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Palm Beach Winter Equestrian Festival with the Rolex “Orange Hand” Explorer 216570

March 13, 2017

BY Paul Altieri

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You can tell the Palm Beach Winter Equestrian Festival is a class act from the moment you enter the event grounds – we’ve never seen so many official Rolex clocks in one place. Aside from the many examples outdoors and in the arena itself, the VIP clubhouse holds several more, including a display of time zones in locales favored by high-end equestrians.

This equestrian sport is one not to miss.

There are tons of Rolex Clocks at Palm Beach Winter Equestrian Festival.

Thanks to Land Rover, we were suitably equipped with wheels in the form of the $108,000, 550 hp Jaguar F-Type R Convertible. And from the Bob’s vault we were sporting the Rolex “Orange Hand” Explorer II 216570, an under-appreciated piece first created by Rolex in 2011 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the model.

This Rolex Explorer has an orange hand.

A Jaguar is a luxury car, perfectly matching with the Rolex Explorer.

This Jaguar is an expensive car with a 0-60 in 3.4.

A Jaguar can go 0-60 in 3.4 seconds.

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Rolex “Orange Hand” Explorer 216570

Though it pays homage to a design dating from 1971, the 216570 is one of the most modern, even avant-garde looking Rolex watches, and with it Rolex has perfected the art of blending past and present. The original Explorer II 1655 is of course now called the “Steve McQueen” though he is not known to ever have worn one, and the updated 216570 has much of the original’s King of Cool panache thanks to the return of the orange 24-hour hand, originally designed to help polar and cave explorers distinguish night from day. The fact that it is not a diving watch like the Submariner, a pilot’s watch like the GMT, or a racing model like the Daytona leaves the Explorer II out in the cold somewhat, for though we may all aspire to be divers, pilots or race car drivers, cave exploration isn’t everyone’s cup of steel.

The Explorer 216570 features an orange hand.

The Rolex Explorer II 216570 features an orange hand with a white face.

Did You Know…?

Now here’s something you probably didn’t know: the 216570 can also be used as a solar compass for orientation during mountain-climbing expeditions – such as following in the bootsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary’s famous Rolex-assisted ascent of Mt. Everest in 1953, which gave the original Explorer its name. You just point the hour hand towards the sun while holding the watch horizontally, which results in the orange 24-hour hand indicating the north in the northern hemisphere, or the south in the southern hemisphere (but only when the hour and 24-hour hands are set to local time). Now this little-known feature makes the 216570 the closest real-life equivalent of one of the Rolexes modified with various gadgets for 007 by Q Branch in the Bond flicks.

The Explorer 216570 has a unique hand that tracks the hours of a 24 day.

The Rolex Explorer II 216570 is truly meant for those who are pushing the limits.

What’s So Special?

The main feature that makes the 42mm 216570 stand out in addition to its size is the smooth bezel, which lessens its appeal in the eyes of many who firmly believe Rolex sports watches look best with the iconic knurled-edge bezels which distinguish the Submariner and GMT (and related models). To our way of thinking the black dialed version is cooler than the white, and the fact that the smooth bezel beauty isn’t as widely recognized adds to its allure. It drew a lot of appraising glances from the Palm Beach Winter Equestrian Festival crowd, who tend to go in for special models such as white gold Daytonas and a fair amount of gold and steel combos. The Explorer II was a bit like the cool outsider crashing the party, who then becomes the life of it.

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