Discover the Rolex Explorer II and the 2021 New Release 50th Anniversary

Discover the Rolex Explorer II and the 2021 New Release 50th Anniversary

How has the adventurer’s watch evolved since its debut on the expedition of Mount Everest? In 1953 when tool watches were designed to be used as tool watches, the Rolex Explorer was originally designed for climbing. In 1971, Rolex launched the Explorer II with a completely different style because it was designed for a completely different purpose. The Rolex Explorer II was designed for exploring caves.  

rolex explorer on black rubber strap

The 24 hour GMT hand and fixed bezel were added for a purpose. It allowed for explorers exploring caves to keep track of what time of day or night it was. The very first Rolex Explorer II reference number 1655 was released with an orange GMT hand. The next two generations would sport a red GMT hand with reference numbers 16550 and 16750. In 2011, the Rolex Explorer grew in case size to 42mm and returned to its roots with an orange GMT hand. Additionally, the 2021 release of the Rolex Explorer II 42mm (reference number 226570) also sports the iconic orange GMT hand. 

Why are we focusing on the color of the GMT hands on the Rolex Explorer II models? Because matching the GMT hands with a Swiss-Made Everest watch band is the best and easiest way to really make your Rolex Explorer II pop. Everest Bands offers a multitude of watch strap options for the pre-2011 reference numbers 16550 and 16570. 

rolex explorer on red rubber strap

The Everest red rubber watch band on this Rolex Explorer II is simply stunning. It clearly draws on the red GMT hand. The crisp white and classy black color options are also great choices. 

rolex explorer on white rubber

Image Source @horologymatters

rolex explorer with white dial and black rubber everest strap

You can also strap up with the favorite Everest leather racing watch band. The red stitching featured on two of the straps are simply stunning. The Red Hand Explorer II had additional upgrades including a new face, bezel and movement.

rolex explorer on leather strap

In 2011, we saw a distinct visual transition of the GMT hand revert back to its original orange. The Rolex Explorer II 42mm (reference 216570) made an impressive impact on the horological community. The increase in size was deemed to be a controversial change, but the 40th anniversary model is very popular, and the watch band community has been begging Everest since 2011 to release a rubber watch band for the larger case. 

rolex explorer on orange rubber strap

Image Source: @t0b_e_2

A watch band is a significantly lighter option than the Rolex oyster bracelet, especially on a larger case. Everest Bands answered the call and released a curved end rubber watch strap in both black and orange for the 42mm Rolex Explorer II. Both options highlight the watch and hands. And, you can choose to either strap up with a stainless steel buckle or a DLC coated black tang buckle. 

Everest was excited to see a new Rolex Explorer offered this year which you can learn more about here, and it was great to see the answers to our predictions for the Rolex Explorer II 50th anniversary model which maintained its 42mm case size, the functionality and the appearance really remained unchanged (possibly due to the previous models popularity), but the upgrades can be seen in the less quick glance features. 

The new Rolex Chromalight lume was used, and as Everest predicted, the 50th anniversary Rolex Explorer II is housing a new movement with calibre 3285, which features a power reserve of 70 hours. While the case diameter maintained its size, the thickness of the case did not. The watch case is just a little thinner and the bracelet has changed. The bracelet is now the latest Rolex oyster bracelet. Because Everest watch bands fit Rolex sports model watch cases perfectly, Everest does not offer a watch band for this model at this time. But, sign up for our newsletters for updates on all new releases. Drop a comment below with your reactions to the newest releases of these two lines. 


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