Rolex Explorer 2 Review: A True Utilitarian Rolex Timepiece

When you are looking for a watch that you can wear under the toughest conditions, you are probably not looking for a Rolex. However, if you are in the market for one of the toughest luxury watches available, today’s Rolex Explorer 2 review is for you.

After all, it’s a timepiece that’s designed for cave divers and spelunkers. Although not many of you will be using this watch for exploring dark caves, it’s still a watch that’s rich in history.

Among the Rolex collection, the Rolex Explorer II has always been some sort of oddity. It’s not as popular as the Submariner or Datejust but it’s still going strong even after 45 years of production.

With that said, let’s take an in-depth look at the Explorer II ref. 216570 a.k.a. the Polar.

Rolex Explorer 2 Review: At a Glance

The Rolex Explorer II is a relatively quirky offering that added plenty of character to the Swiss luxury brand’s stable. Before we go to a detailed Rolex Explorer II review, let’s first check out its key specs and features.

Model:

Rolex Explorer II

Reference no.

216570

Model case:

Oyster, 42 mm, Oystersteel

Oyster architecture:

Monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown

Material:

Oystersteel

Bezel:

Fixed, 24-hour graduated

Winding crown:

Screw-down, Twinlock double waterproofness system

Crystal:

Scratch-resistant sapphire, Cyclops lens over the date
Water-resistance: Waterproof to 100 metres / 330 feet

Movement:

Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding

Caliber:

3187, Manufacture Rolex

Precision:

-2/+2 sec/day, after casing

Functions:

Centre hour, minute and seconds hands. 24-hour display. Second time zone with independent rapid-setting of the hour hand. Instantaneous date. Stop-seconds for precise time setting

Oscillator:

Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring

Winding:

Bidirectional self-winding via Perpetual rotor

Power reserve:

48 hours

Bracelet:

Oyster, flat three-piece links

Clasp:

Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Easylink 5 mm comfort extension link

Dial:

White, Highly legible Chromalight display with long-lasting blue luminescence

Certification:

Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing)

First Impression

Take note that the 216570 White Dial is the new and improved version of the Rolex Explorer II 16570. There are actually two dial versions of the 216570: white and black (pictured below). While I am a big fan of black dials, I went with the white dial since it somehow looks better than the black version.

My first impression is that the watch maintains most of the essence of classic Rolex timepieces but has been reworked to appeal to contemporary collectors. Perhaps the most obvious change is the 42mm case diameter. In comparison, the original Rolex Explorer 214270 was only 39mm.

It’s one of the largest models in the Rolex catalog.

Purists and traditionalists will surely prefer the smaller 39mm but as an outdoor tool watch, the size increase is more than welcome.

The white maxi dial is another standout with its boldness and superior legibility – perhaps it’s boldest among other Rolex sports watches. The glossy white dial has markers with black surrounds. It is an instantly striking dial with somehow more of the signature Rolex attention to detail.

The construction looks to be on-point and while I’m not too keen on wearing it to explore cave systems, it feels like it would serve me well even if I choose to. It looks and feels like a true tool watch and noticeably less luxurious.

The Polar White Dial

The Polar white dial is a masterclass in contrast. The Chromalight markers and hands sit perfectly against the white background, and the bright orange 24-hour GMT hand adds a perfect contrast to everything that’s going on.

In case you don’t know, the 24-hour hand enables the user to keep the time for two different time zones. In addition, it will also let you know if it’s day or night, very useful when you are down in a cave.

Rolex Explorer 2 Review Chromalight
Rolex Explorer II Chromalight

As mentioned, the Rolex Explorer II features top-notch legibility. After all, it’s a watch designed for very low-light environments or at night. Based on my tests, the proprietary Chromalight coating does a great job of providing long-lasting readability.

Plus, it looks amazing when the blue luminescent coating is activated.

The black surround around the oversized markers and stubby hands is another great detail that completes the overall look of the Explorer II. I have always been a fan of the Cyclops lens so it’s a nice cherry on top as far as the dial goes.

