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Walt Odets On The Rolex Explorer


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Folks

As someone who has been seriously considering buying a Rolex Explorer I (I have a significant birthday coming up) I was shocked to read Walt Odets' critique of this watch (see: *link removed* Whilst I appreciate that this article may be old news to some long-term members of this forum, I would value any and all comments upon it. Specifically, while Mr Odets is quite impressed with the general build quality of the case, I was dismayed to read how appallingly badly finished the movement is. Overall, his opinion seems to be that this is, at best, a £300 - £400 watch: not what you want to hear when you're considering buying one.

Is there another agenda here? Am I getting the full picture? It can't be that bad, surely...

Thanks, in advance, for any contributions.

Nick

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PS: the link to that Walt Odets article has been removed, as its inclusion was deemed a violation of forum rules :big_boss: . However, you can search for it on 'another, uk-based forum' (nudge, nudge :ph34r: ) or Google "odets explorer 14270" and hit 'pages from the uk'. Second link is the one you want. :smoke:

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Hey, Mike - me too: it's the only Rolex for me. But I'm confused now. Maybe I'll have a serious look at the Omega Railmaster now (similar sort of styling but a shade larger in diameter, I think) and save myself a grand! That is until someone opens one of those up and discovers a movement that came in a Christmas cracker. It's disappointing, isn't it? :huh:

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hello guys, not to rock the boat or nuffink, but the article is on timezone. if we can have ebay links, wassa problem with timezone :) ? I remain, your loving co forum dweller

I think it's because T******* ;) has a competing forum.

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Been a while since I read that, it does the rounds every now and again. From memory, doesn't it just say that the movement looks a bit rough and read? It's not in a watch with a display back, who cares what it looks like? It works, which is the main point.

(Understand why the link was taken, though. Forum rules say no links to anywhere with a forum, and TZ does rather count on that front...)

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Not again!!!

Isn't removing the link a bit bloody OTT!!! :(

Come off it Griff, links have been removed as per the rules since theis forum began, its nothing new....

Its Roys Forum, its his rules....

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largely because it's so dispassionate and logical.

Strictly speaking not true, he has given no documented evidence other than saying it is worse than cheaper ones he has seen, an opinion and only that. You need to provide a standard to gauge it against and he hasn't.

If I have a widget and I say it's an 1/8th short and a foot to wide and according to BS EN 10000 yada yada it's A - to big B - to rough or whatever you don't need to believe me, you can pop down to you local liberary, look up the relevent document and check out if that is correct or not.

Some of the pictures have obviously been taken at quite a high magnification and probably not with a normal camera, I could show you what on the face of things looks like a perfectly polished componant to the naked eye or even a decent loop but under magnification of say even X25 would look decidedly rough. How do you know that the watch he used had not been worked on by persons other than ROLEX ???

I would like to see some parts of other "cheap" watches before I took his comments as read.

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His killer point is this:

"The cost-efficient engineering of the movement is not remotely reflected in its price; and the extreme ease of service is not reflected in routine service costs provided by the manufacturer."

The fundamental problem is Rolex have produced a cheaper timepiece but not passed those savings on to Joe Punter. Forget the quibbles about finishing et al - for me the bottom line is that. If I may depart in to cars for an example, it's like Jaguar releasing their X-Type but pricing it the same as the XJ saloons. Except they wouldn't get away with that because everyone would buy a BMW 3-series instead. Rolex seemingly are getting away with it, I guess because no other brand with their prestige is really in that space?

Can I also note he actually says the movement is remarkably accurate given the crudeness of the design, which is a back-handed compliment. ;)

Edited by Greg
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His killer point is this:

"The cost-efficient engineering of the movement is not remotely reflected in its price; and the extreme ease of service is not reflected in routine service costs provided by the manufacturer."

The fundamental problem is Rolex have produced a cheaper timepiece but not passed those savings on to Joe Punter. Forget the quibbles about finishing et al - for me the bottom line is that. If I may depart in to cars for an example, it's like Jaguar releasing their X-Type but pricing it the same as the XJ saloons. Except they wouldn't get away with that because everyone would buy a BMW 3-series instead. Rolex seemingly are getting away with it, I guess because no other brand with their prestige is really in that space?

