur.com/c7fvEV8.jpg

My watch has replica hands, which you can see from this photo very clearly. Compared to the Super Luminova coated hour markers the lume on the hands is utterly pathetic. Hands should be superlumed, and I'm considering to buy this mod eventually.


http://i.imgur.com/K0EPLO3.jpg

Explorer II has never been a huge seller in this community. I'm quite amazed that the black (old) correct hand stack version went virtually unnoticed, even when it was still easily available. Along with the correct hand stack "Noob" GMT the black version is (in my opinion) the best "out of the box" Rolex replica ever produced. That is the exact rep that was used to build my franken, and according to Job the genuine dial was a straight fit.

This review doesn't offer much for the members who are interested in the ExpII, because this version is almost impossible to find. I didn't even bother to discuss the (potentially) problematic correct hand stack ETA modification in this article. That was already covered in my two previous Explorer II reviews.

But there's (probably) some good news for the ExpII fans: According to Angus (Puretime) there is a new version of correct hand stack Explorer II coming. I really hope the factories use this old case and construction as a base, and Angus has forwared my request to the factory.

Yep, not much of a review. I just wanted to enjoy my new amazing white franken-beauty, and share the joy with you. I hope you liked the photos. I got some brilliant watches in 2007, and this ExpII was the perfect way to finish yet another year of rep collecting.


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

razerreg
12-08-2007, 05:25 PM
thanks for the excellent review as always BT! cheers!

robertk
12-08-2007, 05:31 PM
I've also been waiting for an improved version. One of my favorite Rolex's. Great review. Hopefully, they won't screw up the "coming" edition.

Thanks again, By-tor

ocbrody
12-08-2007, 06:43 PM
Very nice BT. Now I have to source a gen dial for my new Exp II, which I guess is actually an "old" one.

Reviews like this on this site are like crack, first you get a little taste and you're hooked and you are on the hunt for the "dealer" with the best stuff.

J-C
12-08-2007, 06:48 PM
Terrific BT - handsome watch.
So whats the verdict BT, is your beloved Pepsi 1A to the white Explorer II's #1 reign?

By-Tor
12-08-2007, 06:50 PM
Terrific BT - handsome watch.
So whats the verdict BT, is your beloved Pepsi 1A to the white Explorer II's #1 reign?

Thanks JCM.

Nothing can beat the Pepsi, but the ExpII is the close second. ;)

Both are Rolex classics, and I prefer them both over Sub/SD any day of the week.

By-Tor
12-08-2007, 06:52 PM
Very nice BT. Now I have to source a gen dial for my new Exp II, which I guess is actually an "old" one.


I still would like to see decent photos of your watch so I could confirm it's the old version. If you have the new one, the gen dial will not fit (datewheel is positioned too right).

Silverspeed
12-08-2007, 07:08 PM
Great review BT and great pics, another one for a future order......
This is turning out to be a expensive hobby.......:D

DWSmoot
12-08-2007, 07:41 PM
Excellent review BT. Classic watch.

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

bklm1234
12-08-2007, 07:51 PM
that's just perfect. gen dial takes care of the gun metal indice rings. great acquisition, BT. congrats.

-bk

evo5555
12-08-2007, 07:57 PM
saliva drooling... sluurpsss... how i wish Angus can source out n pass BTs request to e factory...

treeman
12-09-2007, 03:06 AM
Very cool By-Tor. !! :)

My Exp II is the old version but incorrect stack as you know...I'm awaiting my new datewheel, then mine will be pretty darn decent but nothing beats a gen dial.

By-Tor
12-09-2007, 04:15 AM
Actually I don't mind the incorrect stack at all, especially when we know how reliable the incorrect stack "faux GMT" movement is.

My both Noob GMT's are incorrect stack, and it doesn't really bother me at all. The datewheel/cyclops position and correct rehaut thickness & depth are much more important details for me.

Guest1
12-09-2007, 04:42 AM
Nothing short of perfection in the analysis and the photos. This makes me want to reach into the screen and pull out that white face version and wear it till I cant wear it no more.

Thank you for the inspiration and the great write up.

By-Tor
12-09-2007, 05:05 AM
Thanks Sylar. You always say the nicest things my friend.

By-Tor
12-13-2007, 01:23 AM
UPDATE: RIVER SELLS THIS MAGNIFICENT REP MODEL RIGHT NOW. CHRISTMAS SALE!

Sturm just received his black version/ correct hand stack, and it's this same best model, which has been extremely difficult to source. Normally I don't advertise any dealers, but this time I make an exception.

Be quick... and remember that the white rep version doesn't have the correct black hour marker circles. Go for the black one!

ocbrody
12-13-2007, 01:27 AM
UPDATE: RIVER SELLS THIS MAGNIFICENT REP MODEL RIGHT NOW. CHRISTMAS SALE!

Sturm just received his black version/ correct hand stack, and it's this same best model, which has been extremely difficult to source. Normally I don't advertise any dealers, but this time I make an exception.

