Yes, gem-filled bezels and ultra-thin architecture might be a sure-fire way to get people talking about new watch releases, but for Rolex luxury sports watches need to do more than dazzle you. And the brand is proving an age-old proverb with its new-generation Explorer II: Why change a winning formula?

It's all eyes on Geneva as Watches And Wonders 2021 week kicks off today, where watchmakers will introduce us to some highly desirable new luxury watches. And while ostentatious has become the name of the game for some, Rolex remains committed to traditional watchmaking and finishing as they always have been. Case in point, the new Explorer II ref. 216570.

For its 50th anniversary, the watch gets some serious technical upgrades while maintaining the range's essential requirement — exploration. Despite previous speculation, the bezel is not ceramic, instead, it remains the same brushed steel that it's always been. Once again Rolex shows us it will not compromise on performance for hype.

Back are the classic matte black, polar white dials, and the brushed oyster bracelet. However, the style does get slimmed down for 2021, but the real treat is underneath the surface.

Inside this case is a new (well, new for this watch) movement, the best that Rolex currently offers: 70 hours of power reserve, Chronergy escapement, blue Parachrom balance spring, and Paraflex shock absorbers. In translation, it's more efficient, more accurate, more robust, and lasts longer without the need for winding.

Launched in 1971 as the ref. 1655, the Explorer II was originally meant as a watch for cave exploration. In 2021, it has all the makings of a great sports model and everything we love about the Explorer II has been sharpened under a sleeker veneer. Because modern watchmaking doesn't have to be about iconoclasm when you're on a quest for excellence.

The new Explorer II ref. 216570 is coming soon to Rolex retailers worldwide.

What To Read Next