Can I also note he actually says the movement is remarkably accurate given the crudeness of the design, which is a back-handed compliment. ;)

Sorry but other than his opinion he has verified nothing, no proof that a cheap watch has better componants. On the main things which can be easily checked such as time keeping and the case finish it would be difficult to argue with, but for example, the stainless steel used in a ROLEX is substantially more expensive than your common or garden 316L grade, the service you receive at point of purchase and so on, the high profile at various spoting events and so on, all these sort of things which he didn't mention which contibute to the cost. As a technical comparison it is poor as he only offers his opinion and nothing else.

As I have said before you absolutely cannot compare the ROLEX brand with BMW, I have sold previously both a GMT and a Sub Date both of which I made a couple of quid on, on the other hand one of my bosses bought a BMW, cost around £30K and it eventully was sold at auction 3 years later for £8.5K and have you seen the price of X-Types :blink:

Maybe it's just possible the guy doesn't like Rolex's ;) I could say in my opinion my LV is a far better watch than my PO and would probably be beaten all the way to a firey hell with big sticks by legions of Omega owners but it is only my opinion :lol:

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Sorry but other than his opinion he has verified nothing, no proof that a cheap watch has better componants.

I though the pictures of what appear to show shoddy workmanship verified his opinion pretty well.

It certainly put me off considering a new explorer in the future.

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Sorry but other than his opinion he has verified nothing, no proof that a cheap watch has better componants.

I though the pictures of what appear to show shoddy workmanship verified his opinion pretty well.

It certainly put me off considering a new explorer in the future.

Again my point is that he hasn't shown any other pictures of the cheaper watches that are better than the ROLEX he has shown. An independant unbiased report would give you a standard to gauge their findings against

;)

B.

Edited by BondandBigM
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Sorry but other than his opinion he has verified nothing, no proof that a cheap watch has better componants.

I know. Did I say that? *re-reads post* No, I did not. :huh: In fact, I deliberately avoided the whole component thing. IGNORING THE COMPONENT QUALITY ARGUMENT, it doesn't change his point about the watch being designed to be manufactured cheaply. Yet it isn't being sold at a price to reflect that.

... but for example, the stainless steel used in a ROLEX is substantially more expensive than your common or garden 316L grade ...

:blink:

M'kay. So watchmakers use higher grade steel for cases than BMW use for door sills. Where are we going with this??

As I have said before you absolutely cannot compare the ROLEX brand with BMW

:blink: :blink:

I didn't? I compared it with Jaguar. And only to make the point that Jaguar, as a prestige brand, do an appropriately priced entry-level model, probably because of the competition. Rolex do an entry-level model, but, according to the TZ review, it is grossly over-priced. I think his point about the simplicity of/shortcuts in design illustrate his point alone. But you keep talking about his examination of the components. Forget the components. At it's core it is too expensive for what it is, even if it is immaculately machined. That's what he's saying.

Ps - I have a Rolex too, so I'm not just a Rolex basher. I just thought it was a good review and I see the guy's point. :)

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Gents - thanks very much for your replies. And I'm glad we're back on topic! I know the whole Rolex thing can lead to heated debate and I'm glad we're all still being civil to each other..

Using 007's analogy, I guess what I'm saying is this: that I'd be disappointed to spend good money on a Beamer (or a Jag, for that matter) only to open up the bonnet and discover it had a Ford Focus engine (no disrespect...). The engine would, indeed, probably run the car very nicely. But, hey - I thought I was buying a superior product, made to exacting standards. Isn't this what all the hype leads us to believe? And when the (insert name of prestige car) goes for servicing, shouldn't I expect that service to be cheaper because, well, lots of mechanics know their way around a Focus engine?

It's confusing, ain't it? :huh:

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Gents - thanks very much for your replies. And I'm glad we're back on topic! I know the whole Rolex thing can lead to heated debate and I'm glad we're all still being civil to each other..

