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5-Digit vs. 6-Digit Subs - A Battle of Two Frankens

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    5-Digit vs. 6-Digit Subs - A Battle of Two Frankens

    A brief tale of two Frankens, both right at $1000 (or just under) ... The first, a modern 6-digit sub with some well-invested gen additions. The second, a 5-digit sub from a builder at the top of his game. Which one reigns victorious?

    Well, I was curious how the two would stack up, despite their model differences, so thought I'd share some observations. Of course, nobody will ever be able to answer "Who has the best sub?" but hopefully this mini-review will serve as one more data point for those trying to decide -- in particular between an "old school" 5-digit and a "modern" 6-digit submariner. Is style preference the only real difference, or does one clearly outshine the other?

    A few caveats: I own several gen pieces, and have owned more than my share of gen Rolexes over the years. You could say I have experience wearing, but not inspecting. I am certainly not a professional flaw-spotter. I also took pics with my phone, and would not be accused of being a photographer even on my best day. If I missed an angle or you're curious to see other shots, I'm happy to add. And finally, these are used watches that I've been wearing. I didn't even wipe them down for the pics.

    To get started, a few side-by-side pics:







    And first up, a Rolex 114060 No-Date Ceramic with specs:
    * Noob V5 Base with Swiss ETA movement
    * Gen bezel assembly (insert, ring, springs, retainer)
    * Gen 704 crown
    * Noob v6s bracelet
    * Gen crystal gasket
    * TC crystal

    When I opened the package for the 114060, my immediate first thought was, "Wow, this is literally identical to the gen." The gen bezel assembly really makes the watch, and the SEL fitment on the bracelet is as spot-on as I could imagine. Everything appears in alignment. The lume caught a glimpse of the sun through the window and gently glowed blue when I stepped away. After moments in the sun, the blue looks very crisp, but nowhere near the gen. The brushed steel did not raise any flags at all. The gen bezel assembly is absolutely killer, and really makes this watch. I wouldn't have known if the crystal was gen or not, but it looks great.

    Upon closer inspection, and after wearing for a bit, some things I noted: the glidelock works but is extremely rough, the bracelet doesn't quite have the same feel as gen, the winding does not even remotely compare to gen (obviously), the rehaut seems a tad "reflective" and "noticeable" (although the engravings are relatively well-done), and with super-deep inspection and just the right light, the hands don't "pop" like gen hands.

    I really can't imagine anyone but the most critical observer spotting issues with this watch (aside from the reverse-winding). One thing I absolutely love about the No-Date is the clean, balanced dial. It's also super easy and quick to set and go.





    Next up, a Rolex 16610 Sub with specs:
    * TC v6 Base with TC 2824 movement
    * Gen insert
    * Gen crown
    * Gen crystal with AR cyclops

    This TC arrived a few days after shipping, and was still ticking with the correct date and time. Very encouraging. Initial thoughts out of the box were, "I see why this is considered a (the?) premium submariner in our hobby." I am absoutely baffled at how clean and precise this watch is, and how well it wears. I've owned several older-style gen Subs and Seadwellers, and God's honest truth, if I put this in a pile with 5-6 others, I don't think I'd be able to re-hunt it down.

    Are there tells? I'm sure, as they've been well-documented. But I just can't find anything to complain about. The watch is dynamite. Lume is soft and warm, but doesn't "catch" light like the newer lume. With direct sunlight, however, it glows a nice, beautiful green -- better than any older sub I've owned, but not so much that it's out of place. SEL fitment on this is also really awesome. Without the glidelock, it took some dialing in to get to my size, but zero complaints on the bracelet -- other than a tad on the chintzy side. The rehaut is a non-factor without the engraving, which is actually quite comforting. The crown guard looks great to me, and looks killer with the gen crown. I have not tested the movement, but I'm confident it hits/surpasses 40 hours given my experience with it in shipping.





