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Rolex Explorer II

The Explorer II remains true to its predecessor and still has its own unique, distinctive style. Its biggest innovations are the orange 24-hour hand, the additional date window and the stronger case with a 42 mm diameter.  More

Rolex Explorer II
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Buy Rolex Explorer II watches certified pre-owned, new or vintage


Finance your Rolex Explorer II watch


Rolex Explorer II watches
are very popular. Due to the robust construction, the Explorer II is very stable in value and a good choice for an investment. With the purchase of a pre-owned Rolex Explorer II, you get an extremely high-quality product at a lower price. At Watchmaster, all watches are tested and equipped with a certificate of authenticity. If you have decided on a model, you have the possibility to finance it with the option of the instalment purchase or to pay quite simply with your credit card or Paypal. No matter which option you choose, our customer service is always available to advise you.


Rolex Explorer II 216570 stainless steel watch with black dial
ROLEX EXPLORER II 216570


Top features of the Rolex Explorer II


The Rolex Explorer II is characterized by its straightforward, robust style. When the bezel of the Rolex Explorer was still polished, the Explorer II brings a modern matte finished bezel. The numbers on the bezel, which can only be found on the Explorer II, are kept simple, giving the watch an unobtrusive but elegant accent. The striking orange-coloured hand, however, stands out from the otherwise very restrained design and is thus a real eye-catcher. It can be found on the latest models as well as the original model of the Rolex Explorer II with the reference 1655 from 1971. This hand provided the colloquial name "Orange Hand". Other nicknames that have formed over time are "Steve McQueen" or "Freccione", which comes from the Italian la fraccia and means arrow-shaped.

The Explorer II had a radical dial change in 1985, unlike anything else in Rolex history. With the Rolex Explorer II Ref 16550, the watch was for the first time no longer available with a black dial and also in a light ivory-coloured version. This discoloured, due to a misproduction, within a very short time in a deep Crémant and gives the clock today the nickname "Cream Dial". Due to low production figures, the watches with this dial are particularly interesting for collectors today. In 2011, in honour of Rolex's 40th Anniversary, the newly redesigned Rolex Explorer II 216570 appeared. It has been enlarged from 40 mm diameter to 42 mm for better readability.

If you compare the Explorer and the Explorer II, you will notice that the watch has increased from 39 mm to 42 mm, apart from the hands and the 24-hour display of the bezel. The Rolex Explorer is thus a more classic, elegant, less sporty-looking watch as opposed to its successor. The Rolex Explorer II looks even more robust due to its size, which is underlined by the matte design of the bezel.

Another difference can be found in the target group. The Explorer is aimed at mountaineers and climbers, whereas the Explorer II is designed for darker areas like caves. Both watches, however, share the basic feature that they are among the most robust and durable watches in the Rolex family. Because of this, these models also provide a good investment, as they often look like new despite prolonged wear, one can assume in these models a constant value.


Rolex Explorer II 16750 with white dial in green Rolex watch box with certificates
ROLEX EXPLORER II 16750


Pre-owned Explorer II models and their prices



  • The current models of the Explorer II Ref. 216570 come with a simple elegant bracelet made of extremely robust stainless Oystersteel. This matte silver bracelet is definitely one of Rolex's most classic models. The dial comes in bright white or in deep black, depending on your preference. Only the bright orange arrow-shaped hand is a colourful accent and makes the watch despite its understated design an eye-catcher.

  • A vintage model from 1985 is the Rolex Explorer II 16550 with a black dial made of stainless steel. This men's watch with a case size of 39 mm costs € 7,690 in certified pre-owned condition.

  • A vintage model from 1987 is another men's watch of the same reference with a white dial. The Explorer II Ref. 16550 has a purchase price of € 7,890.

  • The next model of the Explorer II 16570 made of stainless steel is a millimetre larger. Also comes with an Oyster bracelet, dash indices and black dial. From 1989, this vintage Explorer II men's watch in good pre-owned condition costs € 5,610.


The history of the Rolex Explorer II


Rolex has always been known for providing explorers with watches designed for specific sports and circumstances. Starting with the legendary Oyster Perpetual, the world's first automatic and water resistant watch, this success story continues today. The special Oyster housing provides optimal water protection and is particularly robust, which is why the watch was used for expeditions in the Himalayas for a long time. Coinciding with the first expedition to the summit of Mount Everest in 1953, the Rolex Explorer was introduced. This was explicitly designed to withstand extreme situations. It is robust, scratch-resistant and legible thanks to its large dial with extra visible indices in all weather conditions. It came with a massive stainless steel bracelet, which made the watch even more stable. It was also one of the first Rolex watches officially developed for professional use. The watch does not lose its accuracy even in high altitudes, extreme temperatures and exceptional situations.

In 1971, this popular series was then expanded by the Rolex Explorer II. Equally robust, this new watch now has a fixed bezel with a 24-hour indication, an additional hand that moves half as fast as the hour hand and thus circles the dial once every 24 hours. The Rolex Explorer II is thus ideally suited for cave and volcanic explorers who have to do without daylight for several days and may lose their sense of time. People who live in polar regions and often experience polar nights also benefit greatly from this extra hand.


Rolex Explorer II 216570 with white dial and orange GMT hand
ROLEX EXPLORER II 216570


Famous owners of the Rolex Explorer II


The most well-known wearer of the Rolex Explorer II is the iconic actor Steve McQueen, although there are no pictures on which he wears the said watch, however, he is so strongly associated with the watch that the model with the reference 1655 enthusiasts simply know as "Steve McQueen Explorer". Also well known for his exceptionally extensive Rolex collection is world-renowned actor Brad Pitt. His arm, among other models of Rolex, was already adorned often by a classic Rolex Explorer. Reinhold Messner was the first man to climb the Mount Everest without additional oxygen and he is also an award-winning mountaineer. Around his wrist, he often wears the Explorer "Orange Hand", which optimally reflects the durability of this unique watch.



Other Rolex series at a glance


  • Those who love the outdoor experiences and feel at home on the water with their boat or yacht will love the Rolex Yacht-Master. With a bezel that can be turned in both directions, the time between two tons during a regatta can be optimally measured.

  • The Rolex pilot's watch, the GMT-Master with its eye-catching two-tone bezel, is very popular among cosmopolitans. Thanks to the adjustable bezel and the extra GMT hand, three time zones can be identified on the watch simultaneously.

  • Probably the most classic Rolex model is the Oyster Perpetual. As the first waterproof and automatic watch in the world, it is the pioneer of all today's Rolex watches and thus a true legend! Especially for newcomers, it is very popular because it is in the lower price segment of the Rolex watches.

  • Not to forget the Rolex Submariner, the most well-known model of Rolex. On the arm of the famous secret agent James Bond, it became a movie star in numerous films, whether for suit or diving.

  • The Rolex Milgauss defies magnetic fields of up to 1,000 Gauss. This is particularly relevant for physicians, scientists and researchers, who often live in strong magnetic fields. The bright orange second hand is a special eye-catcher.


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