Vintage Rolex Review: Air King 5500 Vs. Explorer 1016

image of the rolex explorer 1016

Calling all watch lovers and collectors of all things antique! We have a review today that dates back to the 1970s. A review of the Rolex AirKing 5500 and the Rolex Explorer 1016. Just to get this out of the way upfront, both of these watches are vintage masterpieces. I adore the quality and history of these watches, so it is going to be a challenge to recommend which one is better. At the end of the day, no matter what watch you purchase, you are buying a piece of history.

When reviewing vintage watches, it is important to note a few main points that I will cover in this article. History of the watch, value, product design, and style. Without further delay, it is time to jump into an overview of each watch, to go in depth of the features that make them unique.

Vintage Rolex Air King

History

To begin, it is important to know that the Air King model of Rolex watches is one of the oldest models to release.  The Air King dates back to as far as World War II! In my opinion, simply knowing you are wearing a watch (or storing for collecting), that has such a long history is insane! These watches were curated for pilots who started to purchase Oyster Perpetual watches after the war, hence the name “Air King.”  With a sleek, classic design, Rolex released a model that features a time-only display to keep the watch simple yet handsomely appealing.

The Air King reference 5500 released in 1957. Paying homage to the brave soldiers of war, this aviation-themed watch was initially released with the war pilots as their market. The model stayed around a good thirty-seven years, which highlights that the watches were appealing to much more than just war heroes.

Product design

Now some features vary, because the reference 5500 has many variations. So to keep it simple I will focus on one particular modelone particular model. 

I chose this model because the overall design is wonderful. You get everything that makes a Rolex with this watch, (besides the cyclops). A crisp and clean stainless 34mm case with an alluring silver dial perfectly complements the durable stainless steel band. The all silver look stands out on the wrist. You maintain a clean look that will go with any outfit you pull out of the closet. It is not a watch for those seeking a flashy and highly complex looking watch. The look is respectfully simple and genuine.

Durability

The stainless steel keeps this watch looking pristine with every wear. The watch was made to withstand everyday wear. An acrylic protective crystal and a waterproof, Rolex original, screw down crown keep the watch safe from any water damage. There is no doubt this is one of the most durable watches on the market for its age. Many you find for sale are in almost pristine condition. I own a vintage Datejust oyster perpetual and although I love it, the durability is nowhere near the caliber of the Air King.

Movement

The watch does not state “precision” on the dial for no reason. The movement on this watch is advanced for its time. With in-house made 1520 movement, you are sure to have an accurate reading timepiece despite the age of the watch. A unique fact is this type of movement was the first to be made 100% at Rolex factories.

To be critical, it is a downgrade from the 1530 movement, lacking a Breguet over-coil and only 17 jewel movement compared to 25 jewel movement of the latter. Do not let this discourage you. The watch is still an expert timekeeper. I just wanted to inform readers of the slight downgrades from other Rolex’s manufactured during this time period.

The Value

Value is extremely important when deciding to purchase a vintage watch. To get straight to the point, due to the immense history and durability of this watch, the value is great. What is even better is the particular model I featured on here is one of the most affordable vintage pieces by Rolex. So in short, yes this watch is valuable. Keep it in great condition and hold on to it for many years! It is a reserved classic that is sure to always be relevant to watch connoisseurs all over!

Vintage Rolex Explorer

History

What a trek we have with this piece. The Explorer ref. 1016 dates back to 1969 and the Explorer original model goes as far back as 1953. The Explorer brand of Rolex was created to congratulate the completed mission to the peak of Mt. Everest. British expeditioner, Sherpa Norgay, was wearing an early prototype that would eventually become the Explorer during his intense journey up Mt. Everest.

Now, if you have the chance to find a Rolex Explorer, you too can face Mt Everest (DISCLAIMER: You are not guaranteed to make it through the mission, but at least you have a beautiful reliable watch)! The Explorer quickly became a popular model and gave every hiker a bit of spirit!

Rolex began the production of the Explorer 1016 in 1969 and the watch lasted for over 25 years! Why it may seem odd, the older models are actually easier to find than the later produced 1016’s.

image of the rolex explorer 1016
https://www.bobswatches.com/vintage-rolex-explorer-1016.html

 

Product design

I would be lying if I told you this was one of the best looking Rolex watches.  It is rather a plain model. The dark, tropical dial does not stand out as profoundly as the Air King dials, that match great with the band.  A plus is a 36mm case, which is a great size on just about any wrist. It fits comfortably with an oyster bracelet with 280 end links.

The dial consists of three large numbers for the time, those numbers being 3,6 and 9. The font is not the most appealing and I feel as though the large numbers were unnecessary. Other than that, everything about the watch is pretty classic to Rolex.

