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Noob101

Buying a Rolex Explorer - advice please!

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Hi all!

This is just a general advice post. As many of you will know (I have hinted at it pretty strongly on the forums in the last few months :character0275:) I plan on buying myself a Rolex Explorer some time in the near future. I'm in the process of putting together necessary funds and hopefully eventually by the end of this year or beginning of the next I should be able to make the purchase.

I have never bought a Rolex before, my most expensive watch currently is my Speedmaster LE, so the first question I would have is whether anyone has any advice on how I would go about buying one of these babies? I am pretty savvy when it comes to online, but since I am considering buying a vintage model it would be a nightmare to get one on eBay... In my experience it is so difficult to get all the movement parts authenticated in a vintage watch. I am still open to eBay of course, but I was wondering where other people have bought their Rolex watches (or other high quality vintage watches).   

Second question - how much money would I need to buy a decent example of a Rolex Explorer? I am specifically looking for the classic style (as similar to the 1016 as possible), not a Explorer II or any other model. Of course I realise I won't be able to afford a 1016 so no need to suggest that one...

If anyone knows of any good threads that have discussed this topic or any other info please feel free to point me in that direction. I want to do my research on this one, this is not an impulse buy which is why I am asking for help well in advance of looking into making a purchase.

Thanks!

 

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I seem to recall Steve or another user asked for advice and counsel on buying a new Rolex in the last 6-8 months in this forum ... why not do a topic search for the words "Rolex" or "submariner" in the topic subject only. SEARCH is our friend. :thumbs_up:

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11 hours ago, Noob101 said:

Second question - how much money would I need to buy a decent example of a Rolex Explorer? I am specifically looking for the classic style (as similar to the 1016 as possible), not a Explorer II or any other model. Of course I realise I won't be able to afford a 1016 so no need to suggest that one...

Have a look on chrono to get an idea of current asking prices. A search for `where to buy a vintage Rolex' should also help with prices etc.

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Also be prepared to have your trousers pulled down as the price of " vintage" Rolex has gone though the roof. One of the reasons there are so many dodgy one out there.

Edited by Cyclops930
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@Noob101 spend as much time studying the model. I had a 1016 and to a certain extent, regret selling it. I have one of the very last 36 mm explorers, and while aesthetically the modern one does not look anywhere as good as the old one, the overall quality is much better. Then again the same applies with my Black Bay heritage 36, bracelet, finish and fit is superior to the explorer, and timekeeping is just as good. I would only buy from a trusted source, as there are a lot of dodgy ones on the go. I've seen a fair share of them. Of course there are forum members who may have one up for grabs with provenance. (Sorry, I'm keeping mine). Also, some of the AD's within travelling distance of my home, have second-hand ones in the window from time to time, for sale, serviced, with a guarantee, price may be a bit more, but it takes away the risk. Happy hunting. :thumbsup:

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1 hour ago, WRENCH said:

@Noob101 spend as much time studying the model. I had a 1016 and to a certain extent, regret selling it. I have one of the very last 36 mm explorers, and while aesthetically the modern one does not look anywhere as good as the old one, the overall quality is much better. Then again the same applies with my Black Bay heritage 36, bracelet, finish and fit is superior to the explorer, and timekeeping is just as good. I would only buy from a trusted source, as there are a lot of dodgy ones on the go. I've seen a fair share of them. Of course there are forum members who may have one up for grabs with provenance. (Sorry, I'm keeping mine). Also, some of the AD's within travelling distance of my home, have second-hand ones in the window from time to time, for sale, serviced, with a guarantee, price may be a bit more, but it takes away the risk. Happy hunting. :thumbsup:

Thanks I will definitely keep my eyes open if one comes up local to me. I really wanted a 36mm one because that's the right size for me, the current one is larger and does not fit as well (I have tried on both). 

I will definitely do some reading wherever I can find information about the various models just to narrow down what I want a little more.

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5 minutes ago, Noob101 said:

Thanks I will definitely keep my eyes open if one comes up local to me. I really wanted a 36mm one because that's the right size for me, the current one is larger and does not fit as well (I have tried on both). 

I will definitely do some reading wherever I can find information about the various models just to narrow down what I want a little more.

I know you said specifically an Explorer, but "vintage" Air Kings appeal to me. This one is 34mm.

l.jpg

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2 hours ago, WRENCH said:

l.jpg

Also a beautiful watch. But I have my heart set on the Explorer. I don't expect I will ever own more than one Rolex so I think I have to go for my favourite. If I wasn't going to go for the Explorer I would probably look for something with a date indicator but in a similar style. 

oyster_p_date.jpg

The Oyster Perpetual Date for example looks great and it wouldn't cost me as much as an Explorer would. I considered getting one as my most recent big purchase but in the end I went completely opposite with a Speedmaster Moonwatch.

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What's your budget because it needs to be north of £10k for a decent 1016.

