Rolex Explorer II,Stainless Steel, 40mm, White Dial Polar, Model 16570, 2002
Throughout the course of the 20th century, the Rolex brand built itself into a household name largely in part due to its cutting-edge sport watches that quickly became coveted status symbols. The Submariner was built for the deep sea diver, the Cosmograph Daytona for the race car driver, and the Explorer II Polar was a timepiece specifically designed for… the spelunker.
Suffice to say, with cave diving not being one of the more glamorous outdoor activities, the Explorer II Polar went largely unappreciated beyond its very specific intended audience and was only produced between 1988 and 2011. And it’s a shame that it was, considering that a watch built for extended periods of darkness and isolation can’t help but include several features that are —plainly put — very cool.
The immaculately grainless snow-white dial — from which the watch derives its name— sets the stage for all the little details that dance across it, allowing each one a more visually striking presence beneath the crystal (and also making it more desired by collectors than its black dial-sporting predecessors from the Explorer II line). The face is outfitted with glow-in-the dark hands and indices made from Super LumiNova. Each of the indices is ringed in white gold that has been painted black, adding an extra hidden touch of extravagance to an otherwise functionality-based timepiece. Since one can easily lose track of whether it is day or night after enough time in the depths of a cave, each of the 24 hours of the day are etched and painted onto the stainless steel bezel, and a second hour hand circles the dial at half the speed of the primary hour hand, making sure that the wearer is always aware of the exact time.
Between its offbeat set of features and its status as one of Rolex’s more obscure offerings, the Explorer II Polar has developed a cult following among those whose style functions as a sly subversion of status. It has become a favorite of the Brooklyn hipster set, as they have taken to seeing it as a sort of anti-Rolex. Not many watches can find an equally comfortable home in both Williamsburg and the bottomless depths of a cavern. But the Explorer II Polar never claimed to be anything close to a typical timepiece.
Maker: Rolex Model: 16570 Year: 2002 Material: Stainless Steel, Sapphire Crystal Dial: White, Super-LumiNova Movement: Automatic Case Measurement: 40mm Weight: 121g Size: Fits up to an 8, Adjustable Condition: Pristine Vintage Made in Switzerland
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