The Rolex Explorer 2 is bigger and bolder which is what you want for a heavy-duty tool watch.

The Robust Case

The Rolex Explorer II was first released back in 1971, and since then it has gone through numerous makeovers over the four decades. It was designed for extreme resistance and this is mainly due to its robust case.

Of course, there’s the 904L stainless steel that makes the case which measures 42mm in diameter and a thickness of 13mm. While I don’t have the largest wrist, the 42mm diameter is more preferable to me than the 39mm of the previous Explorer.

For reference, the Yacht-Master II is 43mm and the Sea-Dweller Deepsea is 44mm.

Just like with the previous generations of Explorer, the watch is fitted with Rolex’s signature twinlock screw-down crown. This adds a fair bit of waterproofness to the watch and should be able to handle a few splashes. Just make sure you don’t wear the Explorer II for diving.

In classic Rolex style, the watch features sapphire crystal on the front and a solid case back on the back. The 24-hour bezel is made with fixed stainless steel with a satin brush finish. However, the bezel is more prone to scratches. I would have loved it more if it instead had ceramic inserts like on the Rolex Submariner.

However, the brushed finish of the bezel does look great.

The Oystersteel Bracelet

The Explorer II uses the signature Oyster bracelet made in 904L steel with three links. Looking closely, you’ll see that the center links of the bracelet lack polish. This is, of course, a conscious design choice for a more “tool-like” look. However, the sides are polished which adds an interesting twist to the bracelet’s aesthetic.

As you might expect, the bracelet’s construction feels very solid and it comes with the Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Easylink system. This enables the user to extend or shorten the last link by 5mm increments which is useful for achieving a great fit.

While the Glidelock fine-adjustment extension found on watches like the Submariner is the superior system, the Easylink is useful for adjusting the short and long positions. This allows you to easily adjust the bracelet in case of weather changes.

Timekeeping

Rolex Explorer 2 Review 3187 Movement
Explorer II’s 3187 Caliber Movement

Of course, you can’t have a Rolex Explorer 2 review without talking about the movement. With that said, the Explorer 2 is powered by the automatic in-house calibre 3187.

The movement features a paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring with a 48-hour power reserve. For the price, I was expecting a better power reserve than 48 hours. Having to reset the watch after two days of not wearing it does get old pretty quick.

The blue Parachrom hairspring provides the much-needed resistance against magnetic fields. Plus, it adds a good deal of durability to the watch which is crucial for the type of environments the model is designed for. Even with extreme temperature changes, the Explorer II will remain ticking accurately.

The 3187 won’t blow anyone’s mind when it comes to aesthetic but that’s no big deal since you’re getting a robust solid steel caseback anyway.

Like with all Rolex Perpetual movements, the 3187 is a certified Swiss chronometer with -2/+2 sec/day precision performed after casing.

Pricing

The Explorer II 216570 Polar is about on the same price range as the Rolex Submariner. However, if you can get a pre-owned Explorer II, expect to pay a little more than a no-date Submariner and a little less than a date Submariner.

It’s no entry-level watch like the Rolex Air-King but it’s certainly an affordable option if you’re looking to get into the Rolex rabbit hole. Due to its not-so-massive popularity, you won’t find an Explorer II that sells for over the retail price. Basically, you can just walk up to a Rolex shop right now and later come out with the watch on hand.

This isn’t the case for other popular Rolex models like the aforementioned Submariner where the cost is driven up by demand.

As far as resale value goes, this luxury steel watch offers a rock-solid resale value. However, it’s not exactly a fly-off-the-shelves sale when compared to other popular Rolex models.

Should You Get the Rolex Explorer II?

To wrap up this Rolex Explorer 2 review, we put in the verdict if this watch is worth the investment or not.

The Explorer II is a somewhat a forgotten model that’s lost in the sea of Submariners, Day-Dates, and Daytonas. This is quite a shame especially when it’s one of the few unashamedly utilitarian Rolex timepieces.

