Love At First Sight: Nick's Rolex Explorer II


When I think back on the purchase of my Explorer II I remember discovering the For Sale listing on the TimeZone Forum and immediately being enchanted by the sellers’ photography of the watch. In all my days (and nights) lurking on the Sales Corner I had never been as captivated by a series of shots. By tactically positioning the watch and using clever lighting, the photos spotlighted crucial facets of the watch and conveyed its essence. The case was angled just-so to showcase the sunburst finishing on the flawless steel bezel. Hi-Def. macro shots were in full effect flaunting the much-coveted original bevels on the lugs.

"The purchase was made back in the Spring of 2010 and the seller was a guy named Jacek."

To be perfectly clear, I was not in the market for an Explorer II. I think it was the pictures that sold me. I was definitely overdue for another watch and knew if I were to pull the trigger it had to be a Rolex. (At the time, 12 years had passed since I bought my first Rolex. The only other watch I'd owned was a Breitling Navitmer, which never felt quite right.) As if the images weren’t enough to sell me, this Explorer II was practically new-old-stock and came with its original box and papers. Plus, work was going really well for me at the time so I quickly rationalized that I deserved to treat myself. So I slept on it for the night, woke up feeling the same good vibes, and decided to buy my second Rolex sight unseen.

The purchase was made back in the Spring of 2010 and the seller was a guy named Jacek. I gave him a call and a deal was struck. At the time I had no idea about H.Q. Milton and I think it’s safe to assume Jacek and Scott were working hard to make a name for themselves during this period. I enjoy the fact that I was a relatively early buyer from this now globally-renowned watch dealer.


"...Reading about a watch's function

is nothing like actually using it..."

My Explorer II is the watch I've worn the most since getting in almost eight years ago. Without hesitation I can say one of my best memories wearing it was on the first overseas vacation I took with my wife (at the time fiancée). We visited the mecca for watch lovers: Switzerland. This was the first time I used a dual-timezone function on a watch. Reading about a watch's function is nothing like actually using it. Adjusting the hour-hand seven clicks forward to display the local time, while still being able to refer back to the red 24-hour hand for home time was a practical innovation I greatly appreciated in a foreign place. I wonder if this is how a Pan-Am pilot felt back in the 1950’s as he rotated the bakelite bezel of his GMT-Master…

When I talk about my Explorer II with fellow nerdy watch lovers  I take pleasure pointing out a few distinct features that make this particular watch stand out among other seemingly identical ref. 16570 examples. My watch has a ‘SWISS-only’ dial that was produced for a very short time. This ‘transition’ dial was the first to use luminova instead of tritium to illuminate the hour plots and hands. Also, for both aesthetic and nostalgic reasons I prefer the older-style 'hollow end-link' bracelet that came on my watch. I love the juxtaposition of the newer technology dial accompanied by the older-style bracelet. What can I say, this watch has it all: looks and personality!


To wrap things up let me say this: Right now, I plan to own this watch forever. As an aspiring watch collector and devout Rolex disciple, the fact that my Explorer II was the first Rolex sport model I purchased grants it immunity from leaving my watch roll. I believe a watch being worn day-in and day-out for years has the power to trigger memories. Whenever I look at my watch or talk about it, I fondly recall buying it partly as a reward to myself for achieving a milestone at work. And if that wasn't a sentimental-enough reason to make this one a keeper, I already mentioned the value I placed wearing it during the first ocean-hopping adventure my wife and I took.