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Definitive 116500 ARF vs. Noob White Dial Comparison: In Search for the Best Daytona

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    Definitive 116500 ARF vs. Noob White Dial Comparison: In Search for the Best Daytona

    Back in August I made this post inquiring our fellow RWI members their insights on whether the ARF has a superior dial than the Noob, and whether the difference is noticeable.

    https://forum.replica-watch.info/for...a-c-white-dial

    The response I got was…well not much. I guess not that many members bought the same watch from both factories (I mean, why would you?), and the few valuable insights that I received from M Scott , was that up until this point on this great forum, this is a point of debate, and you have to decide whether it’s worth the investment.

    And so I did. I went ahead and sourced both ARF and Noob white dial 116500, and I’m here to make a report, and in a humble attempt, to clear things up for fellow forum members.

    Let me begin by saying that when you see the two dials (watches) side-by-side in the metal, you can tell right away, without even going into detail that the ARF is the higher quality dial that conveyed that “gen aura”.

    However, not all the difference can be captured by the camera, because it’s not just simply about “dimensions, and distances and fonts”, but also the shape and the way it reflects light, which the naked human eye catches very well and the camera cannot (maybe you can prove me wrong with stellar equipment and mastery in photography, which I clearly am not).

    So aside from macro shots to illustrate the point, for some assessments I’ll share what I see with my naked eye. And rightfully so because at the end of the day is the perception received by the naked eye into the brain that brings the ultimate pleasure in owning these watches. And below are the reasons I think that I do have an adequate pair of eyes for this purpose:
    1. I own a few gen Rolex for a few years now and have developed (or always had) the habit of gazing upon my wrist and appreciating the details; I’m well sensitized towards the minor design details, shapes and polishing nuance of the gen Rolex, and what makes them gen;
    2. I also happen to own a few Grand Seiko (SBGW253, SBGR095, SBGW049), and if you know your GS, you definitely can appreciate what polishing can do to the quality of the watch;
    3. I’ve been in the rep game for a long time now to know that NOT ALL DETAILS MATTER in a rep, only what we see and perceive with our naked eye; that “gen feel” comes from the minor details in the shape & polishing etc. that conveys quality to our eyes & brain, and sometimes the conscious part of ourselves find it hard to describe with words; IMHO the fact that a letter or word positioning is off by a couple of micrometers does NOTHING to how “gen-like” the watch feels in real life.

    For those who don’t have the patience to go through the entire post, I’ll start with a summary of the key differences between the ARF dial and the Noob dial:
    1. The coronet @ 12 on the ARF dial is much more finely made, and the shape is more accurate to gen;
    2. The DAYTONA letter font on the ARF is more accurate and the color is a darker shade of red like gen;
    3. The printing on the subdial is much more crisp and clear on the ARF dial;
    4. The 5-liner dial printing on the ARF is clearly crisper and more defined, with nice “blood-drop” print height (vs. noob dial’s murky dial print);
    5. The minute track on the ARF is in a finer print just like the gen (vs. Noob’s relatively bold and murky print);
    6. The subdial height on the ARF is a bit higher on the ARF dial like gen;
    7. The general polishing of the ARF hour markers are much nicer than the noob, they seem to be shinier and reflects light in a beautiful way that dulls the noob dial (this was hard to capture with camera, as with all polished surfaces);
    8. The color of the ARF dial is slightly warmer than the pale-white noob dial color;

    These seemingly subtle details actually amounts to a very obvious result, and visual center of the brain (at least my brain) picks them up as hints of quality without consciously recognizing it. In direct comparison of the two dial in the metal, the ARF dial is such a pleasure to look at.
    So naturally what I did was to cut/shaved the ARF dial, and swapped it into the Noob base. With the addition of the CF bezel (more on that later), the watch is really close to gen and such a wonderful joy to look at. That fine jewelry like shine of a genuine Rolex piece is definitely present.

    Now into the details (and pictures)

    Coronet @ 12: general profile, 3-dimensional shape & light reflection;
    ARF dial coronet is much more restraint, narrower and closer to the gen; The coronet is also finely made with nice curvatures like gen; it is also subtly more “3-dimensional”, and reflects light at different angles in a similar way to the gen;

    Noob dial coronet has it’s fingers spread wider apart, and once you see it, you can’t un-notice it; the coronet is also flatter, with less curvatures at the edges, and less shiny than that of ARF, doesn’t bling and reflect light like the ARF;
    Red Daytona Lettering at 6: color and distance from the subdial @ 6:
    Both ARF and noob dial are little too bold, but:
    ARF dial “DAYTONA” font is closer to gen than noob, and the coloring is darker, and has that fine & crisp “blood-drop” print height on the dial of the gen; however a little further up from the subdial @ 6 compared to gen; although at wrist distance it’s hard to notice; what is easy to notice is the dark red color and quality of the print, which is obviously closer to gen than the noob;

