Rolex Explorer I

Rolex Explorer I

Why We Love It

More and more, collectors are turning to neo-vintage Rolexes of the 90's in search of value and collectibility.

Few models have more buzz around them than the Reference 14270 Explorer 1. 

The 14270 is rising in popularity and its not difficult to see why - their predecessor, the vaunted Reference 1016 - have completely exploded. Hell, gilt dial 1016's can fetch over $30,000. When you consider the fact that the nicest 14270s in the world are still available for under 10k (Blackouts excluded), you can start to understand why collectors are snatching these up. 

The 36mm Oyster case and propositions are perfect, just as the 1016 aimed for. Tritium luminous material fills out white gold surrounds, and the painted white numerals was nothing short of avant-garde at its debut. While initially controversial, this aesthetic would come to typify Rolex for the modern era and remains a core design language seen in their current collection to this day.

With its simple, straight forward legibility, and durable steel case built to tackle any task it faces, one could make a strong argument that the Explorer I is the perfect sport/field watch for every day usage.  

This particular example, a "U" serial model, dates to circa 1997 and is amongst the last 14270s to feature Tritium luminous. It remains in outstanding condition with an untouched case, stunning dial with light even patination, and even comes complete with punched papers dated January 1998 from Dubail C Jewelers in Paris. 

The Story

With its feet firmly rooted in the classic design of the early Explorers - a simple black dial with 3, 6, 9 Arabic numerals -- albeit a more avant-garde approach to the look --and 36mm Oyster case, the 14270 is every bit as much an Explorer as the original models that pulled their own weight up Everest.

The day was May 29, 1953, and Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay stood on top of the world. Rolex had indeed come with them to the summit of Mount Everest and since then Rolex has long been known as the watch of exploration. The triumph of the 1953 expedition and spirit of adventure and exploration that the Explorer represents can certainly be felt when this watch is strapped to your wrist.

These were watches designed to be tough as nails and capable of operating effectively in the harshest conditions known to man. Whether it was diving to the lowest point or climbing to the highest, you've got to hand it to Rolex - they know how to build one hell of a sports watch! It really doesn't get more badass than that.


SKU: AS03900

Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 36mm (excluding the crown). Automatic-winding movement by Rolex. Rolex Reference 14270. Circa 1997.

Overall Condition: The case is in excellent condition overall showing light wear consistent with age and use. Luminous gloss black dial is in excellent condition with rich even patina and matching handset. Signed crown.

Includes solid link stainless steel Oyster bracelet (78790/558B) with signed Flip-Lock clasp. Also includes punched papers from Dubail C Jewelers in Paris dated January 1998.

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