All About Rolex Explorer II Watches
Seeing the success of its adventure watch Rolex Explorer, the brand expanded the collection with a new model Explorer II reference 1655 in 1971. The Rolex Explorer II was designed for adventurers and speleologists when exploring caves. The watch can help such wearers keep a track of time via its large luminous 24-hour hand no matter if it is am or pm.
To date, there are a total five Explorer II released. Although the very first reference 1655 was very different from the later models, the updates on other iterations are subtle yet significant. The evolution of Rolex Explorer has been an enjoyable discussion amongst watch enthusiasts all across the world.
Being a member of Rolex tool watches, the classic and timeless look of Rolex Explorer II has as well made it a perfect everyday watch for any Rolex lover.
Established in 1905, the Swiss luxury watchmaker Rolex has become an unbeatable and incomparable brand in the world. When it comes to its Explorer II collection, although it is not as highly mentioned as its other models like the Rolex Submariner and GMT Master, it is still a highly admirable piece that gained a huge group of supporters.
To get to understand the attractiveness of Rolex Explorer 2, it is important to learn its history and its evolution through a handful of models.
As an addition to the early Explorer I model, the Rolex Explorer II was first introduced in 1971. On the new generation, a 24-hour indicator was added as a second time-zone display. It was incorporated for the use of professional cavers. Let’s take a deeper look at the first Explorer 2 and its updated models.
Rolex Explorer II 1655
As the first member to the family of Rolex Explorer II, the reference 1655 came out as the closest sibling to the Rolex Explorer I. This watch is equipped with a 39mm stainless steel case and a matching steel bracelet. Created specifically for the spelunkers, a few practical features were added. The most noticeable feature was the extra 24-hour hand with a fixed bezel with the 24-hour markings. It was added to help the spelunkers to track time in the dark cave whether it is AM or PM.
The watch was equipped with a sharp orange hand which was easy to read. It was later replaced with a red hand. This first Explorer II runs on a 1570/1575 caliber which is the same one used on the GMT-Master. The lume details are emphasised with the luminescent 24-hour hand to ensure optimal legibility in the dark.
At the time Rolex Explorer II 1655 was not very popular due to its comparatively narrow target audience. Later it became a notable vintage piece that was given several nicknames. Referring to its iconic arrow-tipped hand, one of its popular nicknames was Freccione, which means arrow in Italian.
Rolex Explorer II 16550
The Explorer II reference 16550 was released in 1985 as the first 40 mm Explorer II model. Even though it has only a very short span of production, it was considered as the one closer to the Explorer II we know today. The watch also featured a longer and thinner arrow-tipped 24-hour hand with Mercedes style center hands. It was powered by a newer 3085 calibre that indicated a second time-zone. This watch was available in two classic colour options: white dial and black dial.
Rolex Explorer II 16570
The next updated version of Rolex Explorer II was released in 1989. Although it was similar to reference 16550, there were still a couple of notable upgrades. With a relatively long production time of 22 years, the watch was powered by the 3185 caliber while the later models housed the Caliber 3186. The earlier Rolex Explorer 16570 was only available in black dial with an orange second hand. Over the years it was changed to red hands with a luminous dot on the 24-hour hand.
Updated from its early models, the new Rolex Explorer II 16570 featured a 42 mm case and a pairing Oyster bracelet with Easy-Link system of 5mm ply and safety clasp. Its movement was also updated to the brand new caliber 3187 at the time. This brand new modern adventure and sports luxury watch started to attract massive attention from many collectors.
Rolex Explorer II 216570
It was until 2011 Rolex released a revamped modern version of Explorer II to celebrate its 40th anniversary. The Explorer II 216570 was a completely upgraded edition to the family. It received overwhelming responses from the market and gained significant success. The watch featured a 42 mm Oyster case with larger hands and lume plots for even better legibility. This modern model also featured the famous orange arrow-tipped 24-hour hand to honor the original Explorer II ref. 1655.
This Rolex 216570 watch is made available in a classic black or white dial. The white Explorer II 216570 was nicknamed “Explorer Polar'' because of its all white profile. The watch was powered by the caliber 3187 movement with the date window at 3 o'clock position. It makes itself the ideal companion not just for adventurers, but also for global travelers. With its chroma light display, this Rolex Explorer II Polar can work perfectly in the dark just like its original purpose for speleologists.
Rolex Explorer II 2021 226570
Seeing the popularity of the classic 216570, the brand stuck to its winning formula and released a new Explorer 2 reference 226570 to celebrate the collection’s 50th anniversary. The watch features a refined and slimmer case with a matching bracelet, and the latest Rolex optimized Chromalight display. The movement was also upgraded to Calibre 3285 with a power reserve of up to 70 hours.
The Rolex Explorer II is a modern sports watch with its own unique style. With its captivating history and timeless design, it is one of the popular Rolex watches which is highly admired by the watch collectors whether it is for vintage or its new models. The Rolex Explorer is definitely an exquisite addition to any watch collection.