They are the two oldest names in the replica Rolex catalog, both developed in an elegant, understated minimalist style. In terms of heritage, one was issued to commemorate the first successful ascent of Everest; the other one is actually worn on the top of a hill.
In recent years, comparing Rolex Explorers to Oysters forever is a bit like comparing apples to…Another very similar apple, a little bit more. If you just look at pictures of the two of them together, you’re almost playing a “find the difference” game that you used to play when you were a kid, but actually, these two people have some important differences.
However, in 2010, Rolex decided they could no longer ignore calls to increase the size of some of their works, and Explorer ref.214270 was launched, and now moving 39 mm in diameter. That’s still not a huge number by modern standards, but it’s right at the top of the model; More wrist presence, while retaining the Explorer’s typical low-key, deliberately not flashy temperament.
Five years later and the Oyster Perpetual followed suit, borrowing the Explorer’s housing to add a 39mm option to the range, making it available in a total of five different sizes, including 26mm, 31mm, 34mm, and the traditional 36mm – with 904L stainless steel now the only metal option available.
Those original, larger Oyster chronographs came with a range of dial colors, such as sunburst blue, rhodium grey and red grapes. Last year, the 39mm series gained a black and a white model, both of which have been very well received, but the former of which appears completely similar to the modern-day Explorer at first glance. Actually, put an Oyster Perpetual next to a contemporary Explorer and there are enough differences to draw the eye.
The Oyster Perpetual has a less busy look overall, its hour markers simple batons along with plain stick hands. Besides, the finish is a subtle sunburst effect, which ties in with its dressier credentials. On the other hand, the dial on the Explorer is black with Mercedes hands, and of course, those Arabic numerals at the cardinal points.
So, to draw conclusion, the Explorer looks just a little sporty, and perhaps just a touch bolder than the Oyster Perpetual. The less ornate dial and the large Arabic numerals actually have a much bigger visual effect than you would imagine, and contribute to making the pair of fake watches quite distinct from one another.
These two watches actually fit into the second tier of the replica Rolex and are somewhat forgotten among the various Submarines, Daytonas and world presidents watches. Still, they represent the original spirit of the brand, which is to create something that tells you the time, no matter where you are or what you are doing, and continues to tick away after you’ve left.