Rolex Explorer II

Rolex 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. The so-called "Polar" version, produced with a white dial, is considered highly desirable among vintage watch collectors today.

This particular Explorer is a Reference 16570 dating to about 1990. With a diameter of 39mm, the Reference 16750 preserves the classic proportions of vintage Rolex sports watches, but retains all the perks of its more modern manufacture.

Purists will love that the luminescent material is tritium, and these early 16570s are considered by many to be the last great Rolex sports model with this feature. Additionally, this Explorer has a semi-quickset date movement with a 24-hour second time zone and a steel bezel. 

With certainty, Reference 16570 Explorer IIs are the last Rolex sport models to feature Tritium luminous material that are consistently available for under $10K. 

Though, with the way things have been going, that might not be the case for much longer...

The Story

The Explorer line traces its origins to the famous mountain and Sir Edmund Hillary's successful ascension of it in 1953, but numerous historic moments were marked by the presence of the Explorer and its descendent, the Explorer II.

Ed Viesturs, the only American to climb all 14 of the globe's eight-thousand peaks (and the fifth person to ever do so without supplemental oxygen); Jean Troillet, the Swiss/Canadian who set the speed record for climbing the Matterhorn (at 21-years-old nonetheless) and was the first person to snowboard down Everest; and Alain Hubert, world-renowned Polar explorer who achieved a world-record cross of the Antarctic continent, all proudly wore the Rolex Explorer II on their expeditions. 


Available EXCLUSIVELY at Watches of Switzerland SoHo!

SKU: AS02939

Stainless steel case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Reference 16570. Circa 1990.

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with minor signs of prior polishing, as well as use from age and wear. Dial is in very good condition with faint signs of age, including patina to the luminescent elements. Minor flaw visible under magnification near the 9:00 position. Signed crown.

Includes one 20mm 78360/558B Oyster bracelet with signed clasp.

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