    Noob dial “DAYTONA” sits right above the subdial @ 6, closer to gen than the ARF in position; again, this is hardly noticeable by the naked eye without holding it up real close; what is obvious is that the color is a “orange-pink” that’s far off from gen (subjectively and personally speaking, that color itself gives off a feeling of low quality); the dial print is also a little murky – which contributes to the lower-quality “feel”;
    Dial & Subdial Print
    This one is very obvious. The numbers on the ARF dial looks clean and crisp; the line patterns of the subdial ring runs into the number, but not so obvious, and it’s just like how the gen is;

    The noob dial on the other hand, the print is fuzzy/murky and not crisp, and it’s as if not enough ink was used, the black subdial background is coming through, making the number print look greyish; This really gave a sense of low-quality to the dial;

    Same thing with the 5-liner dial print @ 12, the ARF dial print is clean and crisp, nice “blood-drop” print height just like the gen; It really gives off a feel of a finely made high-quality dial;

    the Noob dial on the other hand is bolder, murkier, almost like melting into the edges, and the print height is not very obvious;

    Minute track print (See above pics for comparison)
    Again, ARF’s print is thin and fine, nice “blood-drop” print height just like the gen; very high quality printing;

    The noob on the other hand is a lot bolder and murky on the edges; the dial print on the noob really gave it a “replica” feel;

    You can also see how superior in quality of the subdial number printing in the ARF in this picture;

    Subdial height
    It was really hard to show using the camera, but I think I managed it: the ARF subdial height (white portion) is a little bit higher and more obvious than the Noob

    Also you can see the DAYTONA print between the two dials: in font, color, and print quality (crisp);



    Dial Hourmarker: and polishing (could not capture with phone camera)
    ARF hour markers are perfect; each hour marker is really shiny and reflects light in a jewelry kind of way, which you typically find on gen Rolex hour markers;

    Noob hour markers are nice; but they are also not as well polished as the ARF, and doesn’t reflect light as well as the ARF; they are polished surfaces, but they just don’t shine and sparkle like the ARF;

    Taken together, the ARF dial is of much higher quality than the noob, and it is a pleasure to look at. Now I must stress again, the obvious difference in quality of the dial is an observation as soon as you see the dial with naked eye. All the above-mentioned comparison details were identified afterwards upon closer examination in an effort to find out “what really made the difference”. I think there might be more factors that play into the higher-quality dial of the ARF, and I just haven’t explicitly identified them.

    So it was obvious what I did next: cut the ARF dial and put it onto the noob, swapped the bracelet (clasp) over, and put the CF bezel on. The 116500 Daytona is now close to perfection, and I really can’t find any reason to go gen on this piece. I also have a gen crystal, but I don’t even think I need to install it (I’ll do it just to see if it makes a difference).

    End result:


    So to answer the original question of whether it's worth it - yes (IMHO). It was a bit of money and lots of work, but this you see in the above picture in my hand, is just F*amazing to my eyes.

    Hope this is clear things up a bit for fellow members who had the same question as I did. I’ve benefited so much from all the info on the forum and it certainly feels good to be contributing some value. I have high resolution (relatively) photos if anyone wants to see them, just pm me and I can email them to you.

    Any questions, feel free to comment and/or PM me.
    Over and out.
    Last edited by old_man; 09-10-19, 07:28.
    Marlin KW 127 | KW Bronzo v3 | ZF Big Pilot 500908 | CrPO Orange 45mm | TC Sub LV v7 | Noob Sub-c V7 SA3135 | A few gens
    In Transit:
    Wanted: PP ref.5070 | 16710 Coke | 5218-304 Slytech (no rep yet?)

    #2
    Thanks for this! I’m happy that I chose the ARF and not the noob.

    Are you planning on doing the same comparison on the black dial 116520? Would have been appreciated

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by naturaqua View Post
      Thanks for this! I’m happy that I chose the ARF and not the noob.

      Are you planning on doing the same comparison on the black dial 116520? Would have been appreciated
      Maybe the black 116500 in the future, but you can infer with confidence that the ARF dial is superior just because of the quality of the dial print & coronet shape. Now I have a vague memory reading about the subdial ring of the black dial being too shiny, it would be interesting to see it in the metal.
      Last edited by old_man; 09-10-19, 07:55.
      Marlin KW 127 | KW Bronzo v3 | ZF Big Pilot 500908 | CrPO Orange 45mm | TC Sub LV v7 | Noob Sub-c V7 SA3135 | A few gens
      In Transit:
      Wanted: PP ref.5070 | 16710 Coke | 5218-304 Slytech (no rep yet?)

      Comment


        #4
        You're bang on, well done for putting into words what is easy to see but difficult to articulate.


