Which Rolex To Buy? The Submariner Vs. Explorer II Watch Comparison Review




Which Rolex To Buy? The Submariner Vs. Explorer II Watch Comparison Review Featured Articles


It was back in mid-November 2016 when, for no reason at all of course, I decided that I needed some retail therapy to help me get out of the inexplicably dark mood I was in. So, what does a watch lover do when they need retail therapy? Go Rolex shopping, of course. After consulting with all my aBlogtoWatch and fellow enthusiast buddies, I was down to two options: a Rolex Explorer II Ref. 216570 black dial or the ubiquitous Rolex Submariner Ref. 114060 no date (if I could get an Explorer II with no date, I’d likely have opted for that).

I’m not going to keep the mystery going here, but after I made my decision I talked to one of the consummate watch professionals whom I entrust for purchases, George Mayer over at Govberg Jewelers. Shortly after that I had my Explorer II on the wrist and I couldn’t be happier. However, the decision was tougher than I had imagined and, in an ideal world, I would have gotten both the Explorer II and the Submariner. Here, I’m going to attempt to objectively compare the two watches to help make this decision a little easier for anyone out there struggling with the same choice.



Which Rolex To Buy? The Submariner Vs. Explorer II Watch Comparison Review Featured Articles




Which Rolex To Buy? The Submariner Vs. Explorer II Watch Comparison Review Featured Articles


It’s no secret that steel sports watches are the “it” pieces at the moment (writing this in early 2018, for posterity) with ceramic Rolex Daytonas and Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711s trading at thousands of dollars above their asking prices. This is a topic of justified frustration from a lot of watch enthusiasts who simply want to pay a fair price for a watch they want but unfortunately market trends and inventory can make getting some models nearly impossible, and the recently introduced steel Pepsi GMT is going to be another impossible to find model trading at way above retail.

Fortunately, the Submariner and Explorer II are solid offerings that retain value but are reasonably easy to acquire. However, Rolex is constricting inventory more and more and an inevitable price increase down the road makes this a good time to pull the trigger on one of these pieces if you’ve seriously been considering it. (If you want to learn more about the inventory crunch, aBlogtoWatch had a fascinating and illuminating conversation with George Mayer from Govberg about this topic that you can check out here.)

Some time ago, our David Bredan did a head-to-head of the Submariner 114060 and the Tudor Heritage Black Bay. This is a little different as there isn’t one solid value proposition, but I will cite David’s piece throughout this article when it comes to the Submariner. So, without further ado let’s take a look at the Rolex Submariner 114060 vs. the Rolex Explorer II 216570.

Rolex Submariner History & Background

The first Rolex Submariner ref. 6204 watch arrived in 1953 and has gone on to become the most iconic dive watch in modern history, and one of the most iconic and ubiquitous luxury sports watches out there, period. Originally measuring 37mm wide, the Submariner was waterproof to 100 meters due to its Oyster case though in subsequent years this was improved to 200 meters (1,000 feet) of water resistance. Of course, when Sean Connery wore the Submariner as James Bond in 1962’s Dr. No, the watch was chiseled into the imagination of nearly every young man (and woman) who saw a 007 film through the years.



Which Rolex To Buy? The Submariner Vs. Explorer II Watch Comparison Review Featured Articles




Which Rolex To Buy? The Submariner Vs. Explorer II Watch Comparison Review Featured Articles


Fast forward to 1967, and we see the release of the Rolex Submariner ref. 1680 which was the first Submariner that had a date, as well as the single line of red text which was given a tribute in the form of 2017’s Sea-Dweller which isn’t a faithful recreation, mind you.

The Submariner has been an icon for decades, and the two most common models we see are the reference 16610 with aluminum bezel which was introduced back in 1989 and was in production until 2010. In 2010 we saw the introduction of the Submariner we are discussing here in the ref. 114060 as well as the date model ref. 116610. Updates that were made to the newer versions were: the most obvious inclusion of the Cerachrom (that’s Rolex for ceramic) bezel; superior Chromalight lume; the addition of four click-springs used in the bezel (the previous 16610 used one click-spring) which allows for a smoother and more accurate setting on the bezel; the upgraded caliber 3135 which uses the Parachrom hairspring; and finally the newer models have larger crown guards and lugs.



Which Rolex To Buy? The Submariner Vs. Explorer II Watch Comparison Review Featured Articles