Among all the Rolex models unveiled in the last few years, the Explorer II was one that was due a big reboot and this year at Watches & Wonders 2021, Rolex has done just that. Meet the new-generation Oyster Perpetual Explorer II, Ref. 216570 with some serious technical upgrades.
For starters, this model is presented in a 42 mm redesigned Oyster case with a 3 piece link Oyster Bracelet. Its middle case is crafted from a solid block of Oystersteel, a particularly corrosion-resistant alloy. In addition to that, the 100m-water-resistant case features a domed steel bezel with blackened 24-hour graduations—all of which are typical traits of the original Explorer II from 1971. Sitting on top of the case is a scratchproof sapphire crystal – fitted with a Cyclops lens at 3 o’clock for easy reading of the date.
The 24-hour hand, which can also be used to show a second time zone, retains its characteristic orange hue and looks remarkable against the white lacquer dial, while the hour markers – whose black coating is applied using PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) – and the black lacquer hour, minute and seconds hands stand out for their matt finish. The level of detailing in the dial is very impressive. The new-generation Explorer II also benefits from an optimized Chromalight display. In dark conditions, the intensity of the blue glow emitted by the hour markers and hands now lasts longer thanks to the innovative and exclusive luminescent material with which they are filled or coated. In daylight, these display elements also have a brighter white hue.
The case back, edged with fine fluting, is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that allows only Rolex watchmakers to access the movement. For this release, Rolex is using the same movement currently found in the GMT-Master II – Calibre 3285, entirely developed and manufactured in-house. Unveiled in 2018, Calibre 3285 incorporates the Chronergy escapement patented by Rolex, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. Made of nickel-phosphorus, it is also insensitive to magnetic fields. The movement is fitted with an optimized blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured by Rolex in a paramagnetic alloy that makes it up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks. The blue Parachrom hairspring is equipped with a Rolex overcoil, ensuring the calibre’s regularity in any position. The oscillator is fitted on the Rolex-designed and -patented high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, increasing the movement’s shock resistance. Calibre 3285 is equipped with a self-winding module via a Perpetual rotor. Thanks to its barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the power reserve of calibre 3285 extends to approximately 70 hours.
Like all Rolex watches, the Oyster Perpetual Explorer II carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellent performance on the wrist.