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 opinion. Long available in both black and white dials, the Explorer II serves as a more casual and rugged counterpoint to the Submariner and GMT Master.
What we offer here is a 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, such as a sapphire crystal and quickset date. 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.
Stainless steel case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Rolex Reference 16570. Circa 1989
Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with very light wear from age. Black dial is in very good condition with crisp printing and a fine even patina across the luminescent elements. Signed crown.
Includes one 20mm Rolex 78360/501B solid link Oyster bracelet.