The Oyster Perpetual Explorer and Oyster Perpetual 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 these watches to places that tested their reliability in the toughest conditions.
From the 1930s, Rolex began to equip numerous expeditions with Oyster Perpetual watches. The feedback received was used to develop what became known as the Professional category: watches that serve as tools, such as the Explorer and Explorer II. Rolex watches have taken part in some of humanity’s greatest adventures. One such occasion was the 1953 expedition to Everest, led by Sir John Hunt, on which Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay become the first to summit the world’s highest mountain.
The Explorer II was introduced in 1971 and, in the same spirit as the Explorer, perpetuates the privileged relationship Rolex enjoys with exploration. Thanks to its 24-hour display comprising an additional, orange hour hand and an engraved bezel, the Explorer II allows the wearer to clearly distinguish daytime from night-time hours – a practical option in places where distinguishing day from night is difficult, such as at the poles at certain times of the year, and in caves – or to read the time in a second time zone.