    So which is better? It's really impossible to say, but I do know which one I prefer. Before I spill the beans, a few more thoughts:
    • I have noticed that the Ceramic gets more "compliments." Friends and family are used to seeing me wear nice watches, so it's a rare occasion I receive feedback. For some reason, however, the Ceramic just draws attention unlike the aluminum. It really "feels" like a new watch, and "glistens" a tad more on the wrist, which I guess warrants more comments.
    • The 5-Digit TC feels much more like a "tool" watch, and doesn't give me the feeling that it needs to be babied like the Ceramic. In fact, it almost feels like it's missing some character without scratches and dings. I get that they're basically the same, but I guess if these were gens, I'd be much more careful with a newer version as I walked through doorways, and that somehow translates into my perception of each.
    • In general, I'm not a fan of the cyclops at all, and I do gravitate towards the new blue lume over the older green.

    At the end of the day, these are two rock-solid Franken builds without completely breaking the bank. But if (and when) I have to decide between the two, I believe the TC will likely remain in my stable. I don't know what it is, but it feels like a perfect go-to watch, one that will draw a glance without drawing attention. It's the epitome of the Rolex brand, and is as timeless as any watch out there. And while I'm not a huge fan of the cyclops, this date window/magnification is done so well, it really adds to the beauty of the watch. While it seems the 114060 checks more boxes, the 16610 simply feels right at home on my wrist.

    Thanks for reading!
    Gens: DSSD, DJII, GMT II, PAM372 // Frankens: AP ROO White & Blue Arabic, 114060, TC V6 // Reps: Ingy
    ***new here, but far from new***

    #2
    nice write up [emoji1303]
    https://www.replica-watch.info/vb/sh...ro-SS-Ceramic)

    Comment


      #3
      Congrats on two great pieces and an interesting write up. You did well to keep to under $1000 for the 6 digit.
      My collection | Who has the best sub? A guide for noobs | List of TDs contact info

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks. I've been wondering about this also. Thanks for a good review
        Pictures hosted by http://www.pixelsbin.com/ since photobucket crapped out. Great alternative for those looking.

        I use the same name for repgeek.com, rwg.bz, rwg.cc, and horologyboard.com

        Comment


          #5
          How did you keep under $1000 for the no date. Bezel assembly currently going from $800-$1000


          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
          CURRENT GENS: Gen Rolex GMT Master II BLNR 'Batman' - Gen Rolex 116613LB 'Bluesey'
          CURRENT REP: Nothing
          SOLD:
          AP Diver JF V7- Pam127 - Rolex pre daytona 6238 - Pam605 - Pam504 -BP DD40- Pam111v3- Tudor BB Red - BK 116610LV - Omega Spectre 300 - Super Franken Rolex DateJust 1601 - Franken TC 16610 - TC Elabore Yachtmaster - Tudor BB v3 Red - Rolex V6S 116610LV

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by ryantunna, post: 3404328, member: 86139
            How did you keep under $1000 for the no date. Bezel assembly currently going from $800-$1000


            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
            Thanks, gents.

            Yes the 114060 was a screaming deal, as the original cost of the build was north of $1450. But the RWI community is no stranger to good deals

            I guess a more fair comparison would have been a Ceramic with just a gen insert, but my gut says not much would change except to the eye of a purist.

            Sent from the RWI App
            Gens: DSSD, DJII, GMT II, PAM372 // Frankens: AP ROO White & Blue Arabic, 114060, TC V6 // Reps: Ingy
            ***new here, but far from new***

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks for the review, I'm a 5 digit man myself but both great pieces.


              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by M_Hall, post: 3404399, member: 113567
                Thanks for the review, I'm a 5 digit man myself but both great pieces
                Me too. My 16610 holds the top spot...especially since having the lugs drilled.

                B



                [Link] The Truth About our Reps...

