Rolex Explorer

Rolex Explorer

The Rolex Explorer existed before it even had the name. Rolex had long been a purveyor of timepieces to explorers, and had sponsored several expeditions to the Himalayas. On one expedition—Sir John Hunt’s, in 1953—several members wore Rolexes as they tackled the tallest peak on Earth, Mt. Everest.

The dial of one of these watches was distinctive, with 3, 6, 9 in bold Arabic numerals at the poles. Essentially, this was the ancestor of the Explorer. When Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary climbed down from the powdery surface of the summit and returned to terra firma, Rolex released the Explorer in honor of their achievement, and the manufacture’s participation in it.

In production for nearly 30 years, the Reference 1016 remains the one that many collectors dream of strapping to their wrists. The case, measuring a trim 36mm, is beautifully proprtioned on the wrist and the dial, with its distinctive large arabic numerals at 3, 6, and 9, is an exercise in form following function.

This particular example dates to the late 1960's, just after the transition from gilt, glossy dials to matte dials with white printed numerals. The Rolex coronet is squatter than in later versions of the dial, giving rise to the "frog foot" nickname for this dial variant.

Boasting a beautiful patina across the dial, aged but untouched hands, and the seldom-seen correct Rolex box, this Reference 1016 makes a compelling addition to any vintage collection.


SKU: AS02506

Stainless steel case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown). Reference 1016. Circa 1967/1968.

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with light, even wear from age and no signs of overpolishing. Matte dial is in very good condition with crisp printing and an even patina to the luminescent (tritium) elements of the hour markers. Rolex crown. Screw down caseback.

Includes one 20mm leather strap.

Also includes Rolex box.

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