Rolex Explorer II for Dual Timezone Tracking Similar to a GMT

Initially introduced in 1971 with a distinct focus on spelunkers (cave explorers), the Rolex Explorer II emerged as an extension of the original watch, the Explorer, and these two models persist in coexistence to this day. Despite lingering in the shadow of other replica Rolex sports watches for a considerable period, the Explorer II has witnessed a surge in popularity in recent times, with waitlists now commonplace at retailers worldwide.

Much akin to the GMT-Master series, the Rolex Explorer II boasts an additional 24-hour hand adorning its dial, accompanied by a bezel bearing 24-hour markings. But can you harness the Rolex Explorer II as you would a GMT watch?

Rolex Explorer II

Unlocking the GMT Functionality of the Rolex Explorer II

Explorer II Quick Facts:

Debuting in 1971.
Initially tailored for spelunkers.
Solely crafted in stainless steel.
Available with either black or white (“Polar”) dials.
Showcases a date window at the 3 o’clock position.
Incorporates an extra 24-hour hand and a fixed 24-hour bezel.
Water-resistant up to 100 meters (330 feet).
Discover the distinctions between the Rolex Explorer and Rolex Explorer II here.
Browse All Rolex Explorer II Watches

Rolex Polar Explorer II 16570

Defining a GMT Watch

Before delving into the intricacies of using the fake Rolex Explorer II as a GMT, it’s essential to grasp the concept of a GMT watch. Often, the term “GMT” is erroneously applied to any watch featuring multiple timezone displays. However, a true GMT watch is one that exhibits an additional timezone in a 24-hour format.

While numerous watches boast dual-time functionality or 24-hour displays, the classification of a GMT watch demands the simultaneous display of more than one timezone, with at least one displayed in a proper 24-hour format.

Is the Rolex Explorer II a GMT?

While all Rolex GMT-Master watches naturally qualify as GMT watches (given their nomenclature), not all Rolex Explorer II models share this distinction, despite their inclusion of an additional 24-hour hand.

Certainly, a 24-hour format is a prerequisite for classifying a watch as a GMT; however, the critical factor lies in the watch’s capacity to exhibit two or more timezones. In the inaugural version of the Rolex Explorer II (the reference 1655 from 1971), the supplementary 24-hour hand remained synchronized with the standard 12-hour hand, traversing the dial at half the pace.

Though these watches feature two distinct hour hands, the 24-hour hand primarily served as a prominent indicator of AM/PM, juxtaposed against the fixed 24-hour bezel. It wasn’t until the arrival of the second generation in the mid-1980s that the Rolex Explorer II evolved to operate akin to a genuine GMT watch.

Rolex Explorer II 16570 Watches Guide

Which Explorer II Models Embrace GMT Functionality

With the exception of the initial model (ref. 1655), all subsequent Rolex Explorer II references lend themselves to GMT functionality. This encompasses the following three models, all available with either black or white dials:

Ref. 16550
Ref. 16570
Ref. 216570
Consequently, if any of the following attributes align with your watch, it signifies that your Explorer II is equipped to function as a GMT watch:

Equipped with a sapphire crystal.
Bears a reference number with five or more digits.
Boasts a white dial.
Exhibits a case diameter of 40mm or larger.
Features luminescence glowing in blue.
Given that the 24-hour bezel of the Rolex Explorer II remains static, the two hour hands necessitate independent adjustability for GMT usage. Therefore, if any of the aforementioned criteria apply to your watch, it suggests that your Explorer II encompasses a movement enabling independent hour hand adjustment.

Rolex Explorer II 216570 Watches Black and White Dials

Utilizing the Explorer II in GMT Mode

To employ your Rolex Explorer II akin to a GMT watch, configure it to display your home or reference time via the 24-hour hand, while the local time is showcased by the standard 12-hour hand. Local time is discerned conventionally with the hour and minute hands against the dial, whereas the 24-hour hand denotes reference time relative to its position vis-à-vis the 24-hour scale on the fixed bezel.

Rolex Explorer II 216570 Polar Dial

Operational Guidelines for Explorer II GMT Functionality

Before configuring your Rolex Explorer II for GMT functionality, familiarize yourself with the three positions of the winding crown, each engaging a distinct component of the movement upon rotation:

Position 1: Manual winding mode; the crown, unscrewed from the case, winds the watch upon rotation.
Position 2: Local time adjustment mode; pulling the crown out one notch maintains the seconds hand’s motion, enabling advancement or regression of the local hour hand in one-hour increments upon rotation.
Position 3: Reference time adjustment mode; fully withdrawing the crown to the second notch halts the seconds hand, facilitating movement of both hour hands and the minute hand upon rotation.
Step 1 – Setting Reference Time

Commence by aligning all hands upon setting the reference time (home time) on your watch, as this synchronization streamlines subsequent procedures. Withdraw the winding crown fully to Position 3 and rotate the hands until they align with the 12 o’clock marker.

Subsequently, continue rotating the hands until your desired reference time is reflected by the 24-hour hand and the minute hand. Note that this time is invariably displayed in a 24-hour format, with the 24-hour hand pointing to its corresponding value on the external bezel’s 24-hour scale.

Step 2 – Setting the Date

Following the establishment of reference time, proceed to set the date. Press the winding crown inward one notch to Position 2. In this configuration, the seconds hand resumes motion, and rotation of the crown advances or reverses the local 12-hour hand in one-hour intervals.

As the 12-hour hand transcends midnight, the date transitions. Continue rotating the crown until the correct date appears in the window at the 3 o’clock position. Bear in mind that since the local hour hand displays time in a 12-hour format, the date will change every two revolutions of the local hour hand.

Step 3 – Setting Local Time

Maintaining the winding crown in Position 2, proceed to adjust the local 12-hour hand to display the correct time in your present locale. Given that this hand adheres to standard 12-hour timekeeping, ascertain whether it indicates AM or PM hours against the dial during this adjustment.

Upon setting local time, push the winding crown inward fully and screw it securely to the case to safeguard your Rolex Explorer II against moisture and debris.

Deciphering GMT Time with Your Rolex Explorer II

With your clone Rolex Explorer II calibrated to function as a GMT watch, local time is discerned conventionally with the hour and minute hands against the dial, while reference time is denoted by the 24-hour hand vis-à-vis its alignment with the bezel. This facilitates simultaneous monitoring of two distinct timezones, with reference time invariably displayed in a 24-hour format, eliminating ambiguity regarding AM or PM hours, even across disparate regions.

An added advantage of this GMT watch configuration lies in its instantaneous local hour hand adjustment, ideal for travel scenarios. For instance, when traversing from Los Angeles to Switzerland with a layover in New York, a mere adjustment of the local hour hand by three hours upon arrival in New York ensures accurate timekeeping in the interim. Subsequently, upon reaching Switzerland, a further adjustment ensures synchronization with the new locale. Notably, adjustments to the local hour hand do not disrupt the precision of timekeeping, with the seconds and minute hands maintaining continuous motion. Moreover, reference time (e.g., Los Angeles time) is consistently indicated by the 24-hour hand, minimizing the risk of inadvertent AM/PM confusion.