Rolex Explorer "Blackout"

Rolex Explorer "Blackout"

In 2011, Rolex did the unimaginable: It fundamentally changed the design of the Oyster Perpetual Explorer I - the watch that defined general badassery for the brand for some five decades prior.  In it's newest version of the Explorer, Rolex has departed from the classic 36mm case design, deciding instead that bigger was better, and housed their in-house 3132 movement in 39mm of steel.  

While the move intrigued some, and beguiled others, it down right pissed us off.  We understood it when they switched from matte dials to glossy ones.  We could find some elegance in the presence of white-gold hour marker surrounds.  But altering the case dimensions was tantamount to heresy in our books.  I mean, the whole idea of the Explorer was that it was a small and incredibly durable wristwatch capable of taking a beating while not being cumbersome on the wrist.  

But to our chagrin, and the chagrin of many diehard Rolex enthusiasts, the line was forever altered, the legacy forever threatened. 

That is why, when we see executions that herald the original design, such as this gorgeous Reference 14270, we jump at the chance to find them a good home.  

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

This particular piece is something a little more special than your standard 14270, however. Known as a "Blackout" Explorer amongst collectors, this early execution E-Serial model features black Arabic numerals instead of the later white. With the added benefit of holey lugs (which make strap & bracelet changes a snap), this early variant is often considered the most collectable modern Rolex, and rarely turn up on the secondary market - let alone in this condition!

With a full mechanical overhaul and a professional case and bracelet cleaning performed in 2014 at the Rolex Service Center in Hong Kong, this is also one of the cleanest examples we've ever come across, and don't expect it to last long.

For more information on this rare execution, check out articles on HODINKEE and Wound For Life.


Stainless Steel Oyster case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown). Rolex Reference 14270. E Serial, Circa 1991.

Overall condition: Case is in excellent condition over all, showing only very light signs of wear from careful use. Lugs remain sharp and have not been over-polished or rounded. Original dial and hands are in as-new condition. Original case back and Rolex signed crown.

Includes original steel Oyster Bracelet (78360/558B) with 14 links and signed clasp and two 20mm nylon straps by Crown & Buckle. Also includes service receipt from Rolex Service Center HK dated 2014.

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