Watch build inspired by the Rolex Explorer - the watch they could have made?!

Rolex Explorer Homage Mod Front View

What is it they say - "less haste, more speed". In hindsight that is exactly what I should have done on the fateful day that was the reason for this watch build. I purchased a watch case and when it arrived, it had a green crystal gasket. Beautiful but completely unsuitable for the watch I was building at the time. I had a look at my purchase and realised it was completely my fault for not looking closely enough. I could have changed the gasket of course, but what a pain that would have been!

I have always wanted to build an Explorer homage but was uhm'ing and ah'ing about what colour dial I would pick and whether to go full "homage" or make some tweaks. I decided in the end to make this watch that project and spend a bit more time picking out the dial, the hands and also the strap that would go with it.

So to complement the green gasketed case, I went for a green dial. The dial definitely has elements underpinning the style of the Explorer - the number markers at the 3,6 and 9 positions - but with different style hour markers. The hands I went with were paddle style without an overly pronounced pointed tip, and most importantly to give it its uniqueness, I added a vintage tan leather strap. So, without further ado, here are the parts that I used and a couple of pictures of the final build...


Case: 40mm Watch Case Green Glass Gasket Sapphire Glass (AliExpress) - £25

Movement: NH35 movement (AliExpress) - £28

Dial: 29.2mm Sterile Green Watch Dial (AliExpress) - £11

Hands: Miuksi watch hands luminous hands NH35 (AliExpress) - £8

Strap: MAIKES Watch Strap 20mm Vintage Cow Leather (AliExpress) - £11

Rolex Explorer Homage Mod Watch Parts

How did the build go?

I was extremely pleased with this build. As I mentioned, this was imagined from an incorrect purchase but that mistake ended up leading to a watch with a gasket that beautifully complemented the dial colour. I think the watch would have worked without the green crystal gasket, but it gives it that nice little extra individualism.

As watch builds go, this was one of my better end results from a QC perspective. The stem was cut to a nice length, the crown attached to the stem nicely and the crown now screws into the case smoothly. The only amendment I had was to the second hand. At 14.5mm in length I couldn't quite get the original second hand to stop sticking against the case, so I swapped it for a shorter standard silver second hand instead. For a more formal potentially dress watch, I actually think it may have worked in my favour. Plus I can use that second hand on another build.

With reference to the strap, I really wanted to see if I could get a brown strap to accompany the watch and decided that a lighter tan strap may give more flexibility in wear than a darker strap. This leather strap seems to work very well and gives it a bit of a spring vibe. As an owner of many different types of watches, I may normally be more inclined to wear a different style of watch when dressing down, but I think I can just about get away with wearing this watch either in a work environment or not. This has ended up being one of my favourite creations, especially for that final uniqueness.

What do you think? Did the mistake in crystal gasket colour actually end up being a blessing in disguise? How about you, any other "mistakes" that you've been really happy with in the end?


Rolex Explorer Homage Mod Wrist Shot
Rolex Explorer Homage Mod Side View