You can never go wrong with the stainless steel bold and beautiful oyster bracelet. Rolex watches of every model are all made perfectly with no imperfections So when reviewing a watch by Rolex, I want to see uniqueness and innovative design. Frankly, I do not see any of that with the Explorer 1016 watch. There is no doubt a great history behind the Explorer, however, nothing stands out when looking at the watches features.

Durability

Like the Air King, the Explorer is also a durable watch. It offers the same protection with a strong stainless steel bracelet, that is held tight with 280 end links that keep it in place on the wrist. A pro is the water resistance of 100 meters. At the time of production, this is about double the resistance of other Rolex sports watches. The Air King can withstand 100 meters of water resistance as well, but it was produced later than the Explorer 1016, so it is innovative for the time.

Since the Explorer was made with extreme hiking in mind. Rolex added a low viscosity movement, so the watch is able to operate at extremely low temperatures. So your next trip to Alaska or the South Pole will not interrupt your watches functionality.

Overall, like many Rolex watches, the Explorer 1016 is a very durable watch that can withstand frigid cold temperatures and intense environments all over the world.

Movement

In order to survive a dangerous hike, you need a watch equipped with accurate time-keeping, VERY ACCURATE time-keeping. The Explorer does feature a 1570 caliber movement, which is an amazing movement for the time f production. Expect this watch to work today as it did 40 years ago! It is definitely a reliable time-keeper and it blows away the Air King on this one!

Value

This is a tricky one. The vintage Explorer 1016 is a very expensive model that has a wide range of prices. The high price is fair in some cases because it is indeed a rare model. But make sure to look at the year of production. Many of the older models are priced extremely high and have replaced parts; so it is no longer original. For some reason, it is more difficult to find later models, produced in the early eighties. So account for that if purchasing an Explorer 1016.

If the watch is kept in great condition, you are in for a good investment! Just always be cautious and safe when buying a vintage Rolex. If you want the best value make sure it is a 100% original piece, in great condition, produced in the late seventies or early eighties.

To Fly Or to Hike: Which watch is best?

With everything we covered accounted for, which watch is best? I have to go with the Rolex Air-King 5500. Despite a lower grade movement and history that does not involve Mt. Everest, the watch is much cleaner and better looking. The beauty of the Air-King makes up for the lack of a newer movement caliber.

Both watches are a piece of history. No matter which one you decide to purchase, keep in mind the age of the watch and all it has been through. These are old watches that are still working to this day! Appreciate your vintage Rolex, whether you decide to purchase the charming Air-King or the historic Explorer.

Due to the rarity of the Explorer 1016, it is not found on Amazon. You can purchase it from other trusted sources but stick to only websites that have great reviews and certifies the watch you are buying is authentic.

Rolex 16600 vs 16610 Review: Should I Purchase a Rolex Sea Dweller or Sub Mariner?

image of the Rolex Sub Mariner

Time to dive into a Rolex faceoff, pun intended, featuring two of Rolex’s top dive watches. The Rolex Sea Dweller model 16600 and the Rolex Sub Mariner model 16610. There is no doubt that both of these are fantastic, expertly made watches. But which one is better? That’s what I am here to answer for you! Before we dive into specifics of each watch (getting old already), let’s go over a brief history of dive watches. Professional divers need watches to keep track of time while they are thousands of feet underwater. Hence, a need for watches that can take the immense pressure under the sea. If a diver does not time their dive properly, things can get pretty ugly. So this created a market for watches that can be a reliable and life-saving device for divers all over. The original dive watch by Rolex is actually a Sea Dweller, made specifically for COMEX Divers. The market for dive watches has expanded exponentially since then.

Dive watches are no longer solely for divers. These watches have become a must-have for watch enthusiasts and business professionals. You need to own at least one to hold the title “watch collector.” That being said, these two watches we are discussing today are true classics in the dive watch game and items you should seriously think about purchasing if you are building a collection.

