There are watches I gravitate towards immediately, and there are watches that have grown on me over time. And certainly, the perfect fake Rolex Explorer II, Ref. 1655 is one of them. I never hated the watch. For many years, it was more like, “Hmmm … I’m not quite sure how I feel about it.” For me, it was one of those high quality replica watches that you wake up one day and, without any rhyme or reason, you really want it. Human brains are intriguing in many respects, and the course-correcting aspect of watch collecting is equally interesting.
First off, it’s quite a leap from an Explorer to an AAA fake Rolex Explorer II, in terms of design. It does reflect the time period from the ’60s into the ’70s. They are both in the same Explorer family, but the original Explorer is like the proper, traditional, older brother and the Explorer II is the younger, more adventurous one. The 3mm increase in case size of a luxury replica Explorer ref. 1016 at 36mm to a 39mm of an Explorer II is massive. With the addition of the crown guards and the steel 24-hour bezel on the Explorer II, the difference is huge in terms of the sheer wrist presence.
Of course, the most noticeable and controversial feature is the large orange GMT hand. I would say it’s one of the boldest design moves high end super clone Rolex made. It probably would have only happened in the early ’70s when watch designs were moving in bigger and funkier directions. Italian collectors, being the moniker experts of the watch world, started referring to the design as the “Freccione” meaning the “arrow.” It sounds so much better in Italian, doesn’t it? The GMT hand on this example is my ideal orange color, not too neon orange and not too faded, just right. The watch is circa 1979 with the later “Mark IV” dial variant. It also has the lollipop seconds hand as opposed to the straight seconds hand of the earlier Explorer IIs, which adds another layer of character to the copy watch.
And it is quite practical and romantic that cheap fake Rolex UK marketed it as the watch for “spelunkers” – a very specific term describing a person who explores and studies caves. The idea was that whichever cave you are exploring in the world, even in total darkness, the watch would be able to orient you between day and night with the prominent luminous GMT hand. How much more niche can a tool watch be? While I do not see myself turning into a spelunker any time soon, I want an original even more now –especially after trying on the latest Tudor Black Bay Pro, which is based on this vintage Swiss movement replica Rolex Explorer II design.