                Comment


                  #9
                  Great comparison and fantastic looking pieces! I have to agree, the Ceramic does seem to be a bit flashier in a sense. My TC has got dings, scratches and plenty of character (I'm sure it's sacrilege to many) but I have used it completely as the "Tool" watch and it keeps ticking. When I do eventually pickup another ceramic, it will definitely be the No Date sub. So balanced and simplistic.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    You can further-upgrade both of your watches into becoming super-duper OCD-proof grade

                    114060 = wrong crown height. SOLUTION: buy the SA3135 version as it has the corect crown height and ditch that movement for the ETA 2824-2/ SH3135 eventually when the SA3135 breaks
                    TC V6 = that rough gaping hole on the seconds hand pinion. SOLUTION: replace the hands with the current TC V3 hands
                    (formerly known as 'godkiller')

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Very useful for this new guy. Just ordered noob v7 sub from truetime168 to get my feet wet in the rep biz. Have several vintage gens, various brands. This TC review is really helpful.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by cranium View Post
                        A brief tale of two Frankens, both right at $1000 (or just under) ... The first, a modern 6-digit sub with some well-invested gen additions. The second, a 5-digit sub from a builder at the top of his game. Which one reigns victorious?

                        Well, I was curious how the two would stack up, despite their model differences, so thought I'd share some observations. Of course, nobody will ever be able to answer "Who has the best sub?" but hopefully this mini-review will serve as one more data point for those trying to decide -- in particular between an "old school" 5-digit and a "modern" 6-digit submariner. Is style preference the only real difference, or does one clearly outshine the other?

                        A few caveats: I own several gen pieces, and have owned more than my share of gen Rolexes over the years. You could say I have experience wearing, but not inspecting. I am certainly not a professional flaw-spotter. I also took pics with my phone, and would not be accused of being a photographer even on my best day. If I missed an angle or you're curious to see other shots, I'm happy to add. And finally, these are used watches that I've been wearing. I didn't even wipe them down for the pics.

                        To get started, a few side-by-side pics:







                        And first up, a Rolex 114060 No-Date Ceramic with specs:
                        * Noob V5 Base with Swiss ETA movement
                        * Gen bezel assembly (insert, ring, springs, retainer)
                        * Gen 704 crown
                        * Noob v6s bracelet
                        * Gen crystal gasket
                        * TC crystal

                        When I opened the package for the 114060, my immediate first thought was, "Wow, this is literally identical to the gen." The gen bezel assembly really makes the watch, and the SEL fitment on the bracelet is as spot-on as I could imagine. Everything appears in alignment. The lume caught a glimpse of the sun through the window and gently glowed blue when I stepped away. After moments in the sun, the blue looks very crisp, but nowhere near the gen. The brushed steel did not raise any flags at all. The gen bezel assembly is absolutely killer, and really makes this watch. I wouldn't have known if the crystal was gen or not, but it looks great.

                        Upon closer inspection, and after wearing for a bit, some things I noted: the glidelock works but is extremely rough, the bracelet doesn't quite have the same feel as gen, the winding does not even remotely compare to gen (obviously), the rehaut seems a tad "reflective" and "noticeable" (although the engravings are relatively well-done), and with super-deep inspection and just the right light, the hands don't "pop" like gen hands.

                        I really can't imagine anyone but the most critical observer spotting issues with this watch (aside from the reverse-winding). One thing I absolutely love about the No-Date is the clean, balanced dial. It's also super easy and quick to set and go.





                        Next up, a Rolex 16610 Sub with specs:
                        * TC v6 Base with TC 2824 movement
                        * Gen insert
                        * Gen crown
                        * Gen crystal with AR cyclops

                        This TC arrived a few days after shipping, and was still ticking with the correct date and time. Very encouraging. Initial thoughts out of the box were, "I see why this is considered a (the?) premium submariner in our hobby." I am absoutely baffled at how clean and precise this watch is, and how well it wears. I've owned several older-style gen Subs and Seadwellers, and God's honest truth, if I put this in a pile with 5-6 others, I don't think I'd be able to re-hunt it down.

