How I selected my first Rolex watch

Updated: Jan 10, 2020

Two decades ago I successfully graduated college with a degree in Business Administration. Over the course of those four years I accumulated over $100,000 dollars in college loan debt! It took me 15 years to pay off that debt and I wanted to buy myself a milestone gift. I selected a black dial Rolex Explorer 2 (216570BKSO). Also, known as the "Steve McQueen Rolex".

Prior to purchasing the Explorer 2, I did not know anything about the different Rolex watch types and felt in over my head. What I knew was that I wanted the watch to reflect my life journey and resemble my ups and downs. I needed the watch to be an everyday wear and not be only for special occasions. My criteria funneled me to the Rolex line of sport watches. After a year of researching sport Rolex models it came down to only four. They were the blue dial Datejust 41 (126300BLSO), black dial Submariner (116610LN), black dial GMT Master 2 (116710LN) and the black dial Explorer 2 (216570BKSO).

The Datejust 41

This watch is extraordinary and when displayed in the natural light the blue dial is something that can’t be missed. The polished center links gave it a luxury look and the dial was easy to read. It is the kind of watch that never goes out of style. Overall, it was a well put together piece and was at a price point I could afford. I ultimately decided against it as my first watch because the blue dial would have limited my matching wardrobe options, hence not providing the everyday function I was looking for at the time. That said, it is next up on my list to buy.

The Submariner I loved this watch because it was discreet, looked great and fit my wrist amazingly well. When you think of the brand Rolex the Submariner is a choice many people gravitate toward. The watch has been around forever and it seems like everyone has one on their wrist or a similar looking model. The over saturation of this watch in the market was a turnoff for me. If I did go with a Submariner it would have had to be special. A limited edition or vintage version would do the trick. Unfortunately, those types of watches were outside of my budget and hard to find.

The GMT Master 2 This watch intrigued me because it looked great and was discontinued. This model checked all the boxes and the green GMT pointer hand made it distinct from the Submariner. One drawback with the watch was the profile. It was larger than I expected and felt bulkier than the Submariner, but had a unique appearance. Everything about this watch appealed to me except for the size. This timepiece is sought after by avid collectors and watch enthusiasts, but because I was looking for a watch that was a bit smaller and could wear every day, the search continued.

The Explorer 2

This was the obvious winner for me. This stainless-steel black dial model has it all! It is discreet, low profile, fits the wrist well and has a unique orange GMT hand identifier. It is tough and has been tested everywhere from the peaks of Everest to subterranean caverns. It looks great at the beach or in the office and can be worn daily. The Explorer 2 checked all my boxes. It depicted my life journey the best and is the ultimate traveling watch.

If you are in the market to purchase a luxury timepiece or something important to you, be sure to take your time and write down the "pros and cons". This will make your purchasing decision clear and eliminate the possibility of having buyer’s remorse.

Rolex Explorer 2 black dial is shown on the wrist with a sports coat in the photo above

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