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A few pics of my very first vintage Franken project


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Well, here is my first vintage piece.

A franken 1016 Rolex Explorer I.

First off, I have to thank a few members for the help in this project. The Zigmeister did an amazing re-lume to the dial. The color is excellent with a nice soft glow. And to another member, who I will not name at this time. He can come forward if he choses to. He did an outstanding job with the case, bezel and crystal fitting.


The dial is after market. Relumed by The Zigmeister. This is a 60's version of this dial with the funky coronet. I've seen 5 different dial versions for the 1016 in my research for this model.

The case is a genuine Rolex case. It began life as a modern DJ case. 16234 to be exact from 1990. The case is fitted with an aftermarket Tropic 22 crystal and aftermarket bezel. The lug holes have been drilled to accept the 2mm springbars. The case has been expertly polished and looks stunning! The crown is genuine Rolex. I chose this case as it more closely resembled the 1016. More so than the 1601 or 16000 cases from the same era. The caseback setup is the same on the 1016 and 162XX series datejust. (thanks Heywood for the loan of the 1603 to use for reference.)

The hour and minute hand are Genuine Rolex hands made for Tudor. These are not aftermarket and are genuine! A very rare find. The sweep second is aftermarket. I may pull the hands and replace with relumed rep hands to match the glow of the dial as the Tritium on these hands have long expired.

The bracelet is a nice genuine vintage 78360 with the proper 580 hoods. I am going to have to give the bracelet some work in order to bring it up the the sheen of the case. Otherwise it is a pretty good match and adds some nice vintage charm.

The movement is a hybrid. It began as a standard ETA 2846 Day/Date movement. In order to fit it in the case, I had to use a mainplate for ETA 2801-2. It is thinner and made stem alignment a lot easier. All the guts from the 2846 were transplanted into the 2801-2 mainplate. I replaced the set bridge with a two position bridge to eliminate the quickset date position. I also installed a stop/ hack lever, so now it hacks. The movement has been fully serviced and regulated and is keeping excellent time and is slow beat.

Here are some more shots:



Here is a shot of the excellent work on the lug holes. I fitted the bracelet with Rolex 2mm Submariner springbars, but will have to replace them with the slightly shorter springbars that were made for the 1016.


Here is a shot of the nice 580 hoods with the 78360 bracelet.


Here is a wrist shot. This watch is very comfortable to wear. It also looks bigger than a DJ, even though it is the same case size. I love the classic vintage look! My new favorite timepiece!


Here is a nice profile shot on the wrist. I love the look of the drilled lug holes and the profile of the crystal!


Thanks for looking. I hope you enjoy!

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Thanks everyone! Yes, the lug holes are the highlight of this project! The work is superb! I just need to find some Rolex 23-9293 springbars, or polish these Sub springbars down until they are the correct length and sit recessed in the holes.

@ Stephane. It does feel smaller than the 40mm case, especially if you are used to wearing a bigger watch. It doesn't look small though, not like my Franken-Just. I think it is the dial that gives the illusion of a larger watch.

For reference, here is a gen that was on eBay. My Franken is very close to this model: 220188140040

And also on eBay, this is the gen that I used as reference for the lume color: 150200156702

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Hi Freddy,

I'm now seeing why you love the vintage plastic crystals over sapphire. I may have to liquidate some of my sapphire frankens and go all vintage! There is just something about the looks and feel that I now find more appealing.

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Does the tropic crystal fit without mods?

I think the case you are using is only suitable for shappire crystals..

Very nice watch yours!

It fits very snug. No mods required. If I remember correctly, the difference in diamter is only around 0.01mm. When the bezel is installed it secures the crystal very tightly.

The only mod required was with the bezel as the OD of the 22 is larger than the DJ.

I have a gen Tropic 22 as well, but bought the aftermarket to test fit. I didn't see the need to fit the gen when the aftermarket looks identical for 1/5 the price.

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quote =

Does the tropic crystal fit without mods?

I think the case you are using is only suitable for shappire crystals..

Very nice watch yours!


Rolex 16200 etc DJ sapphire cases have the exact same case neck diameter as the 1016. The crystal used on this project was a GS PA 464 64C and it is the exact same size as a genuine rolex 25-22 for a 1016 explorer.

The difference is the bezel...the 1016 crystal is thicker on top and has a thicker sidewall than a 1600/16000/1018 etc crystal. The 1016 used a round section caseback gasket like the 16200 and the 1600 DJ and 1018 had a flat section caseback gasket. Back when the 1016 was offered for sale, they were WR to 330 feet while the DJ, 1018 etc was 165 feet, thanks to the thicker crystal and O ring caseback gasket. All used standard 6.0mm crowns.

A smooth bezel from a DJ is often used with a 25-21 crystal made for the rolex 1018 on these projects. Stilty went the extra mile and used a 1016 spec crystal and bezel.

Because of the thicker sidewall on 1016 crystals, you have to use a 1016 bezel or another bezel machined to fit the GS 464 64C or 25-22 crystal.

(the 1018 is basically a 1601 DJ without the date)

A bezel for a 16200 DJ is 30.4mm ID and the 1016 is 31.0mm.


What is a 1018?

Watch Cat has some very good pictures of a 1018:


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