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Old 21 July 2012, 05:06 AM   #1
drhanson
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Review of the Explorer II 216570 - Cornerstone in rebuilding the collection

After two-weeksí worth of experience with a new polar Explorer II 216570 Iíd like to share my observations. First off, let me explain why I chose this brand and model: Iíd consider myself fairly traditional and conservative guy that appreciates quality. I had a 90ís Submariner that I really enjoyed for a while but didnít mind parting with because after living with it for a few years I rarely wore it as I thought it was all too common, attracted too much attention and I just couldnít get past the clasp that in my mind didnít fit the quality of the rest of the piece. Rolex as a brand is very deliberate in its styling and changes which I respect. I think they are extremely well thought out and for lack of a better word, practical.

A divorce, the market/real estate crash and a job change over a decade ago caused me to divest myself of my watch collection. As it stands today itís a humble and sparse one: an Oris BC4 Small Second Pointer Day that I wore regularly, love its quality and styling for the money, a Tag I use for occasional recreational diving, an Atomic G-Shock for mountain biking, and now the Explorer II.

There are only two complications that I appreciate but donít feel are must haves, a GMT hand and a power reserve. The GMT hand is something Iíd definitely use while a Power Reserve is just a cool novelty Iím attracted to.

The other models I briefly considered were: 1) the GMT Master II but I found it too similar to the Sub I had. If that model gets an update without a black bezel and a GMT hand thatís more visible Iíll consider it in the future for an occasional wearer. 2) the iconic evolution, AP Royal Oak 15400. I had a used 15202 that Iíve missed since the day it left. Most pedestrians would never recognize it so it would fly under the radar probably even more so than the Explorer. Over the course of three years it was in my position, I only had one comment on it from a mid-20ís guy at a political fund raiser ďthatís a Royal Oak isnít it?Ē Since I was looking for a daily wearer to start the new collection, I wanted something with more affordable service that I wouldnít sweat the inevitable scratches and dings it will accumulate, hence the Explorer II. The Royal Oak with a Blue dial will probably be my next purchase for something a little Ďdressierí than the Explorer II. If the collection stops there, I wouldnít be heart broken. 3) Iíve been drawn to Zenith in the past but it seems the current models are a bit too trendy for my taste. At some point, an El Pimero movement Zenith with a power reserve will be in my collection. I think Zenith probably has the best value proposition out there. 5) After I add my Royal Oak and Zenith, Iíll go with the flashiest watch that has ever caught my eye, the Vacheron Constantine Overseas. One rarely spots them in the wild; Iíve seen one at a poker table and a second one in Vegas. That acquisition is likely 5 years or more down the road but I think it would nicely round out a collection containing the models I discussed above. 4) I quickly ruled out brands that used ETA based movements because I think one ETA is enough and I place a premium on in-house movements.

With the above background to put my review into perspective, here are my humble opinions:

Styling: Iíve always liked the Explorer II but whenever I tried it on, I thought it looked too small on my 7-1/4Ē wrist. When I randomly wondered into an AD several months ago to see if the GMT II had been updated yet, or if there was a Rolex with a larger case yet the sales person introduced me to the 216570. I tried it on and immediately placed it on my short list.
The white/black debate didnít go on in my mind for very long. I liked the black dial, but the white just seemed to fit the main goal I had for this piece, understated utility.

Had I been the designer, the only thing I may have considered doing differently would have been the omission of the Cyclops. The larger diameter of the 3187 movement surely would have allowed for a date font that would have been adequately visible sans Cyclops. I think to the casual observer, the Cyclops is the aspect that gives the watch away as a Rolex; without it the watch would be even more stealth than it is in current form. The Cyclops also makes off-axis reading of the date more difficult than if they went the larger date font route. On the other hand, I appreciate the tradition of its inclusion, so itís something Iíll happily live with. One cool observation is that the lume dot on the second hand when it passes under the Cyclops is magnified so it appears to be the same size as the lume dots on the hour indices. Iím no expert but this may be a way to spot counterfeits that might overlook that detail.

Overall Styling rating 9/10

Comfort and Fit: This is the most comfortable Rolex Iíve ever tried on. The low profile case back and the proportions just fit my wrist perfectly. It stays put on the wrist, hasnít gotten in the way of anything and as a result, feels lighter than it is.

