Rolex Explorer 2 Ultimate Mushing Watch

The Rolex Explorer II is the Perfect Mushing and Adventure Watch

The Rolex Explorer 2 is a timepiece revered by adventurers and explorers worldwide for its exceptional durability, precision, and functionality in the most challenging environments. Designed to withstand the rigors of exploration, this iconic watch has earned a reputation as the ultimate companion for those who seek adventure and push the boundaries of human endeavor.

I have wanted a Rolex for a long time. I remember seeing the old TV show, Magnum PI and while most boys my age were enamored with his car I picked up on his watch, a Rolex GMT (Pepsi) and I told myself one day I will have a watch like that. Fast forward more than 30 years and I was finishing up a second bachelor’s degree in outdoor leadership and my wife Michele asked me what I wanted for a graduation gift. I did not hesitate and said, a Rolex watch.

To me this watch was a testament to my hard work and drive and wanted a timepiece that I could wear for the rest of my life and always remember where I was and where I am going.

Key Aspects of the Rolex Explorer 2

The Rolex Explorer 2 stands out as the ultimate adventure watch due to several key aspects

Durability and Reliability: Crafted from high-quality materials such as 904L stainless steel and sapphire crystal, the Explorer 2 is built to endure the harshest conditions without compromising on performance.

 Functionality: Equipped with features like a dual time zone function, Chromalight display, and a robust Oyster case, the Explorer 2 offers practical tools that are indispensable for adventurers navigating different time zones and low-light environments.

Water Resistance: With a water resistance rating of 100 meters, the Explorer 2 is well-suited for aquatic adventures, making it a versatile timepiece for both land and sea explorations.

History of the Rolex Explorer 2

Origins and Evolution

 Launched in 1971 as a successor to the original Explorer model, the Rolex Explorer 2 was specifically designed for speleologists, cave explorers, and adventurers who needed a reliable timekeeping instrument in dark, isolated environments. Over the years, Rolex has refined the design and technology of the Explorer 2 to meet the evolving demands of modern explorers.

Association with Exploration

The Rolex Explorer 2 has a storied history of accompanying renowned explorers and adventurers on their quests for discovery. From scaling towering peaks to diving into the depths of the ocean, this timepiece has been a trusted companion for individuals undertaking daring expeditions in some of the world’s most challenging terrains.

Famous Expeditions and Endorsements

Notable expeditions, such as mountaineering missions to the highest peaks, polar expeditions, and deep-sea explorations, have seen the Rolex Explorer 2 play a pivotal role in ensuring accurate timekeeping and reliability in extreme conditions. Prominent explorers and adventurers have endorsed the watch for its precision, durability, and unwavering performance when it matters most.

In 1953, the not-yet-Sir Edmund Hillary became the first man to summit Mount Everest along with expedition partner Tenzing Norgay. And he did so with a Rolex on his wrist, an Oyster Perpetual that would prove to be the ancestor of the Explorer. This watch was produced in 1950 and was never purchased commercially.

Rolex was one of the sponsors of the 1953 Everest Expedition – only one expedition was allowed each year by the Nepalese government – and part of this sponsorship included providing Hillary with this watch. It was not a gift, but rather a watch for Hillary to wear during the expedition and then to return to Rolex for extensive testing after the descent. And that is exactly what happened.

Rolex Explorer 2 Mushing

The Ultimate Dog Mushing and Adventure Watch?

My Rolex Explorer 2 has been everywhere with me over the past six years. From the freezing -50 degree temperatures on the Yukon River on an expedition, scuba diving in Belize, cage diving with sharks in the Farallon’s, fat tire biking, triathlons in Hawaii, hiking in Moab, also in countless business meetings and teaching in the college classroom.

As a dog musher, first and foremost I have tried several sports and adventure watches including several Garmin’s and the Apple Watch Ultra. While all of these are great, they lack one thing that I need on the trail. Reliable timekeeping. The Garmin Descent (a robust dive watch) does well, especially with its GPS functionality, it still struggles in extreme temperatures and long-distance mushing like an expedition. The last thing I want is to have to worry about charging my watch on a trip. The Apple Watch Ultra, while awesome as an everyday smartwatch, it lacks the battery life needed for days on the trail.

The Rolex Explorer just works, flawlessly, doing what it does best, keeping time.

Cost of the Rolex Explorer 2

When I went into the only Authorized Dealer (AD) for Rolex in Alaska, I had never held a Rolex in my hand. I knew they were expensive but didn’t know how expensive. I did not intend to buy that day but when the jeweler pulled it out of the case and I tried it on, I knew right then, the time was right. For those that do not know, typically Rolex’s are in high demand and even in 2018 it was extremely rare that you could walk into an AD and walk out with a watch. There could be year’s long waits for the model that you want. In fact, I put my name on a GMT Master II (known as the lefty or southpaw) during the COVID pandemic and I am still waiting.

I put down a $500 deposit for the Explorer 2 that day and told the jeweler, “I need to talk to my wife.” About a week later I went back and picked it up, no waiting list. I paid $10,500. A hefty investment, yes but I one time investment that could realistically last me a lifetime. To put it in perspective; I have worn this watch practically every day for the last six years. That works out to about $4.79 a day, less than a cup of coffee. That tabulation will only go down as time goes by BUT the watch is going up in value. I was in Grand Cayman this past spring and went into the AD there on the island and talked to the jeweler and he said that the waiting list is still very long but Explorer 2’s in good condition is fetching upwards of $14,5000 (USD) in his market. Not too bad.  


The Rolex Explorer 2 has solidified its status as the ultimate adventure watch through a rich history of innovation, association with exploration, and endorsements from those who push the boundaries of human achievement. As a timepiece that embodies the spirit of adventure, the Explorer 2 continues to inspire and accompany modern-day explorers on their quests for discovery and triumph. To me it has become a part of my life and is a part of many of the important milestones as I navigate the trail.

The workmanship with the Rolex is sublime, clicking the hour hand forward or backwards while the rest of the watch remains precise and ticking never loses its magic. The infinitesimal movement of the red 24-hour hand which takes a full day and night to circumnavigate the watch face tells me at a glance when I can call London for a podcast from Alaska and know the time zone with ease. It has always been a reassuring hand as it points to and helps me stay in touch with, home. I make no apologies for romanticizing the watch. When you have worn a product for so many years and it has never let you down you can afford to be a little sentimental.

What do you think? What is your watch of choice on the trail or in your daily adventures? Let me know on socials. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram or on X.

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