Rolex "Polar" Explorer II

Rolex "Polar" Explorer II

Why We Love It

With its unusual origin as a cave explorer’s watch, the Explorer II is a bit of an outlier among Rolex’s other sports watches, but that makes it no less awesome in our opinions.

And when their dials are white, well, then they’re even more awesome.

This Reference 16570 dating from the 1990s. With a diameter of 39mm, the Reference 16750 preserves the classic proportions of vintage Rolex sports watches, but retains all the perks of it being a modern watch. Purists will love that the luminescent material is tritium, which on this particular Explorer II has aged excellently.

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: AS02721

Stainless Steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Rolex Reference 16570. Rolex Caliber 3185 Automatic Movement. 1996.

Overall Condition: The watch is in very condition over all, with some signs of previous polishing visible in the case. White Tritium dial is in exceptional condition; Rolex handset is in similarly excellent condition. Rolex signed crown and Rolex screw case back.

Includes one 20mm 93150/593 solid-link stainless Oyster bracelet with flip-lock claps and extension.

Also includes original inner and outer boxes and warranty paperwork completed 4/5/97.

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


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