Rolex Explorer II

Rolex Explorer II

Why We Love It

There are few watches that are more loved around the Analog/Shift offices than the Rolex GMT Master. With its simplicity and utility, the GMT is exactly what we look for in a sport Rolex. 

But unless you find a black-bezel model, wearing a GMT means wearing bright colors, and for some, that just doesn't fly. That's why we love the Reference 16570 Explorer. 

With it's steel Oyster case and fixed steel bezel, the Explorer II is cooly understated with a subtle appearance that you don't find among GMTs. Additionally, the Ref. 16570 does away with the bright orange hand found on the Reference 1655, also a polarizing design feature. 

Need that GMT function? Don't sweat.  The 16570 offers the wearer an hour hand that can be set independently from the minute and 24-hour hands, effectively offering the same functionality as the GMT Master; simply set the 24-hour hand to the 'other' time zone, and adjust the hour hand to local time. Best part is that the date function is tied to the hour hand, NOT the 24-hour hand, so your date won't switch if your second time zone is hours ahead.  

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 and don't love the colors of the GMT, this is your watch!

The Story

The Explorer II is definitely a timepiece for the collector who craves something a little differentfrom 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. With case proportions of the original 1655 model, this generation was fitted with an improved movement that offered an 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, enhancing the daily wearability significantly.


SKU: AS02754

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

Overall Condition: The watch is in excellent condition over all, with signs of wear and light previous polishing. Black Tritium dial is in excellent condition and shows light patina. Tritium Mercedes hands are in likewise excellent condition. Rolex screw back and signed crown.

Includes one stainless steel 78360/501B Oyster bracelet.

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