The Rolex Explorer Series have always been a little overlooked in the Rolex Sports model collection. Both the Explorer and Explorer II have been developed for adventure in mind, one for on land and up mountains and the other for under land and underground. Iconic models from the Explorer series include the Polar Dial.
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The Rolex explorer came to us in 1953 when Sir Edmund Hillary climbed to the summit of Mount Everest wearing a Rolex watch. Rolex had already been testing their modified Rolex oyster watches for years for preparation for this massive achievement.
This was no fluke by Rolex, Rolex wanted the world to see they can show the power and accuracy of their watches in extreme conditions. Rolex where now classed as an endurance watch.
Rolex sales increased sufficiently after the reach to the summit. To this day people still remember that Rolex got their watch to the summit. Rolex going forward created and sold the Rolex with explorer printed on the dial.
The start of the Explorer 6350
Released in 1953 Rolex now had explorer on the dial. A 36mm steel case with Arabic numbers at 3-6-9 on a new matte dial. This is the Explorer design we see Rolex use until today.
Rolex 1016 was the longest running Explorer, released in 1963 and ran for 27 years. The model went through plenty of changes over the years. At the start Rolex supplied it with an Albino dial and the next was called the space dweller dial. Rolex later fitted a steel stretch bracelet to this model. To the end of the run of the 1016 model Rolex had improved and now fitted a solid steel bracelet.
The Basel Fair in 1989 would see Rolex release the new model 14270. This model would run until 2001. The new look Rolex Explorer would have upgraded movement and a sportier and more elegant look with white gold surrounds fitted to the watch. Rolex still used the 36m case but also went to a black glossy dial. In 2010 Rolex released the 214270 which had a 39mm case and longer power reserve calibre fitted. The 214270 had a dial change half way through production, the mark 1 dial was replaced by the mark 2 dial.