Rolex Explorer II 'Polar'

Rolex Explorer II 'Polar'

Why We Love It

The Rolex Reference 16570 Explorer II is rapidly becoming a darling in the collector community.

With its unusual origin as a spelunker's tool, the Explorer II is a bit of an outlier among Rolex’s other sports watches in terms of its original intended use, but it has become one of the most revered and appreciated models in the catalog amongst collectors today.

With a diameter of 39mm, the Reference 16570 preserves the classic proportions of vintage Rolex sports watches, making them some of the very last “traditional” Rolex sports case dimensions before they swelled in more recent references.

This particular P-Serial example dates to circa 2000 and features an excellent 'holey' lug case showing factory finishing, a flawless Luminova dial with matching handset, and an Oyster bracelet with a fliplock clasp. Furthermore, this watch come with a serialized hangtag and its punched papers completed in 2001.

If you are looking for a daily-wearable sports Rolex that preserves the classic case proportions and overall neo-vintage feel from the watches of the last century, this is the one for you!

The Explorer II Story

The Rolex Explorer II has never been accused of being staid, wimpy or dainty.  

Worn by scientists and (you guessed it!) explorers into some of the more inhospitable regions on the planet, the Rolex Explorer II was from its birth designed to buck the presumptions of what a wristwatch could bear.  

Rolex has long been the watch of exploration and early on, Rolex technicians subjected their timepieces to the worst Mother Nature could conjure; whether traversing the English Channel, breaking land-speed records or climbing Mount Everest, there's a good chance Rolex was involved.

The Explorer line traces its origins to the famous mountain and Sir Edmund Hillary's successful ascension of it in 1953, but numerous historic moments were marked by the presence of the Explorer and its descendent, the Explorer II. Ed Viesturs, the only American to climb all 14 of the globe's eight-thousander peaks (and the fifth person to ever do so without supplemental oxygen); Jean Troillet, the Swiss/Canadian who set the speed record for climbing the Matterhorn (at 21-years-old nonetheless) and was the first person to snowboard down Everest; and Alain Hubert, world-renowned Polar explorer who achieved a world-record cross of the Antarctic continent, all proudly wore the Rolex Explorer II on their expeditions. 

The Explorer II is definitely a timepiece for the man who craves something a little different from his sport model Rolex. Released in 1971 as a follow up to the original Explorer made famous by mountaineers in the 1950s, the Explorer II utilized a larger Oyster case design more in line with the sports models already offered (the Submariner and GMT-Master). Featuring a four-hand display with a large and distinctive 24-hour pointer hand, the Explorer II was essentially a GMT-Master with one notable difference: a fixed steel bezel was installed in place of the characteristic two-tone from the aviator's model.

The reason for this fixed bezel was the target demographic: speleologists, or subterranean explorers. This hearty breed of mankind spends days on end underneath the surface of the earth and without seeing the sky, and are prone to losing track of daytime hours. The 24-hour hand would point to the appropriate place on the fixed 24-Hour bezel indicating whether it was AM or PM.

While the original Explorer was designed to go into the clouds, the Explorer II was designed to descend into darkness.



SKU: AS04892

Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding the crown). Automatic-winding movement by Rolex. Rolex Reference 16570. Circa 2000.

Overall Condition: The case is in fantastic condition overall showing factory finishing with normal wear throughout. Luminous white ‘Polar’ Luminova dial is in excellent condition with matching handset. Signed crown.

Includes solid link stainless steel Oyster bracelet (78790A/SEL) with signed fliplock clasp. 

More pieces you may enjoy

Rolex Day-Date Double-Quickset 'Bark' Diamond Dial
Ref. 18248A Circa 1991 With Exotic Case Finish
Audemars Piguet Perpetual Calendar First Series
Ref. 5548 Circa 1970s
Rolex Datejust Cream Dial
Ref. 16233 Circa 1989
Audemars Piguet Millenary Ladies
Ref. 77301ST Circa 2010s With Factory Diamond Bezel And Hangtag


Thank you for your interest in the Tudor Oysterdate Big Rose. Please fill out the form below and we will get back to you shortly.


Our Pledge

Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.


We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.


All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.

International Buyers

Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options