The Rolex Explorer is one of the most famous timepieces for collectors. Ushering a new era for Rolex, the Explorer is the very first sports watch for the brand. One can say that the Explorer showcases how innovative and progressive Rolex is. It boasts a modern and sophisticated look that captured the hearts of enthusiasts.
From perilous mountain adventures to Japanese TV, this watch has built a reputation and cult following. It’s no surprise people are still interested in the Rolex Explorer. If you are buying one for yourself, this article will discuss the Explorer’s history, specifications, and potential.
The Birth of the Explorer
In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay went on a Mt. Everest expedition – with them was a white Rolex Oyster Perpetual. If you’re familiar with Rolex’s history, you’ll know that Rolexes coming along historical adventures are no coincidence. The inclusion of an Oyster Perpetual in this Everest expedition was a move to showcase the strength of the Oyster case. The success of the expedition and the watch’s return home also proved the craftsmanship and quality that Rolex offers.
It took a few years and many references before the brand could mold the look of the Rolex Explorer we know today. There were several watches based on Rolex Bubblebacks and many more models that inspired the brand before establishing the right format for this series.
In 1989, Rolex released a watch that mixed luxury and sports – the Explorer 14270. It was also when the watch world saw a lot of changes. Tool watches were slowly getting phased out because of integrating higher-end manufacturing techniques. The 1980s became an era of reinvention for Rolex.
Watch enthusiasts were surprised with the Rolex Explorer. It was the same as its predecessor, but with an updated dial and movement. Rolex continued to refine the Explorer’s designs. Some might claim that they are still continuing to do so up to this day. Right now, the Explorer has variations that make it more interesting for collectors.
The Explorer and its Details
- Size – Each Explorer sports a classic look and comes in its iconic 36mm size.
- Dial – It has a glossy lacquer dial in black with markers and numerals that come in white-gold. The word Explorer is also displayed beneath the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Logo.
- Bracelets – Although there are many variations to every Explorer model, it usually comes with hollow or folded end-link bracelets and sapphire crystals.
- Movement – Although it varies per series, the most iconic Explorer houses the Caliber 3000 movement with a 48-hour power reserve and 27 jewels. This movement has a size of 28.5mm and is automatic and bi-directional with a central rotor.
- Protection System – The Explorer also has a Kif shock protection system – easily distinguished by a three or four-leaf clover-shaped clip at the top of the balance.
Over the course of many years, the Explorer saw many adjustments and tweaks. An average person simply could not tell the difference between pieces, but watch connoisseurs certainly find the changes and improvements fascinating.
Modern Rolex Explorers
The most iconic Rolex Explorer was the 14270. Its design influence on modern Explorers can be questioned. After 11 years of production, Rolex introduced the 114270. It boasts the Caliber 3130 movement and a solid end-link bracelet.
This then paved the way for possibly the best evolution of the Explorer – the Rolex Explorer 214270. Coming from a glossy black 36mm watch, the 214270 was upgraded to a sleek matte 39 mm masterpiece. This watch was updated at Baselworld in 2016. Now, it sports a proportional handset and luminous 3, 6, and 9 markers which turn blue in the dark. This is the first time since 1898 that the Explorer used lumed markers. The 214270 Explorer offers 100m water resistance and uses Rolex’s Caliber 3132 movement, a power reserve of 48 hours, and paraflex shock absorbers.
Are Rolex Explorers Collectible?
Rolex Explorers are something that interested collectors for years. Even though this watch is not as famous as its contemporaries, it still has a fascinating history and significance to it. This watch also mixes sports and luxury, and vintage and modern making for a riveting piece that charms average joes and watch enthusiasts alike.
The Explorer provides a vintage feel to a modern tool. Its look doesn’t age, thus making for a brilliant investment. Even after a few years, the Explorer still looks like a new Rolex. The 14270 was once featured on a popular Japanese television program. This cross into pop culture adds to this watch’s collectability. It even made the Explorer 14270 the staple watch in Japan during the early 2000s.
Of course, watch collectibility still depends on the market. The Rolex Explorer, just like any watch, is not immune to the fickleness of the market. A release of a successor or a new model can affect the price and desirability of watch lines. Watch models can face a price drop at any point in time.
Even Rolex Explorers have faced a price drop at one point. When the 214270 was released, 14270s saw a depreciation in value. If you decide to buy an Explorer, you must keep an open mind and remember that anything is possible. Don’t worry though, note that Rolex Explorers have a rich history and are known as the first modern Rolex. This character and its iconic look make for a very interesting watch capturing watch enthusiasts of all ages – making it continuously desirable and collectible.
An Explorer For You
If you want a watch with a rich history, versatile look, and impressive specs, you don’t have to look any further. A Rolex Explorer boasts a powerful movement, contemporary design with vintage touches, and amazing character. If you are looking for a timepiece that can go with you on any adventure, surely an Explorer would be a great accessory. The name itself even says so! What are you waiting for? Buy a Rolex Explorer today!
What do you think about the Rolex Explorer? Let us know in the comments below.