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Who has the best sub? A guide for noobs

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    Who has the best sub? A guide for noobs

    This is the most commonly asked question by people new to the hobby, and it tends to annoy some senior members because it's not an easy question to answer and people don't want to spoon feed you because it's lazy and you actually get so much more out of this hobby by doing your own research. This post is meant to help noobs find the answer for which is the best sub for them by describing things in simple language without assuming much prior knowledge.

    Before we begin, have a look at these images and note what differences you see. One is a cheap rep, one is a good quality rep and one is genuine. Try and pick which is which and we'll revisit this at the end of the thread.


    The submariner has been around since the 1950s and has undergone many iterations over that time. The history of the sub is described wonderfully by @Bonesey in a great sticky thread here

    In this thread, I’m going to focus on the LN (lunette noir, that is French for black bezel), which is the original and seems to still be the most popular.

    Here's some basic anatomy/terminology you'll need to know:


    The most popular sub models on the forum are the most recent two: the 16610 and the 116610.



    ========
    16610

    The 16610 is described as a 5 digit. It was in production from 1987 to 2010 and over those 23 years it underwent a few variations in terms of the dial, rehaut engravings, bracelet, lug holes etc. see here for discussion

    The overwhelming consensus on the forum is that the best 16610 was made by Thomas Cadel, who is known as TC. He was a supporting vendor here and you could purchase his watches directly from him. He stepped down in early 2017 and stopped making reps. There were rumours that he would come back, but the longer it goes on the less likely that seems. So now you have to find one in the member 2 member sales section.

    They are quite expensive by rep standards, but you get what you pay for. TC devoted a lot of time and effort into developing this watch and you are buying a hand-crafted watch by a passionate enthusiast and has evolved over several years to give us the most recent version, the v7x. He exclusively focused his talent on Rolexes, and only a few models. He is based in CONUS. Some people take his base watch and add in genuine parts like bezel insert, crystal or crown. These are called frankenwatches and you see them come up quite often in the member to member (M2M) sales section, but they often start approaching USD$1000, for example 875€ here, $780 here, $760 here, 850€ here. TC's watches are now highly sort after given how good they are and they are no longer in production. If you want one, you need to be very quick in the M2M sales area - they often sell in minutes. An alternative is to post a wanted to buy and keep your fingers crossed.


    In mid 2017, JF released a 16610LN, which has been very well received and is the best option available at the moment. One problem is the date wheel font is too bold, so that needs replacing. It comes with the SH3135 movement, which often needs servicing so factor that into the price.

    Nice 16610 TC v6 pictorial review
    TC v6/v7 transitional piece pictorial
    TC16610v7 vs gen comparison
    Discussion of TCv6 to v7 and v7 extreme
    Members show off their TC subs


    ========
    116610


    The 116610 is also known as a 6 digit. It has been in production from 2010 to the present. It may look similar to its predecessor at first glance, but it's a different watch. The bezel insert (the black bit around the watch with numbers that rotates) is made of ceramic, instead of aluminium like on the preceding models, making it more resistant to scratches. You also sometimes see this model referred to as sub-c, referring to the ceramic. Also, the crown guards are thicker and the lugs are wider, giving the impression of being slightly bigger. On top of that, the hour markers on the dial are larger (so-called maxi dial), the hands are wider and the bracelet is heavier because the links are solid.

    Different crown guards:


    Different lugs:


    Different dial


    Different lume:


    Different bezel insert. Note how the 116610 insert in engraved.


    Different clasps:


    There's a great article comparing the two models here

    @occb2 shows details of the 116610 bezel here

    The 116610 has been replicated by a few factories: Noob, BP, JF and others. Of those, Noob factory tends to get the best reviews. There have been multiple attempts by Noob to replicate this model, each with their own pros and cons. When I joined the forum, they were up to the Noob v5, then there was v6, v6s and at the time of writing the v7 is the most recent version. Noob factory is making a bucket of money from this watch and are selling them as quickly as they can make them, so there's no immediate plan to update to the v8. The Noob subs are mass produced (I'd guess the highest selling watch between all the TDs?), as opposed to the hand-crafted TC 16610s.

