Launched in 1953 as the ultimate expedition and mountaineering watch, the Explorer draws on decades of experience of Rolex in the Himalayas. It is designed for optimal legibility even in the dark – a crucial feature for explorers. The Rolex Explorer II, first released in 1971, is the natural heir to the original Rolex Explorer - yet with a character all of its own. A robust, highly refined tool watch, the Explorer II swiftly became the watch of choice of speleologists, volcanologists and polar and jungle explorers, thanks to its specially designed features.
A scratch resistant sapphire crystal, a clear dial and special luminescent markings allow the rugged Rolex Explorer II to be read even in the most challenging conditions, while its trademark orange 24-hour hand helps polar and underground adventurer differentiate between daytime and night time hours without the reference of the sun.
An independent hour hand, which provides a second zone function in conjunction with the fixed, or “home”, 24-hour display, and an integrated Cyclops lens that magnifies the date, are other functions that make the Explorer II highly appreciated by global adventurers.
The Explorer II is equipped with an additional 24-hour display; a dedicated hand circles the dial in 24 hours rather than the usual 12, pointing to a fixed bezel with 24-hour graduations. This function enables the wearer to distinguish the hours of the day from the hours of the night, an essential feature for those who venture into environments where darkness reigns supreme such as in the depths of caves, or where the sun never sets like the polar regions in summer.
The Rolex Explorer benefited from experience gained in the Himalayas, acquiring its clearly distinctive hour and minute hands and its landmark, highly legible black dial with luminescent indices and large Arabic numerals at 3, 6 and 9 o'clock. It is designed for optimal legibility even in the dark.