The Rolex Submariner and Explorer II are two of the most sought-after Rolex sports watches that can be described merely by three adjectives – Rugged, Precise and Durable. Although both of them are sturdy and purpose-built watches, the Submariner and Explorer II have significant differences between them.
Here’s a quick comparison between the two iconic models – the Rolex Submariner and Explorer II. Take a look!
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Rolex designed and developed the Submariner and Explorer II with a specific purpose in mind. The Rolex Submariner is a dive watch, made to combat the implacable pressure of 1,000ft (300m) depths. Since its inception in 1953, the Submariner has been one of the best diving watches of the world.
On the other hand, Rolex introduced the Explorer II in 1971 keeping speleologists in mind. Similar to the original Rolex Explorer, the Explorer II watch appeals to globetrotters and adventurers of every kind.
The difference between the Rolex Explorer II and the Submariner lies in their bezel, case and bracelet. To begin, the Rolex Submariner features a unidirectional coloured timing bezel, available in blue, green or black. The colours of the bezel indeed add good personality to one’s wrist, making it one of the defining attributes of the Submariner collection.
Moreover, the Rolex Submariner flaunts a 40mm water-resistant Oyster case and a bracelet that is made up of solid 18ct yellow gold, 904L Oystersteel or two-tone steel and gold (Rolesor). However, in recent years, Rolex upgraded the Submariner’s Oyster bracelet, offering the refined Glidelock design for a perfect fit.
On the contrary, the Rolex Explorer II comes with a more tamed fixed stainless steel bezel. However, the bezel comes matching with the case and flaunts a 24-hour marked scale, enabling the travellers (especially the cave or polar explorers) in distinguishing day from night. While the Explorer II initially featured a 40mm Oyster case, it was increased to 42mm for the collection’s 40th anniversary in 2011.
The Rolex Explorer II comes exclusively in 904L stainless steel. Interestingly enough, the brand has never introduced any two-tone or solid gold models. However, the latest Explorer II is only equipped with an Oystersteel bracelet and Oysterlock clasp.
The Rolex Explorer II indeed features an iconic dial. The most noteworthy feature is the 24-hour coloured hand. At first, the watch flaunted an orange 24-hour hand, devised originally for helping cave and polar explorers to differentiate between day and night. However, the Explorer II also featured a red 24-hour hand for decades.
The colour options for Rolex Explorer dials include the sought-after ‘polar’ white and fresh black. The white ‘polar’ dial looks entirely clean with black-outlined Mercedes hands and luminous white plots. Although the black dial boasts similar features, the dark face spotlights the luminescent hour plots, lume-filled Mercedes hands and the stainless steel bezel.
Moreover, the 24-hour coloured hand (especially the orange-hand) looks a little brighter against the black dial.
On the contrary, the most common dial of Submariner is the black one. However, the blue and green Submariner dials are also incredibly famous. The face is defined by exquisite rounded, luminescent hour plots that tootle against the dial’s dark colours. Moreover, the dial also features an inverse triangle at 12 o’clock position and rectangular lume plots at 9 and 6 o’clock positions.
Rolex initially housed the Calibre 1575 movement into the Explorer II. However, the movement was replaced with more technologically upgraded movements over the years. The Calibre 3085 was the first significant upgrade that enabled the 24-hour hand to get independently adjusted without troubling the 12-hour hand. The next update was the Calibre 3185 that featured a paramagnetic Glucydur balance wheel, also flexible to harsh temperatures.
Rolex, then introduced the Calibre 3186 with a blue anti-magnetic Parachrom hairspring, followed by the contemporary Calibre 3187. The Calibre 3187 movement features every upgrade that includes the GMT functionality, blue Parachrom hairspring, Paraflex shock absorbers, 48hours power reserve and -2/+2 seconds accuracy per day.
Rolex equipped the automatic Calibre 3135 movement inside all date-displaying Submariners since 1988. The movement has remained a reliable source of power for Rolex Submariner watches. The updated Calibre 3135 is today COSC certified. Moreover, the movement features the ultra shock-resistant and anti-magnetic blue Parachrom hairspring, offering 48-hour power reserve.
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