 

[easyazon_link identifier="B076443PNC" locale="US" tag="watchideas-20"]Rolex Sea-Dweller 16600[/easyazon_link]
Rolex Sub Mariner 16610
[easyazon_link identifier="B077DMQWYS" locale="US" tag="watchideas-20"]Rolex  Sub Mariner 16610[/easyazon_link]

Helium Escape Valve No Helium Escape Valve
No cyclops Rolex Cyclops
Stainless steel bracelet Stainless steel bracelet
40mm case 40mm case
Oyster lock clasp Oyster lock clasp
Aluminum Bezel insert Aluminum Bezel insert
Black dial w/ luminescent hands Black dial w/ luminescent hands
31 jewel, 3135 Calibre movement 31 jewel, 3135 movement

The Functionality

Movement

If you are a diver, the functionality of a dive watch is DIRE. It can be a life or death situation. If you are not a diver, well, it still matters, if you’re buying a Rolex I assume you want a top notch watch. Both of these watches are very similar on the inside. Both feature a Rolex Calibre 3135 movement. No doubt, this is considered one of the best inner devices by Rolex. It is the most widely used movement in all Rolex timepieces. Just look at the complexity of this type of movement, it is insane! The caliber measures 28.50 mm in diameter and 6.00 mm in height, which is pretty large for a watch caliber. This allows the watch to perform extremely well and reliable with a frequency of 28.800 vph (vibrations per hour).  A higher vph means a smoother running timepiece! 

 

 

Diving depth

Again, important if you’re a diver, interesting fact if your not. The Sea Dweller 16600 can reach depths of 4,000 feet. The Sea Dwellers are the original dive watches for Rolex, so the diving depth was important on this one. In contrast, the Sub Mariner 16610 can handle water resistance of only 1,000 feet. I personally am not a diver, so I will let leave this part on you!

 

Appearance

Now time for the important stuff, the look of the watches. At first glance, you may not be able to tell them apart. But any watch geek can pick out some major differentiators right away!

Rolex Sea Dweller 16600

Rolex created a great looking classic with this watch. The Sea Dweller was the first watch to feature a Helium Escape Valve. Helium escape valves do exactly what they sound like they do. Release helium when at depths of 250 feet or greater. Besides that, it is just a unique looking addition to your watch. 

 

 

One main piece that the Sea Dweller lacks is the signature cyclops, which magnifies the date. Although this sets this watch apart from the rest and is actually a necessity for the diving depths,(the cyclops can crack, no good for divers) the Rolex brand is not the same without the cyclops in my opinion. What I do love about this watch is the size of the case. It is a 40mm, which is no longer in production. The Sea Dwellers that are made today are much bulkier, at 43mm in diameter.

The newer model Rolex Sea-Dweller DeepSeaDeepSea  is very heavy and large; better fit for a wrist like Shaquille O’Neal.

A PERFECT Fit

The Sea Dweller 16600 is a perfect size and sits nice and comfortably on the wrist. Everything about the case on this watch is pristine. When looking at the face up close, the detail of everything is overwhelmingly noticeable. It is sad to hear when watch newbies compare this watch to a cheap Invicta. Why there may be some similarities from afar, there is no comparison to the detail of the Sea Dweller.  The Sea Dweller also features the sapphire crystal glass, an expensive, scratch proof glass that is a beautiful addition to the watch.

The band is pretty interesting on this one. It has the stainless steel Oyster Bracelet, like many other Rolex watches, but the flip lock clasp makes it more adored. Add the sturdy solid end link and you have a handsome and unique band. A solid end link makes it easier to fit on the wrist. This piece secures the watch in place and takes away the kinkiness that has your band twisting and shaking compared to the normal clasps.

Now let’s get to the dial. The Sea Dweller has a Rolex black dial with illuminating markers. The black dial gives this watch the professional look and goes great with the black bezel insert. Black and silver create a look that is very professional. Make this a watch to wear with business attire.

Rolex did a great job keeping the Sea Dweller a classic while adding some unique features as well. The lack of a cyclops is a bit unappealing to me, but it does make this watch unique. The overall look is clean and professional, I will rate it a 4/5 in appearance.

Rolex Sub Mariner 16610

Not to be unfair to the Sub Mariner, but there are a vast amount of similarities in appearance. I would be repeating myself with almost everything, so I will cut straight to the differences.

For starters, the Sub Mariner DOES come with the Rolex trademarked cyclops. The classic Rolex look is exemplified when your date is standing out at 2.5 magnification. The Sub Mariner does not have a helium release valve, oh darn it, so be wary of this if you are a diver. For looks though, the lack of a helium escape valve tarnishes the look of a dive watch. If you are not a diver and own a dive watch, wouldn’t it be neat to have a little piece that has a very important job? To better clarify, I am disappointed with the Sub Mariner model skipping the helium escape. Add it with the cyclops and the two would go great together!

Everything else about this watch is basically the same. 40mm case diameter, black dial with luminescent hands, stainless steel oyster band and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. The Sub Mariner is also expertly handcrafted like the Sea-Dweller and can be worn with similar attire. One thing to add, although the size is the same, for some reason the Sub Mariner sits higher on the wrist and feels a bit bulkier. I like my watches to have a good weight, but not too much weight.

