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- Joined: December 16th 2009, 11:00pm
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Let me start this review with an admission: I thought the Big Crown was going to turf many of its current models in 2020. The Milgauss, for example, is well past due for an evolution from its current form, if it remains at all. Likewise, the Air-King – which stylistically borrowed heavily from a set of dash clocks made for a land speed record car that Rolex no longer has any affiliation with – was also rumoured to be disappearing for good.
In my opinion, though, the model that was most ready for a reboot was the divisive Explorer II Ref.216570. Here is a watch that has been in production for one year shy of a decade and, until recently, hasn’t exactly been a fan favourite. In fact, before stainless steel professional models escalated in value, the Explorer II, in either the black or white dial, was readily available from your local AD. I should know – I used to work for one.
Why was it never as desirable as something like a Submariner or Daytona? Well, the large 42mm case size has been off-putting for many, considering that its predecessor, the Ref. 16570, was a more agreeable 40mm. Then there’s the “maxi dial”, which some people love, but purists tend to turn their noses up at. And the overall aesthetic of the watch just doesn’t offer the same sort of opulence as other “sports” Rolex watches. It’s unashamedly a tool watch first, luxury item second – form following function in almost every regard. The innards of Ref.216570, which were impressive in 2011, are also getting a bit long in the tooth – 48 hours of power reserve in 2020 is, for some, simply not good enough.
Despite all this, though, the current Explorer II has still managed to develop into somewhat of a cult among a sect of watch enthusiasts. And, honestly, what has slowly edged this model back into the desirability radar is photographers like @nicedily. The watch actually shoots very well. And @nicedily, who was kind enough to provide images for this story, has well and truly put that front and centre with shots of his own Explorer II Ref. 216570. So, when the opportunity to wear a black Explorer II for a week or so came up, I was compelled to revisit the idiosyncratic steel sports watch. Especially considering its days may indeed be numbered.
https://timeandtidewatches.com/rolex-ex ... 6570-42mm/
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Now forever and ever after."