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214270, my first Rolex

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Throughout my one-year-or-so search for my first as well as "perfect" watch I went back and forth too many choices...

First, it was my infatuation with divers and desire for something very unique that led me to the Sinn U1000 but that had to go after a trip to an AD because of its thickness and sporty nature that would look out of place in a conservative office setting (which is where I work).

Second, the Submariner (114060) seemed to me (and to many people) the quintessential diver that has stood and will stand the test of time. However, after a few tries on my wrist, the combination of its shiny ceramic bezel and the maxi dials seemed to overwhelm my rather skinny 6.5" wrist.

After a long phase with the Air-King (which has an utterly beautiful 3-6-9 white dial but it too had to go because I personally thought 34mm was a touch too small even for my wrist), the choice came down to the Speedmaster (3570.50) and the 214270. Manual vs. Automatic, chronograph vs. non-date, Omega vs. Rolex. I was at an Omega AD and came very very close to pulling the trigger on the Speedy but decided that the dial (especially in conjunction with the bezel) is a touch too busy and superflous as I very rarely use the chronograph function. Also, I decided to follow my guts despite the fact that the Speedy is regarded by many as the best "value" in this $4-7k bracket that I was looking at. In the end, all the reviews and pictures can guide one to a specific model over another, but it is ultimately down to what he likes and what looks "right" and feels comfortable on his wrist that should form the basis of any watch purchase.

What I love about the 214270 is the unabashedly "tool watch" quality that is evident throughout the watch, from its brushed finish on the bracelet to the dark grey matte dial. However, it also has (at least to my eyes) just the right dose of elegance and sportiness (from its white gold 3-6-9 dial, the Mercedes hour hand to the polished bezel). All in all, everything comes together to create a watch that is pure, unassuming and very, very beautiful. The 39mm size is also perfect on my wrist, as the 214270 retains the spirit as well as the thin profile of its predecessors but also has a touch of the contemporary with its bigger diameter (and yet, still on the small side among the current generation of sports watches, which I very much like).

I personally tend to think of the 214270 as not a direct descendent of the 114270 but a fresh take by Rolex to create a throughly modern tool watch for the 21st century that contains the best bits of its old renditions (somewhat like how Tudor's Pelagos is for the Submariner). It just so happens that much of what the 114270 had - oyster case, black dial, 3-6-9 numerals, steel bracelet - are still necessary ingredients of Rolex's new formula to create the 214270. A quintessential sports watch combining the heritage of the Explorer franchise and Rolex's modern construction and understated elegance. I will be enjoying this watch for many years to come.


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