Rolex Explorer I 'Swiss Only'

Rolex Explorer I 'Swiss Only'

Why We Love It

In 2011, Rolex did something a bit... controversial.

They fundamentally changed the design of the Oyster Perpetual Explorer I - the watch that defined general their purest form of sports watch for the brand for some five decades prior.  In this new iteration of the Explorer I, Rolex departed from the classic 36mm case design, deciding instead that bigger was better, and housed their in-house Calibre 3132 movement in 39mm of steel.  

The move intrigued some and confused others. Frankly, we're still warming up to them. However, when we see earlier executions that herald the original design, such as this lovely Reference 14270, we jump at the chance to find them a good home.

But of course we wouldn't settle for just any 14270.

This particular example is considered a transitional model, and features the desirable 'Swiss Only' dial produced for under two years. Indicating a switch away from Tritium to Luminova luminous material, the 'Swiss Only' moniker has proven incredibly popular to a number of desirable sports Rolexes in the past few years, and has resulted in significant premiums.

The 14270, however, has only begun to stir in its pricing. Representing the first model to feature Rolexes "new" design language, its avant-garde dial design was polarizing at first, as 1016-obsessed purists poo-pooed their shiny dials and fancy markers.

This particular example is in outstanding unpolished condition - a term we don't use lightly! It also comes with a fully intact factory green case back sticker and punched papers from Malaysian Dealer Chung Fatt Kee. This is about as good as they come!

The Explorer I Story

Few watches have captured the imagination the way the Rolex Explorer has.

 At its core, the Explorer has always been an understated tool watch, it's spartan appearance belying its hearty robustness. It is perhaps this, more than any other feature, that urges ever onward the spirit of adventure and humankind's unwillingness to accept defeat. In this way, the Explorer - in all of its executions - has formed a kind of cult status among watch enthusiasts and collectors.

The Explorer traces its heritage back to the first successful summit of Everest in 1953. While we know now that the watch on Sir Edmund Hillary’s wrist was a Rolex Oyster Precision. The Oyster Precision was the precursor to the Explorer, and it was the Precision that introduced the 3-6-9 Arabic dial that we associate with the Explorer today. It was after the successful summit that Rolex rechristened the model as the Explorer in honor of Hillary and Norgay’s historic accomplishment.

Rolex went on to produce the Explorer continuously for nearly seven decades (and counting, since it’s still in production), and the triumph of the 1953 expedition and spirit of adventure and exploration carries on with each new model.

 It is a memento of our ability to conquer the world through hard work, grit and determination - and of course our ability to do so with timeless style and panache.


SKU: AS03901

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

Overall Condition: Case is in excellent condition with no signs of polish. Factory green case back sticker remains intact. Glossy black dial dial is in excellent as-new condition with matching handset. Signed crown.

Includes solid link Oyster bracelet 78790/558B with signed clasp.Also includes punched papers from Chung Fatt Kee in Malaysia.

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Rolex GMT-Master II 'Swiss Only'
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Rolex Milgauss
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