My Winter Watch: Rolex Explorer II


Earlier this year I made the decision to only wear my Explorer II during the wintertime. That was back in May. Since then, it's only been removed from the cozy confines of its suede pouch abode twice. And those occasions were just to snap a quick photo to post on Instagram. Never once throughout the spring or summer did I get the urge to wind it, set the time (and date) and sport it out the house. Only now - at the end of October - am I ready to slip it back on.

Now, you might be thinking, "Nick, you said you're only gonna wear it during the winter. Winter isn't until December." You're right, so let me clarify. When I say "winter" what I really mean is the cold weather months. I guess it comes down to the climate more than the season.

I bought my Explorer II in 2010 from one of the best in the business, Rolex dealer Jacek Kozubek at H.Q. Milton. For five-plus years it was my go-to watch - winter, spring, summer and fall. That was until earlier this year when seemingly out of the blue I developed a tic when it came to getting dressed: the colors in my shirt had to match the colors of my watch... To me, warm weather hues - pink especially - clashed with the red 24-hour hand. That was one of the reasons why I relegated it to cold weather duty: I think red goes better with darker tones I wear in fall and winter - grey, olive and rust.

You're probably thinking, "come on Nick, you're being ridiculous. Does that mean you wouldn't wear any watch with a red accent if you were wearing pastel colors?" It turns out my answer to that question has less to do with a watch's colors coordinating with my outfit. It has more to do with a watch's suitability for a particular activity or season, according to the model's history and purpose.

Way before Instagram served as inspiration to us watch enthusiasts, watch advertising - in magazines - did the job capturing would-be buyers attention. Which brings me to the number one reason I've officially decided to reserve my Explorer for chilly days: I'm a purist at heart.

Ads for the reference 16570 Explorer II almost always include images of legendary mountain men and award-winning scientists in their natural habitat: battling whiteout conditions on frozen tundras and icy precipices. I mean, the "Polar" Explorer didn't get its nickname based on its white dial alone... For me, it just wouldn't feel right wearing an Explorer II with a Hawaiian shirt in sweltering heat (exception being the current reference 216570 with black dial and orange arrow-tipped hand).

Even after presenting my case for wearing my Explorer only in cold temps, you still may not get my decision. So here's another reason, which I didn't realize until I actually stopped wearing it for an extended period of time. The saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is so true when it comes to watches. After keeping my Explorer buried in a drawer all summer long, bringing it back out was like getting a new watch. And we all know how a new watch in the rotation makes us feel...