Be quick... and remember that the white rep version doesn't have the correct black hour marker circles. Go for the black one!
But you could add the gen dial to River's white version and end up with the "frankenwatch" version...right?

By-Tor
12-13-2007, 01:33 AM
But you could add the gen dial to River's white version and end up with the "frankenwatch" version...right?

Apparently so, since my watch has a gen dial. ;)

The dial on the black version isn't perfect, but it's good enough (imho). Of course the black one isn't as nice as the white (for most Rolex purists), but the black rep is superb in unmodded condition. That's why I recommend the black.

Here's Sturm's photo of his ExpII.
http://www.repgeek.com/showthread.php?t=8362

What a lucky bastard. I tried to hunt down that watch for MONTHS without success. :D

treeman
12-13-2007, 01:36 PM
by-tor, I emailed river yesterday to place an order and I asked if this was correct hand stack.... and she replied telling me that this is "hour hand adjustable". Does this mean correct hand stack?

Thanks

jiro
12-13-2007, 01:57 PM
WOW~!

Another fantastic review by sir. BT! ;)

I'm not into Explorer that much but this review is about to change my mind!!!

Why you always do this to me, by-tor? :D:D:D:D ;)

Amazing shots as always~ I really like the one with lume~ :D

evo5555
12-13-2007, 02:49 PM
Apparently so, since my watch has a gen dial. ;)

The dial on the black version isn't perfect, but it's good enough (imho). Of course the black one isn't as nice as the white (for most Rolex purists), but the black rep is superb in unmodded condition. That's why I recommend the black.

Here's Sturm's photo of his ExpII.
http://www.repgeek.com/showthread.php?t=8362

What a lucky bastard. I tried to hunt down that watch for MONTHS without success. :D

hmmm... when i compare the bezel fonts, dun ya tink river's exp2 bezel font is kinda thin.. or was tis a good bezel?

Neo
12-13-2007, 02:54 PM
Great review!

By-Tor
12-13-2007, 06:21 PM
hmmm... when i compare the bezel fonts, dun ya tink river's exp2 bezel font is kinda thin.. or was tis a good bezel?

Yes, it's a bit thin. Strange how much variation there is with the bezels. That damn bezel keeps changing all the time (check the photo of Avitt's watch: too thick). My bezel font is excellent, but then again the numbers are located a bit too close to the edges.

The new version (http://www.repgeek.com/showthread.php?t=654) of this watch had pretty much perfect bezel. Shame about those other (major) flaws though. ;)

By-Tor
12-13-2007, 06:22 PM
by-tor, I emailed river yesterday to place an order and I asked if this was correct hand stack.... and she replied telling me that this is "hour hand adjustable". Does this mean correct hand stack?

Thanks

Yes, the "hour hand adjustable" is always the correct hand stack. "GMT hand adjustable" means the wrong stack.

By-Tor
12-13-2007, 06:24 PM
WOW~!

Another fantastic review by sir. BT! ;)

I'm not into Explorer that much but this review is about to change my mind!!!

Why you always do this to me, by-tor? :D:D:D:D ;)

Amazing shots as always~ I really like the one with lume~ :D

Thanks my friend. It's actually quite amazing how little attention the Explorer II always gets. It's very beautiful and fascinating watch.

Mr Speedy
01-07-2008, 05:17 AM
I agree. Explorer II is a great watch, I own the genuine and I swear by god I couldn't tell the difference between yours and mine.

Great review and photo's.

http://img168.imageshack.us/img168/1194/k384rolexexplorer216570uj4.jpg

jdfaker
03-08-2008, 07:37 AM
I emailed river to see if he stocked this watch anymore and got the following:

"I only have ETA 2892-21J version available now."

I take it that this means we are SOL. :(

Any updates on someone who sources this?

By-Tor
03-08-2008, 07:57 PM
@jdfaker: If I were you I'd wait for a while. I've heard the new correct hand stack movement is already done (by the factories).

Whether the reps are going to be as good as this ExpII... I don't know. I wish they'd use this model as a base. But at least there is a new version coming out.

We can only hope.

By-Tor
11-20-2008, 01:00 PM
Just FYI:

I finally managed to get the black version of this legendary rep (same as Avitt's watch in the review), and it's just as good as I always said. No mods or dial replacements are needed, it's superb otb.

Look out for another pictorial soon! :)

aaron22aaron
03-04-2009, 03:58 PM
Where can I get a really good Exp II White. Thanks.

cpark352
09-17-2009, 08:33 AM
sooo jealous

Rolex0815
05-26-2013, 05:33 PM
Great review, man! Please more from this...

Tagtime
12-03-2014, 05:59 PM
Even though these posts are from a few years ago - the depth of analysis is invaluable. Thank you.

sergio27
12-11-2018, 08:49 PM
I had a friend buy a noob version. Unfortunately his fell apart. I have two friends who buy reps and they trash them. I have ALL my reps in working order minus a sea dweller I took apart and never bothered to rebuild. Has Angus put out the new explorer II? This watch is probably one of the nicest reps that no one wears.