Scaling new heights

The Oyster Perpetual Explorer and Explorer II evolved from Rolex’s deep involvement with exploration. They go where few people venture. The brand was able to test these 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 Explorer Design


Explorer timepieces are designed for extreme situations.
Featuring a smooth bezel and a black dial, the Explorer is a tool watch, designed to tell time, no matter the condition.

The model’s characteristic 3, 6 and 9 numerals are now filled with a luminescent material emitting a long-lasting blue glow, like the hour markers and hands. This exclusive Chromalight display offers exceptional legibility in any conditions.

The dial is the distinctive face of a Rolex watch, the feature most responsible for its identity and readability. Like all Rolex timepieces, the Explorer's dial is designed and manufactured in-house, largely by hand to ensure perfection.


The Explorer II Design

in dark

In 1971, Rolex launched the Explorer II, heir to the Explorer, featuring a date display, an additional 24-hour hand and a fixed bezel with 24-hour graduations, enabling the wearer to distinguish the hours of the day from those of the night; a feature essential for exploration in dark environments. The Explorer II became the watch of choice for speleologists, volcanologists and polar explorers.

An independent 12-hour hand, which provides a second time zone function in conjunction with the fixed or “home” 24-hour display, and an integrated Cyclops lens that magnifies the date display, are other functions that make the Explorer II highly appreciated by global adventurers.

A scratch-proof sapphire crystal, a clear dial and special luminescent markings allow the rugged Rolex Explorer II to be read even in the most challenging conditions. The high-contrast Chromalight display on the dial innovates by pushing the boundaries of visibility in dark environments. The blue glow of the hour markers and hands lasts up to eight hours with a uniform luminosity throughout, practically twice as long as that of standard luminescent materials.

The Twinlock system guarantees that the screw-down winding crown is perfectly water-resistant thanks to two sealed zones, one inside the tube, the other inside the crown. This principle is used on all the watches in the Oyster collection that are guaranteed waterproof to 100 metres (330 feet).




Specially developed by the brand, Oystersteel belongs to the 904L steel family, superalloys most commonly used in high-technology and in the aerospace and chemical industries, where maximum resistance to corrosion is essential.

Oystersteel is extremely resistant, offers an exceptional finish once polished and maintains its beauty even in the harshest environments.

Few companies have been so consistently identified with the pursuit of excellence, the quest for the absolute, the discovery of original approaches and innovative solutions. Rolex watches have proved themselves from the start in the most extreme conditions imaginable - from the depths of the deepest oceans to the summits of the highest mountains, in the air and on the race track. And to ensure that all Rolex watches can live up to these high expectations, every single one is tested to extremes before it is allowed to leave the Rolex site.

3132 Calibre

The Explorer is equipped with calibre 3132

3187 Calibre

The Explorer II is equipped with calibre 3187

The Explorer is equipped with calibre 3132 and the Explorer II with calibre 3187, both are self-winding mechanical movements entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. They feature a Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers, offering greater resistance to shocks and to extreme conditions.




1953 - Everest

Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay

In the 1930s, Rolex began to equip mountaineering and diving expeditions with Oyster watches. The feedback it received from this real-life laboratory was used to develop what eventually became known as the Professional range: Oyster Perpetual models such as the Explorer and Explorer II.


The First Explorer

Rolex watches have taken part in many great adventures into the unknown. The successful expedition to Everest in 1953, led by Sir John Hunt, when Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first to summit the world’s highest mountain, was just one such occasion.


The First Explorer II

The same year, with the experience gained from the ascent of Everest, as well as other testimony provided by climbers, the brand launched the Explorer watch. Later, the performance of the Explorer model was improved with a reinforced case and a more legible dial catering to extreme conditions.

Since that time, the Rolex Explorer has benefited from every technical advance to Rolex watches, while its appearance remains substantially the same.

Explorers wearing an Oyster have pushed the boundaries of what humans can achieve and helped to shed light on unknown areas of the world.

Every Rolex
Tells a Story

Ed Viesturs


The Explorer

in Store

Nothing beats experiencing first-hand the meticulous details, the balanced weight, the comfort and simply the feel of a Rolex watch.

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More than a word on the dial, Perpetual is a spirit that drives everything we do.