On the surface it is such a simple and boring watch, and yet for watch enthusiasts this is part of the cheap fake Rolex Explorer 1016’s charm. It is very much an “if you know, you know” reference – someone who is not a watch geek would not know or understand its value. That being said, with the rise of digital watch media and, in part, former Hodinkee Manager of Editorial Operations Stephen Pulvirent shining a huge spotlight on it, the perfect fake Rolex Explorer 1016 has rocketed in market value over the years. Its association with Sir Edmund Hilary’s Everest expedition as the design successor to a one-of-a-kind Oyster Perpetual that, in some form, joined the journey, has been cemented in horological mythology. For me, the stronger claim to fame is that the luxury super clone Rolex Explorer is the watch author Ian Flemming envisioned his 007 character James Bond wearing. And the Explorer 1016 is the watch Flemming is most known for wearing himself.
The best 1:1 fake Rolex Explorer 1016 has one of the longest production runs for a model ever, first created in 1963 and discontinued 26 years later in 1989. Throughout its lifespan there were many evolutions, with a gilt to matte transition, font and logo variations, calibre upgrade, bracelet upgrades. The AAA quality replica Rolex Explorer 1016 I acquired from California-based vintage watch vendor Oliver & Clarke is dated to 1967, with its so-called “frog foot” dial confirming it was a Mk. 1 matte-dial model. It is by no means in perfect condition, the case was previously polished yet covered in the evidence it was well-loved. The case looks like an ice skating rink just before the Zamboni comes out. But I like that. It actually looks like a daily-wearer copy watch after 56 years.
While the case and bracelet have a worn look, the dial is immaculate and the dial is the star of the Swiss movement fake Rolex 1016 show. Lauded for its simplicity, legibility, and no-fuss Arabic numerals, the dial is what attracts collectors. There is not a single blemish to the matte black dial, no spots, blemishes, or previous signs of damage. Were one to wonder if it was too good to be true, as you look closer the patina reveals its genuine aging over the years. Perfectly imperfect, the indices and numerals have take on a bright creamy tone with the edges holding out and hints of crisp white peering through – like a colouring book image that’s 99% filled in. In modern faux-tina dials, the aged SuperLuminova® is presented too perfectly and uniformly with zero deviations on the entire surface. This is the real deal. As can happen, the hands are a tad darker than the indices and numerals – aged into a “cookie” tone.
Why I did it
Earlier I mentioned how my collection has evolved. And this was one of a few crucial factors in my decision. When I originally traded for the AAA fake Rolex Submariner 114060, I did not have any other dive watches. Today, I have both a Sinn U1 DS “Grinded Dial” Limited Edition and a DOXA SUB 300 Aqualung US Divers Limited Edition to cover that base. I also feel totally comfortable swimming with other watches I own outside the category, like my Grand Seiko “Snowflake” and “Shunbun”, my Zenith Defy Classic Skeleton “Night Surfer” Time+Tide Edition, and my cheap super clone Rolex Datejust 36 126234.
This leads me to my next crucial factor. Since the Swiss made fake Rolex Datejust 36 entered my collection last year, between the pair of Rolex super clone watches for sale I was reaching for the Datejust 36 nine times out of 10. Its size better suits my wrist, and its style is more my vibe as someone who often finds themselves suited up in the presence of watch industry executives. The three of my watches I arguably enjoy the most, and fit me the best, are all 36mm and below: my high quality replica Rolex Datejust 36, my 36mm A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Up/Down ref. 221.021, and my 31.4mm Cartier Santos Dumont Large Beige Lacquer/Rose Gold. And towards the close of the year, I began to realise that moving forward I do not want to compromise for larger sizes unless absolutely necessary.
The immaculate dial of this 1016 was also new ground for me to cover. I have long avoided vintage fake watches for sale due to the nuances of their authentication and wear experience. By no means does this top copy Rolex Explorer replace my Submariner in function. It will never take a dive beyond a desk drawer, and even then I will be cautious of knocking its acrylic crystal. After learning, however, that unlike the 14270 I once owned, I would not need to break off a permanent link to get a perfect fit, I realised this watch was a golden opportunity to finally tick a box in my collection I never had: a perfectly patinated vintage watch. I also already knew just how much I love the fit of a 36mm best quality replica Rolex from my Datejust, how it would make a great foil to it as well. The Datejust, with its jubilee bracelet and fluted bracelet, is rather bling and formal. The Rolex Explorer 1016, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. If the Datejust is the Rolex people spot all the way across the room, the wholesale fake Rolex Explorer 1016 is the Rolex that hides in plain sight. It is a very valuable watch, yet it is only valuable to those who actually know what it is. Which leads me to my next point…