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Old 14 July 2010, 09:29 AM   #1
johnnyksuper
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Rolex Submariner Vs. Explorer II (First Rolex Watch)

Hello Everyone,

I have a dilemma I hope you can help me with. It takes me a LONG time to research and make up my mind when I purchase something so I hope you experts can provide some guidance in which direction I should go in purchasing my first Rolex.

I have always wanted a Submariner but I was doing a little research and I am actually tempted in buying the Explorer II. I know the the general differences like what they both were made for but I really don't know what one would be the best in overall quality and ruggedness. I enjoy swimming and I am always doing outdoor activities so I need something that will hold up. I heard the Sub bezel is somewhat fragile and the Exp's bezel is stationary so basically what I am wanting to know is what watch would involve the least amount of work/maintenance over a lifetime? I have found a Sub (no date) but I heard it was not cosc certified. Is that something to worry about?

Also, I am going to buy a pre-owned Rolex so I need some suggestions on some quality online stores that sell good pre-owned Rolexes. I have been looking for some on Ebay's trusted Power Seller's stores which I feel somewhat comfortable in purchasing from but not sure. I have found a Sub without a Date for $3699 (circa 2003) and an Explorer II (2005) for around the same price and was wondering if that was a good deal? Why are there other exact watches that are $1500 more?

I know it all comes down to what watch I want the most but I REALLY like opinion/thoughts from others so I would love to hear what you think.
Thanks in advance!
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Old 14 July 2010, 09:38 AM   #2
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I was really in a very similar position only a month ago. I bought an ExpII, but with the intention of eventually buying a Sub as well. So far, I love the Explorer II, and really like the extra hand for a second time zone.

As far as retailers, look at the for sale section of this forum, especially at the frequent sellers. I have personal experience with DAVIDSW and Alex_Collector, but several others seem very reliable. You have your choice of new (at a significant discount), practically new, barely used, or several years old on both the Sub and the ExpII every week (nearly every day). I bought a 3 week old Explorer from DAVIDSW for 30% off and I'm very happy. The watch was about an hour late on delivery and when I texted him, he called me back immediately (the watch arrived 30 min later).

Good luck, and be sure to post pics when you buy.

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Old 14 July 2010, 09:40 AM   #3
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I would go with the Ex 2. You won't see many out there.
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Old 14 July 2010, 09:41 AM   #4
Young Connoisseur
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Explorer II, IMHO.
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Old 14 July 2010, 09:46 AM   #5
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It happened to me 3 months ago... for my 1st rolex I was confused which one to take: sub ND, sub date, exp 2 or gmt ii c.... thinking about 1 week and finally asked my wife to choose, she chose gmt iic right off the bat.... 3 weeks after i bought sub LV LOL....

For 1st rolex, i recommend something iconic about rolex which is sub date.... looks nice and represent the robustness of a rolex.... nevertheless, exp 2 white dial is a nice one as well... if you compare sub ND with Exp 2, i take exp 2 immediately as it provides date and gmt function.... best value deal.
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Old 14 July 2010, 09:51 AM   #6
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Great post as we all have asked similar questions. First, you have chosen two reliable and good overall watches. The Sub is the epitome of Rolex. It is likely Rolex's most recognized (and counterfeited) watch. I mean heck, James Bond had one. You definitely can not go wrong with the Sub SS.

As for overall simplicity and reliability, the Ex II is probably better. You are correct in your observation that the stagnant bezel will likely require less maintenance and less likely to be broken. But, again, you could always wear a Timex or go watchless for strenuous tasks. The Ex II is more soft and less noticeable.

