Inspiration can come from some unexpected places - Here mountains inspired a Rolex Explorer II acquisition...
I have been collecting watches for about six years and the focus has always been tool watches. Sure there have been a few dressier pieces come and go but for the last two or three years, it’s been tool watches only. I live in the north of Sweden and having grown up in and around the mountains has shaped me to the person and collector I am today. I love everything about the outdoors and spend as much time as I possibly can outside, luckily I have the woods just behind my house and a huge lake in front of it. The mountains where I spent a lot of my childhood are less than an hours drive away and I see them every day when I drive over the bridge to and from the office.
My home and love for the outdoors have shaped my collecting more and more over the years. I started out buying only vintage and could not imagine owning anything from post-1990. Later I started to look at my collecting as an investment, which took the fun out of collecting and made me lose interest for a few months. It was after my investment period that I really started having fun as a collector. Finally buying a Panerai which I had always wanted to try but never thought would fit due to the size. Now I have owned five within twelve months and love the brand.
Micro brands and more affordable watches became more interesting too and I explored areas of the watch world that were completely new to me. Even though I was having really fun there was one brand that I was missing and that was Rolex. I had owned a few over the years but always ended up selling them for a profit before risking damaging them. I still don’t know why I wanted to add a Rolex to the collection, but there is just something about the crown on the dial and the history of the brand that speaks to me.
A few months ago I found what I was looking for, which happened to be a Rolex that I had previously owned, not the exact same one but the same reference. It was a Rolex Explorer II reference 16570 with a polar, swiss only dial. It was far from a safe queen, in pretty well-used condition and even missing the bracelet. These things, believe it or not, actually made me want the watch even more. I quickly contacted the seller and transferred the money. When I received the watch it was exactly what I had hoped for. It had been pressure tested to 10atm so I knew it could handle water and was ready to go.
It was already scratched and dinged so I didn’t even have to think about being overly careful with it like I was with my black dialled 16570 which was in mint condition. Everything about it was perfect for me and my lifestyle. As the watch didn’t come with the bracelet I put it on one of my old grey military nylons. These are my preferred strap anyway and the 16570 is a real strap monster. I eventually got a couple of leather straps too just to be able to mix it up. The leather military patterns are soft and patina in a way that normal fabric does not. Wearing the watch on a military style strap protects it from possible spring bar failure which can be a nice security, especially in or around water.
This Explorer II is now my most inspiring piece in the collection. It begs me to give it a life worth its name, far away from polishing machines and safes. It might not be taken cave diving or up Mount Everest, but it will be taken up smaller mountains, hiking, kayaking, fishing and hunting (once I get my licence).
Because, what is the point in owning a watch if you are afraid to use it?