Beckertime’s columnists decided to post their top five watches for the holiday season. Here are my favorite Rolex watches that have always spoken to me every time I look at them.
Explorer II 216570
The updated Explorer II, 216570 is my most favorite Rolex because of its provenance, the new features that came with the 2011 update, yet honors its design roots. The new Explorer II 216570 utilizes a larger case increasing from 40mm to 42mm, larger hands filled with Rolex’s Chromolite lume, Rolex’s proprietary in-house ParaFlex shock mechanism, and Rolex’s updated solid linked Oyster bracelet and clasp. These welcomed revisions and the size increase brings the watch into the 21st century making it easier to read, and the iconic orange 24 hour hand is just beautiful. Unlike other watch brands that increase the size of their watch cases yet keep the movement the same size, Rolex made the 3187 base plate larger filling the entire interior of the watch case, and designed the date wheel bigger such that the date is in the same location (just a mm) from the edge of the watch face. In essence, Rolex kept the traditional design lines and proportions found in the original model making this watch similar to the iconic traditional Submariner, yet is larger proportioned and updated with Rolex’s latest technology. For me, nothing cooler than this.
Many of the updates found on the Explorer II 216570 originated with the updated GMT 116710. The 116710 is an improved version of the GMT 16710 that includes an updated movement, Paracrom hairspring, maxi hands and dial, solid link bracelet, and thicker watch case. Making this particular GMT stand out is the introduction of the ceramic bezel that makes this watch a very grown up version of the 16710. The 2013 release of the revolutionary blue-black (BLNR) ceramic bezel model also includes updated Ceracrom lume on the dial dots and hands. This is my second favorite watch because of its tool-watch functionality combined with the boardroom mix of polished center links.
GMT Fat Lady 16760
The GMT 16760 was introduced in 1983 and was the first Rolex stainless sport watch to have a sapphire crystal and a red-black bezel insert. Making this Rolex different from the rest of the sport line was its enlarged case, similar in size to the Submariner at the time –and hence the name “fat lady.” This is my third favorite watch because it possesses the upgrades of the period, traditional pierced lugs for easy springbar release, and the black-blue bezel insert.
The DeepSea SeaDweller (DSSD) is my first favorite three handed, non-GMT 24-hour hand Rolex watch. All of my favorite watches are purpose-designed whereby the watch design fulfills a specific function. The DSSD, like the GMT’s, is tough with a specific purpose of withstanding extreme water pressures, yet comfortable to wear. Like with many Rolex designs, the technology introduced in the DSSD is revolutionary and not found in any other watch brands. The DSSD is a standout watch that over the years will be as iconic as the original Submariner.
Lastly the modern Rolex Milgauss speaks to me because of its history with CERN laboratories and designed to withstand magnetic fields. Like my other favorite Rolexes, this purpose-designed watch possesses features not found in other watches or brands. The heavier case, double caseback design, and the iconic green crystal resonate with me. This watch would be perfect, but the lack of a date and the funky lightning bolt second hand does not rank this watch with my top favorite 216570.