Owning a Rolex Explorer 124270, almost a year in, and the warranty experience

11 months ago, my wife (@WrapItUp) got me my favorite current-production watch, the #rolex Explorer 124270, for our 20th anniversary.

Let me get a few things out of the way:

  1. If I had to pick one brand for life, it would not be Rolex.
  2. If I had to pick one watch design for life, it would still be an Explorer. It’s not the best watch at any one thing, but it is the best watch in general in my opinion.

So 8 months into owning the watch, wearing it 5 days a week, and even sleeping with it on typically because it is so comfortable and accurate, I notice it starts to slow down.

It went from being the most accurate watch I’ve ever owned to being a bit slow. Not horribly slow, but Oris slow. Then Seiko slow.

But it’s a “Superlative Chronometer.”

So over the course of the past two months, I’ve tested it in different states of wind and positions. The end result:

  1. Still keeps good time facing up in a watch box if you leave it alone.
  2. Loses 4 seconds a day with 12 o’clock down or with crown down in a watch box.
  3. Loses 7 seconds a day on wrist in normal wear, with positions changing throughout the day.

So I brought it into the local AD where I bought it, with the warranty card (which you really need to bring with you, by the way).

They asked be a bunch of triage questions to make sure I had a legitimate warranty claim. I’m guessing they don’t get that many? Which is good if they don’t.

After passing triage, they took my watch and warranty card to send the watch back to Rolex. I had been quoted at 2-3 months over the phone. They are trying for 1.5 months, which is a long time without your favorite watch but still reasonable, given the shipping and testing time involved.

I‘m optimistic that this will be a one time thing and they will get it right. I’ll update this post with results. Until then, I will enjoy the #omega Seamaster I bought a few months before that is still rock-solid.

Every watch isn’t going to be perfect, but a good company with a good product should make it right. I trust Rolex will. Looking forward to getting my Explorer back, working like a Chronometer should.

Also, if I bought this gray market at 2x retail and with questionable warranty validity, I’d be really upset. Don’t feed the flippers or make eye contact with them, even. Just wait on the list and buy new watches new. If it’s vintage or even >5 years, different story. But never pay over retail for a new watch with a less than solid warranty, because you’re getting ripped off if you do.

Note: I’ve also had my #oris BCPD in for work at its AD less than one year after buying it due to a poorly lubricated automatic winding works that was sticking from the factory. What I’m getting at is there is a value in buying new watches new, from a reputable AD who will support their customers.

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I own no Rolexes but luckily my Oris and Seikos are not “Rolex slow “ 😜

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Agree with you, very reassuring to have an AD, and ideally someone you trust on any high end purchase.  It’s not an option for Rolex here in Vancouver (for me, anyway), I was rebuffed when I inquired about the waiting list at our city’s big AD.   

My dads ‘67 Explorer went about 15 years before it’s first service, so likely you just got a bad apple.

And Supremely upsetting to have a grail watch let you down so quickly.  Hope it’s fixed and back on your wrist soon.  

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Which app / tool did you use?

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Thank you to give us a look into your experience.

I totally agree. Never buy over retail. Patience saves a lot of money and nerves.

So better wait for the call...

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Uhrologe

Which app / tool did you use?

Hodinkee audible setting app, 1 day intervals checked throughout the day, and patience.

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Exactly the same story as me mate. 

My Explorer 1 124270 started acting up around October last year in that it started loosing time. I took it to my AD and it's with them as we speak to get a movement check under warranty. 

I've had the watch since August 2021 and it's been fine up until last year. If you google "issues with 32xx movement" there is a long thread about the possible issues with this particular Rolex calibre. 

I'm eagerly awaiting the return of my watch and will update you as well 

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While not my grail watch, I bought a Tudor Ranger in late October and it kept stopping for no reason. I had to return it for warranty service almost immediately. I still have no idea when I will get it back. The experience has definitely been disappointing. The Ranger was my only watch purchase in 2022, and I barely got to wear it. It's also scared me off of watches with Kinessi movements. I guess this sort of thing can happen, but this is the first time it's happened to me so it is tough to swallow.  

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It's amazing to think that they will manufacture from scratch more the 100,000 new watches during the time it will take them to fix a single one.

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I recently sent my sub off for a service and was quoted 2/3 months it came back 6 weeks later so hopefully you will get yours back earlier.

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Catskinner

It's amazing to think that they will manufacture from scratch more the 100,000 new watches during the time it will take them to fix a single one.

Yes. Very few watches are really handmade unless you are talking about super high end pieces. Most watches are manufactured. Some do it better than others and with better quality, materials, and testing and with some hand finishing, but there can be inconsistencies as with any manufactured product. Fixing a watch is also a totally separate process from make one. Many companies seem to care more about churning out units and making money than servicing their watches. This is part of why I shy away from microbrands.  My big take away from the experience has been to value the warranty. I have purchased grey market watches before but will be hesitant in the future to buy watches at a higher price point without a warranty.