On the other hand, the 14270  (tritium dial, lug holes, folded end links and calibre 3000 movement) and the 114270 from 2001 onwards (luminova dial, no lug holes, SELs and 3130 movement) can both be had from £3-4.5k depending on condition and package - box, papers, service, etc.

The next model along is the 214270, the 39mm version, but you don't want that.

I would stick to specialist shops such as Miltonaires in the North West, Oakleigh Watches, Sweeping Hand, or forums. Ebay can be a minefield, but Chrono24 can yield a UK seller with bricks and mortar store you can visit. There are also the usual suspects such as Watchfinder and Chronext but these will be the top end of the price scale.

There's a good little reference article here:

https://www.bobswatches.com/rolex-blog/rolex-info/4-rolex-explorer-references-57-years-history.html

I only just received my 114270 last Friday and I'm smitten

6WH6b14.jpg

Edited by it'salivejim
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@it'salivejim Thank you for the insight and the article link.

I was actually looking at the 14270 because it seems to fall in my price range (I am not going to spend more than £5k but would prefer £3-4k ideally). 

I have been lucky enough to have an opportunity to try on both sizes and I definitely want to stick to 36mm because it doesn't draw as much attention (I have a tiny 6 inch wrist!). Ideally once I get an Explorer I would like it to be a daily wearer option because it's such a versatile watch and I don't want to wear anything regularly that looks too flashy.  

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11 minutes ago, Francis Urquhart said:

HQ Milton has an excellent reputation and a nice 114270 36mm Explorer on sale for £3000.  https://www.hqmilton.com/timepieces/romjj1ok/2006-rolex-explorer-114270-A386

Unless you slip past customs without declaring it, after duty you'd be around £3750.

It ships from the US so hardly easy for returns, it has a chip on the crystal, and no box or papers. At that price there are far better options available.

They're not rare and with a bit of patience the right one will turn up.

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Watchfinder have a few Explorers. They're a bit dearer but they have several boutiques where you can go and try out the watches. If there's a watch you like you can view it at the branch of your choice.

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I will definitely consider WF if I can't find any other deals. I bought a Speedmaster from them once and it was absolutely perfect for what I paid. 

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2 minutes ago, Noob101 said:

I will definitely consider WF if I can't find any other deals. I bought a Speedmaster from them once and it was absolutely perfect for what I paid. 

I bought from them once too, no complaints at all.

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Off-topic: I'm quite enjoying Watchfinder & Co's videos on YT. 

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Don't know about how much these days as the older stuff seems to have went crazy with prices all over the place. 

But for peace of mind if I was spending that sort of hard earned I would use a reputable known UK source and actually go and pick it up even if it did cost a bit extra. 

What I wouldn't be doing is sitting in waiting for RMSD or a courier. 

But I'm old school and don't mind a day out. 

:)

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26 minutes ago, BondandBigM said:

Don't know about how much these days as the older stuff seems to have went crazy with prices all over the place. 

But for peace of mind if I was spending that sort of hard earned I would use a reputable known UK source and actually go and pick it up even if it did cost a bit extra. 

What I wouldn't be doing is sitting in waiting for RMSD or a courier. 

But I'm old school and don't mind a day out. 

:)

True, but sometimes the savings from buying online can be quite significant. My Speedmaster Date was £300 cheaper than Watchfinder, and my Breitling Colt was a whopping £500 cheaper. Of course you have to weigh the potential savings against the risk of getting ripped off, although nowadays there's lots of buyer protection to make use of.

Edited by russelk
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15 minutes ago, russelk said:

True, but sometimes the savings from buying online can be quite significant. My Speedmaster Date was £300 cheaper than Watchfinder, and my Breitling Colt was a whopping £500 cheaper. Of course you have to weigh the potential savings against the risk of getting ripped off, although nowadays there's lots of buyer protection to make use of.

Fair comment but at least you can see and try the watch, possibly have it checked out independently before handing over the money. 

To me anyway that's probably worth the extra, there are plenty around it's not a rare watch so you can be choosey. 

As I said I don't mind a day out. 

:)

 

Edited by BondandBigM

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46 minutes ago, BondandBigM said:

To me anyway that's probably worth the extra, there are plenty around it's not a rare watch so you can be choosey. 

Yes that is the key point here I think. The Explorer isn't something I have to hurry with or pull the trigger on the first one I see because others are bound to appear for sale. I can calmly pick out something I am comfortable with, hence this thread. I am trying to get pointers on all the things I should look out for and tips on what to do or what not to do.

@BondandBigM I would definitely prefer to buy in a reputable brick and mortar establishment especially as the way I see it this will be my main watch for years and years so over that sort of span of time £300-400 savings loses some of its relevancy. But I am using the online market as a benchmark not to get completely ripped off and of course if I see one online that definitely ticks all the boxes I might go for it. I am in no hurry as I probably won't have the funds to spend until around September of this year at the earliest. 

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