The one that got me started, the watch that ignited my collecting habit, would have to be the Rolex Explorer II Ref. 16570 from the model year 2005. I received this watch as a gift from my uncle to mark my graduation from high school. It was my only luxury timepiece for a very long time. It’s just a great tool watch, never been polished or serviced though it has picked up a few nicks now. It is worth more to me than any other watch I have bought over the years.

Gargash received this watch as a gift when he was 18

It was only after my graduation from university that I felt the urge to start collecting watches; this Rolex was what helped move my gears. Like most rookies, I was initially collecting for the sake of collecting but over the years, my tastes got a little more refined. Through trial and error, I have reached a stage where I can now say my collection suggests refinement and taste.

The watch was the one that kicked off the collecting habit

None of this would have been possible if I had not engrossed myself in the world of watches. What also helped was being part of Dubai Watch Club, making friends with watch retailers, dealers and auction houses like Christies, Phillips and Sotheby’s. Nonetheless, this remains the one. It’s been 12 years now but every time I look at it, I realize this Rolex will always be my most prized watch.

- Yousuf Hussain Gargash is a 30-year-old Dubai-based collector

ED’S NOTE: Rolex released the Explorer II reference 16570 in 1988. It was one of the first references introduced in the Explorer II model and was distinguished by an orange GMT hand and a 24-hour brushed steel bezel.

This reference was introduced in 1988

It featured a new dial design as well and was engineered for outdoorsmen as a tool watch that could work well in extreme conditions and low light. It was cased in stainless steel, featured a waterproof Oyster case, an Oyster bracelet and Oysterlock clasp. Acting legend Steve McQueen famously owned one of these models.