Rolex Explorer II

Rolex Explorer II

The Explorer II is definitely a timepiece for the collector who craves something a little different from a 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--subterranean explorers. This hearty breed of explorer spends days on end underneath the surface of the earth, without seeing the sky, and are prone to lose 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. 

Although the Explorer II was produced in far fewer numbers than its Submariner and GMT counterparts, it has been in constant production since its inception, with several modifications and improvements made through the years. This particular example is a Reference 16570 and dates from the mid-1990s. With case proportions of the original 1655 model, this generation was fitted with an improved movement that offered a 12 Hour hand that could be independently set (that also doubled as a semi-quickset date function). It also features a sapphire crystal and a heavy duty Oyster Bracelet with flip lock clasp, enhancing the daily wearability significantly.

The 16570 also did away with the oversized orange 24 Hour hand that was the signature of its predecessor, but also a polarizing design element. In essence, this model offers all the usability of a second time zone without the loud colors of a GMT, and a wrist presence similar to the far more common Submariner. If you're looking for a great modern daily you can bang around and depend on, but want something just a little different than every other Submariner at the water cooler, this is your watch!


Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Rolex Reference 16570. Rolex Caliber 3186 Self-Winding Movement. Circa mid-1990s.

Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with sharp lugs and no signs of over-polishing. Case does have some signs of wear and use including slight scratches on the sides of the case and some tool marks on the lugs. Dial is in good condition, with some signs of use and wear, including slight water damages to the luminescent elements on the hour markers. 24-Hour Bezel is in very good condition with factory brush finishing and no signs of discoloration or wear. Rolex crown; Rolex case back is in good condition with slight scratches and tool marks.

Includes one 20mm Rolex 78790/501B bracelet. Bracelet is in good condition with slight signs of wear and use, including some scratches and "desk-diving" scuffs on the clasp. Also includes two 20mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle

SKU: AS01589

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