International Calls (800) 635-9006 - Live Help | 9am - 5pm CST Monday - Friday

Buyer’s Guide: Rolex Explorer II

Our take on adventure watches;


Rolex has never been afraid to test their watches in real life situations; on the contrary Rolex seems to push the resistance of both humans and of their watches to explore the limits. This is what drove the expert watchmakers to sponsor the first men to ever climb Mount Everest’s foreboding 8848-meter summit. It is paramount that timing is precise in areas above 8000 ft (ominously named the death zone), as even with supplemental oxygen at the elevation the human brain and body is not able to function correctly. The conscious mind becomes confused and one-step after climbing for days takes immense physical and mental toughness. Visitors to the majestic Nepali mountains have a few minutes to get out of this dreadful zone.


In 1953, when Edmund Hillary, and Tenzing Norgay scaled the mountain with the predecessor to the Rolex Explorer, cell phones and other handy devices for mountaineering were yet to be invented. One reason, timing is important supplemental oxygen can only be taken so much due to weight, and once it runs out your physical and mental state deteriorate very quickly. Along, with the oxygen issue you can only spend a limited amount of time in the death zone, so even the average mountaineer on a less climactic peak than Everest leave well before dawn. The two men needed a powerful engineered watch that could survive the normal damages of climbing, keep accurate time, and have great visibility in flurries of snow. Fortunately, for Rolex and the courageous men, the duo survived the descent along with the watches and birthed the descendants of that Oyster Perpetual. We now have the Rolex Explorer I & II. Both with distinct aesthetic characteristics that make the pair of watches an excellent addition to any adventure.

Rolex Explorer II 216570

Rolex Explorer 216570 With White Dial

Rolex Explorer 216570 With White Dial


The first model of the Explorer II launched in 1971, but we are going to take you through the schematics of the 216570. The 42mm case gives the watch a sturdy appearance, but it is not just for show. Rolex crafted the 904L stainless steel in the company’s own foundry.  The 904L stainless steel drapes the case and bracelet providing excellent heat,corrosion, and rust protection. Previously, Rolex used 316L steel like many other watch companies. The 316L steel builds up moisture and deteriorates the case in tough environments. Simply put, the Rolex Explorer is at it’s best taken into all climates including up to 100m underwater for snorkeling or swimming and will not fail. The oyster bracelet itself has a adjustment feature that can add or remove 5mm in varying outdoor situations for comfort. All Rolex Explorer’s are tested against the extreme standards set by Rolex Lab’s. Going through 26 different drop tests, simulating a crash at 5000 G’s. Another day at the office for the sturdy chronometers.

Rolex Explorer II 216570 With Chromalight

The watch movement is made in house with a custom in house 3187 movement. What does that mean for you? Well the movement is fitted with a Paraflex shock absorber, compared to any other adventure watch it can handle approximately 50% more of the collisions watches take on an expedition and still keep accurate time and date. The Paraflex  is exclusive to Rolex, and is paramount to accuracy and durability. While the Rolex Explorer’s were designed for cave explorers and Arctic scientists to be able to keep a track on the time even with 24 hours of sunlight or complete darkness, the orange Freccione style hand(in homage to the Explorer II Ref 1655 of the 70’s) allows for accurate time keeping of multiple time zones simultaneously on the 24 Hour Bezel.

Rolex Explorer I 214270

Rolex Explorer I 214270


While the Rolex Explorer II is a great choice for any outdoor enthusiasts, whether that is in a suit or swim trunks, and is adaptable at the Rocky Mountains or in downtown. There is one advantage the Rolex Explorer I holds, and that is I believe the Rolex Explorer I 214270 has a more classic look with a smooth bezel an a smaller case at 39mm. It features almost all the same mechanics of the Explorer 216570, but lacks the indicative orange hand, no GMT function, and is only available in black. Explorer 214270 also features numerical dials rather than the geometric shapes fitted on Explorer II. The Rolex Explorer II is the brash younger brother compared to the earnest, collective Explorer I.


Quick Take

Rolex Explorers II With Black Dial

Rolex Explorers II With Black Dial

Both the watches are compatible with fans of Marco Polo, Sir Francis Drake, or Neil Armstrong. The twosome are fit for all types of interests, but embody a spirit of bravado and escapade.  The small details are what matters on this one and are more versatile than other tool watches. Whether that is a leisurely trip horseback riding in Montana or doing your best impersonation of Sir Edmund Hillary. If you are looking for a tough watch with a GMT function that is more versatile with your attire, or climate zones, than a Tag Heuer or a Tudor , the Explorer II 216570 is a great fit. Check out our buyer’s guide below for a quick recap of the information I’ve covered and a comparison to another watch suited for adventures, the Tudor North Flag.



Watch our Indiana Jones themed video of the Rolex Explorer II 216570 below!


Read more about the Explorer II at Rolex’s official website.

Follow us on Instagram for watch pictures every weekday!

Shop Explorer Models here at

Follow DeMesy & Co.
Welcome to DeMesy Fine Watches!
Enter To Win A Free Watch Winder
Enter your email below.