In 1971 Rolex introduced an iconic tool watch known as the Rolex Explorer II. This watch was not that well received by the general public at that time because it was primarily being marketed to explorers. This watch was stainless steel, had an acrylic crystal, black dial, a GMT hand in orange and a 24 hour fixed bezel. Today the vintage Explorer II from the seventies is very sought after, rare and collectible. It commands as much as 25-30k for one in good shape with box and papers which is staggering!
In 1986 a new version was released in a 40mm size in stainless steel with a black and white dial option. It didn’t start gaining momentum till 1991. This watch had a new sapphire crystal an oyster flip lock bracelet and a red GMT hand and a fixed 24 hour bezel. You can purchase one of these watches pre-owned today for between 5-6k which is a great value if your looking to buy an iconic Rolex.
In 2011, Rolex redesigned this watch in a NEW 42 mm size in stainless steel, again with black and white dial options. It has a better bracelet and clasp, a bigger maxi dial and fatter hands, a new movement, and a kick to throwback with the GMT hand in orange and fixed 24 hour bezel. In my opinion it’s the perfect combination between the original one from the seventies and the one from 1986 but executed with all the modern day treatments from today. This watch currently retails for $8,100 and in my opinion is the unsung hero of the entire Rolex professional collection. It’s not common.
Everyone buys a Rolex Submariner or GMT-Master for the most part. I feel that this watch only gets the respect for it’s vintage model from the 1970’s. It’s the only Rolex professional model that’s 42 mm in size and stands alone on its own. I highly recommend picking one up if you want a piece of iconic Rolex tool watch history that totally flies under the radar, has a dual time zone function and is really well made and robust. Please contact me here to help you order this watch with white or black dial.
Check out my video below on the history of the Rolex Explorer II