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First purchase questions

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    Nicely written. Very helpful. Kudos!


      Originally posted by Milan8161 View Post
      Nicely written. Very helpful. Kudos!
      That was 3 years ago, you may want to look at more recent threads to make your opinion


        Originally posted by sfgerl View Post

        Hi Elise,

        As a recent first-time purchaser, I am going to try and break this down for you... So sit down with a cuppa' and read:

        The way I understand it, for the model you are looking for, there are really two watch "companies" that make the closest rep - Noob and ARF. Both of course are in China and to call them "factories" is stretching it - remember that it is utterly illegal in China to make rep watches and to sell them. Think of the "factory" as being a bunch of guys hiding out from the authorities in a dirty, parts-strewn garage; they obtain different parts from others (also making said parts in a dirty garage), then assemble everything into a watch. We are not talking about a nice, clean, "factory" in the sense of a legal, clean, swiss watch-type manufactory here. Get the picture? Then, they sell these watches to a middleman/woman, AKA a "TD" (or Trusted Dealer), who then illegally sells them to you. There is a lot of "hush hush" about the whole operation, since if the sellers get raided by the Chinese police, it's a hefty fine and prison.

        A good TD does good "QC" or Quality Control, meaning that they have the connection to the "factories" (they may in fact be family members, who knows!), and are able to check each watch one by one, and pick out the choicest examples. The TDs on the RWI list are sellers that other buyers have come to trust as ones safe to send money to, have demonstrated good email correspondence with the buyer, and mail the watches as promised and in a reasonable amount of time. This is an illegal operation (but not for you as a buyer, though), so having a TD is VERY important so you do not get scammed. You can find the list of TDs on the forum.

        Both Noob and ARF make a good 116610 LN rep. As the first poster said, there are some differences between the two, and asking 100 people will get you 100 different answers. Each version has their own plusses and minuses. I suggest you take a day or two and search 116610 LN Noob vs. ARF or something along those lines, look at the photos, read the comments, and come to some sort of a decision. I can tell you this - many on the forum are SUPER picky and OCD (it is a hobby they love, after all) about the tiny details like the rehaut (the metal rim between the dial and the bezel that has "ROLEX ROLEX ROLEX...), the dial fonts, the hands, the date window, etc. I got caught up in that as well when I was looking for the best 116610 LV (the green version, AKA the "hulk"). In the end, I can assure you that once it is on your wrist, these details will be virtually unrecognizable to anyone who does not check the watch off of your wrist and with a loupe! The people on the forum will not be the ones looking at your watch; it is true many of them can spot the "tell" (that it is a rep watch) from a foot away - but you are talking about 99.9% of the public, most of who only know that the brand Rolex exists, and that's it. Just 2 days ago at work, a female co-worker of mine, and a male patient (both wearing a Rolex) both commented on my nice taste in watches! They have no clue that mine is a rep - I simply smiled and said "thanks!" No one asked my to take it off my wrist or examined it with a loupe! And, I did not examine theirs - which for all I know, were also reps!!

        The "BK" person, and "Mary" that the other posters mentioned are, I believe, TDs who reputedly check the watches especially carefully, and cherry-pick the best ones, in some cases (BK) perhaps doing minor modifications and charging a premium (over base price) to do so. I cannot speak to either of these. I can tell you I used Ryan at intime, and Angus at Puretime, both with excellent results. The watches they chose for me are super, and I did not pay a premium.

        Once you decide which TD to use, you will place an order and send them payment. Payment is another issue in itself, the TDs as a rule do not take Paypal; some take VISA/MC (I did this, but be aware there may be issues with your CC company getting the charge to go through, and you will pay additional fees to the CC company to send the funds to China!), they often take wire transfers, Western Union and most take cryptocurrency (I never used Bitcoin and did not feel like getting involved with that.). If they ask you to not mention why the funds are being sent in the correspondence process, it is because they are selling an illegal product and do not want to draw attention! Admittedly, it feels weird to send lots of money off to some person in China - the first time, it really feels like a leap of faith!

        After THAT, once the watch is available from the "factory", you will receive "QC" pictures. These are photos asking you to do your own quality control and either agree that it is satisfactory (you "greenlight" or GL the watch), or disgree ("redlight" or RL) it. If you want additional photos, you can certainly ask for them, and a good TD will send them to you within a day or so. You then have to decide if you want that watch, or no. If you don't like it, and RL the watch, keep in mind that there is no guarantee that the next one they pick will be any better, and it may look worse! If you are unreasonably picky about the tiniest of details, and turn down watch after watch, the TD may flag you as a PIA and not sell to you again. I honestly think they want to avoid this as well, and also want to maintain their TD status, so are pretty good about picking out a good watch from the very start.

        This is important: PLEASE DO READ the forum rules on posting the QC photos. You are NOT ALLOWED to post the photos and ask everyone to greenlight the watch for you!

        Once you have read more about the details of the watch, if you have a specific question about the watch in the photo , you CAN post that question and ask it. Sometimes, some forum members may simply say "It looks great!", "that's a nice watch!", or "that's a nice example!" which you can then take as a clue that it looks good enough to GL. But in the end, the decision is yours alone to make.

        Keep in mind that overall, you are getting a watch that has been made and sold illegally - but due to the detail and diligence of the Chinese manufacturing processes, one that looks REMARKABLY LIKE the genuine article!!! You are paying $300 - 400 for a watch that to all intents and purposes, looks and feels very, very close to a watch that costs $8000 - 10,000 in the genuine form.

        So - will the watch work? Maybe, maybe not... There is NO GUARANTEE! My VRF MAX (it's a Hulk and they make a nice Hulk) keeps excellent time! My ARF version runs slow, and the movement probably needs cleaning - or whatever - done to it.

        As a general way of thinking about these, the Noob watches come with a 31xx movement, which is the size of the genuine Rolex movement. Because the case of the Noob is specifically made for that movement, the Noob version is amenable to "frankening", which means modifying the watch with genuine Rolex bits in the attempt to more closely replicate a genuine Rolex. The ARF version historically has come only with the 28xx movement, and as such, the case size will NOT accommodate some of the genuine Rolex parts should you decide to franken the watch.
        (NB: There was a version of 116610 LN by ARF just released last month, with the 31xx movement, you can read the reviews about that watch if you search the forum).

        The difference is, in general, the 28xx movements, although NOT like the genuine Rolex movement, are known for being highly reliable, and if there is the need to replace or repair the movement, the parts are very available and cheap. The 31xx movement IS like the genuine Rolex, but is more unreliable, and is definitely more expensive to replace or repair. No one is going to know which movement is in your watch unless they take the back off of the watch!

        I wanted a watch that looked great, but was more reliable and cheap to repair. I was not planning to modify the watch apart from buying a better (in my case, a genuine) crystal - so both of my watches have the 28xx movement.

        I hope this helps, and that you have benefited from what I have learned by all my reading in the past 6 weeks... I cannot overemphasize the importance of reading and re-reading the posts on any specific question you have, but of course there are many helpful members on the forum who will often be more than happy to help.

        Good luck!

        what a great write-up and a great, concrete example for what to look for when considering which TD to pick! Thank you for this!


          Slowly making my way through the noob threads - so thanks for the write up.