        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

        Comment


          #5
          Thank you !
          Now we know the difference about the feeling with the ARF Dial.

          You showed us how to get a 25k watch for 1200$

          Powned !!!

          NWBIG anymore

          Comment


            #6
            Bezel gen or not for this piece?

            Comment


              #7
              Very nice presentation, thank you !

              Comment


                #8
                Fantastic, thank you for the extensive effort ! ARF+NOOB build in the pipeline

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by old_man View Post

                  Maybe the black 116500 in the future, but you can infer with confidence that the ARF dial is superior just because of the quality of the dial print & coronet shape. Now I have a vague memory reading about the subdial ring of the black dial being too shiny, it would be interesting to see it in the metal.
                  Alright! Yeah, the fat and shiny subdials on the black 116520 are my biggest concern

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by ssouthall6 View Post
                    You're bang on, well done for putting into words what is easy to see but difficult to articulate.


                    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                    Thank you sir =D Most of the forum member's efforts are focused on the dimensions and distance-betweens and fonts. While those are undoubtedly very important (and perhaps what's driving the factories to become more "accurate"), I'd take it that you've been around long enough to know that "gen feel" is beyond measurements and camera photos. I tried my best to capture that here, it's hard.
                    Last edited by old_man; 09-10-19, 11:16.
                    Marlin KW 127 | KW Bronzo v3 | ZF Big Pilot 500908 | CrPO Orange 45mm | TC Sub LV v7 | Noob Sub-c V7 SA3135 | A few gens
                    In Transit:
                    Wanted: PP ref.5070 | 16710 Coke | 5218-304 Slytech (no rep yet?)

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Hidenjoy View Post
                      Thank you !
                      Now we know the difference about the feeling with the ARF Dial.

                      You showed us how to get a 25k watch for 1200$

                      Powned !!!

                      NWBIG anymore
                      Thanks man, I just put the CF bezel and gen xtal on, and by repeatedly comparing with high-res videos on YouTube it really has that gen feel. Although if you are ever offered the piece in gen, please get it lol.
                      Marlin KW 127 | KW Bronzo v3 | ZF Big Pilot 500908 | CrPO Orange 45mm | TC Sub LV v7 | Noob Sub-c V7 SA3135 | A few gens
                      In Transit:
                      Wanted: PP ref.5070 | 16710 Coke | 5218-304 Slytech (no rep yet?)

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Lebron23LA View Post
                        Bezel gen or not for this piece?
                        Nope, it's the ARF in the photo, but after I did the post i just swapped the CF.
                        Marlin KW 127 | KW Bronzo v3 | ZF Big Pilot 500908 | CrPO Orange 45mm | TC Sub LV v7 | Noob Sub-c V7 SA3135 | A few gens
                        In Transit:
                        Wanted: PP ref.5070 | 16710 Coke | 5218-304 Slytech (no rep yet?)

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by jcher View Post
                          Fantastic, thank you for the extensive effort ! ARF+NOOB build in the pipeline
                          You won't regret it, and put on a CF bezel. Although cutting the ARF dial was tricky but the end result was awesome (as you can see in the photo). Now have two daytonas and will probably sell/give away that ARF base + noob dial one.
                          Marlin KW 127 | KW Bronzo v3 | ZF Big Pilot 500908 | CrPO Orange 45mm | TC Sub LV v7 | Noob Sub-c V7 SA3135 | A few gens
                          In Transit:
                          Wanted: PP ref.5070 | 16710 Coke | 5218-304 Slytech (no rep yet?)

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I just bought both and had a franken-rep made with the best parts of both.

                            For the money, I felt like that was the best way to do it.





                            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by old_man View Post
                              Back in August I made this post inquiring our fellow RWI members their insights on whether the ARF has a superior dial than the Noob, and whether the difference is noticeable.

                              https://forum.replica-watch.info/for...a-c-white-dial

                              The response I got was…well not much. I guess not that many members bought the same watch from both factories (I mean, why would you?), and the few valuable insights that I received from M Scott , was that up until this point on this great forum, this is a point of debate, and you have to decide whether it’s worth the investment.
                              An excellent thread with an amazing amount of detail and effort.


                              This will still be a debate for many, as realistically you would be roughly doubling the cost of a stock Noob Daytona to duplicate these results.

                              - For many, the stock Noob looks really good just the way it is and it is not worth the extra cost and effort to make it just that much better.
                              - Most people who have never compared a Noob and an ARF side by side, and in person are, and will be very happy with their Noobs.

                              - A much smaller number of Members who have compared a Noob and an ARF dial side by side, and in person, have decided that the extra expense and effort is well worth it.

                              This thread provides excellent and accurate documentation of the differences for others who may be considering this type of project, and if it is worth the additional investment.

                              Comment

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