I love the big and bold display with a throwback design to the vintage Explorer. However, Rolex made some excellent updates that make it more appealing for fans of contemporary timepieces. It looks great, especially with the Polar white dial and offers legibility for days. In terms of comfort, the watch sits comfortably on my wrist so I have no complaints.

It’s also perhaps the toughest and most robust Rolex watch that I’ve owned. More than anything, it’s a tool watch and a great one at that.

The Rolex Explorer II is not the kind of watch that I would recommend for first-time Rolex buyers but it sure is an imposing addition to any luxury watch collection.

Best Smartwatch For Cycling

best smartwatch for cycling

We’ve taken the time to research the best smartwatch for cycling and have discovered four smartwatches that would highly benefit your next cycling session. All of our selections factor in apps, sturdiness, and other qualities that make them beneficial to frequent bikers.

As for the number one slot, we’re choosing the Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch.

Keeping fit is more than just doing your daily stretches, cardio, and strength training. As a cyclist, you want to keep pushing the limits and exceeding your latest record. To do so, you might find it beneficial to use a smartwatch to track your exercises. Hence why we’ve developed a list of the best smartwatches for cycling.

Fitness smartwatches only use to be useful for tracking steps and functioned similarly to a pedometer. However, with new advancements, they can accurately track tire movements and provide feedback on your biking session. So, whether you’re using the smartwatch as a competitive cyclist or just a quick ride around the block, these best smartwatches for cycling can help.

Although, we do recommend buying a budget-friendly smartwatch if you’re just looking for basic features.

Top Pick: Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch

The Fitbit Surge is your classic smartwatch from the Fitbit brand, except made for those who want to train smarter. It’s packed with multiple tools to help you set goals and learn how to push yourself farther with your workouts. Plus, the slim yet durable design is simplistic but keeps the watch intact throughout your workout.

Fitness Tracking Pro

The watch features up to date applications that can rival most other fitness trackers. You’ll be provided GPS Tracking which lists your distance, split times, and even your pace. This can be helpful if you’re using it for multiple activities.

Besides that, it features All-Day Activity, enabling you to track total steps, distance, and calories burned. The PurePulse Heart Rate Monitor is suitable for those tracking heart rate and needs to stay in specific zones. Lastly, the SmartTrack enables you to use it with multi-sports and records all your activity.

On Display Notifications

Being always in the know with our busy lives is what makes technology so great. With the display screen, you’ll be able to get consistent updates for calls, texts, and even music. Control your soundtrack while you’re cycling and switch it up with just a flick of the finger.

On top of that, you’ll be able to monitor your sleep patterns, set the alarm, and manage any notifications on the screen from your phone. Overall, it’s an excellent system if you want full control from your wrist.

Ultra Slim Design

Lastly, the design is slim enough where it doesn’t clog up your screen or expect you to wear a heavy wristwatch. Instead, it’s lightweight, durable, and features a breathable black strap. However, if you get the urge to change it up, you can purchase your own strap and wear that one instead.

What Do We Think?

We believe that this is genuinely the best smartwatch for cycling. It provides you with multiple monitoring systems that help track all your activities throughout the day, which most others can’t do. Plus, the small and slim design looks sleek and modern. Add the fact that you can have full control over your phone and other notifications while you’re cycling, and you’ve got yourself a useful smartwatch.

Runner Up: Garmin Vivoactive HR

The Garmin Viviactive HR is our second best smartwatch for cycling. It’s been designed with a beautiful slim screen that’s high resolution and features a multitude of fitness tracking applications. Unlike others, the longer battery life and smartphone pairing make this one of the best for those on the go.

Heart Monitoring System

A healthy heart is the key to being physically fit, which is why the Vivoactive HR comes with a GPS Smartwatch featuring an elevated heart rate monitor.

By measuring the pulse on your wrist, the smartwatch will accurately display the numbers tracked without the need to use a chest strap.

Extensive Battery Life

The one major problem with smartwatches is that they tend to have short battery life and need to be recharged. While others may last one to two days, this one features an 8-day battery life if using the tracking mode and up to 13 hours in GPS mode.

