Rolex Explorer II

After looking at Rolex watches for years I finally walked into the Ben Bridge store in Anchorage, the only authorized dealer for Rolex in Alaska last weekend.

At this point I had never held one of these watches in my hand and really didn’t know what to expect including the price. I had read a lot of forums online that said to beware of fakes that look very close to the real thing and only buy a watch from an authorized dealer. Besides who would want someone else’s used watch anyway?

I looked at the Submariner and the GMT-2 and a passing glance at the Explorer II.  I told the jeweler I would contact my bank about a loan and promised to get back to her. She gave me a catalog.

Now it was time to convince my wife, Michele. One night, pretty late she sent me a text while I was downstairs watching Netflix and said, “buy the watch if you want to with a link online for the Explorer II.”

I could hardly contained myself.

On Tuesday I called the jewelry store and asked them about the Explorer II and said they had a black dial but just sold the white one. They said they could overnight one to the store if I put down a deposit over the phone. I did.

We set a date for Friday to go into town and get a collateral loan against our savings. I thought of it this way: This would be an investment for the last watch I will buy in my lifetime and by getting this type of loan it would be at a much lower interest rate (2.1%) versus a credit card purchase. Also for each payment I make the money is returned to my savings account so it’s a win-win!

On our way into town, Macey from the store called me and said the watch was in and I made an appointment for later in the afternoon.

We arrived and made the purchase together. That was important to Michele and I as she bought me my last “nice” watch more than 15 years ago when we first met.

We made the purchase  and they resized it for me, told me about the warranty and about bringing it in for a check up in ten years!

I had never made a purchase this large before for a watch but I think it’s worth it. We work really hard and deserve to splurge every once in awhile.

A little about the Explorer II:

“The Rolex Explorer II, first released in 1971, is the natural heir to the original Rolex Explorer – yet with a character all of its own. A robust, highly refined tool, the Explorer II swiftly became the watch of choice of speleologists, volcanologists and polar and jungle explorers, thanks to its specially designed features.”

As Michele said, “it fits your lifestyle.” I love it! After owning watches all of my life I can tell this is a masterpiece far beyond anything I have ever worn. While it’s not clunky, it’s heavy and fits well on wrist. The oysterlock band is impressive. It doesn’t jingle when it moves like all of the other watches I have ever learned. The case is made from one piece of stainless steel and the inner workings are what make Rolex legendary.

It is beautiful. While most people associate a Submariner or even the GMT as the classic Rolex look, the Explorer II is in a class of its own with its clean, white face, white hands accented in black and second orange accented hand that is used for a second time zone setting. The sapphire face has its trademark cyclopse over the date. The movement is smooth and is an automatic wind using the motion of your wrist as you wear it daily.

Overall it is a truly beautiful watch that would not be out of place in a boardroom or on the sled dog trails, my outdoor expeditions, or on the beach. I’m not a watch collector, and like to have one good watch I can wear every day. And for me this is it. So it being versatile and not out of place was an important factor for me. And this watch has that.

Follow Robert on Twitter @robertforto