Going to get a new Luxury Wrist Watch? Rolex Explorer II might be the watch of you dreams.

Rolex has just unveiled a raft of new watches at Watches and Wonder 2021, with the Explorer, Explorer II, Datejust 36, and Cosmograph Daytona receiving either significant facelifts or new variations.

The real heroes of the show are the new model added to the Explorer range, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Never mind that the rest of the watch industry is also making its major announcements around now, as all that seems insignificant in comparison. With the decline of Baselworld, Rolex now joins the growing Watches & Wonders trade show (previously known as SIHH) which, of course, is taking place virtually.

Below is a full rundown of everything Rolex announced at Watches and Wonders 2021:

  1. ROLEX EXPLORER
  2. ROLEX EXPLORER II
  3. ROLEX DATEJUST 36
  4. ROLEX COSMOGRAPH
  5. ROLEX DAYTONA
  6. ROLEX DAY-DATE 36
  7. ROLEX LADY DATEJUST

Special Mention: 2021 marks 50 years since the debut of the ref. 1655 Explorer II back in 1971. The watch has undergone numerous variations big and small since then, perhaps none physically bigger than the up-scaling of the model’s case from 40mm to 42mm in 2011. The ref. 216570 is now ten years old and probably due for an upgrade. Given Rolex’s recent predilection for upping its case sizes while the rest of the watch world has finally been moving in the opposite direction, we can only hope that if a new model debuts, it will regress toward the 40mm direction and not expand toward the size of a small neutron star.

Initial Thoughts

Let’s start off with the fact that the bezel is not ceramic, as many observers thought it would be. No, it remains the same brushed steel that it’s always been, which – let’s be honest – is a good thing. The steel bezel is a hallmark of the Explorer II, so as much as people would have loved to see a ceramic bezel, it just wouldn’t have felt right (and might’ve been potentially problematic from a spelunking perspective).

Looking at this watch, you may very well think nothing has changed. In many ways, it hasn’t. While Rolex hasn’t directly specified this, the case proportions look to be slimmed down considerably, with thinner lugs. This wouldn’t be a surprising change, as we just saw the brand do something similar to last year’s Submariner.

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