Overall, it depends on what applications and features you’re going to use to determine if the battery life is worth it or not.

Built-in Sports Apps

The smartwatch comes built with specific sports apps to help you log and track your session. As the main feature, the GPS enabled cycling app enables you to track times, distance traveled, speed and calories.

Besides this, it comes with an accelerometer, GPS, golf course apps, and step tracking. As you can see, it’s best for those looking for an all-around system.

What Do We Think?

Overall, it’s an excellent smartwatch which enables you to keep track of multiple sports. However, if you’re using it for cycling, it may be a bit overwhelming.

The long battery life is a useful feature, but the fact that you can drain it quickly using other apps makes it mediocre. Either way, we find that it’s best suited for those switching up their workout routine.

Best Heart Rate Monitor: Polar A370

If you’re searching for an all-around fitness smartwatch, then you can’t go wrong with the Polar A370. It’s a 24/7 fitness watch that includes multiple features and apps to help track your overall health. That being said, if you’re trying to monitor other aspects of your life instead of just your cycling, this is the perfect fit.

Multiple Fitness & Health Trackers

Similar to other smartwatches, the Polar features multiple trackers to help your fitness journey. It includes a continuous heart rate monitor that produces a whole day worth of information.

Plus, you can use the information provided to tailor calorie-burning activities. Besides this, there’s a Sleep Plus app which can help you track sleep and give you better insights into your sleeping habits.

Personal Workout Guider

If you need a little nudge to reach your fitness goals, then you will find the workout guidance tools useful. With the unique tracking system, the watch calculates data it collects from other activities, and your heart rate to help build a better workout plan.

Anyone looking for guidance and feedback will genuinely appreciate this aspect, as it can help you meet your goals faster.

Reliable GPS Tracker

However, we want to take a look at one of the possible benefits that are also a downfall. The GPS navigation is amazingly accurate and provides you useful information for tracking speed, routes, and distances.

But, you will need to have your phone with you at all times. While this isn’t a problem for most of us, the downside is that if your phone dies or loses internet connection, then you won’t be able to access any of these features.

What Do We Think?

The Polar gives you more accurate results and tracking than any other on our list, but it’s not our best listed because it has short battery life, must be paired with your phone, and lacks on other features you may find in other fitness smartwatches.

However, it’s perfect for bikers because of the large easy to read display, the accurate tracking, and allows you to pair it with 3rd party services.

Best for Daily Activity Monitoring: Apple Watch Series 4

Our last pick is the Apple Watch Series 4, which is by far one of the best for all around daily activities. For those who find themselves always on the go, the Apple Watch is the perfect smartwatch to help them stay connected, track fitness, and improve their cycling.

New Improvements

The design has since then been upgraded from the previous model. It comes with a large display, electrical heart sensors, and a newly redesigned digital crown which provides haptic feedback. These are excellent features for those looking to monitor their heart rate and keep within specific ranges.

Proactive Health Monitor

There’s an ECG located under the smartwatches backside. This eliminates the use of chest straps or other types of heart monitoring systems. You’ll be given notifications if your heart rate is irregular, out of its reasonable bounds, or fall detection or SOS.

Ultimate Workout Partner & Activity Tracker

The ultimate workout partner is perfect for those who want to improve themselves with others. If you’re in a group, you can sync together and get notifications every time someone is closing in on you.

Besides this, you can also see up to five metrics in front of you, giving you the upper hand.

What Do We Think?

Out of all the best watch for cycling, we’d say that this is the least to please you. While it does have, it’s pros and cons, and it can’t be used for cycling.

Why? Because it’s more of a monitor daily activity fitness watch. It doesn’t feature many other useful apps or tools that could help you with your cycling session.

Our Verdict On The Best Smartwatch For Cycling

As we come to the final push of the article we should ask, is there best smartwatch for cycling? The truth is, any of the ones that we’ve listed have been useful for bikers. However, some come with extra features that you’d find helpful for other aspects throughout your day.

