It is no secret in these pages (do we still call them pages if the article runs online only?) that I am a huge proponent and happy owner of the perfect fake Rolex Explorer ref. 1016. I see this as the perfect expression of not only vintage sport super clone Rolex, but time-only sport watches. Everything you need, nothing you don’t. A perfect application of restraint in watch design. I could go on and on – and have before!
The first time I had the opportunity to spend time with a Tiffany-signed 1016, we were working on a Reference Points story focused on the Explorer. With one of every luxury fake Rolex Explorer ever sitting on a table, the Tiffany-stamped watch screamed at me. It was like my English teacher told me in high school, if you write a swear word in an essay or story (not that I ever did or anything), that one word just jumps off the page, it’s all anyone can see. Passing the table full of my favorite vintage Rolex replica for sale uk, I was anyone and the Tiffany stamp was the best swear word I had ever seen. My personal watch aside (because it has unprecedented provenance, obviously), this week’s example is the ultimate 1016.
Coming to the Vintage Watches page of the HODINKEE Shop fresh to the market, never publicly offered before, this 1981 Explorer passes with flying colors in terms of everything we look for on a Tiffany-stamped 1:1 replica Rolex UK. Given the lack of Rolex papers indicating Tiffany & Co., we have to dive deep into the fonts and printing quality of the actual retailer stamp.
The most legendary batch of Tiffany Explorers are those from the collection of Bunny Mellon – one of which is the example featured in Reference Points. The Mellon watches were all sold in her estate auction at Sotheby’s in 2014, along with a handful of other Tiffany-stamped vintage AAA Rolex replica watches. While the Mellon Explorers date to the mid-to-late-’70s, these other examples, namely a pair of Datejusts, date into the early ’80s and provide a solid basis for known authentic Tiffany stamps of this era. In comparing our watch to the Mellon stamps and other known correct examples, the stamp we see here is absolutely spot on.
Beyond the stamp, this Swiss made fake Rolex Explorer features a “Mark 4” matte dial – the same dial variant as Bunny Mellon’s 1016s – and has a really striking overall look in the metal. For these early ’80s examples, we tend to see a lighter luminous patina that presents as an ever-so-slightly off-white or cream. This one sits at the cusp of being immediately recognizable as vintage while not looking overtly “old” in the metal – a look that suits this 1016 well.