Sleeper classic or on the brink of extinction?

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koimaster
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Sleeper classic or on the brink of extinction?

Post by koimaster » May 19th 2020, 4:28pm

IN-DEPTH: The Rolex Explorer II Ref.216570, sleeper classic or on the brink of extinction?

Let me start this review with an admission: I thought the Big Crown was going to turf many of its current models in 2020. The Milgauss, for example, is well past due for an evolution from its current form, if it remains at all. Likewise, the Air-King – which stylistically borrowed heavily from a set of dash clocks made for a land speed record car that Rolex no longer has any affiliation with – was also rumoured to be disappearing for good.


In my opinion, though, the model that was most ready for a reboot was the divisive Explorer II Ref.216570. Here is a watch that has been in production for one year shy of a decade and, until recently, hasn’t exactly been a fan favourite. In fact, before stainless steel professional models escalated in value, the Explorer II, in either the black or white dial, was readily available from your local AD. I should know – I used to work for one.

Why was it never as desirable as something like a Submariner or Daytona? Well, the large 42mm case size has been off-putting for many, considering that its predecessor, the Ref. 16570, was a more agreeable 40mm. Then there’s the “maxi dial”, which some people love, but purists tend to turn their noses up at. And the overall aesthetic of the watch just doesn’t offer the same sort of opulence as other “sports” Rolex watches. It’s unashamedly a tool watch first, luxury item second – form following function in almost every regard. The innards of Ref.216570, which were impressive in 2011, are also getting a bit long in the tooth – 48 hours of power reserve in 2020 is, for some, simply not good enough.

Despite all this, though, the current Explorer II has still managed to develop into somewhat of a cult among a sect of watch enthusiasts. And, honestly, what has slowly edged this model back into the desirability radar is photographers like @nicedily. The watch actually shoots very well. And @nicedily, who was kind enough to provide images for this story, has well and truly put that front and centre with shots of his own Explorer II Ref. 216570. So, when the opportunity to wear a black Explorer II for a week or so came up, I was compelled to revisit the idiosyncratic steel sports watch. Especially considering its days may indeed be numbered.


https://timeandtidewatches.com/rolex-ex ... 6570-42mm/
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Re: Sleeper classic or on the brink of extinction?

Post by smellody » May 20th 2020, 8:23pm

conjurer wrote:
May 20th 2020, 7:28pm
I could see Dr. Smells wearing that Daytona, while walking around his palatial home, wearing a smoking jacket, and carrying his crystal panther like a Bond villian.
Funny, I was about to report that I would have no problem wearing that beauty!
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Re: Sleeper classic or on the brink of extinction?

Post by Pilliam » October 17th 2020, 11:03pm

Great article; thanks for posting, koimaster. I [briefly] owned the ExpII "Polar" in 2018, and sold it back to the AD to, in turn, to sell for me in his store. I adored the watch in pictures and in the flesh when I bought it. To me, it's remained "the one that got away." The issue was I could never dial in the proper fit. It wore like a dream from a dimensions standpoint; yet the bracelet was my gripe. The AD sized and resized for me four times, and after wearing it for a couple of weeks after that fourth time, it was time to say adios.

I don't believe it came with any half-links, and it was always either too tight or too loose. The easy-link did no good and only exacerbated the problem. By comparison, I owned the SD43 from late 2019 until last month when I did the same deal with my AD and bought the new Sub. The SD43 wore like a dream, too, and I credit half-links and the Glidelock for the comfort. IMO, watches with heavier watch-heads need to be buckled down fairly tight, and the engineering capabilities have to be there in order to allow for the necessary tweaking. I wish Rolex would utilize half-links and the Glidelock throughout their range - at least the sports models - even if only offered in a more scaled down fashion. Seems to me this would allow more owners to get their ideal fit, but wtf do I know?

Sidebar - the comments toward the Rainbow are hysterical! I think if I were in touch with my "inner pimp," (great term, btw, biglove) I'd opt for the WG Sub with sapphires and diamonds all over the place (I forget the nickname, though).
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Re: Sleeper classic or on the brink of extinction?

Post by conjurer » October 17th 2020, 11:49pm

Pilliam wrote:
October 17th 2020, 11:03pm
Great article; thanks for posting, koimaster. I [briefly] owned the ExpII "Polar" in 2018, and sold it back to the AD to, in turn, to sell for me in his store. I adored the watch in pictures and in the flesh when I bought it. To me, it's remained "the one that got away." The issue was I could never dial in the proper fit. It wore like a dream from a dimensions standpoint; yet the bracelet was my gripe. The AD sized and resized for me four times, and after wearing it for a couple of weeks after that fourth time, it was time to say adios.

I don't believe it came with any half-links, and it was always either too tight or too loose. The easy-link did no good and only exacerbated the problem. By comparison, I owned the SD43 from late 2019 until last month when I did the same deal with my AD and bought the new Sub. The SD43 wore like a dream, too, and I credit half-links and the Glidelock for the comfort. IMO, watches with heavier watch-heads need to be buckled down fairly tight, and the engineering capabilities have to be there in order to allow for the necessary tweaking. I wish Rolex would utilize half-links and the Glidelock throughout their range - at least the sports models - even if only offered in a more scaled down fashion. Seems to me this would allow more owners to get their ideal fit, but wtf do I know?

Sidebar - the comments toward the Rainbow are hysterical! I think if I were in touch with my "inner pimp," (great term, btw, biglove) I'd opt for the WG Sub with sapphires and diamonds all over the place (I forget the nickname, though).
I own a 16570 (food for thought: this is the first and only time I've used a Rolex model number in a post, ever), bought from a fellow Lord. It dates back to around 2000, and has the black dial. The newer Explorer EYE EYE is, honestly, one of the few fuckups from Rollie in recent years. By blowing it up from 40mm to 42mm, they totally fucked up the proportions; while it looked great in photos, seeing it in real life, it looks almost like a Croton version of an Exploder.

Having said that, I recall the unfortunate walkable jason_recliner commenting on the 40mm Rolex as being the Golden Mean of sports watches--I believe he was speaking of the Submariner, but the Exploder Deux is about the same size. I wear mine all the time. It is of the perfect size.
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Re: Sleeper classic or on the brink of extinction?

Post by TemerityB » October 18th 2020, 4:20pm

bbattle wrote:
May 20th 2020, 3:01pm
These days, Rolex could probably slap their name onto a turd, put a nice bracelet on it, and be sold out in hours.

Like that rainbow colored bejeweled monstrosity.
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Slightly off topic: During the first half of this year, the only Rolex models you could find in stock at ADs were the blingier stuff: Watches like that one, women's models, gold cased-ones, ones with flowery dials and such. Seriously - while you couldn't get a SS Rolex for at least six months unless you wanted to pay some smack addict more than list price for it, the way-out stuff just laid there. And still lays there. That stuff only sells when some rich schmuck with a Carol Channing fetish rolls in and becomes intoxicated from the all Kool Aid colors and fancy bands.

In short: Subs or Yacht-Masters or even OPs? "Let me get your name and number, and we'll call if something comes in."
A bejeweled Exploder in pink? "Right this way, sir!"
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Re: Sleeper classic or on the brink of extinction?

Post by 3Flushes » October 19th 2020, 8:12am

A rare misstep that will lead to its discontinuation and limited availability thereby, resulting in a buying frenzy where they will fetch 17.2X MSRP in the initial collector's auctions.

Rolex: As rare as a 33 point, Si-4, I, diamond. (On the GIA scale, by golly).
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