Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Return Of The Tool Watch: Day & Night Rolex Explorer II Supercase

...The Return Of The Tool Watch...

Day & Night Rolex Explorer II Supercase

Vintage Meets Modern

The all-new Rolex Explorer II is 100% Tool Watch. No polished center links, this watch is meant to take a licking and keep on ticking. Yesterday we took a look at the "Polar Phantom" Explorer II, meaning the white dial version. Today we are going to take a look at it's twin, which I am dubbing the "Midnight Phantom" meaning it has a black dial (as seen below).

In This story we are also going to take a look at the design ethos of the Rolex Explorer II.

This next image from my pal, Eric Ku is of the first Rolex Explorer II from 1971, which had an Orange Hand and black dial.

Original Rolex Explorer II (Orange Hand) Reference 1655

This Explorer II "Orange Hand" watch has a fascinating history. Unfortunately is was falesy dubbed a the Steve McQueen Explorer, despite the fact Steve McQueen NEVER wore won. On Jake's Rolex World, one of the thing I do is myth-busting and I busted the "Steve McQueen Explorer" Myth, and proved he only wore his trademark Rolex Submariner.

Here is a rare vintage Rolex advertisement for the Rolex Explorer II "Orange Hand."

The History Of The Polar Explorer

We have seen Rolex ads for the original Rolex Explorer like the one below that features the standard 3,6,9 dial.

Even though most people think Sir Edmund Hillary wore a black dial Rolex Explorer when he conquered Everest, he actually wore a white dialed Rolex Oyster Perpetual. The Polar (White) dial Rolex Explorer II really owes its genesis to the actual Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sir Edmund Hillary wore when he conquered Mount Everest in 1953, which is pictured below, and of course you can learn the entire history of the Rolex Explorer by reading The Complete History Of Rolex Conquering Everest.

The first generation Rolex watches that had the 3,6,9 dial markers as well as the "Explorer" dial designation were offered with a white dial, and a black dial. They were introduced in early 1954, and Rolex discontinued the use of white dials on the standard Explorer around 1958. In the photo we see below from Stafano Mazzariol, we see an original white dial "Polar" Rolex Explorer.

The Modern Rolex Explorer II
Rolex Coolness: Ed Viesturs

Ed Viesturs is on of the most accomplished high-altitude climbers in history and he is also a Rolex Ambassador. Ed Viesturs typically wears his now trademark Polar Rolex Explorer II, but he also wears other sports Rolex models.

"Getting to the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory." –Ed Viesturs