Pagani Design PD-1693 Review: Affordable Vintage Rolex Explorer II Homage

As a passionate enthusiast of fine timepieces and exquisite jewelry, I’m always on the lookout for standout pieces that blend style, functionality, and affordability. Today, I’m excited to share my first impressions of a watch that embodies these qualities: the Pagani Design PD-1693. This automatic watch is a homage to the vintage Rolex Explorer II, a timepiece that commands a significant price on the used market. If you’re a fan of automatic watches for men and are on a budget, this review is for you.

Unboxing the Pagani Design PD-1693

The Pagani Design PD 1693 arrived in a large, sturdy box, which is quite impressive compared to their usual packaging. While the packaging might not be a deal-breaker for many, it certainly adds a touch of luxury to the unboxing experience. Priced at around 75 euros (approximately $81), this watch is slightly more expensive than typical Pagani Design watches, so I was eager to see if it justified the higher price tag.

Inside the box, I found the watch itself, a 316 stainless steel strap with a three-fold safety clasp and push-type opening, an instruction manual, an unfilled warranty card, and a small screwdriver for resizing the bracelet. The watch was covered in protective plastic, which I promptly removed to get a closer look.

First Impressions and Dimensions

Upon first glance, the Pagani Design PD-1693 looked impressive. The dial, with its matte finish and faux patina indices, immediately caught my eye. This watch closely mimics the aesthetic of the vintage Rolex Explorer II, right down to the cyclops lens over the date window. However, the cyclops lens does not seem to magnify the date significantly, which is a minor disappointment.

Let’s talk dimensions. The watch has a diameter of 42 mm, a height of 14 mm, and a lug-to-lug distance of 49.7 mm. The lug width is 20 mm, which fits the overall proportions nicely. The sapphire crystal with a top hat design adds to its vintage charm and provides excellent scratch resistance.

Dial and Hands

The dial of the PD-1693 is matte, reminiscent of vintage Rolex dials. The indices are well-made, with a mix of heights that add depth and interest to the dial. At the top, you’ll find the Pagani Design logo printed thickly, which gives a premium feel. The bottom of the dial features the GMT and automatic text, with the GMT text in orange to match the GMT hand – a nice touch that adds a pop of color.

Sapphire Crystal and Case

Testing with a diamond tester confirmed that the crystal is indeed sapphire, including the cyclops lens. This ensures durability and clarity, which are important for daily wear. The case shape is a nod to the older Rolex designs, avoiding the modern maxi case look. The finishing on the case is impressive, with vertical brushing on the lugs and polished sides.

The fixed 24-hour bezel is brushed with radial patterns, and the engravings are well-executed. The overall look is cohesive and well thought out, making the watch feel much more expensive than it actually is.

Movement and Crown

The Pagani Design PD 1693 houses a DG5833A GMT movement, beating at 21,600 beats per hour. This automatic self-winding watch features a GMT hand, which can be adjusted independently by turning the crown counterclockwise. The date can be quick-set by turning the crown clockwise. The movement hacks, allowing for precise time-setting.

The screw-down crown, adorned with the Pagani Design logo, ensures water resistance and adds to the watch’s robust build. The sensation when hand-winding the movement is smooth, although the sound is slightly high-pitched.

Bracelet and Clasp

The three-link bracelet is vertically brushed and features solid links and end links. The bracelet is held together by screws, which is a welcome feature at this price point.

The clasp is a double push security system with three levels of micro-adjustment. Unfortunately, the clasp includes a pressed metal diver extension, which feels a bit cheap and is something I would not use. Despite this, the overall bracelet and clasp setup is functional and secure.

Case Back and Water Resistance

The case back is a departure from the typical exhibition case backs found on many Pagani Design watches. Instead, it features an engraved design with a nautical theme, which is both unexpected and delightful. The watch is rated for 200 meters of water resistance, making it suitable for shallow diving and everyday wear.

Final Thoughts

The Pagani Design PD-1693 is a remarkable timepiece that offers incredible value for its price. While there are a few minor gripes, such as the pressed metal diver extension, the overall build quality and aesthetics are impressive. The watch manages to capture the vintage charm of the Rolex Explorer II while incorporating modern elements that enhance its functionality.

Why This Watch Stands Out

This watch is perfect for those who appreciate the allure of a vintage timepiece but don’t want to spend a fortune. The Pagani Design PD-1693 offers a glimpse into the world of high-end watches at a fraction of the cost. Its combination of a reliable automatic movement, quality materials, and thoughtful design make it a standout in the affordable watch market.


If you’re in the market for an automatic watch that combines style, functionality, and affordability, the Pagani Design PD-1693 is worth considering. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a newcomer to the world of automatic watches for men, this timepiece is a versatile addition to any collection.

As someone who loves watches and jewelry, I highly recommend checking out the Pagani Design PD-1693. It’s a great example of how a well-crafted timepiece can enhance your style and offer exceptional value for money. Visit Jewelry Addicts at to explore more about this watch and other fantastic pieces that can elevate your accessory game.

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