The watch world is in an uproar today with the release of two new Explorer collections and a new Explorer II. Many speculated that the iconic Adventurer tool watch might be getting an upgrade since this year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Explorer II collection. However, this remained a mystery until this morning when Rolex unveiled their latest offering at the watch show. Surprisingly, the Explorer line features a two-tone finish and a reduced case size, while the Explorer II now features a 3285 movement and some aesthetic upgrades.
The Explorer is one of Rolex’s most underrated models. While the Submariner, GMT Master, and Daytona all have rotatable bezels and complications, the Explorer keeps it simple, with just a dial for the time and a sleek bezel. It is this elegant simplicity and versatility as an everyday watch that has attracted many collectors to the Explorer collection. 
With the launch of the new collection comes the integration of the 3230 movements, which replica Rolex released in 2020. It features the brand’s patented Chronergy escapement with a more efficient skeletonized construction and antimagnetic nickel-phosphorus material. The movement also offers a larger power reserve of up to 70 hours and features the already proven Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorber.
The infamous rugged mountaineer’s tool is shown in a slightly more sophisticated design featuring a polished gold bezel, crown, and center link. Gold also adorns the lacquered dial with gold-edged hour markers and gold hands. It also features a reduced 36mm case size and a 3230 perpetual movement.
While the Explorer was developed for mountaineering and another rugged terrain, the Explorer II’s niche lies in cave exploration and other adventures in dark environments where the wearer may not see daylight for days on end. Its signature features include a fixed 24-hour bezel and coordinating arrow hands on the dial that can be used to track the time in the morning and afternoon. Had the Explorer II been a newer model, the arrow hands would also have been separate, effectively turning it into a GMT watch that could track a second-time zone.
Only now, the case has been improved to feature slimmer and less chunky lugs, which we suspect may affect the overall fit of the watch. However, until we can get our hands on the watch itself, this remains unknown. The new lug design isn’t surprising, as fake Rolex seems to have adopted a slimmer profile in many of their new offerings.