The Rolex Explorer is perhaps one of the most classic sports watches, and has not been dramatically altered since the first model in 1953. It was inspired by knowledge gained by human adventure, and made with stainless steel to withstand extreme conditions. It is a ruggedly elegant watch and has been the popular choice of explorers since it was first introduced. Even James Bond wears an Explorer in the original books by Ian Fleming!
The Rolex Ref. 1016 Explorer worn by Ian Fleming
The Rolex Explorer was a timepiece born from the first successful ascent of Mount Everest. Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norway reached the top in May 1953, both wearing Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches. The first Rolex Explorer ref.6298 had a white dial, but was replaced by a black dial ref.6350 quite soon after. The Explorer benefitted from all the technical knowledge gained during the Himalayan expeditions since the 1930s. It needed to be an extremely rugged Oyster, with an all-steel bracelet and new Twinlock winding crown with a double waterproofness system.
A few alterations have been made over the years. One visible change is the size of the watch, as the original had a diameter of 36mm. This would probably considered quite small today, and the latest Rolex Explorer II ref. 216570 is 39mm.
Rolex Explorer II ref. 216570
In 1963 the Rolex Explorer ref.1016 was introduced, which was in production until 1989 - which shows how popular it was. Explorer I enthusiasts were quite upset when it was announced it wasn’t being manufactured any longer. However this soon changed when they saw the new and exciting Explorer ref.14270, which perhaps a little more elegant anyway.
The latest Oyster Perpetual Explorer ref. 216570 is certainly as beautiful as ever. It has a new movement, the Rolex caliber 3132. This is a self-winding mechanical movement entirely developed by Rolex. It features a Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers - perfect for shock in extreme conditions. The smooth bezel in 904L steel is robust yet stylish, and in perfect harmony with the Explorer’s iconic heritage. Like previous models it has clearly distinctive hour and minute hands, with the black dial keeping its luminescent indices and large Arabic numerals at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. It was designed for optimal legibility - even in the darkest of places!
For the adventurer in us, the Rolex Explorer is the perfect timepiece. It was one of the first watches designed by Rolex for professional users. It is important to have the right gear when facing extreme conditions, however this is a beautiful watch to also wear away from a mountain side!
Rolex 16570 Explorer II watch
Take a look at the fine Rolex sports watches currently available at Armour Winston...