Overall, when it comes to appearance, I have to say I prefer the Sub Mariner. The cyclops is the main reason behind this decision, I just can’t get over a lack of cyclops, that IS ROLEX. With that being said I’ll give the Sub Mariner a 4.5/5.

Value

Besides the look of a watch, this may be the most important factor when deciding what watch to purchase. Now let it be noted that there is a difference between price and value. The prices vary for both of these watches and you can find different deals everywhere. Generally, I would say they are worth the prices you find online. When buying a Rolex be CAUTIOUS. There are many fakes out nowadays, so be sure you buy from a trusted site like Amazon..

I would say both watches are worth the price tag at the moment. Both are top grade beautiful watches by Rolex and once you own one of these watches you can treasure the time and effort put into building these fantastic watches. Overall, the winner for value goes to the Sea Dweller 16600. I chose the Sea Dweller for the best value for a few reasons.

The Sea Dweller model 16600 is a pure classic. It is based on the original Comex model, yet features newer materials and technology. This watch is no longer in production, so it holds a more sentimental value. Sub Mariners are continuing to be produced similarly to how they were for years. Only Sea Dweller Deep Sea watches are made today, and like I mentioned earlier, they are not the same as the Sea-Dweller 16600. If you purchase the Sea Dweller, keep this asset in good condition and hold onto it for many years. Do not be surprised if you begin to see the prices skyrocket for this vintage piece.

So Which Is The Winner?

Time for what everyone has been waiting for. Which watch takes the cake? This took a lot of thought to come up with, because like I said several times, both are OUTSTANDING watches. Without further ado, I give you the winner: The Sea-Dweller Model 16600. It may not have sounded like a clear winner in the article, but due to its immense history, it is the better choice of the two. The Sub Mariner is almost a copy of the Sea Dweller. You have so much more history and worth in the original Sea Dweller. Although it does not have a cyclops, I still say to go with this watch.

Burberry Watches Review: The Designer Watch That’s Worth it!

Review of Burberry Watches

Oh, Burberry! Watches may not be the first thing that comes to mind when speaking of the brand, I tend to imagine fancy trench coats and great smelling cologne. But, like every other designer company, Burberry decided to make watches. Unlike many watches on the market today from big-name companies, Burberry watches are actually worth the price tag!

Brief history of Burberry Watches

Image result for burberry watch case

Burberry began their journey of watch-making in the mid 90’s by designing and manufacturing their watches in-house. This continued until 2000. In 2001, Burberry signed a deal with Fossil, to take over the manufacturing side of the process. Think of it like Lebron James signing with Miami. Lebron is Fossil, in this example, bringing expertise and wisdom to Burberry. Ok, it may not be the best example, but you get the point (I hope)!

Fossil is the mastermind behind many watch brands that you see today, many of these watches you probably never would have imagined were made by Fossil! Michael Kors, Armani Exchange, Kate and Spade are all made by Fossil. Anyway, Fossils brand of watches in itself is not anything spectacular. But not all Fossil watches are made equal. So what makes Burberry different?

The difference is not on the inside of the watch. The mechanics work the same as almost every affordable watch on the market; with a battery-powered quartz. Not that there is anything wrong with battery operated timepieces, it is just not as intricate as automatic movement watches. But if you are in the market for an automatic piece, keep in mind that you will be paying top dollar. Quartz watches are cheaper to maintain and in the case of the Burberry models; they are very attractive.

What sets Burberry apart from the rest is the build, look and sleekness of every watch that they create. Besides simply having the name Burberry on your wrist, which may, in fact, attract women of all ages your way, there is more to it than just the name.

 Top Quality, Long lasting Watches

Burberry uses a high-grade stainless steel for their watches that is extremely durable, rust proof and even corrosion resistant! Which means it is a great watch to wear daily. No need for that wd40, or baking soda treatment to prevent rust. In all seriousness though, they are great watches to wear with any outfit and on a daily basis. The style and complexity of design are nicer than many watches that I see today, so you are sure to receive many compliments every time you wear it. Enough about the brand at large. It is time to dive into some of the most appealing models of Burberry watches.

 

Top Burberry Watches

Let’s begin with quite possibly my favorite watch by Burberry. Now listen here, I am a watch connoisseur, I have watches dating back to the eighties by Rolex and Tag Heuer. These are watches that you may pull out once in a while, or just stare at in the watch case, avoiding any contact with the real world. In contrast, the Burberry Two-tone “The City” Chronograph watch is a perfect choice to wear for any special occasion or even for a great casual look. At first glance, you will think you are looking at a very expensive watch. The price is actually very affordable and surprising when comparing it to similar looking models. The bright white face with sturdy, gold hands inside really invent a high-class look.

image Burberry watch on man's wristAdd the bold, stainless steel band with gold lining wrapped around and you have a perfect watch to pair with a suit of any color for your big, important business meeting. The watch truly stands out on the wrist, with an anti-reflective face, so the name of your watch grabs the attention of everyone around. A true go to watch for the best of occasions.

