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 generally means wearing bright colors, and for some, that just doesn't fly. That's why we love the Reference 16570 Explorer. 

With its 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 Reference 16570 does away with the bright orange hand found on the earlier Reference 1655, which was also a polarizing design feature. And this one even comes with the original factory case back sticker still intact!

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 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 - 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. Pretty cool, right?

Although the Explorer II was produced in far fewer numbers than its Sub 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 roughly 1994.  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.  


Available EXCLUSIVELY at Watches of Switzerland SoHo!

SKU: AS02933

Stainless steel case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Rolex Reference 16570. Circa 1995

Overall Condition: Case is in excellent, unpolished condition overall with very light wear from age. Caseback retains original green factory sticker. Black gloss dial is in excellent condition with crisp printing and a fine light patination across the luminescent elements. Signed crown.

Includes one 20mm Rolex 93150/501B heavy duty solid link Oyster bracelet with signed Fliplock Clasp.

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