My grail watch is not exciting. It is not impressive like Lex’s grail Patek 5270P. My grail is the most modest and unassuming sports watch in Swiss made fake Rolex’s (back) catalog. And, in my humble opinion, it is also the best watch ever designed.
My love affair with the Rolex Explorer
I am not into the cheap replica Rolex Explorer for its half-fabricated story about summiting Mount Everest. As much as I love watch a good story, this is really not one of them in my eyes. My love affair with the top copy Rolex Explorer is purely based on the physical product, perhaps augmented by what it represents. Let me elaborate.
For starters, the 36mm Oyster case and Oyster bracelet are the best case and bracelet designs ever drawn. Please do not feel offended if you disagree; this is a completely private opinion. In my eyes, almost everything else looks like an effort to not look like the Oyster case and bracelet. I have not seen a more simplistically functional and beautiful case and bracelet design since. And goodness gracious, there have been quite a few!
Conceptually, I love that the Explorer is free of the stigma that some other luxury Rolex fake watches carry. When you spot a Rolex, it is either on the wrist of a watch aficionado or a showboat. Not the top copy Rolex Explorer. Its owner is either an aficionado or an adventurer. You do not wear an Explorer to flaunt it. And that, I think, only serves to make it cooler. It is anti-bling.
The Rolex Explorer 1016
I love almost all high end replica Rolex Explorers, but my grail watch is the Explorer 1016. It is the archetypal vintage Explorer reference. It was in production for a whopping 29 years, starting in 1960. If you are only familiar with modern Rolex, you will still have no trouble identifying this as an Explorer. Like almost all of the brand’s models, the design has undergone slow evolution rather than radical change. I believe this is part of Swiss copy Rolex’s long-term success and why many of the brand’s watches became iconic. Slow and steady is the way to go.
The dial is what differentiates the Explorer from similar Rolex Oyster Perpetuals fake for sale. The signature 3-6-9 dial is adorned with slender, simple Arabic numerals. A minute track, stick markers, and a triangle at 12 o’clock complete the basic layout. Around the center of the dial, we find the brand logo, model designation, and chronometer spec. The hands are the typical “Mercedes” style. The lume is radium for the first three years and tritium from 1963 onwards.
The 1016 is powered by caliber 1560, and later 1570 with an upped beat rate. These calibers remain quite easy to service and source parts for today if you have a proper Swiss fake Rolex-specialized watchmaker. Technically, you can wear an Explorer 1016 on a daily basis, free of worry.
Gilt dial 101
The Swiss movement fake Explorer 1016 was produced with a host of dial variations. They can be roughly divided into two main categories — gilt dials (up until ca. 1967) and matte dials (1967–1989). My personal favorite by far is the gilt-dial variant. Just in case, here is an ultra-short refresher course on gilt dials.
Today, dials are often referred to as “gilt” if they feature any sort of gold-tone printing. True gilt dials, however, are made through a unique (and costly) process. First, the dial printing is applied to an (often) brass blank dial in clear lacquer. Next, the dial is galvanized with a black paint. Since the paint is applied through an electrical current, it sticks only to the conductive exposed metal, not the clear-lacquered dial features.
The result is a black dial with shimmering gold-tone (or, more accurately, brass) features that lay ever-so-slightly deeper than the black surrounds. Paired with aged radium or tritium, you get a warmth that is simply stunning. Well-aged gilt dials are truly some of the prettiest dials ever made if you ask me. The metal blank can be made of other materials than brass, sometimes resulting in silver-colored dial features.