A Watch to Wear Every day

Next, on the list, we have another favorite of mine. The Burberry BU9000 and Burberry Bu9001. They are close enough in comparison to group into one genre.

Image result for burberry bu9000

Burberry BU9000

The Burberry BU9000 is a beautiful watch. So much so that I used this watch as the featured image on the post. An easy attention grabber. The classic designs merge with a futuristic look and a solid, stainless steel band.  What stands out to me the most with this watch, is definitely the unique designs on the face. The deep cut lines create a maze type effect that is as mesmerizing as it is professional. Look at this watch to be your GO TO.

This is a watch to wear every single day, granted, you can wear your Two-tone Chronograph, but If you are in the market for more than one watch, set that one aside for the special nights. I’m lost for words seeing this watch on the wrist, a very classic and stylish watch that should definitely be showcased. No need to flaunt your wrist around with noticeably movements, the watch is a neck turner by itself. Nothing about this piece goes too far. It is simply a great looking watch.

Image result for burberry bu9001

Burberry BU9001

The newer model, BU9001, is just as nice as its older counterpart but features a black face. Personally, I am not usually a fan of blackface watches, but this is an exception. Consider the blackface if you are into basic colors for outfits. The Bu9001 goes perfectly with a white button-down shirt, some black slacks, and shiny black loafers. Your wrist becomes one with the outfit, exponentially changing your whole look. You will start to feel naked without this watch on with neutral colors! Words that I would use to describe these models are stunning, creative durable, yet somehow a  noticeable classic.

The Leather Strap

Ready for a curveball. All of the previous watches mentioned have stainless steel straps, my favorite kind of band for a watch. But you do not have a TRUE watch collection until you have a leather strapped watch. So introducing the Burberry Bu9013! When I decide to pull out the mighty leather strap (no kinkiness intended), I tend to wear it with brown shoes. Why brown? Honestly, I really don’t know, I just think the brown strap is the perfect piece to go with the shoes.

Image result for burberry bu9013

You get the same unique look on the face as my previous favorites, and nonetheless, still a great look. But something about the leather band changes the whole game. This piece is here to enlighten your wardrobe. The calfskin band keeps the weight nice and comfortable, with a great feel on the wrist. Like I said, wear this with your favorite brown shoes and I guarantee you will feel ten times smoother.

Sapphire

Time for the last, but definitely not least, watch by Burberry. What we have here is a watch sent down from the heavens. A watch made for lovers of all things sapphire. Here we have the Burberry Bu9900.

 

Image result for burberry 9900 watch
Click the image to see this beautiful watch up close!

What a beauty we have here. Notice how the colors just go together so well. A light and clean looking watch, with a complex chronograph system inside. The dials go so well with the hand that enchants with every tick. Maybe this is the watch used for trances? This will not disappoint the most materialistic of people.

When holding this beauty, you feel as though you are grasping a diamond, that has just been salvaged from the mine. Expect to stand out as well because this is not a watch you will see often. Not that it is rare, but it is just not a common watch to see. You will notice more Bu9000 and 9001’s in public. You can now be the one to change the game. The crystal look will surely win you over when you see it in person. I may have found your new daily watch

The rundown: Why are Burberry Watches Worth it?

Many people are beginning to become watch “know it alls” and downplay quartz watches. This is disappointing and quite aggravating to a person who has owned watches of all qualities. Yeah, a mechanic watch is great if you need to know the exact time at all times. It is really a reliable timekeeper.

Buuuuut, let’s be honest.Very honest. Are you wearing that watch to say, oh hey everyone, its lunchtime? Or to let Jim know the time has come to leave the office? Or are you wearing the watch for the style? For an experiment, try shading out the names of watches, and go strictly off looks. Some of the top mechanic brands become over-complex, which in my opinion makes them ugly at times. If you view Burberry watches you are starstruck by the beautiful designs. That is what TRULY makes sets this watch apart from every other watch on the market. And like I mentioned at the beginning of the article, you are wearing a Burberry piece.

The luxurious coat making company, that you can only find in the highest class areas in town, is on your wrist. Feel good about it. Share its beauty. And lastly, enjoy whatever Burberry watch you decide to purchase! Overall, if you are in the market for a designer watch. Go with one from Burberry. You can not find this kind of style and detail in any other designer brand watch on the market.