    The Noob subs come in two versions with different movements: SA3135 and A2836 (compared here). The SA3135 is Chinese-made movement based on the Rolex 3135 that is in the genuine. It is more expensive and less reliable (can die within 2 days), but has a closer to gen case in terms of the bezel feel, position of the crown and the look of the crown guards; it also gives you more options for adding genuine components or upgrading parts such as the movement, dial, date wheel overlay (DWO) and hands. There are no replacement parts for the SA3135, so it will cost you $350-500 to replace if anything goes wrong.

    The A2836 option is a Chinese-made movement based on the Swiss ETA2836. It is cheaper, more reliable, but the case is less accurate and you can’t put in a gen dial, hands or DWO very easily.

    Here you can see how the 2836 mid case has chunkier crown guards


    There is also an A3135 version, which uses the 2836 case and a 2836 movement that has been decorated to look like the genuine 3135. It's an unreliable movement in the less desirable case.

    All of the trusted dealers (TDs) here on the forum can get you the latest noob 116610. They all get them from the same factory, so none of them can get you the 'best' one. List of TDs is here.

    Fantastic pics from a pictorial of the v5
    A great review from the master @smoke on the v6s
    Big v6s thread in which @zocker4711 compares v6s with SA3135 vs v6s with A2836 vs gen
    Noob v6s vs JF v2 comparison
    Noob v6 vs v7 vs gen by @Subjeff
    A thread on the v7
    Another v7 thread
    An awesome frankenwatch Noob v6s by @Thrasher
    Another sublime frankenwatch v6s by @takks

    Another trusted seller on the forum is BK, who takes the latest version of the Noob watch A2836 version and does a few modifications on it to make it as good as it can be, including taking the Chinese clone A2836 movement and substituting a genuine swiss ETA 2836 movement instead. This is a really quality movement that should last you a long time if you take care of it and any watchsmith should be able to service it. He is based in CONUS. His noob v7 offering is here. There's some good photos of his v7 in this review.

    If you want to franken your 6 digit sub (ie add in genuine parts), both the sa3135 and a2836 will accept gen crystal and bezel insert. Many members will say that these are the first two parts you should change because they improve the cosmetic appearance of your watch. There have been problems with the Noob subs having dark insert numbers, making them almost invisible in low light. Also, the Noob doesn't have anti reflective (AR) coating under the cyclops, so it has a blue reflective tinge rather than the blackhole effect.


    So, which is the best sub for you?

    The first thing you need to decide is whether you want the newest, shiny, chunkier, weighty ceramic 116610 or whether you prefer the classic, refined, aluminium insert, hand-crafted 16610.

    If money is not an issue, buy a gen lol. If you can afford to spend around $1000, you could buy a noob v7 116610 with the SA3135 movement and wait until it dies, then substitute in a SH3135 (previously known as yuki) for $375 + installation fees, or a $200 2824-based alternative from (which will also require a movement holder, ETA hands and H4 mod). You’d also have the option of adding a genuine dial and hands. If you want the 16610, you can stalk the member to member sales section for a TC frankenwatch with gen parts. Alternatively, you could get a JF 16610, get it serviced and add in a gen crystal and datewheel.

    If you want to build your own franken, you'd be wise to monitor the sales thread at the Rolex Forum (TRF) and the Vintage Rolex Market. JUST DON'T MENTION REPLICAS. The watch parts and accessories sale section here at RWI also has relevant parts pop up often.

    If you want to franken a 6 digit, the following parts (with ballpark cost in USD for new) may be relevant:
    *Gen dwo $110
    *SH3135 movement $375
    *Gen crystal $315 (part number B25-295-C12-C1)
    *Gen insert $750-800
    *Gen dial $600
    *Gen hands $275

    The gen insert is very expensive, but it's such an important part of the watch and the Noob v7 insert sucks because it's too dark, especially in low light. An excellent alternative is platinum plating by a member called @d09624008. It's sometimes called the spongebob mod because of his avatar. It costs $195. I think the insert and the crystal are the most important upgrades.

    If you want to franken a 5 digit, the following parts may be relevant:
    *Gen crystal $175 (part number 295c for non-AR and non-LEC)
    *Gen insert $150

    This guy paid a modder to put in a gen crystal and date wheel overlay on a noob for €1150

    If you’re not experienced at all with modding watches and want the simplest, easiest out of the box solution that's unlikely to die on you anytime soon, you should either go with the TC v7 16610 or the BK modded noob v7 116610. Both sell for about $600-650. You’d be hard pressed to find a dissatisfied customer who’s bought either of these watches.

