My First New Rolex By:
John B. Holbrook, II
February 14, 2004

For the past several years, I've been known both online and in print as a staunch advocate of watches which are the epitome of value. "Bang for the buck" watches - watches which deliver the highest quality and best features at the lowest price point. Frequently I have compared watches which I feel embody these qualities (like various Invicta and Omega models for example) to Rolex watches, which in many respects can be considered the antithesis of such pragmatic value considerations. Of course, I've never stated that I don't like Rolex and their watches. On the contrary, I hold them in high regard for their history and legacy. In truth, I've just never felt they were a good "bang for the buck" as compared to other choices.

This feeling was confirmed during the Fall of 2003 when I decided my next watch acquisition would be a white dial sport watch. My search came down to two different watches - the white dial Omega Seamaster GMT, and the white dial Rolex Explorer II. After much research and consideration, I decided upon the Seamaster (you can read why I chose it HERE or read my Seamaster GMT review in the February issue of INTERNATIONAL WATCH). The only problem was, after I chose the watch, I still found myself inexplicably attracted to the Explorer II.

I have to confess that my conflicted feelings in this regard caused a fair amount confusion on my part. I tend to be very "type A" and practical in my decision making -- I review the facts, and make decision accordingly. But clearly in the months that followed, though I had concluded that the Seamaster was the better choice between the two, I still found myself drawn to the Explorer II. How could this be? Was it possible that the Rolex has some ephemeral, less tangible quality which transcends the practical considerations which drew me to the Seamaster? When I began to carefully consider these possibilities, it was though a veil had been lifted, and I understood. I was able to reconcile thoughts and feelings which seemed to be so contrary to my nature. I didn't HAVE to explain in purely rational terms why I liked the Explorer II. I simply acknowledged that I did like it. It was this personal revelation which let me to purchase a brand new Y series Rolex Explorer II, model 16570. The following then is an attempt to catalog one of the most truly sublime experiences a watch enthusiast can have -- receiving their first new Rolex. I had contemplated doing a stand alone review, or comparative review of the Explorer II, but such a cold and analytical approach is lost on a watch of this sort. Better it is in this case to celebrate the experience, then to make sense of the facts.

Here's a picture of the box which first arrived to my office from the authorized dealer from whom I purchased my first Rolex. I have to confess that I didn't immediately tear into the box as I might normally have with any other watch purchase. At first, I just sat at my desk and contemplated the watch, and what it represented. I wanted to savor this moment-- much like sniffing the cork on fine wine prior to pouring a glass and drinking.

Now, I've opened the shipping box and have my first look at the outer box inside....

I've removed the Rolex watch box from the shipping carton, and have placed it upon my desk. The anticipation is building, but my resolve to drink in this experience and savor each step of the way is firm.

I have now opened the Rolex outer box, and removed the inner box, and the wallet containing the various manuals and certificates. I examine each of the documents closely, and carefully replace them in Rolex green wallet.

With the enjoyment of the accoutrements realized, my attention turns to the simple, green leather covered Rolex inner box. I open it for the first time:

Once I removed the tissue paper and the Rolex polishing cloth, I get my first unobstructed view of my first new Rolex:

In addition to bringing my camera with me to the office this day, I've brought along the tools needed to size the bracelet, and after doing so, I slip it on my wrist for the first time. This once of a life experience is exquisite, and truly a high point of my watch collecting life.

In the back of my mind, I feared that buyers remorse might sink in, and that my practical side might overshadow the part of me which appreciates this watch for what it is. Thankfully, this hasn't been the case. The Explorer II isn't the greatest watch in the world, but it has many wonderfully marvelous qualities - many of which defy language, or at least my ability to adequately explain. Suffice to say, the watch brings a smile to my face every time I put it on. That's all the explanation I need. Here are some "studio" shots of this watch:

In the end, while the Seamaster GMT represents the practical values and decision making which are ingrained in my personality, the Rolex represents the emotional, less rational aspect of my personality which is undeniably a part of who I am. After all, owning more than one watch isn't the character of someone who is purely driven by logic and reason. So if your going to own more than one watch, why not make one a Rolex?