Overall, I would go with the Sub. As your first and potentially only Rolex, the Sub embodies Rolex better than any other. If you do decide to expand your collection, a crazy concept initially, but, as many TRF members can attest, might become a reality, then you could always consider the Ex II or another Rollie. Keep in mind that it seems that the current Ex II is being phrased out. At any rate, hope that this was helpful.
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Old 14 July 2010, 10:35 AM   #7
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Welcome to TRF! Personally, I'd take the sub for reasons already stated. As far as the price differences between different watches, it is related to their age. Personally, I wouldnt worry about it unless you need new. Dont let the non-CSOC status of the 14060 deter you. Mine is as accurate as my other watches. CSOC is a marketing ploy, and higher level brands wont even waste their time with it...
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Old 14 July 2010, 10:38 AM   #8
kingkongkelley
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Both great watches.

Either will be a wonderful score.

If I had the patience, I would wait and see that new Exp. II with the orange hand (should be debuting at Basel next year from what I read here).

If I wasn't in the mood to wait, Sub for me.

Good luck!

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Old 14 July 2010, 10:38 AM   #9
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I just went through a similar situation. I've always admired the blue face sub but also really liked the DJ with sodalite serti dial. I found a good Ebay seller and was able to try the DJ first. At least I can say I had it but it wasn't for me. He was nice enough to swap me back, no money lost, for a blue face sub. Now I have it, I have no intention of taking it off my wrist unless my arm falls off.

Moral to the story (at least in my view) get what you've always wanted.
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Old 14 July 2010, 10:41 AM   #10
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Both are top drawer 1st choices. I started out with a Sub and after a lot of chopping and changing ended up an EXP II fan.

For outdoor activities I personaly think the EXP II has the edge but as others have said the Sub is the Iconic Rolex and probably a better start for most.

Enjoy making your choice and come back with pictures
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Old 14 July 2010, 10:52 AM   #11
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I personally think both watches can endure all your daily wear and tear, and how much maintenance is needed depends on how you wear and expose your watch to harm. I mean it wouldn't help to pick any of those two if you keep banging them against a wall every day... :)

Style wise, I like both, but I am more favorable to Explorer II with the black dial. However the dial is on the small side compared to the sub, if that is a concern to you. And I also like the brushed bezel on it, and the GMT is more useful to me compared to the turn bezel on the sub.

Regarding purchases of pre-own Rolexes, TRF has very great reputable sellers... You'd get great prices from them too, and some may even be around your area! :D
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Old 14 July 2010, 10:54 AM   #12
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Yeap I would go with the exp II polar. Anyway both are great choices. Goodluck and post some pics on your new purchase.
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Old 14 July 2010, 11:24 AM   #13
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I'm in a similar situation - I've wanted a Sub 16610 date for ages now (March actually) but every time I see the GMT 2C I want it more - I love the band and the look of the ceramic bezel!!!
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Old 14 July 2010, 11:53 AM   #14
wisguy
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This is a hard one, if you're like me you in trouble...

I have the ExpII and I want the sub, had I bought the Sub I would want the ExpII...
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Old 14 July 2010, 12:06 PM   #15
ersnyder
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Welcome to TRF Johnny!

Both the Sub and the Exp II are excellent choices. I've not heard of any "weak" crystals on the Sub, so I wouldn't pay any attention to that info; both are rugged dependable watches.

IMO, the Exp II would be the way to go; 2 time zones and more unique than the Sub. But, both are GREAT pieces. Be sure and show us some pics once you pick it up!

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Old 14 July 2010, 12:08 PM   #16
david91686
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i say the Sub!!...... but go try them both on at an AD and whichever one gives you that warm feeling inside.... Go with it :)
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Old 14 July 2010, 12:27 PM   #17
johnnyksuper
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I think I made my mind up

Well, I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of your responses and everyone taking a little time out of their day to advise me in this decision. I believe I am going to get the Explorer II. Well, I should say I'm getting the Explorer II first and get the Sub in a few years. Since I just do recreational swimming and not diving I think the Ep would be sufficient and also I really like the 24 hr hand. Also, I think I can find a little better deal in comparison to a Sub. Thanks Again and I will post a picture asap.

