Watches & Wonders: Rolex Updates The Explorer Collection

Watches & Wonders: Rolex Updates The Explorer Collection

For its first appearance at Watches & Wonders, Rolex takes the digital show to the top of Everest.

By Josh Shanks
Editor-in-Chief

For 2021, Rolex updates and downsizes their iconic Oyster Perpetual Explorer. The watch also returns to the 36mm size, worn by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay during their 1953 ascent of Mount Everest.

Meet The New Explorer

For 2021, Rolex updates and downsizes their iconic Oyster Perpetual Explorer. The watch also returns to the 36mm size, worn by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay during their 1953 ascent of Mount Everest.

The new Explorer models are available in two case materials. First, there is a two-tone yellow gold (Rolesor) and stainless steel (Oystersteel) model, ref. 124273. And second, there is a stainless steel (Oystersteel) model, ref. 124270. Both watches are powered by Rolex's calibre 3230 movement, which features a Chronergy escapement with a blue Parachrom hairspring and 70 hours of power reserve.
 

Each of the new models features a black lacquer dial with Rolex's new Chromalight luminescent material. The hands and hour markers are filled and coated with this material, which has a brighter hue of white during the day and an intense blue glow at night. Both watches come fitted with an Oyster bracelet.

With this new introduction, we also see the discontinuation of the 39mm Explorer reference, the M214270-0003.
 

The new Explorer collection starts at $6,450 for the 36mm Oystersteel version (ref. 124270) and $10,800 for the two-tone Rolesor version (ref. 124273).
 

Introducing The New Explorer II

Rolex has also introduced subtle updates to the Oyster Perpetual Explorer II collection. The lineup now features a redesigned case and bracelet, similar to last year’s slimming of proportions in the Submariner collection.
 

The updated Explorer II (ref. 226570) is sized at 42mm and encased in stainless steel (Oystersteel). Like the Explorer, the new Explorer II features lacquer dials with Chromalight luminescent materials. The watch’s signature matte black hands and orange 24-hour marker remain.

Many were hoping for a ceramic 24-hour bezel, but alas, Rolex decided to stick with the original brushed bezel, which has been a hallmark of the collection since its introduction. The Explorer II is available in two dial variants, a black lacquer dial or a white lacquer dial.
 

The new Explorer II is powered by the calibre 3285, which Rolex developed in-house in 2018 and offers now in the Explorer II collection for the first time. The new movement also features a Chronergy escapement with a blue Parachrom hairspring and 70 hours of power reserve. It is highly resistant to shock and, like all Rolex models, is COSC certified.
 

The new Explorer II is priced at $8,550 and available in Oystersteel with a black or white lacquer dial.

For more information on the new Rolex models, visit the brand’s website.

(Images © Rolex)

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