Rolex Explorer: The Brand’s Underrated Tool Watch?

It has been over 70 years since Rolex Explorer made its debut. It is known as one of the Rolex professional watches that everyone might have once seen. 

Since the 1930s with its patented Rolex Oyster Perpetual had been developing its professional series of watches each by each. For example, Rolex Explorer, Rolex Submariner, Rolex GMT Master and the Rolex Milgauss. The renowned collections all came to market in the same era at that time.

The Rolex Submariner is water resistant to over 200m depth. The Rolex Milgauss is more resistant to magnetic interference while Rolex chronograph watches provide the split-second timing for adventurers to avoid rolling boulders. 

However, the Rolex Explorer is the less mentioned one among its super famous fellows. During these decades the Explorer has been through several evolutions. The new Rolex Explorer 2016 introduced in Baselworld 2016 is no exception. 

We are going to take a look at some of the key references of this subtler Rolex watch. 

History of Rolex Explorer

Rolex Explorer
Photo Credit: Rolex Official

As early as the 1930s, Rolex had been sponsoring the explorers and mountaineers who attempted to summit Mount Everest. Rolex created the pre-models of Explorer in honor of Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay’s cresting the summit of Mount Everest in May 29, 1953. 

Hilary wore the watch from the English watch company Smith’s to summit Everest, while Norgay wore his Rolex to the summit. Although we do not know which watch was the first to actually summit Everest, Rolex still made its name widespread after this success. 

Launch of Early Rolex Explorer models

The early Rolex would release models to test and then modify them based on the feedback from the market. Rolex ref. 6298 is a good example for it as the early model of Rolex Explorer. This Rolex 6298 is usually referred to as a “pre-Explorer” model. It was an updated version of the Oyster Perpetual Ref 6028 with a COSC-certified movement. Rolex also produced this watch with an Explorer famous 3-6-9 dial style. 

Since the 1950s, Rolex had begun building up its new adventure collection while experimenting with different designs and construction. Actually, Rolex had already registered the trademark of the name ‘Explorer’ on January 26, 1953. With the success of Mount Everest summit, it was the right time to announce it as an official collection. Rolex had successfully marketed the Explorer and gained the prime position among the professional watches. 

Later that same year, Rolex Ref 6350 and Ref 6150 went into production and further enriched the collection. These references began the use of the 3-6-9 numbers and the ‘Explorer’ name on the dial. The two models are almost identical to the most-known Rolex Explorer but still with a few key differences. 

Between 1953 and the present, the Explorer has kept evolving but the main design stayed true to the first model. All the little details and modifications in the Explorer’s history only make the watch more profound. 

Launch of the Rolex 214270

Rolex Explorer 214270 2016
Rolex 214270BKASO

With its smaller case, simple design and functionality, it is true that Rolex Explorer 1 had been overshadowed by Rolex Explorer 2 and other fancier Rolex sport watches. 

In 2010, they’re Rolex Explorer 224270 with a more modern 39mm case established to replace the ones of 36mm in 1953. It has surprised the Rolex lovers with its modification. It is considered to be one of the most accessible Rolex watches and an excellent choice as a everyday watch.

Features of Rolex Explorer 214270

The current Rolex Explorer 214270 has already been released for more than ten years. Let’s take a look on how amazing is this underrated Rolex watch.


The consistent 36mm case had been a hallmark of the Rolex Explorer for long. After almost six 60 years of being a “smaller” Rolex watch, the 36mm case updated to 39mm for Rolex 214270. It is probably because of the big watch trend led by brands like Panerai and Hublot, Rolex made this modification to meet the need of the market. 

Many Rolex lovers welcomed this change of Rolex Explorer ii for larger case size at the time. Rolex later also updated the Rolex 214270 with longer hands to complete the look. It is called the Mark 2 (or Mk2) dials among the Rolex collectors

Case & Dial

As a Rolex steel watch, the Explorer 214270 features a Rolex special Oystersteel case and matching bracelet. With its patented screw-down, twin-lock crown, the watch ensures water resistance to 100m depth. 

Photo Credit: Rolex Official

The dial layout continues the design of its predecessor. The hands and indexes feature Chromalight, an exclusive luminescent material of Rolex that emits a long-lasting blue glow in dark. 

The polished shining bezel that frames the black dial contributes a more classic look for the watch. It makes a nice complement to the white gold surrounds on the indexes. Its brushed links of the Oyster bracelet completed the look with a hint at its robust heritage.


Rolex Explorer
Photo Credit: Rolex Official

As Rolex marketed the watch, the Explorer watch is intended to be used for rough and tough conditions such as in temperatures as low as -20C to as high as +40C. It can even endure extreme conditions like snow, sleet, rain, sun, and high altitudes. With its excellent chronometer specifications, it is a watch designed for the rugged.

Rolex Explorer houses a Rolex in-house self-winding calibre 3132. It features a paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring and the perpetual motor enables bidirectional self-winding. It is also a certified superlative chronometer like all the Rolex in-house movements with a guaranteed precision of -2/+2 sec/day.

The Underrated Rolex Explorer

In the eyes of many collectors, the appeal of the Rolex Explorer Ref 214270 is more like a casual dress watch other than a hardcore tool watch. With its simple design and classic choice of color, the Rolex Explorer is very appealing to a broad audience.

Despite the lack of discussion, Rolex Explorer is suitable for all occasions with satisfying functions. It can be a great choice for you if you need a Rolex as your everyday watch.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.