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Discussion Starter #1
Long-time lurker with first post here!

I have been into this hobby for about a year now and previously focused mainly on Japanese affordable watches. However, some months ago I got a bad case of the Speedmaster itch, which subsequently had to be scratched :)

After getting the Speedy Pro, my other watches have basically gotten zero wrist time, so I have decided to flip them with the exception of my SARB065 Cocktail Time and my Orient Mako, the former being reserved for formal occasions only and the latter for swimming.

However, I feel that the Speedy is a tad too sporty for my typical business casual attire (suit, no tie), and wanted to get another watch with similar versatility but veering more on the dressy side. I have narrowed down my search to two main candidates: the Explorer I (39mm) and the blue Aqua Terra (41.5mm), which I feel would sit nicely between the Speedy and the Cocktail Time on the sporty – dressy continuum.

However, despite trying on these watches on countless occasions and reading every forum post ever written on the subject (multiple times…), I just cannot pick between these two. I also want to keep my collection focused so will not consider getting both as they would serve a very similar purpose.

What I like about the Explorer:

-Almost perfect size and fit, it really wraps around your wrist
-The classical proportions and style combined with a sporty vibe, the cool numerals
-The history of the Explorer; as with the Speedy, I think this adds an extra dimension to a watch, although the Explorer is not as iconic (and not the most iconic Rolex either)

What I don’t like about the Explorer:

-Could the stealthy look become boring in daily use? This has happened to me with some understated watches that I initially appreciated a lot.
-Is the overall look and shade of the dial too close to the Speedy?

What I like about the Aqua Terra:

-The most mesmerising dial I have seen on a watch, the blue color is unbelievably vivid in real life
-A modern, sporty look that retains the dressy qualities of the basic design.

What I don’t like about the Aqua Terra:

-The proportions and fit are not as good as with the Rolex, although conversely it has a bit more wrist presence. I was quite convinced that the 38.5mm would be the right size for me, but I found the 41.5mm much more balanced and more suitable for the thick case.
-Would a future version of the Aqua Terra make this one look obsolete?

Movement-wise I think both have a lot of merit, although perhaps the 8500 is slightly more interesting from a technical perspective. I’m a bit ambivalent about the date feature as for me the pros and cons pretty much cancel each other out.

What are you thoughts, which one would you go for? Or would you rather pick something else?

All opinions are truly appreciated and it would be great to hear some long-term impressions from owners of these watches!

Explorer.jpg Aqua Terra.jpg
 

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AT looks much nicer in your wrist. It's got a much deeper level of interest based on how much better it's dial is.

-Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S3; please excuse any spelling/grammatical errors.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the responses! I also find the dial of the Aqua Terra more captivating; however, I do love the classic design and symmetry of the EXPI.
 

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First of all, welcome to the forum and congratulations on the pieces you have already acquired, you have a great collection.

Now, down to business.

I don't always click these "recommend me a watch" threads or "which should I choose" threads, mostly because I believe that either my answer will be the same as every other WUSer's answer, or that it's a situation where I'm not very familiar with either watch. I clicked this one because gosh darn, I love both of those options, and I think you're going to get a mixed response here! These are both watches that I have seriously considered myself, and I would have much difficulty trying to decide if I were in your shoes. I would personally be picking between the old 36mm Explorer and 38.5mm AT, simply because I have a small wrist and feel that those sizes work better for me with this style watch, but assuming I had wrists more like yours (judging by your wrist shots, both watches look good on your wrist), I think I would choose... the Aqua Terra. I love the Explorer, and if you ask me my opinion tomorrow I might be in a different mood and go back on that choice, but I feel like the Explorer is maybe a little bit too refined. It is a design that takes little to no risk, and while it is an attractive, versatile piece, I can't help but feel that I would get bored of it. The Aqua Terra is a little more interesting, particularly with its dial texture, while still looking sharp enough to go well with a suit. I also believe the AT is more water resistant than the Explorer at 15 ATM vs the Explorer's 10 ATM, which further contributes to the AT's versatility: you could wear that watch to the beach or to a business meeting and it will never be out of place.
 

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I prefer the date just to the explorer I but like the stripes on the AT's dial enough to still give it the edge.

-Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S3; please excuse any spelling/grammatical errors.
 

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For me the AT is by far the more beautiful piece. The dial is like the SARB065 pictures just don't come close to conveying its beauty. Even the blue dials on the DJ just fall flat compared to the AT, IMHO.
 