That being said, you should take the time to narrow the four options down to find one that would work with your daily life. If you tend to cycle once every few days, then you may not want something as accurate like the Garmin. However, if you want an all day watch, the other three listed are exactly what you’re looking for.

As a regular cyclist, you should consider as well the best heart rate monitoring for cycling as one of the basic tools for continues improvement.

Either way, being a cyclist is impressive and enables you to breathe fresh air while being outdoors passing by the scenery. Having a GPS map out your route and record your progress around town can help you adjust your workout to your liking. Overall, that’s why we believe the Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch is the best smartwatch for cycling.

Alpina Watch Review

Alpina Watch

Alpina has been making watches for over a hundred years. With great style along with quality product, they have a lot going for them. If you are looking for a great luxury sports watch, there’s a good chance you’ll find something you like with Alpina.

Their watches—though not greatly ranged in style design—they are sleek, durable and can double as sports and dress watch. One such watch is Alpiner 4, a sports watch that can blend in with a lot of different settings—making it a favorite of ours. Read more about that watch and a few others to gain a better understanding of Alpina through this Alpina Watch Review.

Alpina Watch Review

Alpina Watch Review 2019

King of sports

Alpina is undoubtedly known best for its sports watches. Beginning all the way back in 1938, Alpina started producing its “4” sports watches collection. With leading technology for its time, they’ve only improved, continually bringing sports to the forefront of their luxury watch brand. Their wristwatches have given wearers quality and durable products—not only for men but also for women. For land, air or water, Alpina has shown itself to be versatile and never straying from its classic, sporty roots. The Alpina Alpiner 4 is a perfect example and should be included in any Alpina Watch review.

Alpina Alpiner 4

An Alpina sportswatch, like the Alpiner 4, proves itself by having the “4” sports properties incorporated into it. It must be 1. Antimagnetic, 2. Antishock, 3. Water-resistant, and 4. Stainless. Additionally, a great quality that Alpina sportswatches have is that they are beautiful to look at and many of them can just about pass for a dress watch, like this Alpiner 4.

The blue dial is an attention-getter and is the most eye-catching part of the watch. The markers and hands are all large and easy to read against the blue. The case is 44-mm in diameter and is stainless steel, the dial window material Is antireflective sapphire and the brown band is made of genuine leather. A barely noticeably date window sits by the 3 o’clock marker.

This watch is antimagnetic, antishock, water resistant (up to 330-feet) and it’s stainless—a perfect example of a sports watch. This piece is also extremely attractive, showing how adaptable Alpina’s watches can be. If someone were wanting something showing its sturdiness sporty qualities, there are great options for those styles as which is well.

A good example would be the Alpina Seastrong Diver watch, which shares a lot of features with the Alpiner 4 but is less flashy. It’s darker with a black rubber band and a stainless-steel case that provides a bit of color with its sharp red. The water resistance is much deeper at 984-feet. Overall, Alpina has a lot of great sports watch options that suit many styles.

Smart ‘n stylish

The Alpina brand—known for sports and quality—also provide style and technology. With modern technology improving greatly, it’s not usually desirable to purchase anything expensive that isn’t also innovative. The same goes for watches. Why spend considerable money and not get anything newfangled? That’s the feeling many people have who lean towards the smartwatch options. While some love the classic analog timepieces that provide old fashioned style only, smartwatches are growing in popularity. Alpina has certainly joined the smartwatch party and one such piece is the Alpina Men’s Horological Smartwatch.

Seastrong Horological Smartwatch

The Seastrong Horological Smartwatch looks like the ultimate sports watch but there’s a lot more to it than just being a detailed and accurate timepiece.

The two main colors: orange and black, blend well—looking stylish and vibrant. Additionally, there are slight white and silver accents, making the markers and hands easier to see and read. It is a larger watch with a stainless-steel case that has a diameter of 45mm. It is important to be aware of the size and how it will feel on your wrist before purchasing, to make sure it’ll be comfortable. The watch has quartz movement with a synthetic sapphire dial window to protect it. The black band is made of rubber and has a buckle for a clasp.

