Like our 2012 list, we have to start with the cheap fake Rolex Explorer – among those I asked, the Explorer 14270, produced from 1989 through 2000, was easily the most recommended. Kind of like the older 1016, it’s simple, perhaps the purest expression of a perfect replica Rolex tool watch, just a little more luxurious now.
When I asked Ben for his rec, he simply responded “Early 14270.” For what it’s worth (and it’s worth a little bit), the 14270 was Clymer’s first 1:1 replica Rolex UK (that one a rare blackout version because of course), while Eric Ku once told us it was the “first Rolex I ever loved.” For what else it’s worth (considerably less, if anything), it was also my first Rolex purchase.
The Swiss made replica Rolex Explorer 14270 saw a number of changes over its production, typically delineated by the lume compound used on the dial, from “T-Swiss” to “Swiss Only” to “Swiss Made” over the course of a decade. There are also other changes to the dial, case, and bracelet, which Danny Milton’s explored in an in-depth article about the aaa quality copy Rolex 14270. But for under $10k, you can have your pick of variants, except for the rarest, like those blackout dials.
Like Ben, my vote would be an earlier 14270 “T-Swiss” Explorer with tritium lume and lug holes to make for easier strap/bracelet changes – part of the Explorer’s beauty is that it works on pretty much anything. Swiss movement replica Rolex transitioned away from lug holes on the 14270 around ’94, and away from tritium in about ’98. But if you want to geek out more about variants, check out Danny’s article (“Tritanova” dial, anyone?) – I’ll leave you with a quote from that piece that explain the uk high quality fake Rolex 14270’s best-of-both-worlds appeal:
“With the 14270, we have a watch that represents so much to the idea of a modern Rolex super clone for sale, and a watch with enough of that good ole’ minutiae to keep things interesting for years to come.”