Hands-On with the Rolex Explorer II
Though I don’t own one myself, I was able to get my hands on a Rolex Explorer II the other day. I must say that I was very impressed with it. While it is not the most popular model from this esteemed brand, it definitely belongs in their catalog, and perhaps, on your wrist. I tell you everything you need to know about this watch in the sections below.
One thing you can count on with Rolex is high-quality materials. That starts with its signature Oystersteel, which is an especially versatile form of stainless steel. What that means in practice is that these pieces are more resistant to corrosion, denting, and every other force that degrades watches. The Explorer II also comes with a sapphire crystal, which is standard among luxury pieces.
Rolex Explorer II Dial
The dial of the Explorer II might be my favorite aspect of it. What sets it apart is how many components of it are white. Most Rolex models have multiple colors on the dial, with the majority of them being black. The Explorer II goes against that trend with a white dial, white numerals, and mostly white hands. I also like the fact that one of the hands is orange, a feature that brings its design from good to great. One thing to note is that this dial also comes in black, but the more popular option is the white. You can also go with the radically different original Explorer, which looks more like a dress watch.
The bracelet on each Rolex watch is simply exceptional. What’s funny about this aspect of timepieces is that people frequently don’t think about them. They seek a watch that looks great and has a reliable movement, but forget to consider the bracelet. Then, when they receive the product, they find that it is clunky and uncomfortable. The good news is that this won’t happen with the Explorer II. Not only is it incredibly comfortable, but its signature tapered aesthetic looks more elegant than most options out there.
Now, let’s discuss the movement. Just like every other Rolex watch, this one has machinery that is built entirely in-house. Though its power reserve is somewhat limited at 48 hours, the accuracy of it is astounding. Rolex lists its precision at just +/- 2 seconds per day, which is very impressive. I also love that this movement supports the fourth hand on the dial that keeps time on the 24-hour clock. Not only does it have a specific and useful function, but that added level of craftsmanship makes the watch even more alluring.
Rolex Explorer II Bezel
This entire piece is a work of art, and its bezel is no exception. The numbers are perfectly etched in, and the feel you get from spinning it around is satisfying. The truth is that you can feel the quality of the bezel just by touching it. The materials and craftsmanship back that feeling up, too. As far as function, I like the 24-hour markings that it provides. As fun as other types of bezels are, I never find myself actually using them. On the other hand, telling time on a 24-hour scale is something that I do frequently. Combine the looks of this bezel with its function, and you have a definite winner.
One of my least favorite things about Rolex has nothing to do with their watches. In fact, it might not be their fault at all. My frustration comes from the fact that so many of their models are nearly impossible to purchase at retail price. The reason is that there is so little supply and so much demand. Watch buyers who want a popular model, like the Submariner or Daytona, have two options. The first is getting on a waiting list and not getting your watch for a year or two. The second is paying a premium to purchase one from a third-party seller. Both choices are suboptimal. One thing I love about the Explorer II is the fact that you often don’t need to jump through hoops to get one. Instead, you can usually purchase one with ease.
Rolex Explorer II Overall Impression
My overall impression of this piece is very positive. It has a nice size at 42mm, comes with the classic Rolex commitment the craftsmanship, and just flat out looks great. While many of you might want to save your money and purchase a more mainstream piece, others will jump at the chance to buy this watch. One of the funny things that happens in the timepiece world is certain products developing a cult following. They might not be the most popular or expensive options out there, but they generate a fandom based on their unique combination of quality and value. I see the Explorer II being one of those watches in the future and recommend at least considering getting one for yourself before their demand rises significantly. I know I am.