Cheers,

J
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Old 14 July 2010, 12:29 PM   #18
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I had the Exp II and wish I didn't sell it. Now I have the Sub and I'll keep it forever. Just really wish I didn't get rid of my Exp II. I miss it and will probably buy it again one day. Either way, you can't go wrong.
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Old 14 July 2010, 12:30 PM   #19
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subs & explorers....my favorites.
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Old 14 July 2010, 09:11 PM   #20
Dylan Wade
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyksuper View Post
Well, I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of your responses and everyone taking a little time out of their day to advise me in this decision. I believe I am going to get the Explorer II. Well, I should say I'm getting the Explorer II first and get the Sub in a few years. Since I just do recreational swimming and not diving I think the Ep would be sufficient and also I really like the 24 hr hand. Also, I think I can find a little better deal in comparison to a Sub. Thanks Again and I will post a picture asap.

Cheers,

J
For swimming the EXP II is certainly the better choice as it's lower profile will create less resistance for your stroking hand entry into the water
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Old 14 July 2010, 09:29 PM   #21
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Exp II if you like a watch that is not seem often, flies under the radar, gives you the 2 time zone feature (that would be my choice)

Submariner if you want a Rolex that is easily recognizable and that you will see all over the place.

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Old 14 July 2010, 09:36 PM   #22
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Hi Johny, if you have a chance try them on first, then you should have a better idea. For me I'm a Sub man. Good luck!
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Old 14 July 2010, 09:46 PM   #23
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Hi Johny, if you have a chance try them on first, then you should have a better idea. For me I'm a Sub man. Good luck!
Yes this is the best advice. Watches you might like in photos may not look "right" on your wrist. Depends on your skin tone, wrist size/shape, etc. Gotta try them on. I never liked the EII in photos, but when I saw it in person and especially tried it on, it was awesome and I now have one in white face & luv it.
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Old 14 July 2010, 09:47 PM   #24
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I was torn between both also, took a chance on a 16610, glad I did, nice fit, great looks, iconic Rolex! Try both on, it was a tough decision, either one is great
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Old 14 July 2010, 11:45 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Zed Homme View Post
Welcome to TRF! Personally, I'd take the sub for reasons already stated. As far as the price differences between different watches, it is related to their age. Personally, I wouldnt worry about it unless you need new. Dont let the non-CSOC status of the 14060 deter you. Mine is as accurate as my other watches. CSOC is a marketing ploy, and higher level brands wont even waste their time with it...
+1 Excellent advice, Chris!
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Old 15 July 2010, 12:02 AM   #26
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Johnny, welcome to the Forum and either watch would be a great choice as both are rugged and dependable and there is nothing fragile about either watch. The Sub ND is also a great watch as I have one and it's not COSC. You might want to take a look at the GMT's as they are a great watch as well!!!
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Old 15 July 2010, 12:56 AM   #27
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Here is my suggestion....

..and welcome to this wonderful forum!


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Old 15 July 2010, 01:22 AM   #28
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They are both great watches, you need to try them both on and choose carefully.
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Old 15 July 2010, 01:56 AM   #29
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Sounds like you made a great choice. I experienced the EXACT same debate less than a year ago received excellent feedback from a lot of great, knowledgeable people on this forum. I could not have gotten better advice. In the end, my wife persuaded me to get the Submariner Date, as she likes the more recognizable, substantial, look on the wrist. As much as I love how it is such a classic looking watch that looks great with everything, I think the Explorer II is a better choice for "EVERY" situation and will hopefully be getting one soon. As others have mentioned, the Explorer II does not scream Rolex, it is simple and understated, and so clean looking. Congrats on your decision ... looking forward to pics.
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Old 15 July 2010, 02:30 AM   #30
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One more thing I forgot to mention...

The Submariner is all black and white. The EXPII provides that smashing flash of deep red from the GMT hand against that deep, dark glossy black face....that was another big reason I had to have perhaps soon to be discontinued version of this classic!
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