Why the Rolex Explorer II 16570 Polar might just be perfect One Watch that does rule them all.
We’ve previously discussed why having a One Watch Collection might be a reality that very few watch collectors ever achieve. It’s the idea that even if you have only one Watch at any given time, which watch that is will change over time. After all, as we grow older, tastes change, experiences mould us into different people resulting in preferences that evolve. Yet what if you really had just the one Watch? Which would it be? Here’s a suggestion for you.
Allow me to reintroduce, the Rolex Explorer II, reference number 16570. The technical achievements and specifications for this watch have long been sung to the heavenly watch gods so we need not do that here. You know that it has that lovely 40mm case size, the near perfect size for any wrist size. You are aware that it has the ability to tell you the time in a second time zone with that lovely GMT function. You are aware of it’s robust sapphire glass with 100 meters of diving capability and its slim 12mm case depth.
What we are going to talk about though, is how versatile this piece of Watch luxury is on a day to day basis. Yes there are those that will balk at wearing a 10,000 dollar watch to mow the lawn but hey, it’s your Watch, do what you want with it. There will be those harsher critics that say you should save this watch for special occasions and yes you can do that too.
Even still, some folks will say you should keep it in as pristine condition as possible and then sell it on for a handsome profit. You can do all of that and I wouldn’t judge you for it except in the case of you taking advantage of a fellow Watch Collector. That I would not abide and would recommend against. I also would not recommend the older 1655 with it’s sub optimal GMT capabilities or the 16550 for its lovely white aged-to-cream fade dial that has priced itself out of a regular persons salary. The 16570 is pricey but achievable rather than foolhardy or a touch more rare respectively.
Instead I say, you paid a rather tidy sum for this lovely time piece, enjoy it! You can slide it under a shirt cuff and wear it to work with no one the wiser. Equally easy is to use it when you travel with that great GMT function or out on the town on a date. There is literally no situation on earth that this Watch would be out of place. From boardroom to tarmac and beyond, this one Watch might be able to do it all.
Either Black or White Dial variant would suit you equally well, though we at The Patently Nerdy Human prefer the white “Polar” dial variant for it’s ability to contrast the dark painted 24 hour bezel. Unlike it’s newer bigger 42mm brother with the thicker clasp, the 16570 has the older stamped Rolex clasps that are light weight and slim.
But wait you might say, 10 grand (with box and papers) for a rattly hollow feeling clasp? Why would anyone do that when the 42mm variant comes with a much substantial clasp you might ask. Here’s the thing, that clasp on the 42mm Explorer II? It’s heavy, has presence and on the wrong wrist, adds unnecessary weight. If like me, you’re a skinny person, you might not want to have a Watch that can be used as a boat anchor. The older 16570 with it’s lightweight and ,yes, slightly rattly clasp is still as strong and robust as you will ever need. It has served Rolex faithfully for decades before the last generation of Rolex designs incorporated the thicker milled clasp and easy adjustment systems.
There are plenty of Watches that benefit from the convenience of a Rolex Glidelock or Easy Link for on the fly adjustment. The Explorer II 16570 isn’t one of them because with the aforementioned 12mm case depth and slim lug proportions, the newer milled clasps would look out of place and throw off the balance of the watch. The 42mm Explorer II has it’s place amongst the Watch Collectors of the world but I don’t necessarily think the same guy who buys the newer refence 216570 will want the older 16570. They look similar but in person are vastly different experiences.
There’s also the massive price difference between the 216570 and most of that is due to size, the clasp, and the movement. Now I don’t know about you but paying a grand or even more for the price difference just because of a clasp doesn’t seem worth it to me at all. I don’t disparage anyone who loves their 42mm Explorer II but that size just wasn’t for me and I’m okay with it. If you hate the older stamped clasp, change it, though I admit to not being a fan of putting 10,000 dollar watch on a 200 dollar Nato strap. That’s just not me. I’m also not going into a talk about Rolex movements, that’s another article for another time.
Here and now, what you want in a watch like the 16570 is stealth, like a constant companion you can trust to be there but isn’t in your face obtrusive. It’ll never be the belle of the ball nor will it ever likely go down in price if we’re being honest. It is a Rolex after all, so you know there are going to be people clamoring for them. On it’s own, it is still one of the best time pieces to own, scratch up, and make amazing memories while wearing. As a Rolex Watch, it’s finally getting the love it deserves from collectors and normies alike, much to the dismay of my wallet.
Happy Birthday Rolex Explorer II, you’ve earned it.