Explorer II

The Oyster Perpetual Explorer II is the watch of choice for those who venture to the far corners of the globe, often in extreme conditions.

Thanks to its 24-hour display by means of an additional hand and an engraved bezel, the Explorer II allows the wearer to clearly distinguish daytime from night-time hours. Created in 1971, it was restyled in 2011 with a case increased in size from 40 mm to 42 mm. Its dial features a Chromalight display, with long-lasting luminescence and a blue glow, and offers excellent legibility in any situation. This watch designed for extremes is heir to the privileged relationship that has always united Rolex and exploration.


Environments such as mountain tops, oceans, volcanoes and polar regions are favoured terrain for Oyster Perpetual watches. Rolex timepieces accompanied the ascent of Everest in 1953, and have been worn by explorers in every corner of the globe, in deserts, at the poles or in the depths of the Earth. In such hostile, unexplored environments, distinguishing day from night can become impossible. For speleologists, who spend days at a time in darkness, or polar expeditions travelling under the midnight sun or through endless night, the Explorer II, with its 24-hour display, is an essential part of their equipment.


The Explorer II can display the time in two time zones simultaneously. Local time is shown by the conventional hour hand, while the time in a second time zone (reference time) can be read off the graduated bezel using the 24-hour hand. Local time can be set easily, with the hour hand “jumping” from hour to hour thanks to a mechanism operated via the winding crown. The adjustment can be made independently of the minute and seconds hands, and without affecting the 24-hour hand (showing the reference time). As a result, the wearer can simultaneously read the local time and a reference time.


The Explorer II is an extremely legible watch in all circumstances. On the sleek dial, the hour markers and hands stand out in contrast, even in the dark, thanks to the Chromalight display. They are filled or coated with a luminescent material emitting a long-lasting blue glow – lasting up to two times longer than traditional phosphorescent materials.


Like all Rolex watches, the Explorer II is covered by the Superlative Chronometer certification redefined by Rolex in 2015. This exclusive designation attests that every watch leaving the brand’s workshops has successfully undergone a series of tests conducted by Rolex in its own laboratories and according to its own criteria. These certification tests apply to the fully assembled watch, after casing the movement, guaranteeing superlative performance on the wrist in terms of precision, power reserve, waterproofness and self-winding. The Superlative Chronometer status is symbolized by the green seal that comes with every Rolex watch and is coupled with an international five-year guarantee.

The precision of every movement – officially certified as a chronometer by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) – is tested a second time by Rolex after being cased, to ensure that it meets criteria that are far stricter than those of the official certification. The tolerance for the average rate of a Rolex Superlative Chronometer is of the order of −2/+2 seconds per day. Its precision is tested by Rolex using an exclusive methodology that simulates the conditions in which a watch is actually worn and is much more representative of real-life experience.

The Superlative Chronometer certification testing is carried out after casing using state-of-the-art equipment specially developed by Rolex. The entirely automated series of tests also checks the waterproofness, the self-winding capacity and the power reserve of 100 per cent of Rolex watches. These tests systematically complement the qualification testing upstream during development and production, in order to ensure the watches’ reliability, robustness, and resistance to magnetic fields and shocks.


The Explorer II’s Oyster case, guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet), is a paragon of robustness and reliability. The characteristically shaped middle case is crafted from a solid block of Oystersteel, a particularly corrosion-resistant alloy. The case back, edged with fine fluting, is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that grants only Rolex watchmakers access to the movement. The Twinlock winding crown, fitted with a double waterproofness system and protected by a crown guard that is an integral part of the middle case, screws down securely against the case. The crystal, with a Cyclops lens at 3 o’clock for easy reading of the date, is made of virtually scratchproof sapphire. The waterproof Oyster case provides optimum protection for the Explorer II’s movement.


The Explorer II is equipped with calibre 3187, a self-winding mechanical movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. The architecture, manufacturing and innovative features of this movement make it exceptionally precise and reliable.

The oscillator of calibre 3187 has a large balance wheel with variable inertia regulated extremely precisely via gold Microstella nuts. It is held firmly in place by a height-adjustable traversing bridge enabling very stable positioning to increase shock resistance. The oscillator is also fitted on high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, designed and patented by Rolex.

Calibre 3187 has a blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured by Rolex in an exclusive paramagnetic alloy. Insensitive to magnetic fields, the Parachrom hairspring offers great stability when exposed to temperature variations and remains up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks. It is equipped with a Rolex overcoil, guaranteeing its regularity in any position.

Calibre 3187 is fitted with a self-winding module featuring a Perpetual rotor, which ensures continuous winding of the mainspring by harnessing the movements of the wrist to provide constant energy. It offers a power reserve of approximately 48 hours.

The Explorer II’s movement will be seen only by certified Rolex watchmakers, yet it is beautifully finished and decorated in keeping with the brand’s uncompromising quality standards.


The Explorer II is available on a three-piece link Oyster bracelet in Oystersteel. This bracelet is equipped with an Oysterlock safety clasp, designed and patented by Rolex, which prevents accidental opening. It is additionally fitted with the Easylink comfort extension link, developed by the brand, which allows the wearer to easily increase the bracelet length by approximately 5 mm, for additional comfort in any circumstance.


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