I’m not going to keep the mystery going here, but after I made my decision I talked to one of the consummate watch professionals whom I entrust for purchases, George Mayer over at Govberg Jewelers. Shortly after that I had my Explorer II on the wrist and I couldn’t be happier. However, the decision was tougher than I had imagined and, in an ideal world, I would have gotten both the Explorer II and the Submariner. Here, I’m going to attempt to objectively compare the two watches to help make this decision a little easier for anyone out there struggling with the same choice.
Fortunately, the Submariner and Explorer II are solid offerings that retain value but are reasonably easy to acquire. However, Rolex is constricting inventory more and more and an inevitable price increase down the road makes this a good time to pull the trigger on one of these pieces if you’ve seriously been considering it.
The first Rolex Submariner ref. 6204 watch arrived in 1953 and has gone on to become the most iconic dive watch in modern history, and one of the most iconic and ubiquitous luxury sports watches out there, period. Originally measuring 37mm wide, the Submariner was waterproof to 100 meters due to its Oyster case though in subsequent years this was improved to 200 meters (1,000 feet) of water resistance. Of course, when Sean Connery wore the Submariner as James Bond in 1962’s Dr. No, the watch was chiseled into the imagination of nearly every young man (and woman) who saw a 007 film through the years.
The Submariner has been an icon for decades, and the two most common models we see are the reference 16610 with aluminum bezel which was introduced back in 1989 and was in production until 2010. In 2010 we saw the introduction of the Submariner we are discussing here in the ref. 114060 as well as the date model ref. 116610. Updates that were made to the newer versions were: the most obvious inclusion of the Cerachrom (that’s Rolex for ceramic) bezel; superior Chromalight lume.