The machined Easylink clasp is a major improvement. The 5mm extension has been perfect when Iím outside on a hot day in the 90ís to low 100ís. My wrist swells a bit in those conditions so I flip out the extension to maintain the proper loose/snug balance I like. When I go back into air conditioning for a while and my wrist goes back to Ďnormalí I flip it back. No need to struggle to find a link combination thatís a compromise for both environments. A well thought out feature Rolex!

Overall Comfort and Fit rating 10/10

Utility (Visibility, Illumination & Features): Iíve not found a watch thatís more readable in any light condition. The large, bold indices and hands stand out so well that reading only requires a quick glance at any angle or light level. I canít imagine how one could make this watch more readable. Books, e-readers and word processors have black letters on a white background for a reason.

The Chromalight lume works better than advertised. It lasts well over 8 hours without any deliberate Ďhelpí charging it.

The GMT hand is a very practical feature, both for travel and for use as a compass. Below is a picture of my Explorer II with the GMT hand aligned to the North, referenced with a GPS unit. Iím in the Mountain Time zone, so I have my GMT hand set for MST (to make the switch in and out of MDT easier and to keep the GMT hand in line with the sun). To make the GMT hand point North I point the hour hand -1 hr at the sun during MDT and directly in line with the sun during MST. As you can see from the below picture, the GMT hand is pointed north and the hand Second Hand is pointing at the sun (the shadow aligned with the second hand confirms this). If you mentally move the hour hand -1 hr, next to where the second hand is, youíll see the error to true north is about 2-2/3 seconds or about 14 degrees (2-2/3 seconds would separate the hour hand and the second hand). Not bad at all especially considering how that would compare to a magnetic compass. The current Magnetic Declination (i.e. difference between magnetic north and true north) at my location is 8 degrees, 41 seconds.

Overall Utility rating 10/10

Performance & Accuracy:

The latest Paraflex shock absorbers and the Parachrom hairspring ensure there is no planned obsolescence or some new feature that will make me irrationally Ďfeelí like I need to upgrade to the latest and greatest model.
Iíve been very pleased with the accuracy. The first couple days were +3 seconds, one day was +5 seconds and now itís settled into a consistent +1.5 seconds / day over the past week. Itís probably too soon to make a judgment but the early results are encouraging.

Iíve been the most impressed with the power reserve and the little movement required to maintain adequate wind. There are days when Iím stuck on my desk for very long hours and canít be as active as Iíd like. With the ETA based movements Iíve had, I often had to manually wind them to keep them going; I have yet had to manually wind the Explorer II, even with several days of very minimal activity. I have yet to have a day where I didnít wear the Explorer II, so I donít know if the power reserve without manual winding will keep it running for 24 or more hours. With the larger diameter 3187 movement, I would have liked to have seen a commensurate increase in advertised power reserve from 48 to 60hrs.

Performance and Accuracy rating 9/10

Overall Rating: 9.5/10.0

I hope this review helps some as much as reviews I've read on this site helped me.
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Old 21 July 2012, 10:31 AM   #2
Adam K.
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Excellent review, sir! Enjoyed reading it, and find complete agreement with many of your observations. Huge fan of the 42mm Explorer II; its my favorite current sport model in the Rolex lineup.
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Old 21 July 2012, 10:32 AM   #3
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Great review, very interesting - thanks for posting this
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Old 22 July 2012, 12:33 AM   #4
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Enjoyed reading your review of the polar Exp II 216570. Acquired mine recently and really love it. Agree with your observations.
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Old 23 July 2012, 01:57 AM   #5
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Nice review!
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Old 28 July 2012, 02:16 PM   #6
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Thanks for posting
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Old 24 August 2012, 06:46 AM   #7
RUpanerai
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Great review, thanks for sharing your insight.
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Old 24 August 2012, 11:36 AM   #8
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Thanks for sharing a very detailed review, drhanson.
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Old 24 August 2012, 01:49 PM   #9
Maxx
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Great review - this watch is on my current short list :)
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Old 24 August 2012, 02:07 PM   #10
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Good stuff! Diggin' mine.
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Old 14 September 2012, 07:51 AM   #11
drhanson
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After two months with the Exp II I'm kind of disappointed.........disappointed that I can't find anything that I'd wear instead of it! A great part of the watch hobby is the research and the decision process around "what to get next." This watch has really ruined that thrill of the chase because for me its the end-all-be-all sports model. If my next purchase was another Rolex sports model or even an AP or VC would they really get much wrist time? Probably not. That may change after a few more months but for the time being, I'll just be aimlessly searching for something that I find compelling but I might be better off just not looking for a while and enjoy what I have.

