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Watch Review: Rolex Explorer II 216570

Authentic Rolex Explorer II 216570 Orange Baselworld 2011 WatchIt’s finally here. The timepiece we’ve all been waiting for since Baselworld 2011. The new Rolex Explorer II (model 216570) has finally hit stores in the United States and it is as amazing as it looked behind the display case in Basel.

The big change with this new version of the classic Rolex offering is in the size. This time around, the Explorer II has been modernized with a slightly larger 904L stainless steel case. Now stretched out to a 42mm diameter (45mm including the crown), the 216570 rests comfortably on the wrist without weighing your arm down. The thickness or height of the case is 12mm. And although it has been beefed up to an XL, the design still maintains the traditional satin brushed lugs and polished sides. The new bracelet is a heavy duty stainless steel Oysterlock featuring the 5mm Easylink extension.

The next big update, and also the first visible difference, is the new orange GMT hand. Other than the size, this is probably the biggest “wow factor” in this new version. The orange hand pops out against the white or black dial, and matches so nicely with the Explorer II font. The hands on the new 216570 are larger than the older 16570 and hold more lume for a clearer view at night. The lume is Rolex Chromalight that is claimed to last up to 8 hours after a full charge. We have not tested this, but it does seem to last longer than the 16570’s green lume which glows much brighter at first.

The arrow on the 216570 is larger and the tip has a point which extends out to the minute markers, whereas the red hand on the 16570 was longer and smaller. Another reason why the new 24-hour hand is so appealing is that the entire hand is colored orange, but the older model only featured a red shaft with a black point. The orange color is an homage to the original Explorer II which was launched in 1971.

The Explorer II is available with a white or black dial (both carry the reference number 216570). The white dials have black hands with black rings around the hours markers, and the black dial models have silver hands with silver rings around the makers. Both watches have the same orange GMT hand and orange font. The dial is protected by a scratch resistant sapphire crystal with the standard cyclops magnifying lens over the date at 3:00.

The updated Explorer II still has a fixed stainless steel bezel with 24 hour markers. The rehault has “RolexRolexRolex” etched on the inside with a serial number at 6:00 and the Rolex crown logo at 12:00.

Unlike the newer GMT Master II (116710) which was bumped up to a Triplock crown, the new Explorer II still keeps water and dust out with the protection of the Twinlock screw-down crown and carries a water resistance of 100m or 330ft.

Now on to the engine of this baby! The Explorer II is powered by the newest Rolex caliber 3187 (in-house of course) automatic movement. Even though the watch is capable of displaying two separate time zones, time setting is a cinch with the rapid setting GMT hand.

It incorporates the most recent technologies such as the Paraflex shock absorbers and the non-magnetic Parachrom hairspring, ensuring unparalleled reliability and shock resistance. …from Rolex.com

The 216570 is a must have watch for any Rolex enthusiast, and the perfect place for a new Rolex collector to start. It retails at $7,750 as of 11/2011 – but that’s if you manage to get your hands on one.

Find the Rolex Explorer II watch for sale at KeepTheTime.com