Rolex Explorer II 'Polar'

Rolex Explorer II 'Polar'

Why We Love It

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.

This particular Explorer II, referred to by collectors as the 'Polar' for its snow-white dial, is a Reference 16570 that dates to circa 2002. With a diameter of 39mm, the Reference 16750 preserves the classic proportions of vintage Rolex sports watches. With certain specific variations making it up into five figures, there is still an enormous amount of value in these pre-maxi sport models from the late 90s and early 2000s.

Though we'd put money on it that this will not be the case for much longer...

The Story

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). 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, 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. Essentially, while the original Explorer was designed to go into the clouds, the Explorer II was designed to descend into darkness.

First released in 1971 as the Reference 1655, the model saw several successors in the following decade. Most notably is the Reference 16570, which paved the way for the Explorer II of today. Unlike previous versions, the Reference 16570 did away with the large orange hand that typified the Reference 1655; moreover, the slimmer 12-hour hand now had the capability of being set independently, also serving as a semi-quickset date function. 


SKU: AS03477

Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding the crown). Rolex automatic-winding movement. Circa 2002.

Overall Condition: The case is in fantastic condition overall showing normal wear consistent with age and use and some sleeve polish. Luminous white dial is in excellent condition with Super-LumiNova indices and 'Mercedes' handset. Signed crown.

Includes brown leather strap with steel pin buckle.

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