Explorer 2 42mm Review

rolex Explorer II 42mm

You can’t climb Mt. Everest with just any watch, but the Explorer II is guaranteed to work as a day to day watch and under extreme temperatures with no source of power. A tribute to its past models, the new Explorer II 42mm celebrates Retro history with Radical details.

Rolex Explorer II 42mm watch


The Explorer II was originally released in 1971 with a 36mm model. But today, we are going to take a look at the Explorer 2, 42mm which was released in Baselworld 2011 and tells the story of a gradual evolution from the original timepiece. It wears a bit larger because of the significant width of the lugs and the additional millimeters added to the case size. But, the complementary bold dial with large markers and fat hands pays homage to its 39mm predecessor. With a sapphire crystal on the front and a solid case back, the 904L steel Explorer 2 case maintains a classic Rolex style and composition. It is among the less expensive of Rolex watches but definitely high in popularity.

Looking a bit closer at the unique structural elements of the Explorer 2, there are two versions. The Polar or white dial is a lacquer material while the black dial features a satin finish. The fixed stainless steel bezel is more prone to scratching compared to the ceramic inserts on the Submariner or GMT Master models, but it sports a more unique look with its bold markers.

Rolex Explorer 2 watch


The hands on the white dial are painted black (incidentally, the only Rolex hands that aren’t white gold). The black dial Explorer II has the small section on the base of each hand painted black to match the dial. Though the original 1655 Explorer 2 didn’t have the mercedes hour hand, the hands are now thicker and clearer than the thin hands of the previous reference.

There is a 5 mm easylink extension, making it incredibly useful for hot days and is as all other Rolex bracelets, incredibly comfortable! The links are brushed with polished sides which makes the Explorer II support its tool watch reputation as there is less dress on the bracelet.

Rolex explorer watch on oyster

Now, to get to the powerhouse of the timepiece. At 12mm thick, the Explorer II houses the in-house calibre 3187 .4 hertz automatic movement. It is Rolex’s in-house COSC certified movement beating at 28,800bph. With a bidirectional self-winding rotor, the movement has a 48 hour power reserve. A paramagnetic Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers give the watch additional magnetism and shock protection. Additionally, the Explorer II is water resistant to 100m.

Rolex explorer II rubber watch strap band


We truly find the Explorer 2 to be a thing of beauty so of course, we want to be able to customize its look and preserve the bracelet with an Everest strap. Because of the 42mm case, the lug width is a bit too large for our standard Everest Bands for Rolex Sports models - which is why...the Explorer 2 42mm strap is currently in design to be released this year!

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