    If you want to impress your friends and have the most genuine-looking watch that experts will have a harder time picking as a replica, go with the TC (with all the genuine parts that you can afford).

    If you’re sceptical about sending random stranger on the other side of the planet your hard earned money via Western Union (as I was!), consider an entry level sub. Narikaa, aka Reg, is a TD here. He sells a 6 digit for £114 that is pretty damn good value. A few good pics in this review. A great thread with pics of regmariner next to Noob v7.

    Here's the original image from this thread, which shows a cheapie from WBK, a noobs v7 and a gen.


    If you can't tell the difference between them now, ask yourself who you're buying the watch for. Me personally, I see the pearl on the cheapy as clearly different, the gen has no glare/reflection on the cyclops, the gen dial printing is crisper, the numbers on the gen insert look whitish or silver/grey depending on the light and angle, the noob insert numbers are too dark. The rest I really need to look at side by side comparisons to notice the difference. I've personally got a TC V7 and a genuine 6 digit. I had a WBK, Noob v5 and a BK v7, but sold them as I wasn't satisfied until I got the gen.

    If you're not sure having read this, please post your question and people smarter than me will chip in. We live in a wonderful community and we were all noobs once. Just please don't start a new thread entitled 'who has the best sub?'!

    FAQ
    How do I contact TC?
    You can't

    How do I contact BK?
    You need to send him a private message

    Who has the best sub?
    See this thread
    My collection | Who has the best sub? A guide for noobs | List of TDs contact info

    #2
    Great post man!


    Sent from the RWI mobile app
    Need Help ? Ask Me I'm NOOB Friendly Super Franken SMP Build: https://www.replica-watch.info/vb/sh...ken-Seamaster!Super Franken SMP vs My Gen SMP: https://www.replica-watch.info/vb/showthread.php/330235-REVIEW-My-SuperFranken-VS-Gen-2531-802

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by FiloViridae, post: 3041021
      Great post man!


      Sent from the RWI mobile app
      Thanks, filo. I'm gonna quote this to all noobs I come across who ask the age old question...
      My collection | Who has the best sub? A guide for noobs | List of TDs contact info

      Comment


        #4
        +1, good post. In future this post can be updated too.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by dan89, post: 3041070
          +1, good post. In future this post can be updated too.
          Absolutely. As Noob, TC and the other factories come out with new editions, I'd be honoured to update what I can
          My collection | Who has the best sub? A guide for noobs | List of TDs contact info

          Comment


            #6
            Wow! Great information, answered all my basic questions as a noob. Thank you!

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Nivka, post: 3041065
              Thanks, filo. I'm gonna quote this to all noobs I come across who ask the age old question...
              Great post!
              But the question will still be asked...

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by bkarma, post: 3041089
                Wow! Great information, answered all my basic questions as a noob. Thank you!
                My pleasure, bro. It's the thread I wish existed when I joined 18 months ago
                My collection | Who has the best sub? A guide for noobs | List of TDs contact info

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by [email protected], post: 3041097
                  Great post!
                  But the question will still be asked...
                  Im sure the question will be asked, but at least now I'll now where to direct the noobs. Helped solidify my thoughts too
                  My collection | Who has the best sub? A guide for noobs | List of TDs contact info

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Great effort mate !

                    Wonder how many new members are actually going to read this rather than ask...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Applause for the in-depth info and effort!

                      B



                      [Link] The Truth About our Reps...

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Mr.Marbella, post: 3041113
                        Great effort mate !

                        Wonder how many new members are actually going to read this rather than ask...
                        If you build it they will come
                        My collection | Who has the best sub? A guide for noobs | List of TDs contact info

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by bobandshawn, post: 3041129
                          Applause for the in-depth info and effort!

                          B
                          Thanks, mate. It's actually really superficial in the context of the gurus here, but as a noob I hope it appeals to other novices here
                          My collection | Who has the best sub? A guide for noobs | List of TDs contact info

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Good job!)

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by jb2007, post: 3041149
                              Good job!)
                              Thanks, JB. I hope I can be of service
                              My collection | Who has the best sub? A guide for noobs | List of TDs contact info

                              Comment

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