For a while now there have been fervid whispers and speculation throughout the watch community about what would be launched by luxury brand Rolex at Watches & Wonders. One such piece that was mentioned time and time again was a new Explorer, with those in the know eagerly awaiting a new model to add to their collection. And it seems that the rumour mill got it right, as we see Rolex launch two new-generation Explorer and Explorer II watches.
Ready to push both metaphorical and physical boundaries, these new Explorer timepieces continue in the spirit of their historical predecessors, with the ability to accompany wearers to the highest mountain peaks and to the most isolated polar regions. The original model was launched in 1953, following the first ascent to the summit of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on the 29th of May. Following this, the brand continued to test the watches in real life by equipping polar, mountaineering and caving expeditions over many years. Some of the world’s most intrepid explorers, mountaineers and scientists took Explorer and Explorer II watches to places that tested their reliability in the toughest conditions.
The new-generation Oyster Perpetual Explorer does more than carry on the legacy in name. At 36mm, it returns to the size of the original model, which will delight those who love vintage-inspired pieces. It is launched in a yellow Rolesor version, a signature combination by Rolex of Oystersteel and 18 ct yellow gold. The black dial, now lacquered, bears the index hour markers and emblematic 3, 6 and 9 numerals that are the cornerstones of the model’s personality.
The Chromalight display on the new-generation Explorer’s is particularly impressive. 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. This means there is increased legibility no matter the weather or environment, a crucial feature for those braving the odds.
The Explorer is also equipped with a calibre 3230, a movement at the forefront of watchmaking technology. Like all Rolex watches, the Oyster Perpetual Explorer carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellent performance on the wrist.
Rolex is also introducing its new-generation Oyster Perpetual Explorer II. This technical watch, in Oystersteel, was an evolution of the Explorer, and created for the boldest explorers and daring adventurers in 1971. It quickly became an essential tool for explorers travelling to the far corners of the globe, often in extreme conditions.
In this new iteration, we see a redesigned case and bracelet amongst many features. This aesthetic update brings enhanced visual balance and harmony to the timepiece while remaining true to its aesthetic heritage.
On the white lacquer dial, 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 24-hour hand retains its characteristic orange hue, which is the same colour as the Explorer II inscription that has featured on the dial since 2011.
The Explorer II also benefits from an optimised 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 new-generation Explorer II is equipped with calibre 3285, a movement at the forefront of watchmaking technology and again, like all Rolex watches, the Oyster Perpetual Explorer II carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellent performance on the wrist.