For 2011 Rolex offers a new Explorer 2 to follow up last year's new Explorer. While the Explorer was bumped up to 39mm last year, the Explorer 2 is the Rolex sport watch with a modern size of 42mm in width. That is 2mm larger than the Submariner, and it likely wears better than the 43mm wide Submariner Deep Sea. Also new is the return of the orange GMT hand in addition to the Maxi-dial like size of the hands and hour indicators.
In a 42mm wide case, the Explorer 2 is in 904L steel with a mix of polished and brushed surfaces. While known for its white dial, the Explorer 2 now comes with a black dialed version as is traditional for the line - both in lacquer. Contrast on the dial on both models remains excellent, with the signature large orange GMT hand remaining on the dial. Both dials feature "Chromalight" luminant. The hands are all in white gold. I have had arguments with people about Rolex hands being in white gold. While not all of them are, many of the newer Rolex models have white gold hands. Says it right here in the Rolex material!
The case looks great with its steel on steel fixed 24 hour bezel. It is water resistant to 100 meters. Sapphire crystal is double AR coated and has a date magnifier lens. Inside the watch is an in-house made Rolex caliber 3187 COSC Chronometer certified automatic. It has the time, date, and GMT hand - and a 48 hour power reserve. Would have been great to see the watch have the glide-lock clasp of the Submariner, but then the Explorer would encorach on its territory.
It has a steel bracelet with an Oysterlock clasp and Easylink 5mm comfort extension link. Not sure exactly what that is yet, but it sounds like a nice microadjust system. Rolex offers yet another watch we all want. Funny how something like "42mm wide" is enough to get me excited in the Rolex context. This and the new Daytona styles are the big news for Rolex this year - the 36mm wide models are looking smaller and smaller!