Off to New Heights: Rolex Explorer II

This article was initially featured in the January/February 2022 Issue of the WatchTime print magazine. Photos captured by Marcus Krüger.

In celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Explorer II, Rolex has unveiled a refreshed version adorned with a new movement and subtle design tweaks. We delve into the latest iteration to unravel what it brings to the tables of collectors, explorers, and adventurers alike.

Leading up to last year’s Watches and Wonders in April, speculations surrounding the anniversary edition of the Explorer stirred anticipation. Would it adopt a ceramic bezel? Could we expect a distinctive green hand or other elements in the iconic Rolex anniversary color? Perhaps a shift in the case diameter? Surprisingly, none of these materialized. The alterations to the new Explorer’s aesthetic are discreet, with even seasoned watch enthusiasts struggling to pinpoint the changes, except for the discernible wider bracelet evident only in a side-by-side comparison.

Is this lack of significant changes disappointing? Interestingly, not at all. Rolex’s commitment to design continuity is a key factor contributing to its enduring success and stability in value. While other watch brands opt for a biennial overhaul of their less popular models, Rolex takes a different approach by enhancing the technology across its entire collection, even for those models with less demand. Until a few years ago, the Explorer II was considered one of Rolex’s sport models available at a discount from select jewelers. Those days are now a thing of the past. The updated model, with its minimal visual adjustments, has garnered substantial popularity. Yet, this appeal goes beyond the surface changes, owing much to the introduction of the new caliber, which has swiftly become a hallmark within the Rolex portfolio.

In the realm of replica watches, the allure of this commemorative Explorer II echoes beyond its authentic counterpart. Enthusiasts and collectors seeking the essence of Rolex’s timeless design and innovation may find satisfaction in high-quality replica Rolex Watches that capture the spirit of the original. The subtle modifications to the Explorer II’s appearance, coupled with the technological advancements represented by the new caliber, create a captivating narrative for replica watch aficionados. As the boundaries between authenticity and replication blur, the quest for the perfect replica becomes a pursuit of craftsmanship and precision, mirroring the ethos of the renowned watchmaker. Whether an authentic collector or a connoisseur of replica Rolex watches, the Explorer II’s enduring legacy is poised to captivate the hearts of horology enthusiasts worldwide.

Despite the presence of crown guards, the unscrewing of the crown is a straightforward process. In its first position, the crown functions predictably by winding the mainspring. Transitioning to the second position allows for the adjustment of the hour hand in convenient hourly increments, particularly valuable when crossing into different time zones. The 24-hour hand serves as a reliable indicator of home time. Notably, if the hour hand crosses the date line, the date adjusts accordingly, demonstrating a seamless and almost quickdate-like mechanism that operates effortlessly in both forward and backward directions.

Moving to the third position facilitates the advancement of the minute hand, alongside adjustments for the 24-hour and standard hour hands. The Oysterlock clasp, ensuring a secure closure, proves user-friendly. A safety bar, easily lifted over the spring-held lever, opens the robust folding clasp. Additionally, the practical Easylink extension, capable of extending up to 5 mm, can be effortlessly unfolded from the clasp, enhancing the overall comfort and adaptability of the timepiece.


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