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Rolex Explorer II 226570 Review

The New Rolex Explorer II 226570 Review

To kick off our watch in focus series, we're going to take a deeper look at what is arguably the most underrated watch produced by Rolex, with a review of the new Rolex Explorer II 226570. A constituent of the Rolex professional family of toolwatches, the Rolex Explorer II often takes a back seat against the more popular collections, the Daytona, Submariner, or GMT-Master II. But why is that? The Daytona is widely regarded as the premier Rolex collection with its motor racing history, helped along nicely by it's presence on Paul Newman's wrist during his racing career and for the Submariner, who better to help promote a dive watch to new iconic heights than Royal Naval Commander James Bond? The GMT's backstory see's it adorn the wrists of those suave Pan-Am airline pilots in their dapper uniforms, drawing veneration from those watching them pass by. So what about the Explorer II? There's no Paul Newman or James bond, and there's no pilot concerned with how much you enjoyed your transatlantic flight. No, the Rolex Explorer II's master and the role model you can aspire to be by wearing it is the potholer! Ok, so these days this isn't strictly true and the Rolex Explorer II is a companion on some of the most audacious mountaineering and Polar exploration expeditions in history, but this may not create a mainstream enough allure to provide the same kind of iconic status as the Explorer II's fellow Rolex professional range collections but we love it for the watch itself rather than for the image it represents.

Why we Love it!

Our review of the Rolex Explorer II shows a level of differentiation from many other watches in the Rolex catalouge. At 42mm it has a significant presence on the wrist, without feeling too bulky, an early adopter of a different path other than the standard 40mm Rolex Oyster professional casing. Even the modern 41mm Submariner doesn't really feel any larger than it's 40mm predecessor, or other Rolex watches of a similar size, whereas the Rolex Explorer II definitely does. This larger sized casing combined with a fresh faced white dial, featuring contrasting back accents also gives great legibility, the black outline on the hands make it easy to read at a glance and the blue luminescent hands and hour markers only enhance that ability in any ambient lighting conditions. A white dial is also an uncommon oddity among stainless steel professional watches as far as Rolex are concerned and since the discontinuation of the Milgauss white dial, you have a choice between the Polar Explorer II and the 'Panda' Daytona, which will likely cost you three to four times as much! In both the Explorer II & Daytona collections, the white dial is the most popular, and this commands a higher premium in both cases.

In terms of functionality the Rolex Explorer II gives us enough for what we need. Combined with the time and date, a 24hr engraved stainless steel static bezel originally designed effectively as a day / night indicator for those exploring areas where you're unable to take an indication of that from sunlight. A function that will never be used for that purpose by the majority of us mere mortals! More helpful though is the ability to use it as you would a Rolex GMT-Master II, using the orange hand to act as a pointer to a second time zone supporting holiday or business travel. Much more practical!

All in all this is a fantastic option for a watch from Rolex's professional range. The Explorer II has it's own unique styling, usable additional functions, the same tarnish & water resistant robustness as other professional range watches and it comes at a fraction of the price.

The New Rolex Explorer II 226570 Specifications

Calibre 3285904L grade Oystersteel
70hr Power reserve42mm diameter
Precision +/- 2 seconds / day12.5 mm thickness
AutomaticWater resistant 100m
Screwdown twinlock crown
904L grade OystersteelFolding Oysterlink safety clasp
Brushed OysterlinkEasylink 5mm comfort extension link
Scratch-resistant sapphireWhite
Cyclops lens 2.5x magnificationChromalight blue luminescence

New Rolex Explorer II prices, valuation, and market analysis

The new Rolex Explorer II 226570 retail price in the UK from a retail Authorised Dealer was initially set at £7,550 in April 2021 and at the time of writing this remains unchanged (UPDATE: 1st September 2022 sees the UK retail price review increased to £7,900). As we know purchasing at UK retail price from an AD is still a privilege open to only a few, so realistically most people interested in owning the Explorer II will purchase via the secondary market. As a steel sportswatch it's no surprise that the Explorer II will command a significant premium over Rolex list price, but, for a watch of this quality and function we believe that the new Rolex Explorer II represents great value for money when compared to other sports watches.

According to data provided by, using their unique Market Price estimation methodology, the current fair market price on 16th August 2022 for private sales is £11,301, with the price to purchase from a recognised secondary market dealer being £11,497. This is a preowned price and takes includes both worn and unworn models. At the current time at GWS we have an unworn model available which when considering the current market prices represents excellent value for money.

Rolex Explorer II 226570 Review Global Watch Shop

Over the last 12 months also using the data from watchcharts we can see that the estimated market price peaked at £12,903 on 23rd March 2022 and bottomed out at £11,183 2nd August 2022. This fits with our own market analysis that Rolex prices accelerated at an unsustainable pace in the first quarter of 2022, leaving a high probability of a correction in prices. Throughout Q2 2022 prices corrected as expected resulting in a more sustainable market price. August 2022 see's a price consolidation and we expect prices to start to increase during September & October 2022, and hopefully we'll see this happen at a more sustainable rate.

Rolex Explorer II 226570 Review Global Watch Shop

All in all as our Rolex Explorer II review shows, we're big fans of the new Explorer II at GWS. We would have loved to have seen a 2021 50th anniversary model, but sadly Rolex decided this would not be the case. Still, What we do see is a competitively priced stainless steel Rolex sportswatch, with useful functionality, yet different from anything else that Rolex produce. We'd love to know your thoughts, why not join the conversation now and let what you think of the new Rolex Explorer II?

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