Rolex Explorer II Ref. 216570 is a tool watch first, luxury item second. Has become somewhat of a cult among a sect of watch enthusiasts. Has a large 42mm case size, which is off-putting for many, and a maxi dial. 48 hours of power reserve in 2020 is, for some, simply not good enough. The ref. 1655 "Freccione" or "Steve McQueen" Explorer II has a black 24-hour hand-painted black, giving the impression that the hands are floating above the dial. It's a well-judged effort by Rolex; homage can easily come across as pastiche, but it doesn't on the Explorer 2.
Rolex Explorer II Ref. 216570 is made in 904L Oystersteel (904L) and measures in at 42mm across. The case is relatively slim at 12mm thick, it does wear smaller than you may think. The Explorer II is a full millimeter slimmer than a Submariner Ref.116610. Unlike the Subby, it is only waterproof to 100 meters and has a screw-down case back and screw-down crown. It has a Twinlock double waterproofness system, which can take more than just a splash or two. It retails with two-year limited edition case back cover, case back and caseback, crown and case bezel. It is not available to buy directly from Rolex at RRP, however.
The Explorer II Ref. 216570 is the first watch from Rolex to utilise their new Calibre 3187 movement. The mechanical movement has an accuracy rating of +/- 2 seconds a day. The Explorer II's Oyster bracelet is finished with vertical brushing on both its front and back. The flanks are highly polished to a mirror finish that complements the side of the case and lugs. The only real criticism about the 3187 is the power reserve – 48 hours falls short of many modern calibres. The watch comes with a 5-year warranty, but service intervals could be anywhere from 7-10 years apart. The bracelet is a tri-linked piece of engineering and design brilliance. I cannot praise it highly enough, it's the best in the game. Period. And the way Oystersteel feels on the wrist … it hits different. I challenge anyone to name a. bracelet that feels better fastened to your wrist, it hits. different.
Rolex Explorer II Ref. 216570 is one of the most versatile and characterful watches we've tested. The Explorer II comes with an Oysterlock deployant clasp with Easylink extension, which allows wearers to micro adjust the bracelet up to 5mm. Some people wish this watch was 40mm rather than 42mm and, to be honest, I think I agree – it's just a touch too big for my regular tastes in watches. But it's not a deal breaker, and if I was ever lucky enough to own one of these watches, I'd very quickly get over the extra few millimetres. It wouldn't be my first choice if I could have my pick from the Professional collection.