Review of the Replica Rolex GMT II Master Watch
Another By-Tor review, this time it’s the replica Rolex GMT II Master. He gives us some credible pictures of the watch and it’s real counterpart, emphasizing the similarities and differences and showing why it’s a truly excellent replica for our time. This is a re-post of By-Tor’s piece on the Replica Collector with his blessing. If you like Rolex, read on, and if you don’t, you might after reading.
This isn’t a new watch, and I’m not deranged or lazy or obsesses with GMT IIs – it’s just that I had these great pics of this Pepsi GMT Master watch of mine that I couldn’t stop looking at on my hard drive. So I thought I’d give it a proper review and use them, why not. I love the colors of this watch, always shining when you take pics in the right light.
Like many, I both love to hate and hate to love Rolex. The blingyness and diamond-full looks of their lines bothers me, but then, the Submariner / Seadweller line is just… Masterful! Rolex started out as just a tool watch, all stainless steel and tough. But these two models have a great balance of that and the fancy stuff. It would be great to have an antique Master actually – Eunomians has a real one. But you can’t get that kind of thing anymore, especially as a replica.
The Explorer I and also II are just not appealing, the Yachtmaster tends to be a gay watch, Cellini – feminine, Daytona – senior citizen. If I were Goldilocks, I’d be watchless and crying with no timepiece just right while the three bears sat around telling time far into the night.
My step-father has a real Master, from the 70’s/80’s, it has this cool black and red bezel. I hate to say it, but I love it. He made me love watches. He gave me a real Longines automatic for my 8th birthday actually. Which is weird for a kid if you know Longines, but I was a weird kid. He was shocked when I showed my fake Master to him recently. He inspected it pretty close before finally taking my word for it. When will people in this country learn how sophisticated replica watches are getting and how cheap they are?
I like the black and red one yes, but I really like the Pepsi one, it’s kind of nerdy-cool. Many Rolex fans see the blue and red as classic GMT Master colors, though it’s actually black and red that are quintessential for the line, like my step-dad’s watch. My watch has two bezels that I can pop on and off of it for a little variety in life. You’d be surprised how different it makes the watch.
Here’s the black and red one.
My bezels were both molded and milled by Palpatine, and they’re just a perfect fit really. Lots of replica add-ons like this tend to be total merde, excuse my French but it’s true. But RedBigJoe for example makes them alright. Both of these guys know their craft through. If you PM them and send some money they will fix whatever you need.
You can find three Master replicas powered by ETAs. One has the older TW case (see Randy’s photoshoot) and one is new and has a great-looking case and the right hand-stack. But this new one has lots of other flaws though so watch out, it’s not funny. I own the newly-improved CN replica model version, which I think is the best. Ok, the bezel’s diameter is too little, and the hand-stack isn’t right, but that’s no unusual for a replica. It’s got a flawless amazing dial, font for the date, an etched crown that’s practically invisible, and an exquisite case with crown guards and strap.
Below is the comparison of the real and the fake. You can tell the real Master’s bezel is wider and smaller, and you can see the date magnification issue. But other than that, the replica is great.
You can tell that the real thing features the font Sans Serif on the bezel’s insert. People say GMTs all have that font, but no. Lots of the newer Masters have the same font as the replicas. Below is a new Basel pic.
You can tell the hand-stack is just wrong on one. GMT hands ought to be over the hour hands with Master IIs. This replica has a hand-stack like the vintage pieces – with the GMT hand beneath the hour hand. Some find this annoying, I don’t really care at all. It’s only obvious when the hands meet, but other than that you can’t see it with your naked eyes.
One of the best features of this watch is the hollow-link oyster strap. When you polish it and oil it and brush it up a bit and get the finish as good as it can be, you can’t tell the difference from the real I swear. Sometimes you have to do some filing too to get the edges to be smooth. The treated strap is so light and soft and almost cheap – but it’s how the real one is! The GMT straps are lighter than Submariner straps because the clasps are shorter – like with Explorers, and that’s because GMTs are for pilots so they don’t need a diver’s longer clasp. Don’t be alarmed about this when getting your replica Rolex. The oyster strap is supposed to be that light. One more thing – real Master IIs are about 127 grams. Replica are basically exactly the same give or take 2 grams.
Here is the shorter Explorer kind of clasp and strap.
Below is my hand-done brushed finish and hollow mid-links.
Using and setting GMT hands with the ETA 2836-2:
You have get the crown unscrewed to the date-set position, then turn it anti-clockwise so you can adjust the GMT hand to where you want it. You don’t HAVE to mess with the GMT hand, just saying. Another thing you can do is twist the bezel to set the 24hr marks to get the timezone position you want matching the GMT hand. After that, snap back the crown to winding and screw it on again.
GMT hands move twice as slow as hour hands. Therefore, it circles the dial in full in 24hrs and not 12. Many noobs get this watch and then whine about how their GMT hand won’t follow right. It’s just twice as slow is all. And GMT hands’ hr marks aren’t on the dial, but in the bezel insert! That’s basically the point of this piece people.
The ETA 2836-2’s got a fantastic movement they dealers say. Members too – no one’s had any real issues. It’s not an actual GMT movement as with real Rolex Caliber 3185 or the ETA 2893-2, but it works really really great and it’s way cheaper of course.
GMT Master’s have these small screwdown crowns, which are copied well here. Crowns also feature this straight line – not three dots – beneath the Rolex coronet – all of which is replicated perfectly. The screw-down crown function is basically like the Submariners, except for the GMT setup obviously.
After putting in and gluing your own insert – you don’t have to get this done professionally though watch out you don’t glue the bezel to the case or gunk up your movement, you’ll see that the crystal isn’t high up from the bezel enough. You can even tell in the pic. This is due to the fact that really good-quality after-market inserts like those from Palpatine and Joe are ment for real Masters with those bigger bezel diameters and deeper holes. So that’s just a little issue with this. Although, some replicas inserts are lower than the edges of the bezel which is also wrong.
In GMTs, the rehaut problem isn’t present, but real fanatics will notice how the metallic inside ring ought to have a better merger with the crystal. You can hardly notice the little white crystal ring in some light, but nonetheless it’s not as big a deal with the CN Submariner pieces.
To me, this copy is aesthetically superior to any, even if it has some flaws. The case, the stra, the crown guards are all amazing and drown out any flaws. Plus, no serious modifications are needed. You just have to polish and oil as usual. I love this watch and it’ll never leave my bedside table, along with my special Omega.
It’s not utter perfection, but come on it’s a replica. The next version will be even better surely, but still will have flaws, don’t doubt it. Now is as good a time as any to jump in.
Thanks for reading~
Tags: Replica Watch Reviews, Rolex Replica Watches