                        Are there tells? I'm sure, as they've been well-documented. But I just can't find anything to complain about. The watch is dynamite. Lume is soft and warm, but doesn't "catch" light like the newer lume. With direct sunlight, however, it glows a nice, beautiful green -- better than any older sub I've owned, but not so much that it's out of place. SEL fitment on this is also really awesome. Without the glidelock, it took some dialing in to get to my size, but zero complaints on the bracelet -- other than a tad on the chintzy side. The rehaut is a non-factor without the engraving, which is actually quite comforting. The crown guard looks great to me, and looks killer with the gen crown. I have not tested the movement, but I'm confident it hits/surpasses 40 hours given my experience with it in shipping.





                        So which is better? It's really impossible to say, but I do know which one I prefer. Before I spill the beans, a few more thoughts:
                        • I have noticed that the Ceramic gets more "compliments." Friends and family are used to seeing me wear nice watches, so it's a rare occasion I receive feedback. For some reason, however, the Ceramic just draws attention unlike the aluminum. It really "feels" like a new watch, and "glistens" a tad more on the wrist, which I guess warrants more comments.
                        • The 5-Digit TC feels much more like a "tool" watch, and doesn't give me the feeling that it needs to be babied like the Ceramic. In fact, it almost feels like it's missing some character without scratches and dings. I get that they're basically the same, but I guess if these were gens, I'd be much more careful with a newer version as I walked through doorways, and that somehow translates into my perception of each.
                        • In general, I'm not a fan of the cyclops at all, and I do gravitate towards the new blue lume over the older green.

                        At the end of the day, these are two rock-solid Franken builds without completely breaking the bank. But if (and when) I have to decide between the two, I believe the TC will likely remain in my stable. I don't know what it is, but it feels like a perfect go-to watch, one that will draw a glance without drawing attention. It's the epitome of the Rolex brand, and is as timeless as any watch out there. And while I'm not a huge fan of the cyclops, this date window/magnification is done so well, it really adds to the beauty of the watch. While it seems the 114060 checks more boxes, the 16610 simply feels right at home on my wrist.

                        Thanks for reading!
                        Did you buy them frankened? If not, where did you find parts mate? Thanks.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I just came across this post! Very nice, very well done - many thanks to the OP!

                          Full disclosure, I do not own any gens. As a noobie, I first got the 6 digit subs, which I love - I have a few versions (ARF, VRF MAX, VRF 3135, and frankened V7) of the Hulk, as well as a V6S 3135 LN, which I also love.

                          Along the lines, I bought my first 5 digit sub, a very nicely frankened 16610 LN franken from Sercions, which I loved way more than I expected to - despite the lack of a glidelock bracelet, the fit on my wrist felt better, perhaps because I am a woman (though have a 6.5 inch wrist). It wore smaller than the 6 digit, of course - which is a bit surprising given that both are 40 mm. across. The 6 digits are definitely heavier on the wrist, although they do look great.

                          Similarly, I have a vintage GMT with black insert from Yodog on a vintage leather strap - I really love this one, and it also wears small compared to the 6 digit.

                          I think dividing them into "old school" vs. "new" is on point. That's exactly how it seems to me - the GMT and the 5 digit are old school, smaller-wearing and yes - have more of a tool watch feel.
                          They are akin to a vintage Corvette - classy, elegant, always in style, great performance with a lot less bling (lume is not as great - or absent - no fancy glidelock on the bracelet, etc.).

                          The 6 digit has a somewhat flashier type of elegance. It's not so much a tool, but more of a show-er., with the updated lume, fancier bracelet, etc. - and great performance (well, depending on the movement!)

                          If I had to reduce my collection to two watches, I'd pick my soon-to-be highly frankened Hulk, and - wow, it's a toss-up between the 16600 LN and the black insert GMT! I don't want to have to choose!!


                          These are only my opinions, of course...


                          Comment


                            #14
                            Great post. Its tough to think of a 6 digit sub as a tool watch because they are so good looking when compared to a 5 digit. The fact is they have better movements, more corrosion resistant steel and superior depth capabilities, I guess thats why they are so popular. Your 114060 is amazing.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              My vote 6 digits

                              Comment

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