It feels very original too. The ref. 1655 was a truly odd design, in a good way. The later 16550 and 16570 were logical evolutions of that watch. They looked like nothing else out there. That cannot be said for the Tudor after fifty years of the Explorer II. It does not look like a truly original design. It looks like a Tudor version of a 1655. Reference 16570 was state of the art in 1989. The Tudor is a vintage throwback in 2023. I think there is a moral difference there that makes the Rolex the more desirable replica designer watches.

A better design
Granted, the Tudor Black Bay Pro is a handsome watch in real life. It is well made, no doubt, and it shows it externally. But I strongly believe my ref. 16570 is just a better design. Its slimmer, better-proportioned case makes for a way better fit on the wrist. There is a perfection to the Rolex’s dimensions. It fits my 17cm wrist perfectly without ever looking small on larger wrists. The Tudor is a bit of a cumbersome block by comparison.

But first, let’s recap last week’s showdown between Jorg’s serious Grand Seiko “Shunbun” and Ben’s tropical Rolex Datejust with a palm dial. It was a competition between two very original dials, but actually, it doesn’t look like it was any competition at all. The Grand Seiko with its beautiful cherry-blossom dial claimed victory with 84% of the votes. This week, the dials on both contestants are blacker than black, but there’s still more than enough to argue about.
To minimize the price gap, we opted for the most affordable Explorer II in black. The ref. 16570 in black can be found between 7,500 and 10,000 euros. That is still over twice as much as the Tudor. We will have to see whether it is twice the watch.

Thomas: Rolex Explorer II ref. 16570
Okay, I’m well slept and well fed, so I’m not feeling particularly confrontational today. I will try and keep it civil this time. Besides, I think there is a place and time for both Rolex and Tudor, so I will tread lightly. I got my teeth kicked in with my vintage Speedmaster a few weeks ago, so I will be a bit more modest this time around.

That said, I do have a word or two to say about these replica luxury watches. I don’t dare to make assumptions after the Speedy debacle, but I just cannot see how the Tudor would win this…

An honest, original tool watch
For starters, this generation of the Rolex Explorer II is an honest tool watch. When you handle it, you are feeling a rugged piece of gear. It is no-nonsense and fit for purpose. There really isn’t much that needn’t be there. Although I sure prefer the looks of the original ref. 1655, the 16570 is the perfect generation in my eyes. It has all the modern dependability, but none of the blingy frills of more modern Rolex watches.

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