In 1953, history was made when Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first men to stand at the very top of Mount Everest. Part of the British expedition led by Sir John Hunt, they shared their instant celebrity with the watches that accompanied them - the Rolex Oyster Perpetual.
That the Rolexes went on this treacherous journey was no surprise as the watch company had been - and still is - famous for testing their watches in real-life situations. From this successful climb, Rolex created the Oyster Perpetual Explorer, which was later updated as the Explorer II in 1971.
Equipped with the Paraflex shock absorbers, a robust movement and a highly legible design, the Explorer II was clearly designed to survive extreme conditions. It also came with an extra hand pointing to the 24-hour scale on the fixed bezel so that one could discern whether it was night or day.
No wonder it quickly found favour with explorers, be it those who scaled heights or those who ventured into the depths of the oceans.