While the vibrant colors of the watch are a great draw, the true heart of this watch is the smart technology. This watch can be a great companion to your everyday life. It can keep you up to date with what is happening in the world around you as well as internally with your health. If you download its app—available for Android and iOS, it’ll sync and provide fun functions that include activity and sleep tracking. It also provides notifications for when you receive a text or call. The battery is supposed to last for about four years as well.

Apple and many other smartwatches may have a more “smartphone-like” screen. The horological smartwatches use a secondary dial rather than a screen, to maintain the classic look. That could be less appealing to those wanting a miniature smartphone on their wrist. However, the Seastrong Smartwatch is also a stellar and high-class sports watch—providing an aesthetic and quality an Apple smartwatch simply wouldn’t be able to provide.

Not just an ornament

Since wristwatches grew in popularity through the early 20th century, they’ve been seen on the wrists of women more and more. However, watches are still not as marketed to women as they are to men. Additionally, it is difficult to find high-quality wristwatches that are durable and sporty and…for women. Usually, women’s timepieces are focused on being a prime accessory, to compliment an outfit, or to even blend in as jewelry. But women need high-quality watches to take on adventures just the same as any man.

Alpina watches usually look ready for anything. If you are wanting a luxury watch that doesn’t quite show it’s durability as visibly as Alpina Watches do, you may want to look elsewhere for your new timepiece. Rado could be a better fit. Alpina Watches are incredible and strong and they show it, especially through their women’s watches. An Alpina Watch review must include Alpina’s women’s watches because they ready for adventure—just like the Alpina Women’s Extreme Diver.

Women’s Extreme Diver

Alpina Women’s Extreme Diver watch is a prime example of a sporty watch for women. Known for their sports watches, no Alpina watch review would be complete without referencing how the brand extends its trademark to both men and women. And it extends it well. This watch is strong, durable and perfect for the land and sea. The stainless-steel case is brushed and polished. The movement is Swiss quartz and the black dial is protected by scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. The hands and the hour markers are of a luminescent silver-tone. There is also a date window at the 3 o’clock marker. With a sturdy black rubber strap, this watch looks and feels ready for anything thrown at it.

As promised by the title, this watch is made for diving. It is water resistant up to 984-feet.

This is the watch to beat if you are looking for a beautiful women’s watch that has quality and an ability to handle the water.

History of Alpina

Alpina has a long and rich history as a producer of quality watches. Alpina began with Gottlieb Hauser of Switzerland, who wanted  to make the perfect watches to aid “sportsmen, engineers, technicians, and adventurers.” He began to make his dream work with the concept of the “Alpina 4,” developed in 1938.

A true sports watch must be 1. Antimagnetic, 2. Antishock, 3. Water-resistant, and 4. Stainless steel. With that standard in place, the Alpina sports watches became the brand to beat. Those working on land, at sea, and in the air began choosing Alpina as a result. The company saw success until the Quartz Crisis when quartz became massively popular and Alpina would not stop focusing on its mechanical watches. Alpina suffered greatly during this time.

In 2002, Alpina made its comeback and began to grow. In 2014, Alpina produced the “4” in the Alpiner collection in reference to the four sports properties. They also invented the Horological Smartwatch in 2015. Alpiner seems to continually keep its head above water with new pieces and even inventions focused on their goal of quality sports watches. We’ll see if they continue to grow in the future but as of now, they seem to be producing great things.

Conclusion

Alpina watches are relevant because of their focus on sports. It’s encouraging to see them maintaining standards they’d set for themselves almost a century ago. After reviewing these Alpina watches, it appears they are of a good, luxurious quality that will serve the most active wearer. Additionally, some of the watches are adaptable so that they can be worn on adventures or in the office. Alpina is keeping up technologically while staying true to their aesthetic. Their women’s watches are also perfect for any great adventure, as they should be. Stylistically, these watches may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But, for someone searching for a quality sports watch, Alpina is the place to look.