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Has anyone ever constructed a custom Rolex Commando?


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Title says it all. This watch has captivated me for almost as long as the big crowns have. It looks like it is similar to a 1016 but it has a slimmer profile (owing to the fact that it is hand-wound) and different hands/movement than a 1016.

Of course, the dial is different too.

I could see this being a challenging but rewarding project, and am curious if anyone has any experience here, or has any suggestions on where one might begin. I would imagine sourcing an appropriately sized case and maybe shaving it down to spec would be the best way to start, but I'm definitely not the most knowledgeable here!

Oh, and here's a link with a little discussion on the watch: http://blogs.christies.com/longitude/brands/rolex/rolex-commando-an-alternative-rolex/

Edited by Revere
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The Commando, though like the 1016 in appearance uses a 34mm case so differs in that way. I'd love to see a build of one of these though they are very small watches by today's standards (though as is the 1016 I'm wearing as typing this at 36) best of luck if you get the build off of the ground, though I agree with JMB that the hardest part will be sourcing a dial.

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Thanks for the input guys. Whoopy, that dial mock-up is awesome! I'll send you a PM regarding it.

 

About the case and hands: who do you guys think I could work with? The hands seem to be similar but not identical to DJ hands that have been on some DJs. Do you guys think MMM could help me out in making a custom case?

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About the case and hands: who do you guys think I could work with? The hands seem to be similar but not identical to DJ hands that have been on some DJs. Do you guys think MMM could help me out in making a custom case?

I know neckyzips makes hands, you could ask if he could make these perhaps.

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The case seems awfully thin. That will be a hard part I guess.

-Alex

 

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I agree Frazzle. Seems like Rolex was looking out for our GIs.

Alex, I agree. I'm hoping whoever I am able to work with for a case will have some information on how to make the case/movement workable. I'm hoping that if I use a thin movement and remove the auto wind module it will work out.

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Use a genuine 34mm Rolex case. Pick one from a watch that was hand wind. Then use an ETA 2801, Yuki movement adapter, and you're well on your way to a great franken. You can pick up those gen cases for a couple hundred dollars. No better way to get a Rolex like case shape than to use the real thing.

Sent from my SM-N920P using Tapatalk

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Nice! Thanks jelliottz. Sourcing that case will make it easier to find out the dial diameter. 

Once that is sourced I'll get the dial made. Neckyzips suggested the hands might be available off the shelf but Im not so sure so I'm hoping if they're not available he can make me some!

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"The case seems awfully thin. That will be a hard part I guess."

You can use a 34mm tudor replica case and sand the tudor engraving off the case back. Many will have a flat back like a 6694 etc. The one I have has a flat back with reference number 74033. The serial number is H107904 iirc. Acrylic crystals for 34mm 1960s/1970s manual wind rolex will fit.

edit:  Here are a few links to a bunch of Commando pictures and it looks like the case is very close to the tudor cases I mentioned. You could use an eta 2846 etc (21600 bph), remove the autowind works and hand crank it. The autowind mainspring barrel and mainspring will be Ok, just wind it 15 or 20 rounds each day. It would be a good idea to lubricate the crown wheel/ring/hub with D5 or KT22 and make sure the stem is lubed with KT22 etc. There you go...except for the dial and hands.

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=rolex+commando&qpvt=Rolex+Commando&qpvt=Rolex+Commando&FORM=IQFRML

http://www.ermitagejewelers.com/WatchView.aspx?category=186&ProductID=3275

http://blogs.christies.com/longitude/brands/rolex/rolex-commando-an-alternative-rolex/

Some have a shaded minute track:

https://www.1stdibs.com/jewelry/watches/wrist-watches/rolex-commando-extremely-rare-military-watch/id-j_58540/

If it was me...I would just go with a Yuki AK explorer dial, 2846, and a 1500 case...1500 cases are a bit thicker than a 5500 AK but they are everywhere and about half as much $$.

Edited by automatico
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"The case seems awfully thin. That will be a hard part I guess."

You can use a 34mm tudor replica case and sand the tudor engraving off the case back. Many will have a flat back like a 6694 etc. The one I have has a flat back with reference number 74033. The serial number is H107904 iirc. Acrylic crystals for 34mm 1960s/1970s manual wind rolex will fit.

Great (or demented) minds must work alike! 

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A new dial altogether might be an ok route to go. I'm not sure who I might approach about a refinish here; the nameless one is the best at the job, but I don't know if he works with commandos.

 

Any suggestions on a particular reference for a 34mm precision? Thank you for the direction

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I'd just dig on the bay and buy any cheapie... Date or no date. Dial can be welded to close date and marker holes to have a plain plate. I could do that... Erase the ref number, restaure the case and all. Not a hard project. For the redial, whoopy said earlier he could take care of it. You could end up with a all gen parts watch below 2k.

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Looked at my cases and they're 31mm not 34mm. Sorry. :(

No worries mate, I appreciate the effort in searching!

I'd just dig on the bay and buy any cheapie... Date or no date. Dial can be welded to close date and marker holes to have a plain plate. I could do that... Erase the ref number, restaure the case and all. Not a hard project. For the redial, whoopy said earlier he could take care of it. You could end up with a all gen parts watch below 2k.

I appreciate your advice. I'll do some searching for something with the right case shape. Once the dial design is done I'll work on putting some of the details together and send you a PM!

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