No announcement yet.

How I built my ultimate VSF DJ41 - Franken Review 126334

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    How I built my ultimate VSF DJ41 - Franken Review 126334

    Ultimate Franken Review Build VSF Datejust 126334 DJ41

    Guys, it’s time for another review.

    As you might remember, I did some Sub, Explorer, Daytona and other reviews in the past.

    Now, since VSF released a real clone 3235 movement with a case with correct stem heigh, I needed to have one of these and wanted to share my journey.

    For your information,
    I owned already a genuine 126300 watch (so I know how the gen is), I have build a superfranken 126331 Rosegold, based on an ARF, I had an ARF v3 126334 blue dial, owned a GMF DJ41 TT and did a build based on a REF case, so I know these makers as well.

    Since the recent raids happened, I directly purchased the last two VSF models a local dealer had in stock. I didn’t want to risk running out of parts although it’s obvious that sooner or later they will be back again. One of my purchases was a 126334 white dial on jubilee, the other one was 126300 blue dial on oyster.

    I have to be frank, both watches are not as great as some might say OOB.

    I know that there is some earlier and some later batches, whereas my blue dial 126300 belonged to the later batches and the white dial 126334 to some earlier ones.

    So let’s go into the pros and cons first:

    The white dial looks like a joke, compared to gen. I had a gen white dial, and I recall its nice and glossy white color with crisp lettering (see pics). The VSF dial has way too bold lettering IMO and not such a nicely white shine/glow. Looks like two different worlds, not even mentioning the clear difference of white gold indicies on white surface, what seems more obvious than on other dial colors.

    The blue dial is really nice. My gen watch had a blue dial as well and I do also have the ARF v3 Blue Dial for comparison in my pics. I think, the VSF blue dial is closest to gen of all reps and usually there is really no need to replace this by gen. It’s a beautiful and nice dial where 99% out there won’t be able to tell apart. However, it seems that it has some dents around the indicies, which has also been reported by other members. No clue what’s the issue in here but there is definitely some uneven surfaces. Anyway, these are not really visible under a crystal.

    The case shape on on the white dial was not as precise as the case on the blue dial (later batch). However, none of both is perfect either... But don’t worry, no rep case is perfect.

    The rehaut is nice compared to other makers, like GMF and ARF, but it’s still not like gen. I noticed on all of my gen watches, that once I like to take a picture of the dial, regardless which angle I’m using, I can always see the rehaut clearly on the pics. While on the reps you always have to try to capture some special angle with special lightning to make the rehaut visible. Look at the pics compared to a gen watch and judge yourself.

    The blue dial had an oyster bracelet, where the end links were lousy and not strong in place. You can move/push them with your fingers, so that the surface of the edges will be above the lugs, what looks and feels ugly. I did mount the oyster on the other case as well. This was slightly better but still not nice enough.

    The white dial came with the jubilee bracelet and I want to clarify something:

    There is some members reporting, on the sides of the ARF Jubilee, the curves are sharply shaved and more precise than on the VSF bracelet. Thus, I had a look on my VSF and my ARF bracelets and in fact, VSF links are more rounded while ARF looks sharp.

    In addition to that, someone reported that end link codes on VSF are two different ones which seems also somehow not correct and I figured the same on my watch.

    Anyway, there comes a big BUT:
    It seems that most of these posts are done by members who did not compare to gen ones before.

    At the beginning I thought „damn, my codes are wrong and the edges are shaped too round“.
    This drove me crazy because the ARF bracelet doesn’t fit without leaving some gaps between the SELs.

    But then, I checked some stuff and figured out:
    First, there is three different versions of genuine Datejust Jubilee bracelets available:
    -One without any SEL code
    -One with same SEL code on both bands
    -One with two different SEL codes per band

    So indeed, SEL codes can be different on gens as well and it’s not an issue on VSF.

    Second, I checked my genuine 69200 jubilee bracelet, mounted on my genuine GMT master.
    And what do I see here? The edges are also more rounded and not sharp like the ARF ones.

    So now I’m asking you: is the ARF really the better bracelet??? Seems that the VSF is more in detail. And for the clasp: it can be changed easily to ARF.

    Anyway, some other said that the haptics of the ARF is still better and there is no rattling, noises or hairs inside the links. Can’t judge about that. Have both and both are fine.

    The only real difference I faced, the ARF pins used on the links have gen thickness, while VSF uses thicker ones. This impacts not only the haptics but also makes it impossible to mount a VSF removable link on an ARF fixed link by using VSF pins. The VSF pin simply doesn’t fit as it’s too thick. However, vice versa it’s possible (ARF removable links on VSF fixed ones).