Using 007's analogy, I guess what I'm saying is this: that I'd be disappointed to spend good money on a Beamer (or a Jag, for that matter) only to open up the bonnet and discover it had a Ford Focus engine (no disrespect...). The engine would, indeed, probably run the car very nicely. But, hey - I thought I was buying a superior product, made to exacting standards. Isn't this what all the hype leads us to believe? And when the (insert name of prestige car) goes for servicing, shouldn't I expect that service to be cheaper because, well, lots of mechanics know their way around a Focus engine?

It's confusing, ain't it? :huh:

Precisely!

And it was my analogy. ;)

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The fact is none of us know what it costs to make a watch, be it a Swatch,Timex or Patek, Rolex, the selling price of ANY luxury product has nothing at all to do with its cost price, if someone buys it, it is worth the asking price... The manufacturer will charge whatever the customer will pay, I have no doubt that a BP Garage egg and cress sarnie will cost them pennies to make but they charge 3 quid, I doubt that they are the best eggs or the best bread.....

When spending lots of money ( and that is purely subjective and is particular to the individual,) you are no buying a watch, your buying a brand and whatever marketing niche it has put you in...

Probably :D

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That's right. But when the core brand values have always been based on the quality of design, materials, and craftsmanship (which support the lifestyle associations), and then you find that, perhaps, those values have been compromised, the whole offer starts to unravel. Folks will seriously start to question the premium, as demonstrated by this thread.

As others have mentioned, Ford learnt this lesson the hard way with Jaguar, but BMW have got it right with RR.

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Thinking of it, the only example the review gives of a design shortcut is the design of the fourth wheel (which is surprising on its own) though he talks about many more in the way the movement is put together. I'd be sorely tempted to dismantle one in my watchmaking class and have the teacher walk me through it - what's good, what's bad, what's ugly. But I doubt I'll ever own one. The teacher is a working watchmaker in central London, so I might ask him if he's ever serviced one. I'd be amazed if he hasn't. Be curious to know what he thinks. :)

Edited by Greg
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Plenty of more people think the Rolex is a quality product than dont....

That's right. But when the core brand values have always been based on the quality of design, materials, and craftsmanship (which support the lifestyle associations), and then you find that, perhaps, those values have been compromised, the whole offer starts to unravel. Folks will seriously start to question the premium, as demonstrated by this thread.

Your right but I dont think its going to happen as a result of this article....The whole thing is subjective....

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As I have said before you absolutely cannot compare the ROLEX brand with BMW, I have sold previously both a GMT and a Sub Date both of which I made a couple of quid on, on the other hand one of my bosses bought a BMW, cost around £30K and it eventully was sold at auction 3 years later for £8.5K and have you seen the price of X-Types :blink:

Sorry to disagree but I there is one way in which Rolex and BMW are absolutely comparable and that is their success in mass-marketing a luxury product. The BMW 3-series for example regularly outsells much cheaper cars in the same class in the UK, which is remarkable given the sales proposition and Rolex's sales figures and brand recognition totally dwarf those of other luxury watch brands.

I think the point you were making here is that BMWs suffer from hefty secondary market depreciation whereas Rolexes don't. Obviously true, and in that sense Rolex is much more like, say, Morgan. Also in the sense that Morgan is an independent manufacturer who make their products more or less by hand. Rolexes achievement is to manage that in volume.

And I too speak as a Rolex and BMW owner (no Morgan yet unfortunately) so no bashing here.

As for the price versus cost of manufacture thing - true, I don't know how much it costs to make watches. I do know however, that ALL luxury brands spend an absolute fortune on top of their manufacturing costs on advertising, sales and after-sales and distribution. Theo Fennell the jewellers I happen to know make just £200 clear profit for every £10,000 item they sell.

So that sort of thing is why Rolexes are expensive to buy new. Why they are still expensive pre-owned is all about market sentiment.

If you aren't careful I'll tell everyone the story of my Great-Uncle's Longines, again.....

Edited by gallch
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