Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer II

Finally, a new rendition of what we can safely label as Rolex’s professional ‘tool’ watch. Not really a fan favourite like the Daytona’s and DJ’s but surely one to to look out for. Putting all speculations to rest, yes Rolex did introduce a new -generation of the Oyster Perpetual Explorer II at Watches & Wonders 2021.

Why a tool watch? Well, the ROLEX Explorer in general has been a reliable companion for many, from mountain tops to the depths of caves, in the biting cold of the Arctic or the searing heat of volcanoes. The ROLEX Explorer was born at the top of the world and developed in collaboration with legendary mountaineers. The Himalayas were the setting for their real-life laboratory, and in particular the highest peak, Mount Everest.

The first Rolex Explorer II Ref: 1655 introduced in 1971

The first Rolex Explorer watch Ref: 1655 was introduced in 1971. A 40mm stainless steel with a fixed bezel. A no nonsense watch with clean and crisp legibility catering to the extremely conditions it was built for. Following that in 1985 the 16550 came with an upgraded movement, making the Explorer II a dual timezone watch. Then in 1989 we saw the Explorer II 16570 with a new caliber & subtle evolutions, the most noteworthy one a being the change from tritium to luminova and super luminova. Finally a decade ago, Rolex introduced the 216570 with a maxi dial (42mm) and oversized luminous markers. Today. to commemorate its 50th anniversary,  the crown has introduced the Explorer II with a new case without compromising its aesthetic heritage.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer II

The key upgrades here are on the movement front with calibre 3285 that incorporates the Chronergy escapement and is fitted with an optimized blue Parachrom hairspring. A hairspring manufactured by Rolex in a paramagnetic alloy that makes it up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks. The blue Parachrom hairspring is equipped with a Rolex overcoil, ensuring the calibre’s regularity in any position. Thanks to its barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the power reserve of calibre 3285 extends to approximately 70 hours.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer II

Another upgrade on the new  ROLEX Oyster Perpetual Explorer II is the use of optimized Chromalight display on the hour markers and hands. In the dark, the intensity of the blue glow emitted now lasts longer.  During the day too, they have a brighter white hue.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer II

Not too many changes on the dial front though. On the white lacquer dial, the white gold hour markers have been coated with black PVD to enhance legibility – and the black lacquer hour, minute and seconds hands have a more matte finish. The 24-hour hand which is not just a day-night but also a second time-zone indicator retains its characteristic orange hue. Like all Rolex watches, the Oyster Perpetual Explorer II carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellent performance on the wrist.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer II

The 42mm Oyster case here is slightly reconstructed with slimmer lugs and tapered case bands. Once again, with the twinlock crown protected by the integral crown guard, the ROLEX Oyster Perpetual Explorer II is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet). The bracelet seems to be the same. The watch sits on a fully brushed Oystersteel with the Oysterlock folding safety clasp and the Easylink comfort extension link.

While the new ROLEX Oyster Perpetual Explorer II has created quite a stir across the globe, the million dollar question here is – Will you ever see them ? Let the games begin…


Coming from a family of watch enthusiasts and pioneers, Kari, as fondly identified by the watch-community, has been a part of this mystical world of horology for almost two decades now. From watch magazines to books to Internationally acclaimed watch shows, Kari has founded, initiated and pioneered various such endeavours.

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