    As mentioned, there is some earlier and later batches. My white dial (early batch) had the fluted bezel which seems not to have a gold plating, like later batches do. Thus, its color look different and like steel only. The blue dial (later batch) had the smooth bezel, so I can’t compare to a later VSF fluted bezel. But in comparison with ARF fluted bezel, REF fluted bezel, gen fluted bezel and VSF fluted bezel, the ARF looks closest to gen, also in terms of white gold coloring, followed by VSF and last would be REF.

    What shall I say, the Clone VS3235 movement is insane. You have to know, I’m not a fan of the gen 3235 movement. The movement was one of the the reasons, why I sold my gen Datejust a while ago. One of the most annoying things is the rotor noise, the 3235s causes. This is related to its ball bearing rotor construction, while 3135 used jewel based rotor construction, which was smooth and quiet. I simply can’t wear a 10k+ watch that sounds like a cheap ETA fake. Back in time I went into an AD and shaked all their stock watches with new 3235, like SeaDweller, other Datejust, GMT etc. All of them sounded simply cheap and AD thought I’m crazy. Anyway, since then I tried to avoid gen models with new 3235 movement. There is more details on the 3235 which I don’t like, however, if it comes to rep and Franken business, I have to admit that this is a masterpiece. It runs as stable as my gens do, it has 3 days of power reserve, close to zero seconds deviation (probably 2-3 seconds) even without a service and it winds pretty smooth and has smooth time setting as well. 1000% better feeling than ETA based builds achieve (IMO) and ETA has also little rotor noise. So fine for me. But the biggest advantage is, you can easily mount gen hands (without doing a complicated pinion mod), you can easily mount a gen dial, (without creating extra movement rings) and you can install a gen 3235 date disc (without glueing an overlay or stuff like that). This alone makes it worth buying a VSF DJ because for the price of previous modding costs, you can nearly get a full watch where you can install all parts on your own. That’s so great and I will never give these away.
    Here is some pics of the movement compared to my gen movement.

    The VSF crystals are nice, no doubt. And many of you think, that it’s not worth buying a gen crystal anymore. But I can tell you, it’s still not gen and wrong. Magnification seems a bit above 2.5 (this is what Rolex uses). Means, date looks always slightly bigger than on gen. Not that obvious, but visible once you have a gen next to it. If you install a lower gasket, you might be able to solve but then this might cause a wrong bezel vs crystal heights. However, biggest issue IMO is the blurred lense once you look at the date from a sharp angle. I figured out, that this was not only the case on both of my VSF Datejusts, but also on my VSF Hulk. So I guess it’s a „normal“ VSF thing. Took some pics so you can see comparison to gen. Gen has a clear view, even from a sharp angle. VSF has blurred lines.

    Ok, enough about the pros and cons of VSF and let’s start with my Franken:

    As you have seen from the pics above, I did already mount the gen bezel with gen crystal for trial purposes on my blue 126300. Hence, I won’t go into further details of gen bezel and crystal because the differences should be obvious now.

    Let’s start with the reshape:
    After collecting all parts, I sent the case and bracelet to a friend of mine who gave it a gen like reshape. As described above, the 126300 case was slightly better factory polished and had better fitting SELs as well. Thus, I chose this one to get even more „perfect“ after a reshape.
    You have to know, that my bracelet combination consists of VSF fixed links and ARF removable links including ARF clasp.
    As you might be able to from in the pics, the reshape made the lugs slightly slimmer (as per gen) and the edges are more sharpened well. The pics are in comparison to my „unpolished“ VSF 126334 on white dial. It’s hard to show in pics but having both in hands, the reshaped one definitely feels more gen like. My friend did also blaster the rehaut slightly so it’s a bit more visible under the crystal and also more gen like, as mentioned above.

    Date disc
    Next was the Date Disc. Again, one more thing I don’t like on the new 3235s. With the old 3135 movements, there was one screw that was adjustable to lift the date disc easily and remove. However, the new 3235 plate pretends to have such an adjustable part (see pics) but in fact you can’t move it. Thus, you have to lift the date disc and press the it through the upper left corner which will bent it slightly to fit through. The new one has then to be pressed in again in the same way. This construction is definitely made to cause a lot of scratches in the future and I don’t understand why Rolex changed it like that… Anyway, once installed the gen date disc fits perfectly.

    Next was the gen dial. I chose a dial without the coronet at 6 just because I like it. Usually the new dials show this coronet at 6 to indicate the new movement underneath. However, early 2017/2018 dials still have no coronet and we can consider them as MK1 version. You have to know, all of them have no dial feet anymore. Regardless whether there is a coronet at 6 or not, they share same construction in all models, which house a 3235. SD43, GMTs, DJ41 and so on. All of them are installed in the same way, by little pressure only with a „circled mounting ring“ that goes around the backside of the dial and fits exactly onto predefined shapes at the movement. They are not having the typical two dial feet anymore which were fixed by two screws. The biggest advantage of this VS3235 clone movement is definitely, that the VSF construction and gen construction is same while ARF, for instance, uses still dials with dial feet on 2824 movements where you first have to machine a new movement ring to place a gen dial. This is also not as easy as in the past, where you simply clipped off the dial feet and then used some dial dots to mount it again. This will not gonna work as you cannot really remove this new „circled mounting ring“.

