Rolex is one of the most widely recognized brands in the world.
While you could attribute their fame to a deep-pocketed marketing department or a celebrity endorsement, to do so would be to deny the decades of research and development that Rolex has championed. Through endless testing in myriad environments and conditions, the brand was able to hone their designs and technologies. Their watches watches exude a special kind of toughness and reliability that has fostered a kind of go-anywhere, do-anything mentality among enthusiasts and collectors.
Among Rolex's great achievements is the development of the Explorer, a much-needed addition to the brand's core collection.
At its heart, the Explorer has always been an understated tool watch. With its smaller case and stark black dial and luminescent numerals, it embodies hearty robustness suggestive of a military pragmatism. It's no wonder that it was included in the kits of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay as they prepared for their historic summiting of Everest.
Today, the Explorer--in all of its executions--enjoys a kind of cult status among watch enthusiasts and collectors, but for many, the story really begins and ends with the Reference 1016.
For one, it enjoyed the longest production run of all the Explorer models (1963 - 1989), making it the execution widely understood to define the model. Additionally, the trim 36mm steel case and matte Tritium dial resonate with the original form-follows-function design; the simplicity is pleasing when contrasted with the complications (bezels, date functions etc.) of the 1016's successors, the Explorer I and II. And, increased demand has made finding honest 1016s very hard today, with many suffering from over-restoration.
This particular 1016 has a serial number in the 369,000 series, putting its production somewhere near 1972. Coming on a C&I 2-73 rivet bracelet in solid condition, it's obvious that this one was well loved and cared for.
And as 1016s in any condition being hotly coveted, this piece, with all of its uniqueness makes this Explorer something altogether droolworthy.