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The Rolex Explorer

The sporty but elegant design on the Rolex Explorer makes it one of the most sought-after watches from the Rolex collection. The perfect mix for a sporty watch to wear to the office or on the go. Over the last couple of years, the prices of the Rolex Explorer rose, and it makes it a profitable investment. The Explorer is a timeless piece with a black dial and polished smooth bezel with a 36 or 39mm case size.

It all started in 1953

The history of the Rolex Explorer

The first ever Rolex Explorer debuted back in 1953 with the reference number 6610. It was a stainless-steel Oyster case measuring 36mm and was water-resistant to 5 bar (50 meters). It featured the 1030 caliber with a unique design: a black dial, Arabic numerals at 3, 6 and 9 and a large triangle at. 12 o’clock.

Ten years after the 6610 made its debut, the 1016 was introduced by Rolex. On the first look, there weren’t that many differences, but the caliber was changed to the 1560 or 1570 in the later models. It was water-resistant to 10 bar (100 meters) thanks to the Twinlock-crown. Rolex replaced radium with tritium to illuminate the dial. This Explorer reference 1016 was produced for nearly 26 years, making it one of the longest-lived watches from the Rolex collection. Regarding prices, a well-maintained Rolex Explorer 1016 was around €5.000 back in 2010, but nowadays sells for €20.000 on Wristler.

Back in 1989, the reference 14270 Rolex Explorer was the first watch in the Explorer collection featuring sapphire crystal. They refreshed the dial and crafted the numerals and indices out of 18-karat white gold because these materials don’t tarnish over the years. Back in 2001, Rolex introduced the Explorer reference 114270: they’ve changed the caliber to the 3130 and added the Fliplock-clasp and featured a different luminous material: Super-LumiNova.

In 2010 Rolex introduced the Rolex Explorer 214270 which measured 39mm: the first time Rolex changed something big on the outside of the Rolex Explorer since its debut back in 1953. It still featured the smooth polished bezel, an Oysterbracelet and case but was fitted with the 3132 caliber with the Paraflex shock protection system.

Gold & Steel on the Explorer

Two-tone Rolex Explorer

The history of the Rolex Explorer won’t be complete if we don’t add the 2021 changes made by Rolex to the Explorer: they’ve introduced the reference 124273 being the first ever two-tone Rolex Explorer made of stainless-steel and yellow gold, measuring 36mm. These 36mm two-tone Rolex Explorer watches still featured the black dial and Arabic numerals on the 3, 6 and 9 but came with a new personality due to the Oysterbracelet in two colors. 

Rolex also fitted the new caliber (3230) to this model which has a 70-hour power reserve compared to 48-hours of the previous calibers. If you’re on the market for a two-tone Rolex Explorer, you have to pay around €13.000 on Wristler if you don’t want to wait aged for your Rolex Explorer to arrive at your authorized dealer.

Prices of the Rolex Explorer

Starting at the four-digit reference numbers for the Rolex Explorer (1016 and 6610), these models have increased their prices to around €20.000 on Wristler. These watches feature the 36mm case, Oysterbracelet and the earlier calibers 1560 or 1570. If you’re looking to spend a little less money on a well-maintained Rolex Explorer, you will have to pay around €11.000 on Wristler for a full-set Rolex Explorer reference 14270.

These vintage Rolex watches are popular amongst collectors because of the simple design, the used materials and the water-resistance. If you want a pre-owned or vintage Rolex Explorer within these price ranges, expect to pay somewhere around €15.000 for a nice 214270 which measures 39mm, or the newer two-tone 36mm Rolex Explorer.

Popular models

The Explorer & more

The basic design and look of the Rolex Explorer are two reasons to buy one. Furthermore, it is pretty popular amongst collectors and prices started rising a couple of years ago. These vintage models with a four-digit reference number are even €18.000+ on Wristler, which makes it a good investment.

The Explorer II is another popular sports watch from Rolex, which features a similar but still elegant and sporty design. If you like your watches to be a little bit bigger, you might consider the Rolex Submariner (no date) or the well-known Rolex GMT-Master (II). Both the GMT-Master, Submariner and Explorer are sports watches with excellent performance and water-resistance.

  • 100% Authentic watches
  • Safe delivery or pick-up
  • Warranty & easy returns