    Well, there is not much to say about. Gen white gold hands are always a nice upgrade. There was a time where I was not able to tell the difference between gen and rep hands. However, I miss these times because I cannot live without gen hands anymore and it was way cheaper back then… Thanks to the 3235 clone movement it’s not an issue to install them anymore, while you had to do a complicated pinion mod on 2824 movements to get them fitted.

    Crown, tube and stem
    Coming to the little things, like crown etc. New Datejust 41 models use 605 reference code for their crowns, which replaces former 604 ones. It’s good to know, that neither 603 nor 604 crowns will fit onto the new 605 tubes (5340). I didn’t try removing the VSF tube (although I have a gen one laying around), because the installed tube works perfectly and smooth together with a gen 605 crown. So no need to risk any broken tubes or lack in water resistance. In addition, I was lucky to get a gen crown which sits exactly aligned and positioned at 12 o clock once screwed in.
    Well, it could have been so nice and easy…. But then I faced some issues while removing the crown from the stem. Regardless what I tried, heating, turning, screwing…, I didn’t manage to remove the crown from the stem. Instead, I removed the top of the crown from the rest of its construction, what was not my intention… I have no clue whether VSF made a wrong and one piece construction in general or it’s just something wrong on my piece. Anyway, I will order a gen stem and try to fix then. As there is not so many parts for 3235s out there, this may take a while. That’s why I installed the VSF crown for the meantime. The crown really makes a difference. Not only from an optical point of view but also haptics is better on gen. Much smoother to screw in and out. Thus, I hope I can fix this soon.

    So what else?
    I guess it’s time to put everything together and simply enjoy.

    And some more comparison pics against my stock VSF white dial 126334 with ARF fixed links only.

    Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed.


    If you like to read on of my other reviews, you can find them over here:


    ARF v3 Datejust 126334 & GMF 126331

    Hulk review pic heavy

    My ultimate Noob Daytona project

    116610 different versions review

    116610LV Hulk Franken build

    126711CHNR GMF vs Gen 116710LN

    16610 - 5 digit Sub building guide

    216570 - Explorer II project

    15200 - Ladies 34mm build

    116613LB - Quick Franken Review

    116710LN - VRF vs Gen Review & build thread on Page 4

    Sanding an ARF dial

    Quick 3235 review

    Cool stuff here!
    New to replica's?

    ​​​​​This post had helped me a lot to get into the game.
    Check it out:


      Brilliant work and contribution.
      Last edited by Jasyd; 28-06-21, 19:51.


        Thank you very much bro.
        Fantastic work!!!


          Amazing work my friend.


            Will take when green


              Just FYI brother, the date disc holder pin is meant to move just like the 3135 one.

              You don’t have to bend the datewheel with the risk of damanging it.

              Superb work, however

              Nik’s Watch Service on RWI:


                Originally posted by Nikz19 View Post
                Just FYI brother, the date disc holder pin is meant to move just like the 3135 one.

                You don’t have to bend the datewheel with the risk of damanging it.

                Superb work, however
                Really? Thanks for the info. Do you need a special tool for that? I was not able to rotate it. However, I would have been surprised if it’s not possible to move as it looks like ‘move me, c’mon move me’…


                  wow, what a masterpiece mate!


                    Originally posted by mega12 View Post

                    Really? Thanks for the info. Do you need a special tool for that? I was not able to rotate it. However, I would have been surprised if it’s not possible to move as it looks like ‘move me, c’mon move me’…
                    Yes sir, some are harder than others.
                    I normally fit a screwdriver into the hole and rotate. Do it from the backside!

                    Nik’s Watch Service on RWI:


                      Great write up and the finished watch is just beautiful.
                      Wear it in good health!
                      You can buy a watch but not the time.


                        Beautiful builds and a fantastic writeup! Thanks for sharing!


                          Amazing write-up. really enjoyed reading it, and what a stunner mate!
                          WANTED: HUBLOT BIG BANG 41MM A7750. IF YOU HAVE ONE BITING DUST, PM ME!


                            What a great review! I'll save it for tonight, to read with a cold beer close at hand!
                            TC 16610LV V6 Franken - 114060LN VSF modded - 126610LV VSF - 116520 Noob V3 Franken - PAM111 Merlin modded - AP 15202 XF Legend modded - PP Nautilus PPF V4


                              So much golden information in this post. Thank you mega12