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I have nothing of substance to add to this topic - since I like each watch, and own neither. Personally, my tastes lean towards the Rolex. If I've found one thing that's true about aesthetic preference - simple designs remain in favor longer than more complex ones. In other words, chances are I'll still love the Rolex in 10 or 20 years while I'm not as confident that I'll be able to say the same with respect to the Omega.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
First of all, welcome to the forum and congratulations on the pieces you have already acquired, you have a great collection.

Now, down to business.

I don't always click these "recommend me a watch" threads or "which should I choose" threads, mostly because I believe that either my answer will be the same as every other WUSer's answer, or that it's a situation where I'm not very familiar with either watch. I clicked this one because gosh darn, I love both of those options, and I think you're going to get a mixed response here! These are both watches that I have seriously considered myself, and I would have much difficulty trying to decide if I were in your shoes. I would personally be picking between the old 36mm Explorer and 38.5mm AT, simply because I have a small wrist and feel that those sizes work better for me with this style watch, but assuming I had wrists more like yours (judging by your wrist shots, both watches look good on your wrist), I think I would choose... the Aqua Terra. I love the Explorer, and if you ask me my opinion tomorrow I might be in a different mood and go back on that choice, but I feel like the Explorer is maybe a little bit too refined. It is a design that takes little to no risk, and while it is an attractive, versatile piece, I can't help but feel that I would get bored of it. The Aqua Terra is a little more interesting, particularly with its dial texture, while still looking sharp enough to go well with a suit. I also believe the AT is more water resistant than the Explorer at 15 ATM vs the Explorer's 10 ATM, which further contributes to the AT's versatility: you could wear that watch to the beach or to a business meeting and it will never be out of place.

BGPT23:

Many thanks for your thorough response and analysis!

I also feel that the Explorer might just be almost too refined as you said and too conservatively styled especially when compared to this Aqua Terra. In my experience, this is also a factor that will likely become more evident and pronounced with longer use.

Funnily enough, my wrists are only about 6.7 inches, but flat to the point of looking 2-dimensional, which works extremely well with somewhat larger watches.
 

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Both perfect! I am partial to that corrugated dial on the Omega. I really like how it plays in the light but you cannot go wrong with either.

Plus 1 for the Omega.
 

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Your question of whether the AT would look dated is VERY valid IMO - the old PO and SMP look very dated; Rolexes never age.
Correct. I traded my Seamaster Bond to that Jim Skelton fella back in 2004. The wave dial and hands just got un fun for me and it was time to part with it after 5plus years wanting to be Pierce Brosnan.
 

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EXACTLY. To the OP: I have the AT Blue 8500 and just sold my Rolex Explorer I. The Rolex Explorer I is a very fine handsome watch. But, the AT is just far more interesting and mesmerizing. It's alot more distinctive looking than the Explorer I.

For me the AT is by far the more beautiful piece. The dial is like the SARB065 pictures just don't come close to conveying its beauty. Even the blue dials on the DJ just fall flat compared to the AT, IMHO.
 

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With regards to the AT, I completely disagree. I think it's a bit of a well worn cliche ( and very inaccurate, in my opinion) on watch forums to categorize watches that have a bit more detail...as less timeless. IMO, the AT has a lot more interesting detail while very much retaining that timeless look. THAT's hard to do...and I think Omega does it very well. Nothing about the watch is so funky or overwrought to render it dated.
Your question of whether the AT would look dated is VERY valid IMO - the old PO and SMP look very dated; Rolexes never age.
 

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The AT for me hands down. The Explorer is just such a boring watch IMHO. The AT's dial is just such a work of art the way the lines just draw you in and have you starring at it hours on in. Good Luck
 

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With regards to the AT, I completely disagree. I think it's a bit of a well worn cliche ( and very inaccurate, in my opinion) on watch forums to categorize watches that have a bit more detail...as less timeless. IMO, the AT has a lot more interesting detail while very much retaining that timeless look. THAT's hard to do...and I think Omega does it very well. Nothing about the watch is so funky or overwrought to render it dated.
Yup. Seems like he loves the AT (for good reason) but is struggling because its doesn't say Rolex on it and isn't boring enough to be a "traditional" dress watch. You love the Cocktail Time and (assuming Blue) Mako, why not roll with the blue theme. Even in those pictures the AT sings off your wrist. Its a perfect choice that should last and last.
 
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