Friday, September 3, 2010

My Grail Watch #2: Rolex Explorer II (white dial)

2 years ago or so, one of my friends Gary showed me an IWC Portuguese Chronograph and I was in awe of the it's aesthetics and being a mechanical engineer, was more in awe of the makings and windings of the watch. This started in me a passion  for looking and reading, not necessarily owning, watches, and the rest as they say is history.

After one Seiko and one Steinhart automatic, both of which I really love, I still have in my head a list of what I believe would make my own perfect collection. This list is not necessarily in order...

Read complete list of my favorite watches here


Rolex Explorer II (white dial)

borrowed from
There was this article shared by one of the respected members of PWC on why the Rolex Explorer II is one of only two Rolex models worth spending cash on (along with the Explorer). While I don't believe that the other Rolex models are not worth buying, I personally do agree with the writer's reasons for why the Explorer II is a watch worth owning.

In a nut-shell, the Explorer II for me has the following likeable attributes:
  • In-house movement
  • Clean and elegant white dial
  • Has a splash of color and additional functionality with the red GMT hand
  • The easy to read stainless steel bezel with Arabic numerals 1-24
  • The all SS brushed look that screams tool watch, but since its a Rollie and it has a white face, it can also be worn as a dress watch.
The Explorer II is powered by the in-house cal. 3185, which allows for the independent movement of the 24hr hand. This makes setting of a second time zone convenient and easy. As I frequently find myself getting assigned to other parts of the world, it's great to have this feature on a watch. And the movement, being in-house is definitely a plus in my book.

The white dial is also the other thing I love about this Rolex. It just looks so elegant and effervescent. It also makes the Explorer II the only watch apart from the white dial Daytona, the only Rolex Oyster Professional  watch  that comes with a white dial.

Now even if I didn't get to travel that much, the 24 hour hand also has its use, be it aesthetic only. I really love how the red 24 hour hand contrasts against the white and the blacks of the dial. That small thin line just provides a splash of color to the dial which makes it young and fun without detracting from the elegance of the white dial. Rolex really hit the mark with this one.

I also love how Rolex went for an engraved brushed stainless steel bezel on this watch. Because of the great contrast, the engraved and black Arabic numerals can easily be read from the stainless steel bezel. The bezel though is fixed, so a third time zone cannot be set with this watch. But this doesn't take away anything from the watch. If I wanted a third time zone, then the GMT IIc would be the one for me.

Another thing unique to this watch vs the GMT (forgive the comparison but I end up naturally comparing them because of their GMT capabilities) is the all brushed stainless steel Oyster lock bracelet. I like the all brushed look since it's like a badge that says the Explorer II is a no fuzz, no blling, tool watch. That being said, because of the whte dial and the very manageable 40mm size of the watch, there would be no trouble for the Explorer II doubling as a dress watch.

All these make the Rolex Explorer II one of my favorite watches. And unlike the other watches in my "fave" list, this watch costs (MSRP) a manageable USD5,000.00. (PhP250k) Of course after discounts, this watch can probably had for about PhP230k. If I were to buy one, I'd probably be buy a 2nd hand watch since there are so many out in the open which are in really good condition.


  1. great review. i owned an explorer ii white dial before and it was an amazing and beautiful watch. it sat perfectly on my 6.25" wrist and its weight was just right. unfortunately, had to let it go.

  2. Im sure the lucky new owner appreciates it as much as you did when you still had it :-)

  3. Explorer I is way way better than Explorer II. In fact, if you were to buy just one single watch, you should buy the Explorer I. Nothing beats the simplicity and integrity of its design.

  4. Though I respect the design elements of the Expy 1 and its rich history, I personally prefer the bolder and toolish look of the Expy 2. I want a tool watch to look a bit more rugged, and IMHO the Expy 1 looks almost formal in it's simplicity and elegance (though we all know that it's part of Rolex's sports watch line up).


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