No issues with the watch thus far, accuracy is still between +1.5 & +3 seconds a day. I've got a two small dings on the 4:30 flat side of the case; both from door/door knobs. The bracelet on the outside of my wrist is really scratched up from typing on my brushed stainless laptop. When I noticed the scratches I put some black 1,000MPH tape on the left side where my hand wrests to prevent any further scratches.

Since I wear it all the time, showing signs of use isn't any big deal. I'll wait until service time to have those things addressed. I'm surprised it's not any worse for wear as I've whacked it hard on the bezel more than once, leaving no marks at all to the naked eye.

All in all I'm really happy with the Exp II.....almost too happy.........
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Old 14 September 2012, 08:12 AM   #12
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Thanks for posting. Enjoyed the read. The exp II42 is one of my top choices. Love it
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Old 15 September 2012, 01:48 PM   #13
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I like my black dial model so much that I'm considering getting the white dial model to keep it company... unless Melb RSC will do a dial swap for me (have not asked yet)
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Old 16 September 2012, 09:16 AM   #14
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Great review! I have always loved the Explorer II and lately it's been really growing on me.
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Old 16 September 2012, 09:40 AM   #15
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Well done.
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Old 17 September 2012, 03:29 PM   #16
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Good review
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Old 18 September 2012, 03:02 PM   #17
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Thank you for taking time to put this together. A fantastic watch, and gaining rapid (if not rampant) popularity.
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Old 29 September 2012, 08:10 AM   #18
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really enjoyed your review, considering getting the watch myself just concerned a little bit re the size as 42 mm might be bit too big for my 65 wrist.... hmmmm.....
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Old 22 October 2012, 08:44 PM   #19
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Awesome watch and helpful review. Thanks.
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Old 22 October 2012, 10:51 PM   #20
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Excellent review on an excellent watch! Got one myself about 6 weeks ago and really lovin it!
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Old 26 October 2012, 07:07 AM   #21
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I was amazed at how poor the black paint job is on the sides of the hands on my white EXP42. I got them under a 10x loupe today and the sides of the hands (particularly the hour hand) are dreadful. It doesn't look like any attention at all has been paid to paint coverage, even bare metal is showing through. The other thing to note was laser coronet wasn'r brilliant either, not complete. The watch came from an AD in Italy.
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Old 28 October 2012, 10:51 PM   #22
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Nice reading.
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Old 3 November 2012, 01:15 PM   #23
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nice write up
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Old 3 November 2012, 05:22 PM   #24
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Really solid review. The Explorer 2 is slotted to be Rolex #2 for me...I have a could lower-end watches I will pick up before #2, but it's in the making...Loved the commentary...Enjoy.
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Old 20 November 2012, 03:11 PM   #25
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Great Review. Thanks for taking the time to write it. Was delighted to read your 2 month update and how much you continue to love your watch now that you have worn it for a significant amount of time. I'm leaning towards a white dial myself. I love the black but there is just something special about the white. Cheers
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Old 21 November 2012, 12:28 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magicrising View Post
I was amazed at how poor the black paint job is on the sides of the hands on my white EXP42. I got them under a 10x loupe today and the sides of the hands (particularly the hour hand) are dreadful. It doesn't look like any attention at all has been paid to paint coverage, even bare metal is showing through. The other thing to note was laser coronet wasn'r brilliant either, not complete. The watch came from an AD in Italy.
I've noticed this in some of the blown up for sale posts pictures (paint) ... I wonder if it has something to do with the first batches ...
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Old 21 November 2012, 07:08 AM   #27
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One of the best reviews I have read. Good job!
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Old 25 November 2012, 01:24 AM   #28
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This review makes me consider the polar exp 2 instead of the Deepsea when I get ready to buy in 2 months......decisions decisions..
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Old 25 November 2012, 07:08 PM   #29
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Terrific review thanks.

My polar Explorer II is a favourite for similar reasons to your own.

But, thoughts of "upgrading" to the 42mm version raises concerns that it may be less flexible to wear on all occasions, whereas the 16570 will easily slip under a business shirt and yet be totally functional in outdoor activities.

However, enhancements to the movement, band and hands are very appealing.

Well done.

So I will have to ponder that issue. Obviously trying one on is critical.
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Old 29 November 2012, 01:11 PM   #30
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Excellent review. Very thoughtful.
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