Explorer comparison pics - Rolex vs Alpha
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  1. #1
    Member whatmeworry's Avatar
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    Explorer comparison pics - Rolex vs Alpha

    A while back Fullers posted a great thread comparing his Rolex Sub with his Inivicta 8926.
    I'm now in the position to do something similar having just reacquired an Alpha Explorer I. I first got one of these in 2009 (My Alpha Explorer arrived...and I LOVE it (loadsapics!)); it was I think the second watch I bought after joining WUS. I liked it a lot but my attentions soon turned to other things and I sold it (!SOLD!: Alpha Explorer I black dial - UK seller).
    Then I found I missed it (You know what? I REALLY miss my Alphas...) but by that point they were becoming harder to get hold of and a few months later I found myself somewhat unexpectedly buying the real deal.

    Anyhow, a few days ago I bought another one from the sales board on another site. The guy I sold mine to resold it there a few months ago and I'm reasonably sure I've actually ended up buying my watch back (for exactly what I sold it for to boot!). Certainly the number on the warranty card is the same but whether that proves anything or not I don't know.
    The bracelet is better than I remember it, but one of the screws stubbornly refused to come out so whilst I can get it sized for my wrist it's a little off centre. As a result I've stuck it on a NATO which it's very comfortable on.

    Aside from the obvious gulf in overall quality the main difference between the Alpha and the Rolex is the dial. The Rolex has a wonderfully rich and glossy dial which is the blackest thing you can imagine and is utterly hypnotising. The Alpha has a maybe not even quite black, matte dial. The numbers and other indices on the Alpha are slightly larger - I suspect if Rolex made a model that looked exactly like this they'd call it a Maxi dial. The branding on the Alpha is also slightly larger (as well as being less visually pleasing, it's a bit of a mess compared to the refined Rolex typography).
    Differences elsewhere are more slight. The crystal on the Alpha protrudes like the Rolex's but not by so much. The hands are very similar - the 114270's maybe a shade longer. The case are also very similar - the Oyster case on the Rolex is definitely thinner and appears ever so slightly longer. The lugs also taper slightly more. To my eye the Alpha looks a touch bigger but there is very little in it.

    I like both watches very much and, despite the massive difference in price (one cost almost 100x the other) feel like they both offer good value for money. I've got so used to lower end Seiko and Orient movements lately that I'd actually forgotten that the Sea-Gull (I think, if not I'm sure someone will correct me) movement in the Alpha hacks and handwinds.

    Anyway, here's da pix!








    And a final few of the new arrival with its new shoes on.


    Last edited by whatmeworry; December 7th, 2011 at 14:28.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Explorer comparison pics - Rolex vs Alpha

    Excellent post Olly! The pictures are great and commentary informative.

  3. #3
    Affordables Moderator zippofan's Avatar
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    Re: Explorer comparison pics - Rolex vs Alpha

    Nice comparo Olly,thank you!
    Your photos reminded me why I didn't pursue the Alpha back when I first started looking for Explorer styles, the dial. The Alpha logo and the minute hash marks are just a tad too big for that dial.

    I'm wondering how the Sandoz would stack up, it seems a little closer to the Rolex, which is probably why they've completely disappeared from Sandoz's lineup.


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    Re: Explorer comparison pics - Rolex vs Alpha

    Quote Originally Posted by zippofan View Post
    ...............I'm wondering how the Sandoz would stack up, it seems a little closer to the Rolex, which is probably why they've completely disappeared from Sandoz's lineup.
    Given there where different versions depending on origin it's hard to say. I had the "better" version & overall it was nice. Casework & dial were pretty good for what it cost. As with the Alpha the dial was not at the same level as a high end watch - but what does one expect for the $$$. It did have a sapphire crystal (front & back), unusual at the time for the price. The bracelet however was very cheap. Hollow links & pressed clasp. Very much inline with the cost though. Overall a good value.

  5. #5
    Member whatmeworry's Avatar
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    Alpha is +0 after 24 hours.
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  6. #6
    Member Reno's Avatar
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    Re: Explorer comparison pics - Rolex vs Alpha

    Quote Originally Posted by whatmeworry View Post
    The numbers and other indices on the Alpha are slightly larger - I suspect if Rolex made a model that looked exactly like this they'd call it a Maxi dial. The branding on the Alpha is also slightly larger (as well as being less visually pleasing, it's a bit of a mess compared to the refined Rolex typography).
    Not sure if it's relevant, but I have an older Alpha Explo I (blue dial), and I noticed the numbers+indices are smaller than the "new" Explo (my girlfriend has the exact same black dial than yours)

    Here they are side by side :

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    Re: Explorer comparison pics - Rolex vs Alpha

    Threads like this always make me want to buy an Alpha.

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    Re: Explorer comparison pics - Rolex vs Alpha

    Olly, I swear if you shove another self-aggrandizing photo of your Rollie Explorer in my face , I'm gonna hop the next transcontinental flight to the UK and . . well, as the Stray Cats sang in '82, "there's a rumble in Brighton tonight".

    Remains THE watch on my target list.
    Auto Winder and marksmadsen like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DenverBuff View Post
    Olly, I swear if you shove another self-aggrandizing photo of your Rollie Explorer in my face , I'm gonna hop the next transcontinental flight to the UK and . . well, as the Stray Cats sang in '82, "there's a rumble in Brighton tonight".

    Remains THE watch on my target list.
    One of the first post's that actually made me laugh out loud. XD
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  10. #10
    Member Triton9's Avatar
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    Re: Explorer comparison pics - Rolex vs Alpha

    How is the lume of the Alpha?

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